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Renowned LGBTQI+ rights activist arrives for IDAHOBIT Day event

Tuesday 16 May 2023 | Written by Melina Etches | Published in Local, National

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Renowned LGBTQI+ rights activist arrives for IDAHOBIT Day event
Phylesha Brown-Acton MNZM, the executive director of F’INE Pasifika Aotearoa Trust, will be the keynote speaker at the Pride Cook Islands IDAHOBIT Day event tomorrow at The Edgewater Resort & Spa Umu Hut. She is pictured at the Rarotonga airport with vice-president of Pride Cook Islands Dean Kapi-Tangata. SUPPLIED/23051522

Phylesha Brown-Acton MNZM, the executive director of F’INE Pasifika Aotearoa Trust, arrived in Rarotonga yesterday afternoon for the first time.

She will be the keynote speaker at the Pride Cook Islands IDAHOBIT (International Day against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia) Day event tomorrow at The Edgewater Resort & Spa Umu Hut.

The IDAHOBIT Day celebrated on May 17 aims to coordinate international events that raise awareness of LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) rights, violations and stimulate interest in LGBT rights work worldwide.

Pride Cook Islands Inc, a public campaign to decriminalise same-sex relations in the Cook Islands and raise awareness of the LGBTQI+ community, and Te Tiare Association are hosting the IDAHOBIT Day event.

Brown-Acton, who hails from the village of Fineone Hakupu Atua, Niue Island, has over the years met and worked with many Cook Islanders in Aotearoa New Zealand.

At Rarotonga Airport yesterday, she said: “I feel like I’ve been here already.”

Brown-Acton holds a master’s degree in Applied Indigenous Knowledge and she has extensive governance and leadership experience, serving on regional boards.

She is the co-chairperson of the Asia Pacific Transgender Network (APTN).

In 2019 she received a Queens Honour - Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit (MNZM) for her service to MVPFAFF+/Pacific LGBTQI+ communities and Pacific communities.

Yesterday afternoon she attended the popular local Aka’uka dancing class at the Tupapa Centre.

Aka’uka tutor, Tangi Tauira said: “We support Pride Cook Islands and Te Tiare, we believe our community should be an inclusive one and no one should be discriminated against.”