The newly elected Te Tiare Association president Tatryanna Utanga pictured in 2022. PHOTO: AL WILLIAMS/22033001
Tatryanna Utanga was elected the new president of Te Tiare Association at the association’s annual general meeting late last month.
The other members of the new
executive committee include vice president: Clee Marsters, secretary: Mannie
Aperau, assistant secretary: Talia Believe Ljapold, treasurer: Tea Peua,
assistant treasurer: Tia Mahealani, national cultural and well-being officers:
Tairiia’au Van Dongen and Apa Temata and international cultural and well-being
officers: Josh Baker and Janette Oliver. The executive committee will serve
non-voting committee members include outgoing president and chief
advisor Valery Wichman, diversity officer: Minnie Camaira, PRIDE
president de-facto Karla Eggelton and patroness Lady Tuaine Marsters.
a statement, Te Tiare Association said Utanga is passionate about the organisation’s
mission to promote and protect the rights of the LGBTQ+ community in the Cook
said her top priorities as president will be to continue to grow the organisation
in the spirit of family, community, and culture; and to promote a safer and
more inclusive environment for LGBTQ+ people in the Cook Islands.
also commended the outgoing president, Valery Wichman, and the former executive
for their hard work and dedication.
Ms. Wichman’s leadership, Te Tiare Association has made significant progress in
advancing the rights of the LGBTQ+ community in the Cook Islands. I am grateful
for her service and for the foundation that she has laid for me to build on,”
also made special mention of the recent legislative changes to empower the Cook
Islands LGBTQ+ community.
is a historic achievement for our people. It is a testament to the hard work
and dedication of LGBTQ+ advocates in the Cook Islands, and it is a sign of
progress towards a more accepting and equitable society,” Utanga said.
is also grateful for the ongoing support that Te Tiare Association receives
from the community.
are fortunate to have the support of so many people who believe in our mission,
however, there is still more work to be done to promote a safer and more
inclusive environment for LGBTQ+ people in the Cook Islands,” Utanga said.
president and now chief advisor, Wichman said it has been an incredible
seven-year journey as president and 14 years serving on Te Tiare executive.
am humbled by the privilege to have served the Association. When I embarked on
this journey as president (by default) seven years ago, I never could have
imagined the profound impact it would have on my life. Te Tiare is not just an
organisation; it is a family, a community, a force for change. And it is
because of all of you that we have achieved so much together,” Wichman said.
my tenure as President, we have witnessed remarkable growth and progress.
Together, we have shattered barriers and worked tirelessly to promote
diversity, inclusion, and equality.
have seen our organisation expand its reach, influence, and ability to make a
difference in the lives of countless individuals. It has been an honour to be
part of this transformative journey. Especially with the passing of the Crimes
Bill in April 2023 which was a culmination of 14 years of advocacy and hard
work by all.”