Meet the people leading MFAI
We report to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Immigration. Our senior leadership team includes the Secretary of Foreign Affairs and Immigration, 3 Foreign Service Directors, 1 Principal Immigration Officer, and 1 Capability and Service Delivery Director.
Our MFAI leadership team support the following Ministers: https://www.pmoffice.gov.ck/our-work/cabinet-services/
Tepaeru Herrmann - Secretary of Foreign Affairs and Immigration
Tepaeru was appointed Secretary of Foreign Affairs and Immigration in October 2015. Prior to this, she was Cook Islands Deputy High Commissioner to New Zealand resident in Wellington from October 2011 to September 2015, and before that was the Director of the International and Trade Division at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration from 2003 to 2011.
From 2000 to 2003, Tepaeru worked outside the Ministry, holding the position of Acting Chief Executive, Trade and Investment Promotions Manager, and Administration and Finance Manager at the Cook Islands Development Investment Board.
Tepaeru holds a Post Graduate Diploma in International Affairs from the University of the South Pacific and a double Bachelor's Degree in Economics and Commerce from the Australian National University in Canberra. She grew up in Matavera and is married with two children.
Mackenzi Wichman - Director of the International and Trade Division
Mackenzi Wichman took up the role of Director of the International and Trade Division (ITAD) in March 2023.
Prior to taking up this position, Mackenzi has been Acting Director and spent two years as a Foreign Service Officer in the Cook Islands. Mackenzi first joined the Ministry in January 2020.
Mackenzi holds a Bachelor's Degree in Commerce, majoring in International Business and Marketing, and a Bachelor of Security Studies from Macquarie University in Sydney.
Antonina Browne - Director of the Pacific Regional Division
Antonina Browne was appointed to the role of Director of the Pacific Regional Division (PRAD) at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration in August 2021. Her journey within the Ministry began in 2018 as a Foreign Service Officer, and her commitment and expertise have propelled her through the ranks.
At the helm of the Pacific Regional Division, Antonina passionately champions and oversees the Cook Islands Pacific foreign policy, fostering meaningful relationships with bilateral partners across the region. Her leadership extends to navigating political multilateral interests within prominent regional organisations, most notably the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFS) and the Pacific Community (SPC).
A proud graduate of Auckland University of Technology, Antonina holds a Bachelor's degree in Law and was admitted to the Cook Islands Bar in 2020. She was born and raised in the Cook Islands, is of Aitutaki, Mangaia, and Rarotonga descent, and is a proud mother of two young daughters.
Sandrina Thondoo - Director of the Treaties, Multilateral and Oceans Division
Sandrina Thondoo was appointed to the role of Director of the Treaties, Multilateral, and Oceans Division (TMOD) in February 2023.
Sandrina was previously with the Ministry of Internal Affairs (INTAFF) as the Director of Labor and Consumer Commissioner, where she collaborated closely with TMOD and Immigration teams on various matters relating to the Decent Work agenda and the well-being and protection of migrant workers.
Sandrina holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Law from the University of Fribourg, Switzerland, an Interdisciplinary Masters Degree in Arts in Children’s Rights from the Institute of Kurt Bosch, Switzerland, and a Master's Degree in Law in Human Rights from the University of Cape Town, South Africa.
Chere Arthur - Acting Principal Immigration Officer
Chere Arthur is a Cook Islander by descent from the islands of Rarotonga (Takitumu) and Mangaia.
Chere took up the role of Office and Compliance Manager with the Immigration division at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration in April 2017. Since then, her role has varied from Immigration Operations and Compliance Manager in 2018, and she is now the Acting Principal Immigration Officer since April 2023.
She holds a Bachelor of Commerce in Commercial Law and a Graduate Diploma in Commerce in Management from the University of Auckland.
Amelia Fukofuka-Murare - Director of Capability and Service Delivery
Amelia took up the role of Director of Capability and Service Delivery (CSD) in October 2022.
Prior to taking up this position, Amelia spent two years as Executive Officer at MFAI and has also been the Director of the International and Trade Division and Foreign Service Officer in the Treaties, Multilateral, and Oceans Division at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration. Amelia first joined MFAI in 2016.
Amelia holds a Bachelor of Health Science and a Certificate of Health Science from the University of Auckland. She is married with two children.