Our Board

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Our Board

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Jessie Sword

Jessie Sword | Chairperson (April 2005 - )

Jessie brings with her a wealth of business acumen and experience operating in the Cook Island's environment. She currently manages her family owned business, Cook Islands General Transport Limited, the country’s leading transport, shipping, and logistics business.

Jessie is a company director for a number of businesses and in 2000 was named ‘Cook Islands Business Woman of the Year’. A believer in life-long learning, Jessie is relentless about maintaining integrity, the value of strong corporate governance and in always seeking excellence in everything she is a part of. Jessie has served at all levels in sport, education, business and politics, and is an advocate for environmentally sustainable initiatives.

Unakea Kauvai | Director (April 2017 - )

Unakea was appointed to the Board of the Bank of the Cook Islands in April 2017. He has over 30 years of banking experience which started in 1977 with the National Development Corporation, predecessor of the Cook Islands Development Bank. He was General Manager of the CIDB for 10 years until its merger with the Cook Islands Savings Bank in July 2001. He was appointed Managing Director of the Bank of the Cook Islands after the merger. Following BCI’s restructure in 2004, in order to comply with various banking legislations, Unakea was reappointed as Managing Director. He retired from that position in October 2008 but continued with the bank for another 18 months in the capacity of advisor and mentor to the newly appointed Managing Director.

Unakea was a Director of Capital Security Bank Cook Islands Ltd from 2010 until he resigned in 2016. He was the Chairman of the Cook Islands Airport Authority from 2011 until 2015 and previously served on the board of other public-sector entities including the former Cook Islands Housing Corporation, Te Aponga Uira (The Electric Power Authority), and former Small Business Enterprise Centre. Unakea has been actively involved and continues to hold leadership roles in various local community organisations.

Jeane Matenga

Jeane Matenga | Director (April 2011 - )

Jeane has a Bachelor of Engineering (Hons) (Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology); Master of Business Administration in Technology Management (Latrobe University/APESMA), and a Master of Information Management and Systems (Monash University).

She is the CEO of Elijah Communications Ltd (Cook Islands Television, Radio Cook Islands, and Cook Islands Herald). Jeane is also the Managing Director of Mana Productions Ltd, a video production business, and the Principal Director of CI Lotteries Ltd which sells lottery games.

Kerry Burridge

Kerry Burridge | Director (October 2013 - )

Kerry Burridge is an international consultant who specialises in economic development, private sector development (PsD), small to medium enterprise (SME) business development, and banking and finance. She has considerable knowledge of and experience in the Pacific Region, and hasworked closely with NZAID, AusAID, ADB, IFC, EIB, UNDP and UNCDF. Kerry is unusual in that she combines a strong academic background with practical business and banking experience to create development advice that is effective at the grass roots level.

Vaine Nooana Arika

Vaine Nooana Arioka | Managing Director (November 2008 - )

Vaine Nooana-Arioka makes things happen! As Managing Director for the Bank of the Cook Islands since November 2008, BCI has grown its market share, introduced new services and products, reduced interest rates and partnered with Government agencies to deliver finance to un-served sectors of the community. Vaine’s experience is derived from over 15 years in Banking (6 of those years with ANZ Banking Group Ltd in the Cook Islands), and underscored with a Masters in International Economics and Finance (University of Queensland) as well as an Affiliate in Development Bank Management (Asia Pacific Institute of Development Finance). It is important to lend your talents where needed and one which Vaine has nurtured by active service outside of the banking world, holding various executive positions in non-government and government organisations, including Punanga Tauturu Inc and the Cook Islands Business Trade and Investment Board.  Vaine has also held membership with various women and girls organisations such as Cook Islands Womens Counselling Centre, Cook Islands Girl Guides, Cook Islands Business and Professional Womens Association and more recently as Chairperson for the Finance Commission of the Cook Islands Red Cross. Vaine’s personal vision statement is “A financially independent Cook Islands”.

Olivia Heather

Olivia Heather (September 2018 - )

A self-motivated professional and avid learner with 17 years of management experience, Olivias knowledge base spans accounting to best practice process and internal controls in the retail and finance industries. With high expectations of those that work around her to strive for efficiency and professionalism of a high calibre, Olivia will continuously look for and encourage growth and improvement in all areas.

After completing a Bachelor of Commerce Accounting major, Olivia joined KPMG Auckland earning her Chartered Accountancy certification. Joining the family business in 2008, Olivia has brought Vonnias into a steady position poised for sustainable growth, at the same time embarking on her own start-up health & fitness ventures setting up the first Cross Fit franchise in the Cook Islands with her husband. Ever the continuous learner, Olivia is now a High Performance Nutritionist Level 1 Certified and is completing a Bachelor of Law through the University of the South Pacific Cook Islands Campus.

Garth Henderson

Garth Henderson (March 2016 - )

Garth was born in Rarotonga on 7 June 1963 and grew up in the Cook Islands.A graduate of the University of South Pacific, he has a BA in Management and Marine Affairs (1999), Master of Business Administration (2003) and completed a Post Graduate Diploma of International Affairs in 2009.

He has 3 children and enjoys spending time with family, is interested in Cook Islands Culture and Traditions, especially land tenure and voyaging and has a passion for working on Cook Islands development challenges.

Garth was appointed as the Financial Secretary for the Cook Islands Ministry of Financial and Economic Management (MFEM) and Alternate Governor of the ADB on 16 December 2015. His position is responsible to the Minister of Finance. The Ministry is the central public finance management Ministry and is responsible for advising the Government on financial and economic issues as well as revenue and aid management, treasury, the budget and statistics.

Prior to this he was the Client Side Representative for the Cook Islands Te Mato Vai (Water) project where he provided the essential interface between the Project Steering Group and the Project Management Unit responsible for managing and overseeing the work streams that are delivering the project. Garth spent 3 years as a Directors Advisor for the Asian Development Bank for the Constituent Office representing the interest of Armenia, Cook Islands, Fiji, Indonesia, Krygyz Republic, New Zealand, Samoa, and Tonga. In this role he undertook research and analysis to provide advice on project, policy and Bank management proposals.

A long history in MFEM (2004 –2011) preceded this leading the Aid Management (now renamed Development Coordination Division) team and Acting Financial Secretary. Twenty years in the Cook Islands Police Service culminated in Commanding Officer of Maritime Surveillance Division, the third senior ranking officer in the Service.

Local people, local bank... some things just go better together