Takiora Ingram, Environmentalist, Women's Rights and Arts Advocate, Cook Islands
“Women's voices must be heard, both locally and internationally. Women’s rights are human rights and must be recognized and respected by all, as we are the binding force of our families and communities.”
Dr. Takiora Ingram has made significant contributions to improving the status of women in her native Cook Islands and the wider Pacific region over the last 40 years.
She has been an effective leader in establishing public policy for improved marine resource management, and promoting Pacific Island visual and performing arts and artists, in her roles as Chair of the Pacific Islands Arts Committee of Creative New Zealand from 1996 to 2000, and as President of the Pacific Wave Association in Sydney, Australia from 2001 to 2005. As a founding director of the Pacific Writers' Connection, she also has organised annual creative/environmental writing workshops for adults, and provides leadership for the My Hawaii annual children's environmental writing competition, now in its 11th year.
Dr. Ingram was the first Cook Islander to graduate with a Ph.D., in 1991, from Massey University, New Zealand, after graduating with a B.A. in Anthropology, with High Honors, and an M.A. in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Hawaii, with a grant from the East-West Center.
Takiora has helped the Cook Islands people by providing leadership in a range of initiatives; a pioneer in promoting women's rights and equality, women's leadership in business, public policy, and government and establishing community programs to reduce and end domestic violence. She has also led policy development for sustainable management strategies for the marine environment, focused on coral reef management, and provided leadership in developing and promoting Pacific Island visual and performing arts, both traditional and contemporary arts.
Takiora is an environmental activist, international consultant, and advocate for community consultation and participation in decision-making for fisheries, lagoon and coral reef management, marine protected areas, and deep seabed mining policy. She has instigated changes in attitudes and policy that have led to improvements in the lives of Pacific women, men and children.