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[Media Release - OPSC] Secretary of Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration Appointed

Thursday 9 November 2021

Ms Tepaeru Herrmann has been appointed the Secretary of Te Kauono Tutara ō tē Mana Tiaki - Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration (MFAI) for a third term. Herrmann has worked in the Public Sector for more than 20 years holding posts with Treasury, the Business Trade and Investment Board; Director, International & Trade Affairs (MFAI); and Cook Islands High Commission to New Zealand.

Herrmann has a stellar track record of public service performance. Through her leadership of MFAI, the Ministry has cultivated an organisational culture that places a premium on integrity and workforce empowerment in service to the people of the Cook Islands. The Immigration Bill, which is expected to be passed by Parliament before the end of the year is a significant milestone for the Ministry; and Ministry efforts are presently invested in recalibrating immigration service delivery so systems, policy and service, supports critical economic recovery efforts in the months ahead.

Ms Herrmann’s management of the New Zealand bilateral relationship has been integral to the health of the bilateral relationship, a relationship that remains a cornerstone of the Cook Islands current and future international connections and development prospects. The strength and depth of this relationship has been pivotal in the Cook Islands response to COVID-19 on the health and economic front and will remain important to the Cook Islands recovery endeavours. The recent establishment of the Australian High Commission in Rarotonga and the Cook Islands High Commission in Suva are key investments towards the Cook Islands COVID-19 recovery efforts and future prospects.

Since July 2020, Ms Herrmann has been Chair of the Border Easement Taskforce (BET) which is responsible for overall co-ordination and determination of Government’s COVID-19 responses as they relate to border settings; development and implementation of Government responses to mitigate against the risks associated with border openings and progressing contingency planning and strengthening of systems to mitigate against the risk of COVID-19.

Heads of Ministries (HoMs) are employed under 3-year term contracts. Pursuant to the Public Service Amendment Act 2009, a HoM's employment may 'roll-over' into a second three year term contract with the approval of Cabinet, provided that performance criteria has been met during the HoM's first term. Following the completion of a second term, a HoM role will be advertised and incumbents can re-apply as part of the normal recruitment process. Herrmann is the second HoM appointed under the Amendment.

The Public Service Commissioner, Carl Hunter, commented that “I have worked closely with Ms Herrmann previously in my tenure with MFAI and, with the support of her MFAI team, I have recently observed her commitment to advocating the interests of the Cook Islands on regional and international platforms. Her contributions and leadership in driving collaboration and positive outcomes on complex and difficult issues has been valuable and has delivered beneficial outcomes for the Cook Islands. Ms Herrmann’s appointment for a third term is well deserved and critical to Government’s efforts to ensuring the early and safe resumption of inwards travel, and mid-long term recovery efforts in the months and years ahead”.


Enquiries regarding this media release can be directed to Teresa Tura, Corporate Services Manager, at or call 29 421 during Office hours. This article will be posted to

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