Mrs. Virginia Araneta Russell is the President of the Council of Auckland Philippine Organizations or CAPO, which is an association of 18 Auckland-based Filipino organizations. She had previously served as President of CAPO in 2002.
She has a Master of Arts in Political Science from the University of Auckland which she obtained in 1985 and graduated from the Lyceum of the Philippines in 1970 with a Bachelor of Science in Foreign Service Major in Diplomacy and Political Science. She also has a Certificate in First Line Management & Leadership from the Lion Nathan School of Business located in New Market, Auckland.
Mrs. Russel came to New Zealand with her family in 1983. She is married and has three children who are now based in Australia and have given her seven grandchildren.
Mrs. Russell is currently working with the Customer Support Service of the Auckland Council. She has been working with the Auckland Council in various capacities and positions since 2005 and prior to this, she previously worked with Ford Motor Company NZ, Cox and Dawes, Essere Print and Scott Masterprint. Mrs. Russell was provisionally appointed by the Ministry of Justice and consequently appointed by His Excellency the Governor-General as a Justice of the Peace for New Zealand on 29 April 2009.
She has been actively involved with the Filipino Community having been an adviser of the North Shore Filipino Community, Inc. for a number of years and its Executive Director from 2002-2003. She was among those who spearheaded the establishment of the Council of Auckland Philippine Organizations, an association comprising 16 Filipino organizations in Auckland and was voted as its first president. She was regularly involved with its major events and was voted again as its president in 2011. Mrs. Russell led the preparations and hosting of the 11th Filipino National Reunion in October of 2003 with a 2-day sports and cultural festivities in Auckland City and North Shore City, Auckland. She also founded the Samut-Sari Philippine Cultural Society which showcases Philippine culture through traditional and modern dance and music in 1998 and she also started producing and hosting the Samut-Sari Philippine Cultural Radio program which broadcasts live every Sunday afternoon at 104.6 Planet FM on Auckland’s Access Community Radio which she happily and conscientiously still does at present. As a devout Catholic, she is also involved in organizing Filipino national religious affairs as well as fundraising for church activities being a member of the Filipino Parish Council’s Finance Committee.
She is a volunteer with the National Transplant Donor Coordination Office and an organ donor herself who donates blood quarterly. She is a fully trained Volunteer Radio Operator and a first aider for North Shore Civil Defense and currently does weekly Regional VHF Radio checks for Auckland Civil Defense.
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