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The inaugural Women’s International Network for Disaster Risk Reduction (WIN DRR) Leadership ‘Excellence’ Award has been granted to Fiji’s Vasiti Soko, Director of the National Disaster Management Office. “Coming into a field that has been historically male-dominated, I try to be ten steps ahead of them because  I want to set the tone for other women to get involved and to take up leadership roles in disaster risk reduction and disaster management,” she said while accepting the award.

Colonel Fabrice Spinetta is the new head of New Caledonia’s police force, replacing Colonel Eric Steiger who spent just one month in the role before his involvement in a domestic violence case made his position untenable. Colonel Spinetta had been the interim head of the force since Colonel Steiger’s departure.

The winners of the Pacific Islands Environment Leadership Awards include For Excellence in National Leadership in Environmental Sustainability and Conservation, Dr Patrick Pikacha from Solomon Islands, Hubert Geraux from New Caledonia, and Nunia Thomas-Moko from Fiji. For  Excellence in Community Leadership in Sustainability and Conservation, Timmy Sowang from Papua New Guinea, Henry Kaniki from Solomon Islands, and NatureFiji-MareqetiViti. The Lifetime Achievement for Excellence in Pacific Environmental Leadership Award was presented to Dr Dick Watling from Fiji, Tusanilefaia’ao Iosefatu Reti from Samoa and Jean Kape from French Polynesia. 

Kiribati Vice President and Finance Minister Dr Teuea Toatu has been selected as the alternate Board Member of Green Climate Fund (GCF), representing Small Island Developing States. The GCF Board is charged with the governance and oversight of the Fund’s management and Dr Toatu assumes the role in January 2022 for a three year stint.

Bougainville MP, Theonila Roka Matbob, has won the Gwynne Skinner Human Rights Award for her campaign against Rio Tinto mining company and the environmental damage caused by the Panguna Mine. This year Rio Tinto finally agreed to fund an independent human rights and environmental impact assessment of the damage caused.

Irimaia Rokosawa has been appointed as the Acting Chief Executive Officer of Fiji’s Land Transport Authority. Rokosawa joined the LTA in 2017 as General Manager Finance and Administration. He was promoted to the role of Chief Financial Officer in 2020.

Robin McKenzie OAM is Australia’s next High Commissioner to Tuvalu. He is a career officer with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade  and was most recently a Director in DFAT’s COVID-19 Coordination Unit. He has previously served in Tokyo and Tarawa.

Fiji’s Sakiusa Tuisolia has been appointed Papua New Guinea Country Rep/Head for the Global Green Growth Institute. He is currently GGGI’s Head of Strategy and Results Management at the GGGI’s Korean headquarters.

Twinza Oil CEO Ian Munro has left the company after 18 months in the role. Twinza remains locked in negotiations with the PNG government over its Pasca offshore development. The hunt for a new CEO is underway while Stephen Quantrill has been appointed as chairman of the board.

Samoa’s Tapunu’u Kaino Thomsen Fuataga has been elected to the sport’s World Taekwondo Oceania Council. Tapunu’u  is the owner and head instructor of KLAS Taekwondo in Apia.

New Zealand has appointed two new High Commissioners to the Pacific. Charlotte Darlow is High Commissioner to Fiji. She is currently New Zealand’s Senior official for Pacific regional processes, including the Pacific Islands Forum, and has held senior roles focused on climate change, environment, and international security, as well as a Geneva posting. Nicola Simmonds is the new High Commissioner to Vanuatu, and has previously been posted to the Solomon Islands, and held the Wellington-based role of High Commissioner to Nauru, as well as held senior roles in MFAT’s Pacific and Development Group.

The Papua New Guinea Hunters rugby league team has reappointed Matt Church as coach for the 2022 Intrust Super Cup season. The Hunters squad was based in Queensland this year and finished 10th in the 14-team Intrust Super Cup competition.

The Women’s Fund Fiji has officially registered as a local entity under Fiji’s Charitable Trust Act and appointed three trustees: Gina Houng Lee (Chair), William Parkinson and Ana Laqeretabua.  “Garnering resources for women’s groups in Fiji will go a long way to supporting women’s human rights and empowering women,” Houng Lee said on her appointment and registration of the fund as a local entity.

Thomas Edward Coward is the new British High Commissioner for the Solomon Islands and Nauru.  He succeeds Dr Brian Jones. Prior to his new appointment, Coward worked as a Team Leader for the Inclusive Growth and Livelihoods Team at the British Embassy Yangon in Myanmar. He was also a former Senior Research Analyst for the Central Bank of Solomon Islands.

The Samoa Koko Industry Association (SKIA) has appointed Alo Koloone Vaai as its new chairperson, replacing  Mulitalo Saena Penaia. SKIA is focussed on developing Samoa’s cocoa industry for the benefit of smallholders and commercial growers, and the domestic and export value chains that exist around them.

Moana Pasifika’s inaugural head coach will be former Highlanders coach Aaron Mauger. He was released by the Highlanders last year, and has also held high-profile jobs at Leicester. Mauger, who has Samoan, Cook Islands and French Polynesian heritage, will be based with the Moana squad at Mount Smart Stadium.

At Tourism Fiji, Robert Thompson has been appointed as Executive Head of Regions. He has been Regional Director Australia since 2019, and more recently Acting CEO. Meanwhile Shannon Mawer has been appointed as the Public Relations & Marketing Manager, New Zealand. 

Clifton Rau has been appointed as the first ever Adjudicator for Vanuatu, and will be charged with overseeing matters before the Employment Tribunal. Rau is an experienced lawyer who has occupied various positions in the government and private sector prior to his appointment.

Vivian Koster is the first ever Chief Executive Officer of Netball Fiji.  Koster joins the association after 3 years as an independent consultant and over two decades as a sports administrator.

New appointments at Credit Corporation in PNG.  Interim Chief Executive Officer, Danny Robinson, has been confirmed as the company’s CEO. He’s been acting in the role since February. Meanwhile Anneka Linge is Credit Corps’ new General Counsel and Company Secretary.

Mayur Resources has appointed two non-executive directors, Charles Fear and Chris Indermaur and a new Chief Financial Officer and Company Secretary, Kerry Parker. Mayur has ambitions to become a major industrial minerals and energy producer in Papua New Guinea.

Fiji’s Laurel Vaurasi has been appointed to the FIFA Football Tribunal in the Dispute Resolution Chamber (DRC). The DRC provides arbitration and dispute resolution on the basis of equal representation of players and clubs. Vaurasi is the Principal and Founder of Shekinah Law and a former President of the Fiji Law Society.

Fiji Commerce & Employers Federation (FCEF) members have elected Vinay Narsey as its new President and Eldon Eastgate, Mike Spencer, Alvin Sharma, Jeetender Rai, Susie Waqanibaravi, Vera Chute and Himen Chandra as Board members. Meanwhile the Women Entrepreneurs Business Council has elected Eseta Nadakuitavuki as Chair for the forthcoming year, and Sharyne Fong and Kitiana Chute as Vice Chairs.

Reserve Bank of Fiji Governor, Ariff Ali has been appointed to the board of the Alliance for Financial Inclusion. Ali said Fiji’s representation was expected to bring more visibility to the small island economy. AFI is a network of more than 100 financial regulatory and policymaking institutions from over 90 countries.

The Pacific Association of Supreme Audit Institutions (PASAI) has welcomed Doris Flores Brooks of Guam as its new Director (North), and Fiji’s Meresimani Vosawale-Katuba as Director (South). Flores Brooks is a Certified Public Accountant, former Guam Senator, university lecturer and former Public Auditor of Guam. Vosawale-Katuba joined SAI Fiji as an assistant auditor, working her way up over 13 years to, most recently, act in the role of Manager Performance Audit Services. She also established and led the Quality Assurance Unit.

William Wylie Clarke has been reappointed as President of the Fiji Law Society. He is joined by Vice President Wati Seeto, who was also re-elected. Clarke is Partner with Howards Lawyers and Seeto is with the Reserve Bank of Fiji.

Winners of the Commonwealth Secretary-General’s Innovation for Sustainable Development Awards this year include Aggie Global Pty Ltd (Fiji), and online marketplace that creates a sustainable food supply chain and helps smallholder farmers in Fiji to access new markets and earn a decent income.  The second Pacific awardee was Pacific Islands Chapter, World’s Youth for Climate Justice (Solomon Islands): a coalition of young people from many countries pushing for reform in international law to address the inter-generational injustices caused by climate change.

In memorium

PNG’s Sir Silas Atopare died in Goroka last month. Sir Silas served as the seventh Governor-General of Papua New Guinea from 1997-2003. In 2008 Sir Silas was appointed Grand Chief in the Order of Logohu.

The region’s tourism industry is mourning the passing of Tourism Solomons Chief Executive and Pacific Tourism Organisation (SPTO) Deputy Board Chairman, Josefa Tuamoto. As former CEO of Tourism Fiji, Tuamoto’s vast overseas experience with the Fijian national tourist office included stints as Regional Director for both Australia and The Americas, prior to his appointment to the dual CEO and international marketing director roles in 2008.

Reverend Sam Sahayam (aka Fr Sam) has died in New Zealand. Fr Sam served his ministry in various parishes in Fiji, including the Holy Trinity Cathedral, Suva, St Thomas, St Matthew, St Christopher’s, as well as an Archdeacon of Suva. He retired in New Zealand but continued to serve the church community there.

Former PNG national cricket captain, Kune Amini has died in Port Moresby. She was the first ever captain of the PNG National Women’s Team, the Lewas from 2006 – 2009, leading them in their first ever international Cricket match, defeating Japan in Port Moresby, to qualify for the 2008 ICC Women’s World Cup Qualifier in South Africa.

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