Movers and Shakers

Easter Chu Shing is the new Deputy Director General of the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP). Chu Shing has worked with SPREP for the past 10 years, originally as the Biodiversity Adviser and then as Director of Environmental Monitoring and Governance.

Zed Seselja is Australia’s new Minister for International Development and the Pacific. He replaces Alex Hawke, who has been promoted to the more senior cabinet role of Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs.

New Caledonia’s SLN nickel company has a new CEO, Guillaume Verschaeve, who will have the challenging task of restructuring operations to avoid insolvency. He replaces Colin McGibbon, who was in the role less than a year.

Regional telco, Amalgamated Telecom Holdings (ATH) has three new directors, Tupou’tuah Baravilala, who is Fiji’s Director-General for Digital Transformation, Cybersecurity and Communication,  Viliame Vodonaivalu, who is currently Chief Investment Officer at the Fiji National Provident Fund and Pravinesh Singh, who is FNPF’s Chief Financial Officer. The new directors replace Ajith Kodagoda, Tom Ricketts and Arun Narsey.

Read more Movers and Shakers- a monthly feature- in our January issue.

Movers and Shakers

In memorium

Former Cook Islands Prime Minister, Joseph Williams, has died of coronavirus in Auckland. At 82 years of age, Williams was a well-known GP, politician and author, as well as a former Cook Islands Health Minister who had been based in New Zealand in recent years, still serving his community as a doctor.  “Our national has lost a much-loved son”, Prime Minister Henry Puna said in tribute.

A long term campaigner for workers right and fair pay, Father Kevin Barr, has died in Suva at the age of 84.  Father Barr for many years worked to assist Fiji’s most vulnerable urban poor. As we went to press, details for his homecoming mass were still being finalised.

New Zealand’s Consul-General to New Caledonia, French Polynesia and Wallis and Futuna, Bruce Shepherd, has died in Noumea. “Mr Shepherd, whose diplomatic career took him to virtually every corner of the world promoting New Zealand’s interests, will be deeply missed by colleagues here and abroad,” NZ Minister for Foreign Affairs, Winston Peters said.

Palauan music legend, Johnny B has died due to kidney favour. His tape Micronesia was the first commercial recording released by a Palauan, and he had 500 songs in his repertoire and was hugely popular in the north Pacific.

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Movers and Shakers

Niue’s new Premier is Dalton Tagelagi. He won 13 votes to rival O’love Jacobsen’s seven. Tagelagi was previously Minister for the Environment, Natural Resources, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries and replaces Sir Toke Talagi. Meanwhile Crossley Tatui has been named as Minister for Finance and Infrastructure, Mona Ainuu is the new minister for Natural Resources and newcomer Sauni Tongatule is the new minister of Social Services. 

New Zealand-based Samoan lawyer, Satiu Simativa Perese, has been sworn as Samoa’s new Chief Justice, replacing the recently retired Patu Falefatu Sapolu. He has worked at the NZ Crown Law Office and is a past President of the Pacific Lawyers Society and member of the NZ Human Rights Tribunal.

Kiribati’s Parliament has elected its first female Speaker, former Opposition member Tangariki Reete. She is a former Minister of Women, Youth and Social Affairs.

Musie Werror is the new Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer at Ok Tedi Mining, replacing Peter Graham, who is now Chairman and Acting Managing Director at Kumul Minerals Holdings. From Madang, Werror was formerly Deputy Chief CEO and General Manager Employee and External Relations. He first joined OTML under the Graduate Development Scheme in 1988.

Cook Islands Prime Minister Henry Puna has taken over the Police portfolio in a Cabinet reshuffle. The portfolio had been held by Vaine (Mac) Mokoroa, who is now Education Minister. There had been tension between Mokoroa and the Police Commissioner over the later’s contract and tenure.

In Vanuatu, the Acting Director of the Department of Hospital and Curative Services, Russel Tamata, has been named as  the new Director General of the Ministry of Health. Tamata takes over  from Johnson Wabaiat, who is now the Acting Director of the Department of Hospital and Curative Services. In other appointments, the former boss of the  Vanuatu Association of Sports and National Olympic Committee, Henry Tavoa, has been appointed as Director of the Department of Youth and Sports Development.

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Movers and shakers

Professor Sushila Chang is the new Vice-Chancellor of the University of Fiji. Professor Chang came from Cardiff Metropolitan University where she was Deputy Vice-Chancellor Academic. 

Ilalegagana Kenesareta Moananu is the first Samoan woman to quality to captain an ocean-going vessel. The 30-year-old was amongst the 136 graduates of the Samoa Shipping Corporation Maritime Academy presented with their certificates recently.

Lawyer and magistrate Abuera Uruaaba has been sworn-in as the new Chief Registrar of the Kiribati Judiciary. “I’m happy to be appointed as the new Chief Registrar to administer and support services in the Judiciary,” Uruaaba told Radio Kiribati news.

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Leo A. Falcam Jr. has been named as the Federated States of Micronesia’s Chief Negotiator for the upcoming Compact negotiations. Falcam is Chief of Staff to President David W. Panuelo and has now served in that capacity for three consecutive FSM Presidents.
Fiji’s Ambassador to the United States, Solo Mara is the incoming Secretary-General of the Pacific Islands Development Forum. Fiji’s PM has said Mara will be charged with turning PIDF into a more efficient, intellectual and ambitious organisation.
Gilbert Tyuienon of the pro-independence Caledonian Union is New Caledonia’s Vice President. He was elected with the support of the ministers of the anti-independence Future with Confidence whose candidate for presidency Thierry Santa was elected last month. Tyuienon is a former Mayor of Canala.
ANZ’s Country Head in Kiribati is Australian Greg Edwards. Edwards has worked in banking for 29 years and has held senior roles in Melbourne and PNG with Westpac and National Australia Bank.Marshall Islands Chief secretary Ben Graham has returned to the Asian Development Bank after a productive stint with the Marshall Islands government. At his official farewell, Graham was praised by RMI Government officials for being a remarkable leader with integrity.


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Movers and shakers

NEW Caledonia’s new President is Thierry Santa. The anti-independence politician was elected by 11 Government members in June. he is part of the ‘Future with Confidence’ coalition.

Reverend David Vunagi is the new Governor General for the Solomon Islands. he was a former Archbishop of the Anglican Church of Melanesia. hailing from Isabel Province, Vunagi was the sole nominee for the position.

Dr Teuea Toatu is Kiribati’s new Vice President, replacing Kourabi Nenem. He is the current Minister for Finance and Economic Development, and the member for the constituency of Abalang.

Marshall Islands Chief secretary Ben Graham has returned to the Asian Development Bank after a productive stint with the Marshall Islands government. At his official farewell, Graham was praised by RMI Government officials for being a remarkable leader with integrity.

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