She led the way for women in Tahitian politics

In 1976, Béatrice Vernaudon, then a young social worker, was selected to serve as French Polynesia’s representative at a Pacific Community (SPC) meeting in Suva to determine the course curriculum for the organisation’s Education and Training Centre. “That’s when I first developed political awareness by working alongside women committed to obtaining independence for their countries and by being criticized myself for the nuclear testing in … Continue reading She led the way for women in Tahitian politics

A blind fighter for social justice

She is not Daredevil, but still an exceptional role figure for all the people in the Pacific suffering for a disability. There have been many firsts in the life of 36-year-old Mataafa Faatino Utumapu, a totally blind woman from birth who is making inroads for disability rights in her native Samoa. In 2014, Mataafa led national advocacy work on the Washington Group Short Set of questions … Continue reading A blind fighter for social justice

Meet the founder of Voice for Change, fighting against ending violence to women and girls

Lilly Kolts Be’Soer is a women’s rights defender and advocate for the political, economic and social empowerment of women in her native Papua New Guinea. She hails from Jiwaka Province in the highlands of Papua New Guinea. Lilly is the founder and director for Voice for Change (VFC), a provincial NGO based and working in Jiwaka Province. Voice for Change focuses on ending violence against … Continue reading Meet the founder of Voice for Change, fighting against ending violence to women and girls

She made French Polynesia a strong nation in athletics

Titaua Juventin is a long-serving and respected member of the athletics community in the Pacific. She has a broad background in teaching and coaching, having worked in teacher training with the Ministry of Education in Tahiti. Ms Juventin’s passion is athletics, especially with young people and children. She successfully adapted the International Association of Athletics (IAAF) Federation’s children’s program in Tahiti and also introduced a … Continue reading She made French Polynesia a strong nation in athletics

The watchdog of women’s rights in Solomon Islands

Ethel Falu Sigimanu has been instrumental in advancing gender equality and women’s human rights in the Solomon Islands. She is one of the longest-serving permanent secretaries in the Solomon Islands government, having spent the past 10 years with the Ministry of Women, Youth, Children and Family Affairs. During this time, she has taken leadership and has been influential in the work towards the passage of … Continue reading The watchdog of women’s rights in Solomon Islands

The midwife who became the fist woman in government in Wallis and Futuna

Esitele Fuluhea Lakalaka knows firsthand the struggles of women in her native Wallis and Futuna. She began her career at a young age in the late 60s in the French territory’s health sector, firstly as a secretary and interpreter, then as a midwife delivering births at Sia Hospital, then finally as an management executive at the hospital. Ms Lakalaka then became interested in public affairs … Continue reading The midwife who became the fist woman in government in Wallis and Futuna

Patricia Imrana Jalal, lawyer and gender advocate

Patricia Imrana Jalal is a Fijian lawyer and gender advocate, who served as a Human Rights Commissioner on the Fiji Human Rights Commission, as a Fiji Law Reform Commissioner,  and as Human Rights Advisor to the Pacific Regional Rights Resource Team (RRRT) and the United Nations Development Program. She is a Commissioner on the Geneva-based International Commission of Jurists, to which she was elected in … Continue reading Patricia Imrana Jalal, lawyer and gender advocate

Mrs Afamasaga, influential teacher from Samoa

Seventy-year-old Gatoloai Tili Afamasaga has played an instrumental role in the education sector in her native Samoa for over 40 years. Ms Afamasaga started her career as a teacher, then went on to become a teacher trainer. In 1984, she was appointed Principal of Western Samoa Teachers College, a position she held for thirteen years. When the college merged with the National University of Samoa … Continue reading Mrs Afamasaga, influential teacher from Samoa

Say welcome to Heke, our new mascot!

This shy octopus is Heke, our new mascot. Everybody say hi! His name comes from the Rapa Nui word for “octopus”, similar to fe’e, feke or ‘eke in other Polynesian langage. And Heke sounded pretty good, so we kept it! Heke is pretty cute, but also very sporty and quite the model. Below you can see him on an outrigger, as an All Black rugby player, … Continue reading Say welcome to Heke, our new mascot!

The first Kanak woman to take up law in New Caledonia

Nadine Pidjot made history this May when she became the first Kanak woman to take up law in New Caledonia. Following a successful career as a public servant for the Government of New Caledonia, the French High Commission in New Caledonia, and the French Embassy in Australia, she successfully created her own consulting company and is highly regarded among both Kanak and non-Kanak communities. During … Continue reading The first Kanak woman to take up law in New Caledonia