13 Jun, 2022

Board developments new chair, members and recognition of contributions

photo of 2 males, 3 females smiling standing front of The Fono signage

The new Chair of The Fono Trust board is Nacanieli Yalimaiwai, who has been on the Board for 7 years and was re-elected as Fiji Trustee at the Annual General Meeting.

Nacanieli most recently held the positions of the Treasurer and Chair of the Finance, Audit and Risk Committee. He has been a key Board member in strategic planning development and other Board activities. With his professional qualifications, commercial and public sector experience he brings a wealth of experience into the role of the Chair.

New trustees elected were Salote Lavemai-Likiafu – Trustee Tonga, Lynn Pavihi – Trustee Niue and Manava Parakoti – Trustee Cook Islands.

New office bearers announced were Salote Lavemai-Likiafu – Treasurer, Ruby Manukia-Schaumkel – Vice-Chairperson and Latasi Koro – Secretary.

The Chair of The Fono Trust for the past 10 years has been Tapuaī Fa’amalua Tipi who stepped down as the Chair and a Board member at the recent Annual General Meeting. The Board, management and staff of The Fono thank Tapuaī Fa’amalua Tipi for his contribution and wish him all the very best for the future as he continues to contribute to the advancement of Pacific people across a wide range of educational, sporting and business activities.

Also stepping down from the Board after 10 years is Mele Ma’afu Halapua, one of the Tongan representatives much respected for her dedication to The Fono and a supporter of many activities.

“I am leaving The Fono knowing it is making a real difference for Pacific peoples”

Tapuaī Fa’amalua Tipi brought to the Board experience from participation in a diverse range of activities including international rugby with Manu Samoa and stints at a top level within Italy and New Zealand, a Masters of Education (UoA – 1st Class Honours) and a lectureship at the University of Auckland together with other educational and sporting involvements.

photo of male, former chair of The Fono, Tapuaī Fa’amalua Tipi

Talking about his relationship with The Fono, Tapuaī said “I began my association with The Fono as a child and was recently shown a photo with me as a youngster playing a guitar outside the then premises of what became The Fono. And now I leave The Fono Trust Board after 12 years and my role as Chair after 10 years with the satisfaction of knowing I have been part of an organisation which has shown how to take the initiative and make a real difference to Pacific wellbeing”.

Reflecting on his time as Chair Tapuaī summarised it as “I was always grateful for the support of the community in electing me to the Board and to my fellow Board members for selecting me as Chair. For me personally it’s been a journey during which I learnt the value of good governance from my colleagues and appreciated the benefits of being strategically focused and having a management team with the talent to turn the strategy into realistic actions. During my time as Chair, The Fono has had Tevita Funaki as CEO. We developed an open relationship which I appreciated very much. Being kept informed and able to actively participate in some notable events and visits by New Zealand and Pacific Region leaders as The Fono developed its range of services and footprint across Auckland”.

During his tenure as Chair, The Fono made substantial progress on many fronts boosting equity for Pasifika. Tapuaī comments “I particularly remember the satisfaction of being able to add community dental services, being appointed a Board Member of the Oceania Career Academy (a subsidiary of The Fono) and seeing its growth and contribution to Pacific youth with trade training and mentoring, the extension from one location to eight and the expansion of public health, social services, whanau ora and mental health support”. The Fono also provided Tapuaī the opportunity to attend a Harvard Business School Governance for Non-Profit Excellence Course. “It was most valuable” he noted, “mixing with governance people from around the world and sharing the best thinking and examples”.

Summarising his involvement Tapuaī said “it’s been a great experience. I will not be leaving The Fono behind and will continue to watch its progress with great interest. I was there near its beginning and it has been a big part of my life. But with my family, my other organisational connections and my continuing studies towards a doctorate I have to budget my time. I wish all at The Fono and Oceania Career Academy the very best. I am sure the trajectory will continue and the sky is the limit”.

Respected Tongan Board member steps down

photo of female former board member of The Fono, Mele Halapua

Mele Ma’afu Halapua joined The Fono Trust Board in 2012 following her move to New Zealand after academic studies in Australia and holding senior positions in Tonga’s public service including with the Police and Tongan Immigration.

In New Zealand she has carried out work for the Problem Gambling Foundation and Falemaama Pre-School as well as for The Fono’s Board. Mele has put her career experience into her work on The Fono Board and all will wish her well for the future in her retirement.