Ministerial Advisory Council on Pacific issues

  • Georgina te Heuheu
Pacific Island Affairs

The Minister of Pacific Island Affairs, the Hon Georgina te Heuheu, has announced the appointment of six new members to the Minister of Pacific Island Affairs' Advisory Council. Mrs te Heuheu has also reappointed five existing members, and reduced total membership of the Council from 13 to 11.

The new members are Usufonoimanu Peseta Betty Sio, Alfred Ngaro, Ikamafana Tameifuna, Les Atoni, Tina McNicholas and Reverend Tom Etuata.

Those reappointed for a further term are Galumalemana Alfred Hunkin, Mrs Mary Cole, Dr Palatasa Havea, Rev Nove Vailaau and Mrs Sagaa Malua.

“The new Council brings together a breadth of experience, commitment to communities and passion for the wellbeing of Pacific people which will enhance Government’s work with and for Pacific people,” Mrs te Heuheu said.

“It will build on the work done by the former Council around key issues of interest to Pacific communities.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank retiring members for their contribution.”

The Pacific population is the fastest growing in New Zealand. Government recognises the increasing influence Pacific people will have on our economy, society, and culture. That's why direct community input into the work of Government on Pacific matters is critical.

Mrs te Hueheu said the Council had been in existence since 1984 and had proved its value as the voice of communities. As all members’ terms expire this month it was timely to review and refresh membership.

“I am confident that we have a Council with quality community input, an appropriate mix of skills, and balanced Pacific ethnic representation.

“I look forward to working with the Ministerial Advisory Council in 2011,” Mrs te Heuheu said. 

Briefly, the new members are:

· Usufonoimanu Peseta Betty Sio, of Samoan descent, brings with her over 20 years experience working with Pacific families and mainstream agencies specialising in reducing family violence.

· Alfred Ngaro is of Cook Islands descent and over 20 years has pioneered a number of community initiatives to address education, health and social issues.

· Ikamafana Tameifuna is of Tongan descent, a church leader, and has both public and private sector experience in education, health and immigration.

· Les Tenise Atoni is of Tokelauan descent, active within his Tokelau and Porirua communities.

· Tina McNicholas is of Fijian descent, a consultant for the University of Otago, and actively involved in international women’s networks, and Pacific health and social services in the Wellington region.

· Reverend Tom Etuata is of Niuean descent, a church minister, a respected community leader and actively involved in a number of community initiatives including promoting and teaching the Niuean language.