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Tribute to an Environment Champion - Cook Islands National Environment Service
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Tribute to an Environment Champion

Tribute to an Environment Champion

Tania Temata worked for the Cook Islands National Environment Service from 1992 to 2012, she Environment Championpassed away after a long battle with cancer on the 8 th of October 2012.

This is our tribute to Tania who will always be remembered and missed dearly.

We are blessed and thankful to have had Tania and her family in our lives.  For us she was not just a work colleague, but so much more.

She is the heart of our Environment Service family.

A dedicated, determined and strong woman she was; passionate about our environment, our culture and our people.

Tania understood that our people and our environment were entwined and strived to ensure that our communities knew and appreciated that. She embraced every opportunity to reinforce her affinity for the environment and culture in others and in doing so leaves a legacy for us all to aspire to.

Tania wished for others to become stewards of our environment – our children, our traditional leaders, our politicians. She knew the task at hand was something that required the work of generations; she knew that we all had a part to play, whether that part happened today, tomorrow or in the years to come.  Tania worked hard so that the next generation to know why we do the things we do, so they can have an appreciation for our efforts and continue them into the future.

An important lesson Tania taught us that to reach out to everyone in our community you needed to think outside the box, plan something that will make an impact, to stir up public discussion and get everyone talking about it!

Tania is a true environment champion and worked tirelessly for her country. Testament to that statement, in June this year, to coincide with National Environment Week, Tania was awarded the Environment Champion Award from Te Ipukarea Society “for carrying out your various roles at the National Environment Service with excellence for over 20 years, through untiring service and love for the people of the Cook Islands and the Pacific, thereby making a difference to the wellbeing of the planet.”

Tania would remind us that we were here to serve our people and that we must ensure that we do our best to keep our communities informed and involved, but not to forget to have fun along the way. That, we did!

Tania loved her work and was a role model for all of us here at the National Environment Service. Her professional influence expanded beyond the Cook Islands, where she was a trusted role model for many in the Pacific Region, and she held prestigious titles in international fora, the most recent being her appointment as Pacific representative to the Bureau of the Conference of Parties (COP) to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). The extent of her influence was reflected through the many tributes from her Pacific and International colleagues. She definitely put the Cook Islands and the Pacific region in a better place in terms of the international spot light.

Tania was charismatic and had the attention and respect of everyone that knew her, her ability to convey a message and engage the audience is a skill not common to all. During her tenure as Pacific Representative to the Bureau of the CBD COP, Tania was able to mobilise the Asia-Pacific region into a common direction, by conveying messages to the group in a language which they could all understand and recognise the importance of those messages. Tania took the time to make sure every nation under her representation during this tenure had their voices heard and conveyed back to the international community.

Tania was and is clever, smart, honest, true, humble, funny, loyal, kind…like a mother, sister and friend to us all.

She fought a long battle, but was always there to guide us. And even when she didn’t turn up to work, we took the work to her…we just didn’t know how to let her go.

Tania, a true environment champion, a big gap you have left, big shoes to fill – as we pray for your rest, we pick up the baton and take on the challenge to pursue your passion, your wishes, your vision and good work.

While you are no longer here with us, your legacy lives within many of us and we will strive to keep your passion and beliefs alive.

Aere ra e Tania – E Vaine Toa!