Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Remembering Tania Temata, Cook Islands

Tania Temata at CBD COP 10 Pacific prep Meeting

8 October 2012, CBD COP 11, Hyderabad, India - Tribute was paid to Ms. Tania Temata, the former representative of the Asia Pacific Group to the Bureau of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity, during the Pacific briefing in Hyderabad, India today.

Tania served as the Deputy  Director for the Cook Islands National Environment Service and held positions on various panels and boards, including the Bureau Representative on the CBD COP 10.
Tania on right at the CBD COP 9 in Bonn, Germany with fellow Cook Islanders
Pacific colleagues were saddened by her passing after a long battle with cancer, many remember her for her dedication and commitment to environmental management both at community, regional and international level.

Her legacy can be seen at the 11th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity in India this week, with fellow Pacific islanders engaging at the conference, many of whom have been fortunate to work with Tania, and have received support and guidance from Tania over the years.

Tania will be missed by all including partner Tavake Manuel Karika and her three sons, Iaveta, Temata and John Jeremiah.

Aere ra Tania.

Tributes to Tania Temata during the CBD COP 11:

Tania, an accomplished climate change negotiator also, at the Climate Change COP 17 in Copenhagen
Nenenteiti Teariki-Ruatu, On behalf of former Director and staff of Environment & Conservation Division - KIRIBATI
"It is with heartfelt and great sadness that those of us from Kiribati, who have known Tania, joins and shares this great loss. Staff of Environment & Conservation Division with former Director (Mrs. Tererei Abete Reema) joins and pays tribute to Ms. Tania Temata and her family in this sad time of sorrow and our prayers are with her and her family.
Those of us from Kiribati who have had the privilege to work alongside her in all the regional and international meetings and negotiation meetings, Tania has always proven herself to be the inspirational leader of the Pacific region, guiding and leading those of us, who are new and inexperienced and a great ally and colleague at the same time. It was also through her that the Pacific region has received great respect from prominent negotiators outside the Pacific region, whom have always looked upon for further guidance where the Pacific matters, may have concerned. 
We share the great loss to Tania's family and colleagues at her office in the Cook Islands and she will be greatly and sadly miss by us all. The great things she has set for the Cook Island and the Pacific region through her great dedication and passion shown in her work and love for the environment, will always be with us forever.
With all our prayers."

Tania at the CBD COP 10 Pacific Prep Meeting

Tyrone Deiye, Nauru
"I had  flashbacks thinking of the times I managed to share with my good friend Tania those times to me seems very valuable now and I feel very privileged to have shared those  spare moments with my friend which I will treasure forever.  If there is anything missing with our causes in our endeavours this COP11 it is truly my good friend Tania.  I remember during COP 10 in Nagoya she was always online on Skype guiding us and sharing her valuable experiences.  My friend is truly missed by all that she has touched and known her and her fond memories will always be a treasure in our hearts. The Lord has chosen to take her away from us and to my friend and mentor Tania may you rest in peace.
My deepest condolences to Tanias family and also to all who are close to her she will be truly forever missed"
Tania Temata
Joe Aitaro, Palau
"My dearest colleagues of the Cook Islands, no words can truly truly express my sincere emotions on the passing away of yours and one of the Pacific's icon environmental and conservation champion.
Our friend, Tania has be called by our Lord but her teachings still remains unfulfilled and its our destiny to ensure safeguard, teach and advance her teachings.

These are teachings I want to share.  By sharing we can never forget!
As a leader, Tania always provided the "chance" and guided others to improve or better themselves!  Although viewed by many including myself as one of the Pacific true iconic leaders and top negotiators, Tania never acknowledged herself to be that. She remained calm and met each daunting challenge with humility thus making the world embrace the "Pacific Way" of professionalism.  It's this skillful art form, Tania lead the Pacific in achieving small accomplishments that grew into Pacific milestones and in doing so raised the confidence of her Pacific peers to ensuring, we the Pacific do have a voice and we do matter.
Tania, I was blessed to have met and worked with you.  You shall always remain my heart!  Rest in Peace my Sister."

Tania on Right with Simpson Abraham of FSM at the Pacific Climate Change Roundtable in Niue, 2011
Kate Brown-Vitolia, GLISPA
"Farewell to a wonderful woman who was an inspiration. Deepest sympathy to Cook Islands and pacific colleagues and most importantly her family. An island champion and biodiversity battler - farewell Tania Temata."


Easter Galuvao, SPREP
"You will always be remembered my dear friend for your passion for the environment; a true champion; and an inspirational leader. My deepest condolences to Tania’s family, partner, children and colleagues in the Environment Service. May you rest in peace my dear friend."

Rest in Peace Tania Temata, Te Atua te Aroa

"Requiescat in pace Tania.  You have touched the lives of many in the Pacific and we all mourn your loss. Goodbye my friend and mentor,"

Joseph Brider, Cook Islands

Please add your your tributes to Tania Temata in the comments box below,
Kia manuia.


  1. Easter Galuvao (SPREP)October 9, 2012 at 10:39 AM

    You will always be remembered my dear friend for your passion for the environment; a true champion; and an inspirational leader. My deepest condolences to Tania’s family, partner, children and colleagues in the Environment Service. May you rest in peace my dear friend.

  2. My sincerest condolences to Tania's children, family and Environment Services colleagues. She was a great champion for our islands' region and true mentor to those of us newbies in the multilateral environmental negotiation process! We will surely miss her guiding presence, but hold fond memories of her especially at CBD COP11! God bless and rest in peace Sista!

  3. It is with deep sorrow to hear of Tania's passing away. The memories of her demonstrated leadership in the protection of the environment and promoting sustainable development of the Cook Islands, the Pacific and the globe, is a gift for us all to treasure. “What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the master calls a butterfly.” Richard Bach, (Illusions).
    Aere ra dear colleague, sister and friend.
    Keneti Faulalo, UN-DESA, New York

  4. I would like to add to the message below about Tania Temata. This week at COP 11 of the Convention on Biodiversity in India we are working on an agenda item on the Indepth Review of the Programme of Work on Island Biodiversity. Tania was one of the early advocates of the need and importance of a special programme of work on islands within this convention as early as 10 years ago and particularly at COP 7 in Kuala Lumpur. This was no easy task for there was resistance to adding a new programme. She also was a strong supporter of the Cook Islands representatives engagement in the process over the past 10 years, particularly in the Pacific's strong advocacy role and in the strategy behind making sure that islands were recognised on the international stage.

    I would like to say personally that Tania was a wonderful supporter of islands all around the world, in the Pacific and particularly the Cook Islands. Her legacy stands - islands have a strong programme of work that they can be proud of and which we will help islands to engage with the three objectives of this convention with the end result of improving conservation and livelihoods for island people.

    On a personal note, Tania provided encouragement, support and advice and for that i am very grateful. I hope that we can all take a moment to pay tribute to this wonderful woman and to support our colleagues from the Cook Islands who are here in Hyderabad, India in particular through this difficult time.
    Haere ra Tania.
    Kate Brown-Vitolio,GLISPA

  5. I would like to add to the message below.

    Although I have not been involved in CBD COPs for sometime, I was in Kuala Lumpur, and it was wonderful to see Pacific Island women representatives of their countries making powerful interventions. Tania was one of the handful of those wonderful Pacific women.

    My engagement with Tania goes way back to the 1990s and early 2000, with traditional medicine, traditional healers and traditional knowledge protection issues. Tania was the government representative, who accompanied the local Cook Island healers to regional meetings in Fiji mostly for exchange of experience and conservation of medicinal plants and knowledge. Tania was always unflappable! May your soul rest in peace !

    My condolence to Tania's family.

    Moce Mada.
    Kesaia Marama Tabunakawai
    Representative, Fiji Office
    WWF Pacific

  6. Rest in peace Tania and know that you will be remembered not just for your dedication to the environment and your work but for who you were as a person. Your positive outlook in any situation, your laughter and your ability to "just make it happen" stays with me.

    I also add my condolences to Tania's family and trust that you will have peace knowing how much she was loved by all.

    Seema Deo, SPREP

  7. The Pacific has lost a wonderful person and an inspirational leader. Our thoughts and condolences are with family and colleagues of the Cook Islands and beyond.

    Rest in peace Tania.

    Hugh Govan, LMMA Network

  8. I am deeply saddened by the passing away of a dear friend, colleague whom i've had the honour of working with in my early days of CBD and COP experiences in the region...a valuable friend, a courageous mum, a dynamic and inspirational leader, a mentor, a great ambassador of the region, and a tireless environment champion!...so proud of you!..she fills us up with joy and laughter!helping us pick up the pieces!..and knows too well how to reward a hard working team!She was so full of good life!..she will be greatly missed by the CBD 'Team Pacific'...but will always be remembered in many ways! My deepest condolensces to Tania's loving family during this difficult time... RIP my Friend!

  9. Greg Sherley, UNEP, Apia
    I was very sorry to hear about Tania's passing. I am glad she is not suffereing though. Too many close to me have died this way for me not to feel otherwise. Tania was a woman of integrety and great mana. When I saw her at the meeting table I saw someone for whom the term kia kaha applied so well. I will miss seeing her and working with her. But never to be forgotten.