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Conservation highlight of Tiraa’s career

Monday December 03, 2018 Written by Published in Local

Ana Tiraa will be the next guest speaker at the USP-Plus monthly meeting to be held on Wednesday.


Through her father, Tane Tuakana Tiraa, Ana is Ngati Tuakana of Rangiatea (Matavera) – the tribal land she resides on.

Her mother, Elizabeth Tiraa (nee Goldsmith) is from Aotearoa. She is Ngati Porou and Ngai Tuhoe, with a dash of Spanish and Jewish blood. Ana has four strong daughters and two grandchildren and credits her family as her pillar of strength.

Ana was born in Wellington, New Zealand in 1965, the same year the Cook Islands achieved self-government. Ana often travelled to Rarotonga for holidays. When visiting the island in 1989, she met her husband-to-be, Kelvin Passfield.

In 1989 Ana successfully applied for the position of Wildlife Officer in the Cook Islands’ Conservation Service, now the Environment Service. She describes working with the landowning clans of the Takitumu Conservation Area as being one of her career highlights. Witnessing the once critically endangered kakerori bird beginning to thrive gave Ana a sense of pride. Those who were instrumental in making this happen are still her heroes to this day.

Ana, her husband and two children, left Rarotonga in 1992, to start her studies in Fiji. In 1995 she graduated with a BSc in Environment Studies, in Rarotonga and in front of her loved ones. She was presented with her degree by Geoffrey Henry (later Sir Geoffrey), who was Chancellor of USP at the time. Ana says, “USP made me realise how proud I am to be a Pacific Islander”.

Nearly 20 years after graduating from USP, Ana studied for a Master’s degree from the Asian Institute of Technology in Thailand. She was awarded with this degree in 2011. She is currently the Natural Resources Management Climate Change Officer with the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), based in Apia, Samoa.

Previously, she was the Director of Climate Change Cook Islands, in the Office of the Prime Minister.

All, including older children are welcome at the meeting, which will be held at the USP campus in Takamoa, starting at 7pm. The evening will be moderated by John Hay and will be followed by light refreshments.

            - Release

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