9 August 2019, Apia, Samoa – The inaugural Pacific Meteorological Council (PMC) awards were presented yesterday evening at a special ceremony held at Taumeasina Island Resort at the conclusion of the second day of the Fifth meeting of the PMC (PMC-5).
The awards were presented to individuals and partners working in and with National Meteorological and Hydrological Services in the Pacific in recognition of their outstanding services to the sector and the region.
The Lifetime Award was presented in recognition of those who had worked in the Meteorology but have either moved on to other related fields of work, retired or had passed on, in appreciation of their contributions to the sector.
The recipients included the late Mr Ravind Kumar, former Vice Chair of PMC-4 and former Director of Fiji’s Meteorological Services, who passed away suddenly last year. Mr Kumar’s work has been recognised throughout the PMC-5, and by colleague and former Chair of PMC-4, Mr David Hiba, who paid tribute to his life and legacy during the official opening of the meeting.
He served as a meteorologist for 31 years and was promoted to Director of Fiji Meteorological Services in 2015.
Also honoured with the Lifetime Award was Dr Netatua Pelesikoti, former Director of the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP)’s Climate Change Resilience programme.
Dr Pelesikoti is well known throughout the Pacific region, having had over 20 years of experience in climate change, coastal management and disaster risk management. She is a coastal ecologist by profession and completed her PhD in Australia in coastal monitoring focusing on the coastal water quality, coral reef and seagrass.
She was recently appointed as a new member of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) Scientific Advisory Panel, an elite group of scientists who are experts on weather, climate and water.
Mr Sionetasi Pulehetoa of Niue was also honoured with the Lifetime Award. Mr Pulehetoa was the former Director of the Niue Meteorological Service. He championed the interests of Niue in regional and international gatherings, and retired after the PMC-3 in Tonga.
His award was received by the current Director of the Niue Meteorological Service, and Mr Pulehetoa’s daughter, Ms Rossylyn Mitiepo.
Also honoured with the Lifetime Awards were Mr Edward Young of USA, Mr Akapo Masi of American Samoa, Mr Rajendra Prasad of Fiji, Mr Sionetasi Pulehetoa of Niue , Mr Ram Krishna of Australia, Mr Neil Plummer of Australia, Mr Chanel Iroi of Solomon Islands, Mr Kosi Latu of SPREP and Ms Mary Power of the World Meteorological Organization.
In addition to the Lifetime Awards, Long Service Awards were also presented in recognition of those who have put in many years of long service, perseverance, leadership and dedication to the development of Meteorological services at the national and regional level.
Mr Arona Ngari, Director of Cook Islands Met Services, was amongst the recipients of the Long Service Award.
Mr Ngari has worked in the Cook Islands Met Service since 1984 and has 36 years of service in meteorology under his belt. He studied at Auckland University towards a part-Bachelor of Science from 1981 to 1983, attained a Diploma in Public Sector Management from Massey University in 2006 and graduated with a Master of Business Administration from the University of the South Pacific in 2009.
Other long-serving members of the Met community who also received the Long Service Award were Ms Jennifer Lewis of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Mulipola Ausetalia Titimaea of Samoa, Mr Samuel Maiha of PNG, Mr Reginald White of Marshall Islands, Mr Eden Skilling of Federated States of Micronesia and Mr Alan Porteous of NIWA.
Nauru Meteorological Service received the National Development Award in recognition of outstanding services towards the development of National Meteorological Services office. Nauru’s efforts in setting up the Nauru Meteorological Services, becoming a member of the WMO and recommissioning some of their stations earned them this award.
The Director of Tonga Met Service, Mr Ofa Fa’anunu, was also honoured with the Outstanding Individual Award – an award which recognised his outstanding contribution and leadership towards the development of Meteorological services in the Pacific region.
Mr Fa’anunu’s contribution to Meteorological and hydrological services through governance, communication, capacity development and other aspects of the service at the international, regional and national level, as well as attaining the Presidency of WMO Regional Association V, was recognised and applauded by his fellow peers.
Other awards which were also presented included the Innovation and Research Contribution Award, in recognition of outstanding, innovative and exceptional research in Met services and in empowering the next generation of researchers.
The awards were presented to Dr Lynda Chambers for outstanding research in the area of Traditional Knowledge, Dr Scott Power in the area of Climate Change and Climate Variability, and Mr Geoff Gooley in the area of Adaptation research with specific focus on sectors.
The final awards of the night were presented in recognition of outstanding services to the development of Met services in the Pacific region through project support and technical staff development. These were awarded to the New Zealand Meteorology Service, Fiji Meteorology Service, Vanuatu Meteorology Service, Australian Bureau of Meteorology, US National Ocean Atmospheric Administration, National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research and APEC Climate Centre.
Congratulations to all the award recipients!
The Fifth Pacific Meteorological Council (PMC-5) from 6 – 9 August, 2019 follows a range of pre-PMC meetings which were held in Apia, Samoa from 29 July - 6 August, 2019.
The PMC-5 is supported by a strong partnership between the following: The Government of Samoa, the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP), World Meteorological Organization (WMO), Government of Australia through the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Government of Canada, Government of Korea, Climate Risk Early Warning Systems (CREWS), Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), IMPACT Project, Varysian, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Climate and Oceans Support Programme in the Pacific (COSPPac), and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).