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Cook Islands National Environment Service (NES) - Staff Profile

Updated: Aug 14, 2020

Name: Nga Puna


I have been the Director of NES for a year and four months. My role is to ensure the smooth running and operating of the agency and to ensure that all our responsibilities to the public and to other agencies are performed to the best of our abilities. I have always been about guardianship and it really puts things into perspective when you are the one people are looking up to have everything in place.

Our environment standards in the Cook Islands are quite low when it comes to the terrestrial side of things. It can be a struggle because people make a lot of noise about things beyond them but turn a blindside to the things that they are able to do. I’ve learnt that this job is a community wide effort, the work we do at NES is a national effort. It only takes one person to think differently and make the change that is needed.

What can I do to be an environment champion? Well, I don’t really think of myself as an individual person, this is a team effort. It’s what We can do as environment champions.

I want us to try and push for a higher minimum in our environment standards. I must do my part to walk the talk. But I am also a practical person. I’m about raising the standards really high but also making a practical minimum as a starting point for everyone to be able to achieve. I try to influence and network everywhere I go. Making sure that people understand why they are important and what role I play and what role they play is important to me.


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