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[Media Release - OPSC] New Director of National Environment Service Appointed

16 November 2021

The Prime Minister and Minister for Environment, Hon. Mark Brown, has appointed Mr Halatoa Fua as the new Director of the National Environment Service (NES). The appointment was subject to a rigorous process conducted by a recruitment panel commissioned by the Office of the Public Service Commissioner and recommended to Cabinet. Halatoa is expected to start in his new role in mid-January 2022.

Halatoa is currently the CEO of the Cook Islands Tourism Corporation and has held this leadership role for the last 10 years. He took over the helm of Tourism during a challenging time of developing the Tourism industry in the Cook Islands. Halatoa has transformed the Cook Islands Tourism Corporation into one of the best performing Government agencies in the Cook Islands. His leadership has led the tourism sector to its peak performance, year on year visitor arrivals and expenditure growth, as the key economic driver of the Cook Islands. He was able to achieve this collaboratively through effective partnerships with Government agencies, airlines, travel wholesalers, tourism industry and the Cook Islands community . He is an accomplished senior Government Executive with exceptional skills in financial management, governance, strategic leadership, policy development, destination marketing, communications and sustainable development.

Halatoa has an environment strategy that he envisages will develop NES into a high-performing organisation that is purposeful, modern and applicable to our changing climatic landscape. He intends to bring a strong leadership style that will re-engineer NES’s strategic framework to respond directly to the raft of environmental challenges we are facing today as a Small Island Development nation. He intends to focus his environmental stewardship and advocacy work based on its systems, governance, policy, compliance, research, communication and partnership aspects. Halatoa’s introduction of the Kia Orana Values and Vaka Pride community projects under Cook Islands Tourism are foundational work for environmental sustainability. He implemented the Sustainable Tourism Policies for both Cook Islands Tourism and the Pacific Regional Tourism Organisation, which are bedrock policies for environmental protection and conservation. With his former banking and finance background of 10 years, Halatoa prioritises financial prudence as a centrepiece of any organisation’s success.

The Prime Minister Hon Mark Brown is pleased that a person of this calibre has applied for the NES Director role, as Halatoa has a clear understanding of the Cook Islands Government’s Development Plans. Halatoa will work alongside all partners to ensure those plans are properly developed and executed in a holistic, transparent and accountable manner, within timelines, and within best practice and standards.


Enquiries regarding this media release can be directed to Teresa Tura, Corporate Services Manager, at Teresa.tura@cookislands.gov.ck or call 29 421 during Office hours.