Dr Netatua Prescott Taufatofua, a distinguished Tongan scientist, passed away suddenly in Nuku’alofa, Tonga on 11 November. She was a beloved and well respected leader in the community and Country, especially among the women of Kolomotu’a who have been energized by her vision and leadership.
Netatua is well known for her work regionally and internationally, but Dr. Netatua most valued her local contribution to Tonga, not only in her projects and consulting work with the World Bank, but also her engagement with the Government of Tonga.
Among her many achievements, last year she was selected to be one of an elite group of 15 international experts who make up the World Meteorological Organization Scientific Advisory Panel (WMOSAP). Running as a political candidate she narrowly lost (by 16 votes) the 2019 Tongatapu 1 By-Election against Siaosi Pohiva. This was after the death of former Prime Minister, the late ‘Akilisi Pohiva, who died in September that year.
I met Netatua when she was Director of Climate Change Division at the Secretariat of Pacific Regional Environment (SPREP) with head office in Apia, Samoa. She was a vibrant, inspiring and strong Pacific Voice, working her magic at international discussions regarding action against Climate Change to create opportunities for dialogue and action. She was a strong and inspirational leader, who truly understood the power of community connections and shared her passions and knowledge in such a way that everyone felt all the richer for being in her presence.
Our deepest condolences go to her husband, Dr Pita Taufatofua, her children Siosi’ana and Filimone, her family, friends and communities in Tonga and across the world. Your legacy lives on in all those you inspired along the way. Gone too soon.
Vale Dr Netatua Prescott Taufatofua