Kolomotu’a, Tonga – Dr. Netatua Prescott Taufatofua was laid to rest today (Saturday 14 November 2020) at Telekava Cemetery, in her hometown of Kolomotu’a after an emotionally charged celebration of life service at the Free Wesleyan Centenary Church in Nuku’alofa.
Rev. Dr. Tevita Koloa’ia Havea, General Secretary of the Free Wesleyan Church, was the presiding minister at the funeral service that was packed to overflowing with family, friends, and families of Tonga’s biggest township of Kolomotu’a.
Dr. Netatua was a beloved leader in the community, especially among the women of Kolomotu’a who have been energized by her vision and leadership.
She was more than an academic in the environment and climate change field. She
was a community leader who had initiated community projects for Kolomotu’a
strongly supported by women and youth.
The environment scientist died suddenly in her home on Wednesday, 11 November at the age of 63.
She had been quite engaged in the leadership of a music festival and competition in Kolomotu’a, as well as a major exhibition by the women of the town, drawing great support and praise, in the preceding days before her death.
Dr. Netatua graduated from the famed Queen Salote College in Tonga, and received her bachelor’s degree from USP in Fiji. He earned an MSc degree from the Netherlands, and her PhD in Environmental Science, specializing in
Sustainable Coastal Resource Monitoring and Assessment, from the University of
Wollongong, Australia (2003).
She 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.
She was Director of Climate Change Division at the Secretariat of Pacific Regional Environment (SPREP) with head office in Apia, Samoa. And 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). Dr. Netatua became a Pacific Voice at international discussions regarding action against Climate Change.
She is survived by her husband Dr. Pita Taufatofua, children Siosi’ana and Filimone; siblings Lesieli, ‘Ikani, and Kalopeaua (in New Zealand) who were unable to be at the funeral because of the Covid 19 lockdown.