The Team

VEPA has 7 board members spanning many different areas of expertise. All of the board members volunteer their free time to establish and maintain VEPA in its efforts.

 

Don Blanks – Chairperson

Don has lived in Tonga since 1979 and, prior to his semi-retirement, was the Center Coordinator for the University of the South Pacific. He joined VEPA because he feels its time for concerned residents to join in the efforts for environmental sustainability for the future of Vava’u.

Feauini Veikoso Laumanu

Feauini is the energy planner for Ministry of Lands, Environment and Climate Change and Natural Resources. Born and raised in Vava’u, she is dedicated to protecting the unique island environment. She has previously worked for SOPAC.

‘Alaipuke ‘Esau 

‘Alaipuke is the chair of the Pacific Youth Congress and currently works for TBEC improving staff training and logistics for businesses. Previously Puke was the head of the Vava’u Peace Corps. He is a proud member of the first environmental NGO in Tonga.

Karen Stone 

Karen is an avid and dedicated conservationist with studies in Wildlife Management and Zoology, her business has taken her worldwide as a dive instructor and whale naturalist. Karen also runs the day to day VEPA operations.

Leody Cruzat Vainikolo

Leody is the Officer in Charge of the Ministry of Agriculture, Foods and Forests in Vava’u, a long term environmentalist on sustainable and innovative agriculture programs for food security and economic development. Leody hails originally from the Philippines, however has been a resident in Tonga for over 20 years.

Mele Finau

Mele is a student at the USP studying law and geography, she is the youngest board member and is our link to Vava’u’s youth which is vital in our education and environment study initiatives.

Soane Tangitau

Soane joined the board in Septemer 2016, as a local business man here with the Tangitau Stores, Soane has been a long time supporter of VEPA and environmental programs. The private sector is of huge importance to the sustainable development of Vava’u.