Lynnsay Rongokea Francis: Jacqui’s success is our success

Wednesday January 15, 2020 Published in Letters to the Editor

Dear editor, as Cook Islanders we should all feel pride and joy that Jacqui Evans a Cook Islands woman is recognised internationally as a recipient of the 2019 Goldman Award for her commitment and activism  for environmental protection and  enviromental justice.  

Jacqui’s success is our success. Her success has created opportunities for advancing environmental issues in the Cook Islands. Her acceptance speech was heartfelt. She gave credit where credit was due.   

Jacqui acknowledged that Marae Moana was a “team effort”.  She made special mention of Kevin Iro, Tupuariki, Elizabeth Koteka Wright and Prime Minister, Henry Puna.

Of the Prime Miniister she said; “.... without his support, leadership and vision marae moana would not have been established.”

She also  acknowledged the work of individuals, Te Ipukarea Society, civil society organisations, government, the private sector and traditional leaders and the communities for their love for the ocean and how they choose to protect it . 

She said everyone worked tirelessly to engage the public to tackle ocean issues. 

The Goldman Environmental Award is given to an individual from each of the regions who have one thing in common – their notable action to protect the environment.

A key part of gaining recognition and achieving success in any field is passion, commitment and tenacity. It is also achieved through networking, making connections and building relationships with individuals and organisations nationally, regionally and internationally.    

Jacqui was nominated by an international jury from confidential nominations submitted from a network of environmental organisations and individuals who recognised her sustained and significant efforts to protect and enhance the national environment. 

Prime Minister, Henry Puna’s put down of Jacqui Evans at the US Commonwealth Club meeting is unacceptable.  

On behalf of all Cook Islanders, he should be celebrating with pride the international recognition given to a Cook Islands woman.

Her win is a “team” win.


Lynnsay Rongokea Francis

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