Nunia Thomas-Moko was appointed as Director of NatureFiji-MareqetiViti in February 2015, after serving as the organization’s Acting Director for two years. With a passion to look after and respect nature, and to inspire others to do so, her aim is to ensure that NatureFiji-MareqetiViti is the leading voice on Fiji’s domestic conservation issues. She heads a team of four staff members, two interns and several volunteers, all working to enhance Fiji’s biodiversity and habitat conservation, protect endangered species and promote sustainable use of natural resources.
Overseeing the 22 projects in which NatureFiji-MareqetiViti is currently engaged, Nunia actively works to raise public awareness of Fiji’s natural heritage and promotes collaborative conservation actions with the Government of Fiji, a wide array of scientists, civil society and the wider public. In addition, she continues to serve as the organization’s herpetologist in biodiversity expeditions, and to directly manage two projects (REDD Plus and the Arcadia Birdlife Partnership Grant).
Nunia is the technical advisor on Fiji’s government-led National Protected Areas Committee and the National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan Species Working Group; the National NGO focal point for Ramsar Communication, Education and Public Awareness; and currently serving her fifth year as a member of the International Union for Conservation of Nature Species Survival Commission Steering Committee. She also serves as NatureFiji-MareqetiViti’s Representative to the following groups:
- National Wetlands Steering Committee and its Ramsar Working Group;
- Fiji Invasive Species Taskforce;
- Fiji REDD Plus Steering Committee;
- Convention on the International Trade of Endangered Species (CITES) Management Authority;
- Fiji Forest Certification Standards Steering Committee;
- Fiji Forest Harvesting Code of Practice Steering Committee; and
- Fiji Civil Society Organisation Platform for REDD Plus.
Originally from Draunivi in Ra, Nunia joined NatureFiji-MareqetiViti as a Conservation Officer in 2007, just after earning her Master’s of Science Degree at the University of the South Pacific (USP). Her thesis was “The Distribution and Abundance of the Endangered Fiji Ground Frog (Cornufer [Platymantis] vitianus) and the Introduced Cane Toad (Rhinella [Bufo] marinus) on Viwa Island in Tailevu.” Nunia was a graduate assistant at USP’s South Pacific Regional Herbarium (SPRH) from 2003–2007, where she conducted biodiversity survey expeditions, environment impact assessments and community-based conservation workshops with the SPRH team. She earned a Postgraduate Diploma in Biology in 2004, and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Environmental Science in 2002, both from USP.
Prior to working with NatureFiji-MareqetiViti, Nunia was involved in planning and establishing long-term monitoring plots for invasive plants in two of Fiji’s protected areas (Wabu Forest Reserve and Sovi Basin), and conducted ecological studies on some of Fiji’s endangered species (Fiji crested iguana, Fiji ground frog, Giant forest honey-eater). Nunia has co-authored twelve scientific papers through her partnered research on such topics as Tropical Montane Cloud Forests, Fiji crested iguana ecology and Fiji ground frog ecology.