Muavae Va’a – President
Originally from Samoa, Mua has lived in Canada since 1991. He is married to an Indigenous woman and is the proud father of three children. Mua has worked primarily with Youth With a Mission, a non-profit organization focused on Indigenous communities on Vancouver Island, and now works as a Youth Coordinator for a local First Nations community. This has allowed him to connect with many youth in public schools, as well as in First Nations communities across the Saanich Peninsula.
Mua is highly involved in many areas of South Pacific and Indigenous life. He is active in the local Pacific Islander community, specifically with community gatherings, Pearls of the South Pacific dance group and rugby.
Lorna Eastman – Vice President
Lorna Eastman, a Certified Financial Planner, provides financial consultation for aboriginal organizations, individuals, corporations, and the public sector. With a specialty in pensions, Lorna assisted Aboriginal Non-Profit Agencies in British Columbia to develop a pension strategy for over 300 employers in the sector. Further to this assignment, the Aboriginal Officers Association of Canada contracted Lorna to research and to write an Income Tax Manual with a First Nations Focus on Income Tax Filing. This report highlighted the ability to access eligible benefits as a result of tax filing. These benefits include the Canada Child Benefit, GST Rebates, Guaranteed Income Supplement and Canada Learning Bonds. This resulted in further research into Canada Learning Bonds, Group Registered Retirement Savings Plans and Volunteer Income Tax Clinics from a First Nations perspective.
Lorna has extended family in New Zealand, travels to New Zealand each year with her Kiwi husband and has been welcomed onto several Marai’s in New Zealand. Lorna was adopted into the Papariki Whanau on the Whanganui River and continues to maintain close ties there.
Lorna grew up in a large farm family in the Souris river valley in Manitoba and attended a one room country school. Her father’s family came to Manitoba in the late 1800s from the Orkney Islands and her mother’s family came from England in the early 1900’s. Her large extended family continues to farm in Manitoba.
Sean Burns – Treasurer
Sean has over seven years of non-profit Board of Directors experience. He has extensive international development and United Nations Development Programme experience across the South Pacific, having spent more than ten years in the region. He also has over sixteen years of experience with Fortune 500, private and public sector consulting.
Today, Sean resides in Victoria, B.C. brokering commercial real estate across Canada. He holds multiple Master’s degrees and believes technology initiatives should be available to everyone in the world.
Tierra Madani – Secretary
Originally from the island of Molokai in Hawaii, Tierra lives and breathes aloha in all that she does. She travelled to BC right out of high school in 2008 and successfully completed a Bachelor of Commerce in Human Resources from the UBC Sauder School of Business as well as a Tourism Management Diploma from Capilano University.
Seeking a similar island culture like her Hawaiian roots, Tierra moved to Victoria from Vancouver in 2014 and has since earned her place within the HR community and within the Tourism/Hospitality industry. She recently was awarded the 2018 HR Rising Star Award presented by CPHR BC & Yukon and was also recognized by HR Director Canada as one of the 2019 Top 20 HR Rising Stars. Tierra currently works as the HR Manager at Vancouver Island Brewing.
Tierra is very passionate about her upbringing in Hawaii and about sharing that aloha with all those around her. She is a Polynesian dancer with the Pearls of the South Pacific dance group in Victoria. She has also been involved in supporting several local indigenous events and loves to volunteer her time where she can!
Dr. James Boutilier – President Emeritus
Dr. Boutilier established the South Pacific People’s Foundation, the forerunner of the Pacific People’s Partnership, in the 1970s and served as the president of SPPF for many years. He is currently Special Advisor (Policy) at Maritime Forces Pacific (MARPAC), the Canadian Navy formation on the West Coast. He joined MARPAC in 1996 and travels widely on behalf of the Navy, primarily in Asia.
He received his PhD from the University of London (UK) in 1969 and taught at the University of the South Pacific in Suva, Fiji, from 1969 to 1971 before taking up an appointment at Royal Roads Military College in Victoria, British Columbia. He served on the staff of RRMC until 1995 as a professor of history and Dean of Arts. He was an adjunct professor of Pacific Studies at the University of Victoria during the same period. He was instrumental in the establishment of Royal Roads University.
Now retired, Art spent most of his life as a photographer and filmmaker. As a filmmaker, he worked with a number of voluntary organizations in several countries in Africa, as well as Pakistan, Egypt, the Philippines and Canada. In East Africa he was involved in filming “Mama June,” a film about a Canadian teacher who contracted AIDS and returned to Tanzania to work with AIDS organizations there as well as a series of short videos on AIDS projects in Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda. The film was nominated for a Juno Award.
Art initiated and co-produced the film “Killer Whale and Crocodile” about an arts exchange between an Iatmul carver from Papua New Guinea and a Coast Salish carver. He has also worked on training manuals, educational kits and study guides and taught a photography course as well as a seminar on photographic technique.
In the voluntary sector, Art was a member of the board of the Victoria AIDS Resource and Community Services Society for many years and served as chairman of the board for most of those years. In the last few years, while living in Ottawa, Art volunteered at a local food bank.
In retirement, Art recently completed a book titled “Adherents of the Higher Law” about the efforts of the members of a small college community in Ohio in the battle to end slavery in the United States.
Ruby Kafalava is originally from Tonga. She met her husband in Canada, and decided to take up a permanent residency here. She loves dancing and music, and started dancing when she was little. She was with a dance group that travelled through Fiji , Niue and across Tonga for 5 years. They used dance as a way to express messages about equality, racism, domestic violence, bullying and drugs. etc. She is now involved with keeping her culture, language and traditions alive in Canada through her participation within Pearls of The South Pacific; an authentic cultural group based on Vancouver Island. She is also a mother of two young girls and works as a professional caregiver. Ruby’s home is her life and she loves getting the opportunity to give back to her community.
Dr. Carol Mayer
Carol is a curator at the UBC Museum of Anthropology, and is responsible for the collections from the Pacific. For the past 25 years she has built relationships across the Pacific that have resulted in Memoranda of Understanding between MOA and PIMA, The Vanuatu cultural Centre, the Fiji Museum and the Papua New Guinea National Museum. In 2012 she was awarded the 30th Anniversary of Independence medal for her cultural contributions to the Republic of Vanuatu.
MOA has welcomed artists, knowledge holders and scholars from many parts of the Pacific and has worked closely with PPP to both welcome them organise programs, events and social gatherings during their time here.
Carol holds degrees from UBC, Cambridge University, and the university of Leicester and awards from UBC, BCMA, CMA and ICOM. She has delivered papers at numerous conferences, published exhibition catalogues, articles and books about the Pacific. She is the as co-chair of Pacific Arts Association (North America) and is currently completing a book on the Pacific collection at MOA, due to be published by the end of 2022.. The book will tell the stories of how objects journeyed to the museum, and will include input from many Pacific Islanders, including some resident in BC..
Carol has admired the work of the PPP for many years and values her role as a Board Member
Rachel is second generation Chinese Canadian and currently living in Tkaronto on the land of the Dish With One Spoon Wampum Belt Covenant.
Rachel received her Bachelor of Science from Queen’s University and Master of Marine Management from Dalhousie University. In the decade following, she worked in oceans conservation with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) in Canada, Solomon Islands and Fiji. Her experiences in rights-based fisheries management and climate change risk mitigation in the South Pacific led her to the Pacific Peoples’ Partnership community.
Currently, Rachel is Executive Director of the Bike Brigade – a non-profit organization managing 800+ volunteer cyclists delivering food and other essential supplies during COVID-19. She is also the Founder of Evoke Creatives – a social enterprise with a mission to bring more racialized youth to the frontlines of the environment movement through the arts. With a lens on racial equity and environmental conservation, Rachel continually seeks to understand collaborative survival as a way to transform life beyond capitalism and industrialism. She aims to support PPP in leveraging the power of the arts and culture to elevate Pacific peoples as leaders of this transformation.
Lesley is a program manager and community development practitioner specializing in the design and delivery of targeted multi-sectoral programs in remote communities. With over 15 years in grassroots community development in rural Papua New Guinea. Lesley shares her experiences from her most recent role as manager of a 9 year capacity building program targeting women in remote mining communities who overcome insurmountable challenges to acquire, share and transfer skills and knowledge and who use the skills to improve their own lives and transform communities.
Extending to include women and communities from the Autonomous Region of Bougainville, the successes of the program are replicated in other regions of the world including Romania, Uganda, Tanzania and Poland.
In 2017 Lesley represented her electorate as one of very few women who stood for the PNG national general elections.
Lesley has represented PNG advocating for equal opportunities for women at various global events in Nairobi Kenya, Vancouver Canada, Washington DC, Honiara Solomon Islands, Suva Fiji and Australia.
She currently resides in Brisbane Australia and continues to advocate for equal opportunities for women, youth and communities in remote PNG communities.
Penina is an experienced team leader who possesses extensive knowledge, strong leadership skills and superb relational management abilities.
For over 5 years, Penina has worked for A&W Canada as an Operations Specialist. She oversees the entire operations, how the climate is handled in the workplace, as well as the safety of A&W’s employees and customers. She also works closely with the Chief Operations Officer, Director of Operations and Area Managers and Managers. Between 2011 and 2017, she’s been nominated 5 times for Best Operated and Sales Award in Canada.
Penina is known to be an effective communicator who possesses the superior organizational skills needed to coordinate the activities of a large number of employees, and deeply enjoys working with people.
Sabina M. Singh (PhD)
Sabina Singh is a mother, partner, artist, teacher, academic, and a strong supporter of people working together for each other whether they belong to Indigenous nations or modern states. Sabina is an Associate Scholar with the Centre for World Indigenous Studies working on writing about the disrespect occurring through the world for Indigenous People and land.
In 2008 Sabina returned to Victoria to raise her two children and teach political science at the University of Victoria. Her academic work began by studying Uganda and Africa as a whole, but now she also explores issues of Indigenous governance.
In 2014, Sabina was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, and immediately joined the MS Warriors Dragonboat Team, fundraising and supporting those who live with MS, their families, and friends. As part of learning how to navigate the disability she volunteered and joined many activities related to people with disabilities.
Sabina is also an artist and passionate supporter of the arts as a tool to transform lives, change attitudes, and build a better world. She co-developed the workshop Exploring Diversity and Power Through Movement which allows for Sabina to use her skills and a university instructor to teach diversity and her skills as a dancer to explore how the structures around us can make us feel in our own bodies.
Sabina has been an active member of the community, pursuing her passion for equality, electoral reform, food security, environmental security, social supports and Indigenous rights.
Bio coming soon!