26 Jan 2009

In Memory of an Ocean Champion and Fearless Friend Vasemaca Rarabici

In Memory of an Ocean Champion and Fearless Friend

Vasemaca Rarabici

Fiji Program Associate, Asia Pacific Program, SeaWeb

May 17, 1975 – December 30, 2008

Vasemaca with daughter Annie

Va Rarabici with her daughter, Annie. Suva, Fiji, April 2008. Betty Oala, SeaWeb

Vasemaca Rarabici joined SeaWeb in early 2007 after a successful career as a journalist in Fiji, where she worked for the three local daily newspapers and rose to the rank of deputy editor of the Fiji Sun and later the Sunday editor of the Fiji Times. At SeaWeb, Va discovered a powerful outlet for her love of her islands and for her well-honed communication skills. Indeed, despite a prolonged illness, Va’s passion and dedication helped build a foundation for SeaWeb’s success in the Asia Pacific for years to come.

For those who knew her, Va’s powerful personality and energy were inescapable. Va was a force of nature­–a bright, laughing, creative, determined force. And that laugh was loud, wonderfully loud, and infectious. Even if you got used to it, it still caught you off guard with its abundance of energy and joy. Indeed, Va was a rare person: intense yet lighthearted, focused yet free-spirited, she inspired the people around her and held our Asia Pacific team together.

Va accomplished much. As the heartfelt messages from our partners in Fiji illustrate (some comments enclosed below), people deeply appreciated her work and her efforts. With Va’s guidance, community leaders, scientists and government officials in Fiji have become stalwart spokespeople for the oceans and for protecting Pacific places and traditions. While SeaWeb as an organization is skilled in communications, we were not experts in the culture of Fiji. When our Asia Pacific Program first began, Va’s understanding of what would resonate in her home islands and her many strong relationships in the communities made this program successful.Truly, Va has helped elevate the discussion of ocean issues in Fiji at a phenomenal pace. We have never seen as much media coverage of ocean issues in Fiji as we do today.

Read full tribute page for Va here: SeaWeb - Ocean Voices