Executive Management

Rhonda Robinson

Rhonda Robinson

Acting Director GEM Division

Rhonda Robinson is currently the Acting Director for the GEM Division.  Rhonda has extensive experience and specialist understanding of the Pacific having worked within the Development sector for more than 20 years.

She began her career with SOPAC in 1998 as a Sanitation Officer after graduating with a Bachelor of Science majoring in Biology and Chemistry. She worked with the Commission for 7 years as a Sanitation Officer before leaving to pursue her postgraduate Masters of Environmental Management and Development and a Masters of Diplomacy from the Australian National University (ANU) in Canberra.

Rhonda then re-joined SOPAC as a Project Advisor and went on to work in the Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM) team. She has worked extensively across the Pacific across integrated programmes, water security, water and sanitation and waste management and was appointed the Deputy Director of the Water and Sanitation Programme in 2011.

Rhonda continued this role after SOPAC Commission was merged into the Pacific Community (SPC) and continued this role until 2017 where she built the expertise within the team and worked alongside Pacific governments. After the restructure of the GEM Division in 2018, Rhonda became the only female Deputy-Director within the Division leading the largest programme within the team, The Disaster and Community Resilience Programme.

Akuila Tawake

Akuila Tawake

Deputy-Director GEM Division

Georesources & Energy Programme

Akuila is the Deputy-Director for the Geoscience and Energy Programme (GEP) within the GEM Division. Prior to his appointment to this post he was team leader for a large sea mineral project and a Senior Advisor in aggregates and geology at the Geoscience Division for more than 10 years.

He is a member of the International Marine Minerals Society (IMMS) and the Fiji Mining and Quarrying Council, and the SPC regional correspondent for the InterRidge News. Akuila also worked as an Exploration/Mine/Project Geologist at an operating mine and two other exploration projects in Fiji for a further 7 years before joining SPC. He has relevant experience working with a broad range of stakeholders in the minerals/mining industry including governments, regional and international organisations, academic institutions, Private sector, NGOs, Communities and resource owners.

Jens Kruger

Jens Kruger

Deputy-Director GEM Division

Oceans and Maritime Programme

Jens is the Deputy Director for the Ocean and Maritime Programme of the Pacific Community (SPC). Jens is a graduate of the University of the South Pacific, Fiji and completed an MSC at the University of Waikato, New Zealand. He has over 20 years of experience leading multi-disciplinary applied research projects and has a particular interest in the use of marine science and technology in managing the development challenges of Pacific Small Island Developing States. Jens has shaped the regional approach to maritime boundaries for many years and is passionate about collaborative approaches to ocean governance.

Jens has worked in over 20 countries including several years as a seafarer on marine survey vessels. This work in the industry and with intergovernmental organisations has resulted in more than 80 publications including technical reports, maps, scientific papers and book chapters.

Patrick Haines

Patrick Haines

Acting Deputy-Director Gem Division

Disaster and Community Resilience Programme

Patrick Haines is an experienced project manager, with a strong background in corporate services and aid implementation. As a Ni-Vanuatu national, Patrick spent 16 years working for the Australian Government in several senior management positions providing advice on complex and sensitive issues relating to the delivery of Australia's aid program to Vanuatu. He has experience working with a range of aid modalities (managing contractors, whole of government, grants, direct funding to government).

Patrick currently works for the Pacific Community (SPC), as head of the Pacific Islands Emergency Management Alliance (PIEMA) project. In this role, Patrick works with key interlocutors in Pacific NDMOs, Police, and Military Forces and Fire Services. Patrick's connection to the Pacific combined with his deep understanding of the Australia Government has allowed him to inform Government policy and represent at senior levels.