With much sadness, APNIC acknowledges the passing of Fiji’s Salanieta ‘Sala’ Tamanikaiwaimaro.
Sala dedicated her life and career to fostering the self-determination of communities and empowering the youth, establishing herself as a great friend to the APNIC community.
As the Founder of Pasifika NEXUS and a lawyer by profession, Sala’s passion for community was well known. Sala was a Fellow at APNIC 32 and an active contributor and participant in various community processes, notably the Pacific Islands Chapter of the Internet Society (PICISOC). Sala served her communities in various positions, leaving an enduring mark on Internet governance.
Sala credited studying with peers from around the world at the DiploFoundation as the beginning of her Internet governance journey. This experience gave Sala a solid understanding of the industry that she used to deliver a Pacific voice to regional and global discussions at forums such as the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) where she served as a member of the Multistakeholder Advisory Group, the Asia Pacific Regional Internet Governance Forum (APrIGF), and the Pacific IGF. Sala also served as co-coordinator of the Civil Society Internet Governance Caucus (IGC), which was the first civil society organization formed after the creation of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS).
Her engagement with the technical community extended to participation at APNIC conferences and other events like PacNOG, supporting the ISOC Advisory meeting, and the ICANN’s At Large Advisory Committee (ALAC).
Sala’s understanding of cybersecurity’s criticality led her to become the inaugural Chair of the Cyber Security Working Group under the Fijian Ministry of Defence. She orchestrated a series of National Cyber Security Workshops, bringing together stakeholders from all corners of the region to foster collaboration and awareness. Even after her term, she continued to serve as a legal advisor to the Fiji Cyber Security Working Group. She was President of the South Pacific Computer Society. Sala’s contributions in this domain have been instrumental in safeguarding Fiji’s digital landscape.
While Sala’s professional endeavours and involvements form a very long list, her advocacy was consistent — she encouraged a multistakeholder approach to policymaking informed by empirical research, training, and capacity development and often wrote on topics at the intersection of Internet governance and community.
Sala’s achievements extended beyond Internet governance, attaining fellowships with the International Bar Association (IBA), the American Bar Association in Washington DC, and gracing various forums in the legal field. Sala was also actively involved in organizations dedicated to community empowerment such as the Global Advisory Council of BrightPath Foundation, the Global Leadership Interlink and the World Summit Awards, and was a lifelong member of the Fiji Red Cross Society.
Sadly, in early June 2023, Sala lost her battle with cancer.
Salanieta ‘Sala’ Tamanikaiwaimaro leaves behind a legacy of transformation and empowerment.
Please feel free to share your memories of Sala.
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