Logotonu Meleisea Waqainabete

NAME: Logotonu Meleisea Waqainabete
Title: Curator, Centre for Pacific Crops and Trees
Location: Suva, Fiji

How long have you been working for SPC?

I have been with SPC for eight years now. I joined as a Laboratory Assistant at the Centre for Pacific Crops and Trees (CePaCT) and in 2009 I became an Assistant Curator. In June 2014, I was privileged to become one of two Curators at CePaCT, the region’s only internationally recognised genebank.

Where did you work before you joined us?

I was working as a Laboratory Technician for Samoa’s Ministry of Agriculture in their Plant Tissue Culture Laboratory. Additionally, I had part-time attachments as a Student Assistant and as a temporary employee with the Samoa Quarantine Service.

Describe your current role at SPC

I report directly to the Genetic Resources Coordinator at CePaCT and my role entails both technical and coordination functions. It includes providing analytical and technical advice to guide the work of the Genetic Resources Team, relevant divisional teams and Pacific Community members on plant genetic resources. Currently, I oversee a team of eight whose primary focus is the safe conservation and effective distribution of plant genetic resources that our centre is maintaining on behalf of Pacific Island countries. My role also involves assisting the with the overall management of the CePaCT genebank.

What do you find rewarding about working for the principal technical and scientific organisation in the Pacific?

It is having the opportunity to reach my career goal of becoming a plant tissue culture expert and much more – now I am a curator! It is knowing that our work makes a difference in the daily lives of Pacific Islands people. It is also rewarding being part of a team that helped transform a small laboratory into an internationally-recognised genebank in Narere, with more crop accessions and more staff.