TPUM announces appointment of new education director

New TPUM education director Talonga Pita with wife Teeraineta and daughter Jolisa.

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Talonga Pita has been appointed the new Trans Pacific Union Mission (TPUM) Adventist Education director. He replaces Mere Vaihola, who was appointed deputy vice chancellor at Pacific Adventist University (PAU) in Papua New Guinea earlier this year.

Mr Pita’s appointment is considered a proud moment for the small Pacific nation of Tuvalu as he is the first Tuvaluan to assume a departmental director’s post at the TPUM.

With 38 years of experience, Mr Pita has served in various leadership, academic and ministry roles across the South Pacific Division.

According to Mr Pita, he and his family look forward to fulfilling this new calling. “For us, it’s coming back home as we have served throughout Fiji and the Pacific for many years, and we are now blessed to serve God through our Pacific Adventist schools as TPUM education director,” he said.

TPUM president Pastor Maveni Kaufononga said he is certain that Mr Pita will uphold TPUM’s commitment to wholistic education and spiritual development. “With his extensive experience, dynamic leadership and dedication to Adventist education, TPUM is confident that Mr Pita will continue the good work Mrs Vaihola has done,” Pastor Kaufononga said. “He will play a crucial role in the growth and success of the mission of Adventist Education.”

For the past year Mr Pita has been serving as head of the mathematics department at Gilson College in Victoria, Australia, where he previously served as head of the science department from 2016 to 2022.

Prior to that, he was the dean of Stage 6 at Kempsey Adventist School (NSW), where he provided academic and pastoral support for senior students. Between 2006 and 2012, Mr Pita held the positions of deputy principal and acting principal at Auckland Seventh-day Adventist High School, where he was also recognised as Teacher of the Year in 2012.

Earlier in his career, Mr Pita contributed to Fulton College, Fiji, as a teacher, registrar and deputy for both academics and administration. He has also taught at several Adventist institutions in the Pacific, including Beulah College in Tonga, Motufoua High School in Tuvalu and Betikama Adventist High School in Solomon Islands.

With a diverse academic journey and a firm commitment to educational leadership, Mr Pita completed a Master of Education in Administration in 2020 at Avondale University and Charles Sturt University, and a Certificate in Data Wise Analysis at Harvard University in 2016. He also holds a Graduate Diploma in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages from Auckland University, New Zealand (2010), and a Master of Arts in Curriculum and Instruction from La Sierra University, California (2000).

His foundational degrees include a Bachelor of Education focusing on maths and science from PAU and a Diploma in Education from Fulton College.

Mr Pita is in ministry with his wife, Teeraineta Lise, and their three children Gloria, Minute and Jolisa.

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