Congratulations to Elizabeth Naupa Pechan (1993)

Congratulations to Elizabeth (Liz) Naupa Pechan, the 2021 recipient of the prestigious Hanson Mataskelekele Award for Women in Leadership. The award is a longstanding collaboration between the Australian High Commission and the Mataskelekele family and is awarded annually on International Women’s Day.

Elizabeth Naupa Pechan (second from right), receiving the Hanson Mataskelekele Award for Women in Leadership.

Liz is a tourism business owner and leader in her community, known for her significant contribution to community initiatives over the years. She has also sat on several boards, amplifying the voices of those she represented, such as the Vanuatu Paralympic Committee and Vanuatu Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

In the past year, Liz has stepped up to become a leader of national significance, supporting the private and public sector in navigating the COVID-19 situation and building on her over 20 years of private sector leadership and community service experience to create cross-sector collaboration during the COVID-19 pandemic. She has taken a pragmatic and practical approach with the wellbeing of the nation as her highest priority.

Liz is the founder and co-owner of The Havannah Vanuatu, with her husband Greg. Their commitment to cultural preservation and environmental protection earned The Havannah membership of the National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World in 2019.

She is also a strong supporter of women in business and promotes local small-scale enterprises such as nature-based handicrafts and other sustainable environmental livelihood practices.

Liz demonstrates that leadership is a practice, not a position. Throughout her career, she has continually demonstrated leadership and public service, while simultaneously being a dedicated mother, wife, daughter, sister, auntie, tawian, friend and mentor to younger women.

Liz is always the first to say, “I am no expert, it was a team effort,” sharing her achievement with her collaborators. She has immense respect for others, always displays humility, recognises the limits of her knowledge and invites others to contribute. These are the leadership traits that have enabled her to collaboratively create smart responses to COVID that bridges government and private sector, safeguarding lives and livelihoods.

She recently commented that she wants young women to know that being strong doesn’t just mean physically.

It could be mental strength as well. A lot of our strength comes through our communities, and through volunteering and passion and perseverance, and all of these skills that a lot of us have in Vanuatu, make us very resilient to the environment and culture that we live in.

Elizabeth (Liz) Naupa Pechan, 2021 Hanson Mataskelekele Award for Women in Leadership Recipient

Congratulations to Elizabeth on this much-deserved recognition.