By KELVIN JOE
LIVIA Wrakonei wanted to serve in the PNG Defence Force after growing up in a military environment.
“I wanted to give back something to an organisation where I had been growing up in.”
Livia is from Boim-Sara in the Yangoru-Saussia district of East Sepik. She is the eldest in a family of two sisters and a brother. She is now a proud mother of two sons and a daughter.
She grew up watching her dad Colonel Carl Wrakonei as a senior military officer.
“We grew up in the barracks where we are called army kids. It motivated me to join the military.”
She started primary education at the St Joseph International School where she completed Grade Eight in 2003.
She then attended the Coronation College where she completed grades nine and 10 in 2004 and 2005. She completed Grade 12 at the Lae Secondary School in 2007.
She pursued an engineering course at the University of Technology (Unitech) in Lae and graduated in 2013.
While at Unitech, she worked for various companies including John Andrews Architects, Snowy Mountain Engineering Corporation, Niugini Builders, Pantreid Pacific Limited, Rhodes Projects and PNG Ports Corporation.
She juggled her education and jobs to develop her skills and broaden her knowledge in architecture and building.
Lt Wrakonei joined in April 2018 through the officer’s recruitment drive which enlists people who are qualified professionals such as lawyers, engineers, accountants, information and communication technology specialists and doctors.
“We bring our job experience from outside to the PNGDF to build capability in our areas of expertise.”
Livia brought to the military her expertise in architecture and construction. She is based at the engineer directorate at Murray Barracks.
“When I arrived, there was no architect in the PNGDF.”
She has been overseeing infrastructure projects around the country, renovating aging facilities in the barracks.
She recently looked after the K8.2 million refurbishment and renovation projects of the force support battalion quarters and the St Paul’s Chapel at Murray Barracks.
Livia has seen changes in the military and wants to be part of it evolution and development.
“I have seen changes such as infrastructure development, technology, structure, improvements in the military over the years.”
She sees her work as her best friend to support her when things get tough.
Her advice to girls is to focus on education, have self-confidence and be disciplined to overcome life’s challenges.
“ We grew up in the barracks where we are called army kids. It motivated me to join the military.”
She is proud help the military achieve its goals.
She has also learnt how to live in a male-dominated environment while working as a female architect.
“There are times I get intimidated but you have to grow a thick skin and have self-confidence to achieve your goals.”