AT 65, public servant Nina Verave is still going strong – although she knows her time to hang up the gloves is approaching.
The Human Resources Officer with the Department of Agriculture and Livestock was in Goroka last week collecting appraisals for officers in the highlands region.
Nina was married to John Verave from Gabone village in Rigo, Central. He passed away in 2012. They have three children – a son and two daughters.
Son Maino John Verave is involved in a Small Medium Enterprise and self-employed in Port Moresby.
Daughter Ovoi Verave is a gynecologist at the Port Moresby General Hospital. Daughter Sheilla Verave works at the Bank South Pacific Boroko branch.
On top of their three children, Nina adopted five others. Shane Verave is now in Grade Nine, Merani is also in Grade Nine and Albertina Verave is in Grade Three. Maino and Solomon are at home.
Nina remains on the government payroll after the retirement age was extended to 65.
“I still have the strength in me to continue serving the people. (But) I will be calling it quit very soon.”
Because of her outstanding service to the nation, the Queen awarded her the British Empire Medal in 2009.
Nina is from Riwaliburu village in Central and grew up along the Papuan Coast.
She attended Kaparoka Primary School from 1964 to 1969 and Kwikila High School from 1971 to 1974.
Nina began working with the department on Feb 2, 1974 as a Training Clerk for its forestry section.
“ I still have the strength in me to continue serving the people. (But) I will be calling it quit very soon.”
It was her first job since leaving school.
After serving for a year, Nina was sent to pursue a Public Servants Certificate course at the New South Wales International Training Institute in Mossman, Australia.
She spent 11 month there. She returned to serve the department for some time before attending the Public Administration College in Waigani, Port Moresby. She graduated with a Diploma in Public Administration.
Nina served in four agricultural colleges – Popondetta, Wewak, Vudal (UNRE) and the National Fisheries College in Kavieng when it was under the Livestock and Fisheries department.
In 1987, Nina was promoted to the position of Staff Development Officer with the forestry section.
She worked for the department until 1995. She enrolled at the University of PNG and to pursue a Bachelor of Arts degree programme majoring in Social Work.
“I did not want to leave DAL because through the department I was able to attend these higher institutions to get the qualifications.”
Recently she attended a public sector course and AusAID training on human resource management.
Throughout her life, she draws her strength and energy from God who she always gives priority to. She is forever grateful for the many blessings she receives because of her unwavering faith.
For example she applied for a home and it did not take long before she was given one.
“From a junior officer to where I am today, I got all the blessings from God. I am really thankful to him. I am a member of the United Church but I believe in God, not the denomination.”
The soon-to-be grandmother is still serving the nation at 65. Nina Verave (BEM) is indeed a role model.