In celebration of International Women’s Day, the Australian Border Force, the Oceania Customs Organisation and RMIT University pay tribute to impressive cohort of women serving in Customs administrations across the Pacific region. 

If you think Customs is a job for the boys, think again!

Women across the Pacific are actively facilitating international trade, preventing the illicit movement of goods, and keeping our borders secure.  

Women are serving at every level in Customs administrations across the region.   Supervising Customs Officer Renie Asi shared: “We serve as frontline operational officers, in our headquarters, and in senior management roles.  New Zealand Customs Service is one of four Customs administrations in the Pacific headed by a woman.  We all take pride in contributing to the challenging and rewarding work of border protection.”

Captain Barbara Tayama from Guam Customs and Quarantine Agency explained: “I’m committed to keeping my country safe. Throughout my 28-year career in Customs, I’ve been involved in a range of rewarding career opportunities, including executing search warrants, surveillance and arrests.”

Senior Customs Officer Tale Tikoisuva was one of the first women to apply to work as a detection dog handler for Fiji Customs and Revenue Service.  She explains: “Women in Customs are breaking the bias by stepping up to any challenge and showing everyone that we are competent and capable.” 

Acknowledging the 2022 IWD theme, Inspector Michelle Bond from Australian Border Force said: “It’s time to break the bias.  Women in Customs are succeeding and achieving.  Women are disrupting drug trafficking, intercepting harmful shipments, detecting revenue fraud and representing their agencies with distinction.”

The Oceania Customs Organisation (OCO) encourages the next generation of women to consider an active, fulfilling and dynamic career in Customs. 

Daphney Stone, OCO Operations Manager who was the first woman to serve as CEO at the Ministry of Customs and Revenue in the Kingdom of Tonga said: “Women have been under-represented in Customs, but the tide is changing, and women’s engagement is expanding across the region.  We salute those agencies who are taking active steps to recruit, retain and advance women in Customs.

Phillip Dowler, the Director of RMIT University’s Transnational Security Centre explained: “We are currently working with 61 outstanding women Customs’ leaders from 17 Pacific countries through the Pacific Women’s Professional Development Program (PWPDP), and the message is loud and clear – WOMEN CAN!  Women bring incredible talent to Customs administrations.”

Are you interested in a career in Customs?  Tale Tikoisuva from Fiji Revenue and Customs Service has an important reminder:  “Nothing is impossible when you dare to believe that you can!”

Approach the national Customs administration in your country or find out more at the OCO website. 

About OCO: OCO is a grouping of 23 Customs administrations in the Pacific region. It facilitates regional cooperation, information sharing and capacity building of its members with the overall target of supporting economic growth and improved border security in the Pacific.

For more information, queries or interview requests, please email

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