Maureen Hilyard

Maureen Hilyard

Member, Internet Society Board of Trustees


Maureen Hilyard is a development and safeguards consultant in the Cook Islands, an independent territory of New Zealand. In 2004, she was appointed by the Cook Islands Ministry of Education as the National Distance Learning Advisor, liaising with her previous employer, The NZ Correspondence School, to provide supportive education and training for secondary students on 11 isolated small atolls to undertake their studies primarily online. One of her first roles was to support the introduction of the Internet to these tiny outer islands and to train secondary students on how to use the Internet to communicate with the teachers at their new school in Wellington, NZ. This has been a long journey, from 30kbps Internet speed in those days to 4G connectivity today. Her latest consultancy, in collaboration with UNDP and a multistakeholder local consultation team, has been to develop a digital transformation strategy and implementation plan for the Cook Islands.

In 2006, Maureen attended a PacINET in Samoa, organized by the Pacific Chapter of the Internet Society (PICISOC) and attended by Vint Cerf, who persuaded her to join up. In 2008, she was appointed to the PICISOC Board and organized her first PacINET on Rarotonga. She also honed up on Internet Governance with the Diplo Foundation, with whom she experienced her first IGF in Hyderabad. In 2009, she was an Internet Society Ambassador at the IGF in Sharm el Sheikh, along with such notables as Olivier Crepin-Leblond, Olga Cavalli, Charles Mok, Naveed Haq, and many others.

After two ICANN Fellowships in 2010 and 2012, Maureen was appointed in 2013 by APRALO to the At-Large Advisory Committee (ALAC) and was also the ALAC’s ccNSO Liaison for four years. She recently completed ten years on the ALAC – including four as the ALAC Chair and a year on each side of her own term as Vice Chair to the outgoing and incoming Chairs. She is now serving a term on the ICANN Nominating Committee. She has been a member of the Board of DotAsia since 2016, and after co-leading a restructuring of the Board’s management systems, she was the first elected DotAsia Board Chair. Maureen spent four years on the PIR Advisory Council and a 2-year term on the first Advisory Council of the DNS Abuse Institute.

Maureen’s major achievement for the Pacific has been the result of many years of perseverance alongside Fellow Internet Society Ambassador and Diplo colleague Tracy Hackshaw of the Internet Society Trinidad and Tobago. Tracy (in person) and Maureen (mainly virtual from the Cook Islands) have coordinated SIDS sessions at the IGF since 2011, promoting Caribbean and Pacific issues. In 2018, they jointly founded the “Dynamic Coalition for Small Island Developing States in the Internet Economy” and have encouraged Pacific, Caribbean, and African SIDS, with much-appreciated support from the Internet Society, ICANN, and CTU, to join together to share and discuss unique ICT4D issues that SIDS globally have in common.