NEWSROOM: 26 November - 02 December 2006

  Downtown Nuku'alofa burns with cars and businesses looted.
(Photo: Tonga Now)

NZ Defence Force to Withdraw from Tonga
02 December 2006 - Source: NZ Govt

New Zealand Defence Force personnel will withdraw from Tonga this week, Defence Minister Phil Goff announced yesterday.

"Discussions with authorities in Tonga and between myself and Australian Defence Minister, Brendan Nelson, confirm that the situation on the ground in Tonga no longer requires the presence of our defence force personnel", Mr Goff said.

"The closing of Parliament passed without incident and following the devastating events of 16 November stability has been restored and the situation has so far remained calm.

"Should any further disturbance arise, and this is not anticipated, Tongan authorities are confident that they can handle the situation.

"Our Defence Force personnel have operated in a low key and effective manner. They have worked well with the Tongan Defence Service and their Australian counterparts, and their job is now completed.

"They were effective in securing the airport and enabling resumption of commercial flights. They then worked to provide back-up to Tongan defence and police personnel to ensure that a sense of stability and security was restored to Nuku'alofa.

"As always our defence and police personnel operated in a manner that won confidence among local people.

"We hope that in the calmer environment, the way is now open for reconciliation and for progress to resume towards democratic reform.

"New Zealand supports this process, though we have not sought to intrude in an area that must be determined by Tongan people themselves.

"The New Zealand Defence Force personnel will leave Tonga at the weekend.

"Police personnel from both countries will stay on a little longer pending the completion of forensic work.

"It is likely that the New Zealand Police will continue to assist capacity building in the Tongan Police, at Tonga's invitation over the longer term", Phil Goff said.

  Re-appointed National Pacific Radio Trust Board Chairman,
Satiu Simativa Perese.

(Photo: Minipac)

Satiu reappointed, Niu FM-Radio 531pi merger
01 December 2006 - Source: NZ Govt

Broadcasting Minister Steve Maharey has announced the re-appointment of the Chair and Vice-Chair of the National Pacific Radio Trust Board, and the appointment of three new members.

"The re-appointment of the Chair and Vice-chair, will ensure continuity during an important phase in the trust's development," Steve Maharey said.

"The three new members bring valuable skills and experience that will support the trust's role in providing broadcasting services for Pacific communities in New Zealand.

The two reappointments and three new appointments are:

Satiu Simativa Perese (Chair) has been reappointed for a further term of one year from 1 January 2007 to 31 December 2007. Holding the Samoan matai title of Satiu, Mr Perese is a barrister in South Auckland. He is a member of the Auckland Crown Solicitors prosecution panel, the Auckland Regional Council's prosecution panel, and president of the Pacific Lawyers Association. He also sits on the Human Rights Review Tribunal.

Fa'amatuainu Tino Pereira has been reappointed for a further term from 1 January 2007 to 30 April 2008. An experienced journalist and broadcaster, Mr Pereira manages his own communications consultancy. He represents Pacific people on the Capital and Coast District Health Board, the Samoan Council in New Zealand, the Samoan Broadcasters Aotearoa Trust, and the Ministry of Health's Pacific Health Reference Group.

Janet Mason has been appointed for a three-year term from 1 January 2007 to 31 December 2009. Of Fijian descent, she runs her own law practice, specialising in constitutional and public law.

She was recently appointed as a Trustee of the Crown Forestry Rental Trust.

James Prescott and Brian Chamberlin have both been appointed for one-year terms from 1 January 2007 to 31 December 2007, to cover the transition period for the merger between radio stations

NiuFM and 531pi. Mr Prescott is Chair of Auckland Pacific Island Community Radio Trust (APICRT) and lectures in accounting at the Auckland University of Technology. Mr Chamberlin has been a director for 12 years and chair for the last three years of 531pi Ltd radio station. He has had many rural and trade-related Crown appointments throughout his career.

Pacific radio stations join forces:

A decision by Pacific community radio stations Radio 531pi and NiuFM to join forces is being welcomed by the government as a move that will strengthen broadcasting for Pacific communities in New Zealand.

Broadcasting Minister Steve Maharey and Pacific Island Affairs Minister Phil Goff say the decision will enable the two stations to pool resources, avoid duplication of programming and enhance the service they both provide to Pacific communities.

"The stations have common objectives and play a valuable role in promoting and maintaining Pacific languages and culture in New Zealand," Steve Maharey said.

"By joining forces they can operate in a way that plays to their individual strengths and reflects and reinforces the best of Pacific culture, news and stories."

The stations will combine under the umbrella of the National Pacific Radio Trust, the government-appointed charitable trust responsible for Niu FM since it was established in 2002.

Phil Goff said he hoped both stations would continue to be an important source of information, discussion and debate for New Zealand's Pacific communities.

"The two stations will continue to provide New Zealanders with access to Pacific cultures and will continue to make a positive contribution to New Zealand's identity as a Pacific nation."

Niu FM was established in 2002 as the result of a government initiative to strengthen Pacific broadcasting in New Zealand. The network now reaches 85 per cent of the Pacific population from Whangarei to Invercargill.

Radio 531pi was established in 1993 and is owned by the Auckland Pacific Island Community Radio Trust (APICRT). It broadcasts on an AM frequency in the Auckland region.

  NZAF Chairman Hoani Jeremy Lambert and Samoan delegates at the Pan-Pacific Aids Conference in Auckland, 2005.
(Photo: NZAF)

NZ Aids Foundation pledges support for Pacific region
30 November 2006 - Source: NZAF

The New Zealand AIDS Foundation will be able to work alongside our Pacific neighbours under its new Constitution, according to a vote by members at the organisation's Annual General Meeting held Saturday.

Members were voting on a series of constitutional changes which could have resulted in NZAF's activities being limited to New Zealand. The majority of members voted against this option, believing that NZAF should support our Pacific neighbours when needed and funded to do so.

NZAF Board Chair Hoani Jeremy Lambert says the nature of the HIV/AIDS epidemic and New Zealand's close ties with its Pacific neighbours requires there to be some flexibility with NZAF's work. Saturday's vote provides a clear mandate for that work to be carried out.

The Pan Pacific conference on HIV and AIDS hosted by NZAF in Auckland last year sent a very clear warning of the devastation an HIV epidemic would have on our Pacific region.

"We do quite often get invited to assist our Pacific Island brothers and sisters," Lambert says.

"Some are just starting out, need help establishing governance, or delivering programmes to fa'afafine. Now we are able to, within reason, take up some of those offers."

Laws on the operation of charitable trusts mean that any offshore work undertaken by NZAF must comprise no more than 5% of its work. "If it were any higher it would affect our charitable status in New Zealand," Lambert says. "With HIV in New Zealand now at record levels, particularly among gay and bisexual men, we also can't afford for our work overseas to be to the detriment of our programmes here, so there has to be a limit."

NZAF has been running the Pacific People's Project since 1997, which aims to prevent the transmission of HIV amongst Pacific MSM (men who have sex with men) and raise awareness about HIV, sexual orientation and gender identity issues in Pacific communities in New Zealand

  At the launch; Michelle Woodworth, Victor Vitaliano, Rene Naufahu & Trevor
Haysom; Dr Richard Moyle, Mau Muaiava (Co-Founder VDL) & CEO for PBT (Pacific Business Trust), Paul Muller.

(Photo: Vision Dance)

Vision Dance launches in Auckland
29 November 2006 - Source: Vision Dance

Vision Dance Limited was launched in Otahuhu, south Auckland on Tuesday night.

The new business offers a service in 'Authentic & Relevant Pacific Dance Education' for all Education providers.

Vision's Mission is to give a different perspective to the youth of NZ into regaining their cultural identity and redefining it to suit them regardless of what ethnic/religious/cultural background they are from.

They hope to inspire the youth to think outside the box and their comfort zone and to look into what they are able to contribute to mainstream society by using some basic values which are shared by all RESPECT, LOVE, PRIDE and applying it to everday life.

MOTIVATION and EDUCATION!! By encouraging our youth to take control of their destiny and seeking their full potential.

For more information, contact Mau Muaiava at

  Pacific concert at Auckland University.
(Photo: Massey News)

Pacific concert opens doors to community
28 November 2006 - Source: Massey University

A recent Pacific-flavoured concert at the University in Auckland may have helped break down cultural and social barriers that deter Pacific Islanders from enrolling at university, says the Director Pasifika Professor Sitaleki Finau.

The Brass Band & Classical Pasifika @ Massey University concert at the end of October was held in a lecture theatre and featured the combined Tongan Methodist Choir of North Shore choir and North Shore Brass Band, along with numerous young opera and instrumental soloists and Pacific youth performance groups.

Many of those in the 300-strong audience - including family members of the performers - had had no knowledge of or contact with the university before, he said.

"I was quite surprised to find that most Pacific Island people (at the event) had never been to Massey before. They didn't know their children could go there," he said. "They thought Massey was for middle-class Pakeha people."

Professor Finau, a Tongan-born academic with an extensive background in health and education research and policy-making, said the concert was part of the Pasifika Strategy launched by Massey this year to promote and enhance the participation of Pacific Island students at Massey. He was appointed as Director Pasifika in June this year.

Professor Finau plans to forge further links with the North Shore Pacific Island community by going to speak to churches and high schools about study opportunities at Massey.

Massey University has also been one of the key players in working towards the establishment of a North Shore Pasifika Forum, to be launched on December 6 by the North Shore City Council and followed by a Pasefika festival on December 9 in Northcote, North Shore.

The forum would provide a networking opportunity and chance to "profile Massey as the primary university for Pacific people here on the North Shore, the first catchment for our Auckland campus," says Sione Tu'itahi, Massey, Pasifika Development Advisor - Auckland Campus.

Sione has been working with Pacific church and community leaders of the North Shore, in collaboration with the Office of the Mayor of North Shore City and some central government agencies to set up the forum.

"The forum will be a representative body and united front to lead the socio-economic and cultural advancement for Pacific people on the North Shore," adds Sione, who works with Professor Finau to implement the Pasifika@Massey Strategy across the three campuses.

"The three other Auckland cities, Counties-Manukau, Central, and Waitakere have already got their Pacific bodies to advise their city councils and central government agencies. It is timely for Massey to participate in building the North Shore equivalent," says Sione.

Professor Finau says plans were underway for another Massey-based Christmas concert featuring choir and orchestral performances from a range of Pacific Island groups on the North Shore.

  Kiwi forward Roy Asotasi runs into an Aussie brick wall; the All Blacks
perform the haka in the dressing room before playing Wales.


AB's awesome, Kiwis fall short, Islanders thrashed
27 November 2006 - Source:

The hectic sporting weekend just past yielded mixed results for the thousands of Pasifika sporting fans around New Zealand.

The Kiwis fell short in their quest to defend their Tri Nations title, beaten in extra-time 16-12 by Australia in a pulsating grand final played in Sydney. Samoans Frank Pritchard and Iosia Soliola scored the Kiwis tries.

The Kiwis came close to sealing a famous victory for their coach Brian McClennan but several attempted drop goals when the scores were tied 12-all were agonisingly wide. The match was sealed with a bit of magic by playmaker Johnathan Thurston who put his captain Darren Lockyer in for the game sealing try. Afterwards, Kiwis captain Ruben Wiki, and fellow veterans Nigel Vagana and Stacey Jones announced their international retirements.

But the following morning on Sunday (NZT), the smiles were back on our faces when the All Blacks walloped Wales 45-10 on the final game of their European tour. Sitiveni Sivivatu scored a hat-trick of three tries while man of the match Samoan flanker Jerry Collins was at his damaging best on defence. The plaudits came out for the awesome All Blacks after the game as they proved emphatically they are far and wide the best rugby team on the planet and clear favourites for next year's World Cup.

The game was marred by controversy before kickoff when the All Blacks refused to perform the haka on the field when Welsh Rugby Unions ordered them to perform it between the national anthems against tradition. They had done the same when they played the Islanders two weeks prior.

But never-the-less it was mission accomplished for All Black coach Graham Henry who has piloted his charges to an unbeaten record on their European tour with big wins over England, France and now Wales. In 2006, they dropped just one game but retained the Tri Nations and Bledisloe Cup titles and today were announced by the IRB as the team of the year with Richie McCaw the player of the year, and Henry the coach of the year.

However, early this morning, it was from the highs back to the lows again with the Pacific Islanders led by coach Pat Lam ending their tour on a sour note losing to Ireland 61-17 at Lansdowne Road in Dublin. The Islanders were comprehensively thrashed and it did not help their discipline was again in question after Samoan prop Justin Va'a was sinbinned. Fiji's Seru Rabeni scored the tourists' only try in the first half with Samoan duo Tusi Pisi and Lome Faatau scoring tries in the second half. Ireland ran eight tries past the hapless Islanders who after two tours in 2004 and this year have failed to win an international match. The team lost two other matches against Wales and Scotland on the current tour. The team has now dispersed and regroup in two years time in 2008.

  Samoan PM Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi and Winston Peters.
(Photo: UN/Getty Images/Xtra)

Winston Peters meets with Samoan Prime Minister
26 November 2006 - Source: NZ Govt

Joint consultations between Ministers from New Zealand and Samoa are strengthening an already close and strong relationship.

Foreign Minister Winston Peters hosted talks with Samoan Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Lupesoliai Malielegaoi and members of the Samoan Cabinet in Wellington yesterday.

Attending the talks were Samoa's Minister of Police, Prisons and Fire Service Toleafoa Apulu Faafisi, and Minister of Finance Niko Lee Hang; and New Zealand's Trade Minister Phil Goff, and Associate Pacific Island Affairs Minister Luamanuvao Winnie Laban.

"I welcome the opportunity to have Ministers from New Zealand and Samoa get together on an annual basis for whole-of-government consultations," Mr Peters said.

"Samoa is one of our closest Pacific neighbours and we greatly value these regular exchanges of views."

Prime Minister Tuilaepa said the discussions had covered bilateral issues as well as shared regional interests.

"The tragic recent events in Tonga and the efforts being made in the region to strengthen regional stability were an important focus of our discussions," he said.

Mr Peters said the relationship had developed significantly since the signing of the 1962 Treaty of Friendship between the two countries - a fact that was underlined in the Joint Communiqué adopted at the end of the talks.

"The linkages between the governments and people of New Zealand and Samoa are already very strong and we are working together to strengthen them further.

"The initiative that Ministers from both countries have taken to meet for regular broad-ranging discussions makes an important contribution in this regard," Mr Peters said.Joint Communiqué

The second annual "whole of government" Joint Ministerial Consultations between Samoa and New Zealand were held in Wellington on 24 November 2006. Samoa's delegation to the Consultations was led by the Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hon Tuilaepa Sailele Lupesoliai Malielegaoi and the New Zealand delegation by Rt Hon Winston Peters, Minister of Foreign Affairs.

During the Wellington discussions, Ministers reiterated their commitment to further strengthening the Samoa/New Zealand bilateral relationship, on the basis of a partnership based on friendship, trust, and mutual respect. Ministers noted the close family and historical ties between the two countries and their shared Polynesian heritage contributed further to the vitality of the relationship.

The discussions between Ministers served to confirm the value of regular Ministerial discussions between the two countries on issues of common interest and concern, in keeping with the principles of close cooperation embodied in the 1962 Treaty of Friendship. The annual Ministerial talks complemented the range of other mechanisms for consultation between New Zealand and Samoa at senior officials level, including the regular high-level discussions led by Samoa's Ministry of Finance and NZAID in the area of overseas development assistance as well as the Police and
Defence-related Mutual Assistance Programme (MAP) talks.

Ministers exchanged views and information on a number of issues falling within the bilateral relationship.

The ongoing importance of immigration issues in the bilateral relationship was acknowledged.

Ministers noted the successful implementation in recent years of a number of reforms that have improved the uptake of the Samoa quota. In addition, Ministers exchanged views on the way forward with the development of a seasonal work programme that would deliver clear benefits and incorporate clear safeguards for both countries. Officials from the two countries will meet in New Zealand in December to elaborate a framework to enable the entry of seasonal workers from Samoa to New Zealand.

The two delegations also exchanged views on regional and bilateral trade issues. Ministers noted the considerable Pacific workload in this area including negotiations with the European Union towards an Economic Partnership Agreement, implementation of the Pacific Agreement on Closer Economic Relations and, for Samoa, intensified work towards accession to the World Trade Organisation. On the latter, Ministers welcomed the recent exchanges of views between New Zealand and Samoa which had led to greater understanding of their respective positions on Samoa's proposed accession to the WTO.

Ministers recognised that Samoa remained very interested in gaining access for its fruit and vegetables into New Zealand. Import standards are currently in place to enable exports from Samoa to New Zealand of papaya, eggplant and HFTA-treated breadfruit. Both Samoa and New Zealand looked forward to progress on the import health standard for the importation of seven types of citrus (grapefruit, lemon, lime, mandarin, orange, pomelo and tangelo) into New Zealand in 2007.

Officials on both sides were also looking at Samoa's other market access requests and welcomed the imminent commencement of a risk analyst to Biosecurity New Zealand to work solely on Pacific issues.

The challenges faced by Samoa in the law and justice sector were also highlighted. In March 2006 Samoa had sought special additional assistance from Australia and New Zealand in this area. In addition to the institutional strengthening project for Samoa's Ministry of Justice and Courts

Administration being implemented by NZAID under New Zealand's ODA programme, New Zealand had also provided additional police and prosecutions support to assist Samoa with the investigation and prosecution of serious crime. Samoa, Australia and New Zealand were now working closely, in consultation with their respective agencies and other donors, on the development and implementation of a sector wide plan to guide assistance. Ministers recognised that effective "whole of government" coordination would be required by both Samoa and donors to ensure that the challenges here were dealt with effectively.

Ministers noted that over the last two years officials from New Zealand and Samoa had sought to develop and implement a number of new initiatives aimed at strengthening cooperation between their government agencies in various fields. Progress made in implementing some of these initiatives is summarised in Annex A.

In addition to discussions on bilateral issues, Ministers also discussed regional issues of common concern including the recent tragic events in Tonga, the Pacific Plan, objectives for the regional institutional framework review, and improved regional dialogue with external donors.

Before concluding the meeting and adopting this Joint Statement, Ministers discussed arrangements for next year's Ministerial consultations. Hon Tuilaepa Sailele upesoliai Malielegaoi, as leader of the Samoa delegation, extended an invitation to New Zealand to consultations in Samoa in the second half of 2007. The agenda and arrangements for the 2007 talks would be the subject of further discussions between officials in the course of the next year.

Annex A

Progress on Initiatives to Further Strengthen the Bilateral Relationship

Over the last two years, officials from New Zealand and Samoa have pursued a number of new initiatives aimed at strengthening their cooperation in various fields. While it is recognised that existing links between New Zealand and Samoan government agencies are already very strong in many areas, the new initiatives provide further opportunities for the two Governments to strengthen cooperative linkages on a "whole of government" basis. These initiatives are additional to the core cooperation pursued by NZAID and Samoan agencies under the Official Development Assistance Programme. Key milestones and further understandings on the way-forward with the
initiatives have been reached in the course of the last year, as follows:

New Zealand Prime Minister's Fellowship

In August 2006 the initial New Zealand Prime Minister's Samoa Fellowship was awarded to Laeimau Oketevi Tanuvasa-Savea, an active business and community leader in Samoa focussed in the ICT sector. The Fellowship Programme, which involved a one week study tour to New Zealand, proved very successful. A further Fellowship will be awarded in 2007. New Zealand and Samoa will consult further on the range of candidates who might be considered for the next award.

Shared Teaching Resources

The initial stage of the shared teaching resources initiative, which has involved scoping out the resources that would be translated and reproduced for use by Samoa's Ministry of Education, Sports and Culture, has been completed. The Samoan and New Zealand partners in the initiative are now in the second phase which involves the translation and publication of the resources (a total of 428220 books are to be printed: 280,800 small books, 140,400 large books and 7020 teachers' notes).

Samoa MPMC/NZ MPIA: Secondment Proposal

Samoa's Ministry of Prime Minister and Cabinet (MPMC) remains interested in pursuing a secondment from the NZ Ministry of Pacific Island Affairs (MPIA). As MPMC is currently undergoing some reorganisation with four new policy officers to be recruited to provide further policy capacity to the Ministry, it has been agreed that the timing and arrangements for a placement from MPIA will be better considered once this reinforced policy team is in place.

MESC/SPARC Sports Cooperation

Samoa's Ministry of Education, Sports and Culture (MESC), Sport and Recreation New Zealand (SPARC) and NZAID are continuing to pursue the Samoa Sports Support Project. The three-year project, aimed at strengthen policy-making and technical capacity within Samoa sport and enhancing SPARC's initiatives directed at Pacific Island New Zealanders, is now progressing from the design phase to the implementation phase. New Zealand-Samoa exchanges and training workshops will be scheduled for early 2007.

Artist in Residence

Following discussions over the last year between Creative NZ and the National University of Samoa (NUS) an artist in residence initiative is now well advanced. It has been determined that the initial Artist In Residence will be a performance artist, Nathaniel Lees, and that the initial placement at NUS will now occur in the early part of 2007.

In addition, the two performance artists workshops convened by Creative NZ in 2005 and 2006 were acknowledged for the opportunities they had made available to Samoan students at NUS.

Pacific Cooperation Foundation (PCF) Research Fellowship

A PCF Research Fellowship will commence in February 2007, with the initial fellowship being held by the Institute of Policy Studies (IPS) at Victoria University to support work already underway at the National University of Samoa on public sector reform.

Health Issues

Samoa and New Zealand agreed in 2005 to develop an institutional linkages programme between Counties Manukau District Health Board (CMDHB) and the Samoa Ministry of Health. The programme is designed to assist in building the capacity of the secondary/tertiary health sector in Samoa, as well as providing specialist medical treatment either in-country or in New Zealand. A coordinator has been contracted to lead the development and provide management oversight of the programme and a scoping visit to Samoa is planned for December 2006.


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