NEWSPAGE 25 February



NEW ZEALAND: King of Tonga to visit New Zealand
Source: Government House Press Release
The King of Tonga, His Majesty King Tupou VI, will make his first official state visit to New Zealand next week.

Governor-General, Lt Gen The Rt Hon Sir Jerry Mateparae, welcomed the visit of King Tupou to New Zealand.

“There are special bonds of friendship and community between Tonga and New Zealand and the King’s visit marks a new chapter in the close relationship between our two countries. We look forward in the coming years to strengthening the ties between us, which are underpinned by our shared Polynesian heritage, and a range of bilateral links in the arts, sport, education, trade and defence.”

The State Visit begins in Wellington on Monday 25 February and concludes in Auckland on Wednesday 27 February. The King will be accompanied by Her Majesty Queen Nanasipau’u.

As a part of his visit, the King will receive a formal State Welcome at Government House in Wellington on 25 February, followed by a State Dinner that evening. The King will also lay a wreath at the National War Memorial in Wellington before heading to Auckland to meet education providers.

Media wishing to attend the State Welcome ceremony must contact Antony Paltridge, Public Affairs Manager, Government House on (021) 470583.

A full media advisory for the visit will be issued later today. For information about other aspects of the State Visit, please contact Shawn Hollister, Senior Communications Adviser, Department of Internal Affairs, on (021) 2457865





(Photo: Samoa Government)


SAMOA: Virgin Samoa’s $940,000 dividend to Government
Source: Samoa Government Press Release

Virgin Samoa, the flag carrier of Samoa, today presented a cheque to the Government of Samoa representing the dividend for financial years 2012. The presentation was made at a ceremony attended by the Prime Minister of Samoa, Tuilaepa Aiono Sailele Malielegaoi and CEO Virgin Samoa, Mark Pitt and other delegates.

The 490,000 NZD (930,000 WST) dividend represents the Government’s share in Virgin Samoa’s profits. Mark Pitt, CEO Virgin Samoa said this result represents the strong performance of the airline.

“We are very pleased with the performance of Virgin Samoa and continue to work closely with the Samoan Government to provide a great service to the people of Samoa and support the local tourism industry.

“After rebranding the airline to Virgin Samoa in 2012 we have seen great support from locals visiting friends and family in Australia and tourists that value Samoa’s unique hospitality.

Prime Minister of Samoa, Tuilaepa Aiono Sailele Malielegaoi said “This is a great result for Samoa and demonstrates the strength of our airline. We have a very positive relationship with Virgin Australia and I hope that together we can continue to deliver benefits for the Samoan people.”

The Virgin Samoa board decided to pay a divided after strong performance throughout financial year 2012.

Virgin Samoa is part of the Virgin Group of Airlines.





(Photo: Dev Nadkarni)


AUSTRALIA: Pacific art lovers throng Maketi Ples 2013 opening

More than 230 art and craft lovers thronged a Sydney art gallery this week to witness the opening of Maketi Ples 2013, the biggest event of its kind that showcases arts and crafts from the Pacific islands region. An initiative of Pacific Trade & Invest, the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat’s (PIFS) trade and investment office, the show will run for three weeks until March 10.

Andie Fong Toy, PIFS’ Deputy Secretary General officially declared the event open after Caleb Jarvis, PT&I Australia Trade Commissioner, welcomed the guests. The Maketi Ples initiative has helped expose the Pacific’s unique arts and crafts to a much wider audience bringing both recognition and economic benefits to individual artists and their communities around the region. The first two events had sold more than A$220,000 worth of artworks, Mr Jarvis said.

Extending the Forum secretariat’s support to the Maketi Ples initiative, Ms Fong Toy said, “When properly organized and developed, the cultural industries in the Pacific have great potential for economic activity. Producers will be able to benefit financially from their skills and drive growth within the Micro, Small and Medium enterprises sector.”

This year’s event features the work of some 33 artists and art groups from seven countries including Samoa, Tonga, Fiji, Papua New Guinea, the Republic of the Marshall Islands and the Solomon Islands. “Participation in terms of both the artists and the attendees to the inauguration of the event this year has doubled,” PT&I’s Ruth Choulai told Pacific Periscope. Ms Choulai has been coordinating the event from PT&I’s Sydney offices since the inaugural annual show three years ago.

Artworks featured include some of the most exciting contemporary visual art, textiles and 3-D artisan works: drawing, painting, photography, printmaking, ceramics, textiles and garments, basketry and weaving, woodwork, carving and jewellery besides other arts and crafts based on traditional techniques. Several works of art sold on the inaugural day. PT&I’s Paula Bjelanovic said sales were up about 30 per cent over last year’s inaugural day.

“This is much bigger than the inaugural event two years ago,” Solomon Islands woodcarver Ralph Ako told Pacific Periscope. He had missed last year’s event. Florence Jankae from Papua New Guniea’s Eastern Highlands, who has attended every year, said that event was the “best thing that has happened to Pacific artists.” The acknowledged champion of the unique Bilum craft said, “Maketi Ples had helped raise the standard of the art throughout the communities thanks to the international exposure.”

Photo: Pacific art enthusiasts at the inauguration of Maketi Ples 2013 in Sydney this week.


PNG: Papua New Guinea government orders urgent military deployment
Source: Radio New Zealand International

Papua New Guinea’s cabinet has approved 2.5 million US dollars to deploy defence force soldiers to patrol and protect the border with Indonesia.

The newspaper, The National, reports that the national executive council has moved with urgency to address problems between PNG citizens living in the border area and the Indonesian military.

PNG’s Prime Minister Peter O’Neill says the situation requires immediate national government intervention and for appropriate strategies to be adopted to ease the tension at the border.

Mr O’Neill ordered the Foreign Minister Rimbink Pato to issue a protest note to Jakarta expressing the government’s concern about the construction of Indonesian military posts in the border area.

He says Mr Pato is also to inform Indonesia’s government about continuous harassment of PNG people by the military and other illegal activities as reported by the National Security Advisory Committee’s investigation team.





(Photo: Pacific Perescope)


SOLOMON ISLANDS: Solomon Islands artists on show in Auckland
Source: Pacific Perescope Press Release
While the Pacific Islands region’s biggest art show Maketi Ples 2013 got under way in Sydney this week, Pacific Trade & Invest’s New Zealand offices have facilitated an art show by Solomon Islands artistes at the Pacific Showcase at Auckland’s World Cup event venue The Cloud in the first week of March.

Fred Oge and Brian Feni – self-taught and accomplished visual artists – will be showing their skills at the Pacific Showcase from 11 to 3pm on March 2 and 9 – both Saturdays. Firm friends between them, the duo has exhibited in the Solomon Islands, China, Russia, Fiji, Australia, New Zealand and American Samoa.

As younger generation visual artists who combine their traditional knowledge with experimental and classical styles, their works reflect their passion for their culture and their concern for the effects on marine life and the ocean. Brian was a professional footballer but now earns a living through selling his art. As a youngster he imagined he could paint as well as the master painters.

The Centre for Pacific Studies, University of Auckland, has afforded a unique opportunity to meet with Fred and Brian at centre on Auckland’s Wynyard St from 6 to 8pm on Tuesday March 5.

While PT&I sponsored their visit to New Zealand to raise awareness of the extraordinary natural creative talent of Solomon Islands arts and artists, Akateretere Arts of Auckland helped coordinate the activity.

If interested in attending the event, please RSVP to by Friday March 1.

Photos: Untitled artworks by Brian Feni (left) and Fred Oge (right).





(Photo: Pacific media)


TAHITI: Top FIFO film winner tells story of life in the shadow of ‘la bombe’
Source: Pacific media Press Release

A film dedicated to the life of an engineer who worked for the French nuclear programme in Algeria and the Pacific for 30 years and died of throat cancer has won the top prize at the recent 10th Oceanian Film Festival (FIFO) in Tahiti.

The jury unanimously awarded the Grand Prix to the 52 min documentary entitled _To the Bomb’s Children (Aux Enfants de la Bombe)_, jury president Greg Germain announced.

This film, made by French directors Christine Bonnet and Jean-Marie Desbordes with a team of young French Polynesian technicians. tells the story of French nuclear engineer Bernard Ista who kept filming the tests during his career – in spite of official bans, ultimately dying at the age of 54.

One of the producers invited for the award ceremony said he wished this film – to be aired on television soon in both French Polynesia and France – would help the French government acknowledge past mistakes about nuclear testing.

Nuclear testing has always been a sensitive issue in French Polynesia ever since it first started in the remote Tuamotu archipelago in 1966.

Nuclear tests went on for 30 years in Moruroa and Fangataufa.

The issue has also often been raised by Tahitian political parties – especially Oscar Temaru’s pro-independence party – over recent years to seek more financial compensation from the French state.

A 2010 law prepared by a French Defence Minister, Hervé Morin, was gave financial compensation to former nuclear testing workers.

Although the law was at first perceived as a step in the right direction, it has also been criticised for not being very efficient.

The list of nuclear-related illnesses and the geographical area concerned by financial compensations should be extended, claim nuclear veteran associations.

The three other special prizes awarded to the jury went to _Canning Paradise_, by Olivier Pollet, _Allan Baldwin_ by Tearepa Kahi and _The Road of the Globe: Troilus and Cressida_.

_Canning Paradise_ is about the consequences of overfishing in Papua New Guinea while _Allan Baldwin_ is the portrait of a New Zealand photographer who specialised in Māori tattoos.

_The Road of the Globe: Troilus and Cressida_ tells the story of Māori comedians about to take part in a Shakespeare Festival in England.

The award chosen by the FIFO public went to a film made by Australian director Catherine Scott, _Scarlet Road_, about sex workers for disabled persons.

A clip from the award-winning Aux Enfants de la Bombe documentary.

Photo: The Grand Prix documentary winners at FIFO 2013 (right).


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