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Pacific News Briefs

The elders in the Christchurch Samoan community
Compiled by Samoa News staff

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — New coral designed to thrive in warming waters is now in place off Maui.

The Maui Ocean Center’s Marine Institute has moved 420 coral fragments and 11 coral colonies to the waters there.

It’s part of the “Restore with Resilience Project,” which looks to strengthen reefs.

The corals chosen are seen as more thermally tolerant than others.

They will now hopefully reproduce offspring that will also do better in warming waters.

(Hawaii News Now)


Customs authorities in the Northern Marianas have seized 1.3 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine, hidden in instant tea and milk packaging and men's multivitamins.

The Marianas Variety reported the drugs were discovered during a routine cargo inspection.

Customs Director Jose Mafnas said they suspect the packages came from a known Asian drug syndicate in California.

He said the interception may not have a significant impact on the syndicate's operation as it is relatively cheap to produce and distribute in the United States.

Mafnas said half a kilogram of methemphatimine is worth US$800, and so syndicates adopt a shotgun approach to distribution because "whatever slips through, makes money".

He said the packages they intercepted had an estimated street value of US$300,000 in the Marianas.

(RNZ Pacific)


The Christchurch Samoan community gathered to discuss a bill that if passed will reverse a nearly 40-year old law.

In 1982, the Privy Council ruled that because those born in Western Samoa were treated by New Zealand law as "natural-born British subjects", they were entitled to New Zealand citizenship when it was first created in 1948

However, the National Party-led government under Robert Muldoon took that away with the Western Samoa Citizenship Act 1982, effectively overturning the Privy Council ruling.

Green Party MP Teanau Tuiono's bill will restore the right of citizenship to those who had it removed.

Fonomaaitu Tuvalu Fuimaono, at St Paul's Trinity Pacific Presbyterian Church, said this time he does not want to see politicians play politics and wants parties to align with the Privy Council decision.

"We're not saying that, 'hey, let's play politics with this', we're saying do the right thing and the right thing is give back to those people their right that was granted to them by the judiciary in 1982 it's a simple as that."

Fonomaaitu said New Zealand failed Samoa many times in the 20th century, like bringing influenza to the nation in 1918 and the dawn the raids.

"And then New Zealand, turn around and add more salt onto all those wounds from the past it's an injustice and I think now's the time to do something about it."

National was the only party to not support the bill through the first reading about a month ago.

NZ First leader Winston Petters told Pacific Media Network his party intends to back it the whole way.

"Let's see what happens in the select committee but that is our intention to get where a number of the people in that bill want to go, because that's always been our view," he told PMN.

However, Peters also said he would take in Samoa's views, aware that there could be concern of depopulation.

(RNZ Pacific)


The Governor of Mandang in Papua New Guinea has raised concerns over the rising sea level.

It follows a section of main road being washed away early last week.

The Madang-Highway is used by thousands of people.

The National reported Ramsey Pariwa saying a stone wall is needed, but funding issues have stalled construction.

(RNZ Pacific)


The Vanuatu government says banned single-use plastics are still being sold, used and distributed in the country.

The Vanuatu Daily Post reported the government wants to remind business houses and the public the ban is still in effect.

It applies to single-use plastic bags, plastic straws, single-use disposable plastic cutlery, and polystyrene takeaway boxes, among other items.

Failure to comply with the banning instructions will be dealt with by relevant Government authorities.

(RNZ Pacific)


Starlink has officially launched in Fiji after being issued a license in November last year.

Company owner and tech billionaire Elon Musk shared the news on X, saying it is the 99th market Starlink is now active in.

The company promises to deliver high-speed internet to the remotest regions by using thousands of satellites orbiting close to the planet.

Fiji's telecommunications authority chairperson David Eyre said there has been a lot of interest in the service.

"Starlink has finally notified the telecoms authority of Fiji that their services are online as of [Monday], so we were quite happy to have them on board as a service provider in the Fiji telecoms landscape."

Eyre said other Pacific nations already had Starlink operating before Fiji.

"We're all keen to see how this will impact the services on the ground, and more importantly the communities that will get connectivity where it does not necessarily exist at the moment."

(RNZ Pacific)


The Global Biodiversity Framework Fund has approved more than US$70 million for projects in 21 countries, including Fiji, Nauru, Palau, Samoa and Tonga.

The fund was launched last August during the Global Environment Facility Assembly in Canada, to support the Biodiversity Plan.

The projects will advance many of the Biodiversity Plan targets, and have high outcome targets for enhancing biodiversity, including support to more than 31,000 square miles of terrestrial and marine protected areas.

(RNZ Pacific)


More Fijian nationals have been recruited to the country's judiciary to outnumber expatriate judges.

Fiji's coalition government embarked on a plan to localise all judicial roles in Fiji courts since coming to power in December 2022.

Justice minister Siromi Turaga told Parliament on Tuesday, out of the 59 judicial officers, 50 of them are now local Fijians.

Under the previous government, there were 27 local and 28 expatriate judges.

The Fijian government said the change has reduced travel costs by a third.

(RNZ Pacific)


French president Emmanuel Macron has landed in Nouméa.

The French Ambassador to the Pacific Véronique Roger-Lacan was on the flight.

"The unrest in New Caledonia is absolutely unacceptable," Roger-Lacan told RNZ Pacific in an interview on May 22, at 12.20am (NZT).

She had just arrived back from Caracas where she represented France at this week's UN seminar on decolonization.

"As far as the French state is concerned, our door is open, we are welcoming everyone for dialogue, in Paris or in Nouméa. It's up to everyone to join further dialogue," Roger-Lacan said.

Roger-Lacan said the unrest had been provoked by very specific parts of the Caledonia establishment.

She said she made a plea for dialogue at the United Nations decolonization seminar in light of the deadly protests in New Caledonia.

"Well, what I want to say is that the Nouméa agreement has enabled everyone in New Caledonia to have a representation in the French national assembly and in the Senate," Roger-Lacan said.

"And it is up to all the parties, including the independentists, who have some representatives in the National Assembly and in the Senate, to use their political power to convince everyone in the National Assembly and in the parliament.

"If they don't manage, it is [an] amazingly unacceptable way of voicing their concerns through violence."

While the French government and anti-independence leaders maintain protest organisers are to blame for the violence, pro-independence parties say they have been holding peaceful protests for months.

They say violence was born from socio-economic disparities and France turning a deaf ear to the territorial government's call for a controversial proposed amendment to be scrapped.

Roger-Lacan said while 'everyone' was saying this unrest was called for because they were not listened to by the French state, France stands ready for dialogue.

She said just because one group failed to 'use their political power to convince the assembly and the senate', it did not justify deadly protests.

(RNZ Pacific)