Pacific News Briefs
SAMOA PEACEKEEPERS LEAVE FOR SUDAN
A contingent of 6 officers from the Samoa Police Service left for Sudan on Friday, Dec. 15 to serve as part of a United Nations deployment mission.
Farewelled in a simple ceremony by the SPS executive, the officers will be deployed in Sudan for 12 months.
Police Commissioner Fuiavailiili Egon Keil congratulated the officers for making it through the tough selection process and reminded them about their role as ambassadors of Samoa in the UN arena during their deployment. He wished them all the best and said that the priority for them is to stay safe.
Samoa signed an agreement with the United Nations Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) in 2000 and Samoa’s first deployment was in June that same year, sending officers to the UN mission in East Timor.
The number of Samoan uniformed personnel engaged in UN-led peacekeeping operations has varied depending on UN requests, although Samoa has never refused any UN requests for peacekeepers. Samoa has since deployed peacekeepers to Liberia and Sudan. Samoa has also provided police to the Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Islands (RAMSI).
Samoa deploys both men and women officers and in 2010, the first all-women Samoan police contingent was sent to Timor Leste to join the UN Integrated Mission there.
The current team headed to Sudan consists of:
1. S/Sgt Tavete Tusani, 2. Const Onosai Muipu, 3. Const Vavaemuititi Koroseta, 4. Const Tosoimatuu Talatonu, 5. Const Faafetai Opeta Auvaa and 6. Const Benhuro Fiu Loimata
(Source: Samoa Press Secretariat — www.samoaplanet.com)
SCHOLARS BOUND FOR FIJI
By Tina Mata'afa-Tufele
More than ready for the challenge, some excited and nervous, a group of 20 scholars are bound for Fiji through the prestigious Australia Awards.
Recipients of the Fiji scholarships were recognized during a ceremony Friday afternoon at the Elisa Hotel Conference Room in Sogi.
“It’s quite exciting and I’m scared at the same time,” eighteen-year-old Jeremy Fa’amau told Samoa Planet. “I’ve never left here without parental supervision and this will be my first time being alone by myself in a foreign land.”
Jeremy, the son of Ray and Fo’ilagi Fa’amau of Vaivase Tai, will major in political science at the University of the South Pacific in Suva. Like most of the 2017 Australia Awards winners, he just completed foundation year at the National University of Samoa. He was enrolled at the Faculty of the Arts.
An avid reader, writer, and savvy communicator, political science is not Jeremy’s first choice. Political science is not so much an interest of this Samoa College graduate. In fact it’s his Plan B.
Jeremy Fa’amau, recipient of the Australia Award Scholarship that will fund his undergraduate studies in Fiji.
“It wasn’t so much about interest, it’s about my strengths. I’m very good in English, I love communicating and I hate maths,” Jeremy laughed. “I hate maths. I hate maths. Write that down. It’s mostly just capitalizing on my strengths. I love writing. I love reading.”
“Initially, I wanted to be a lawyer,” he said. “But the government is not supporting anymore law scholarships…there are too many lawyers in Samoa…I was bummed because I’ve wanted to be a lawyer since Year 9.”
Jeremy’s parents reminded him that many students would love to be where he is today – done with NUS foundation year and on his way to USP on a scholarship.
His current goal: “I just want to finish, get a degree in something, get a job and help out mommy and daddy. Merry Christmas!”
Scholar sisters Nafanua and Lili Brown, head to Fiji for study for their bachelor’s degrees. Nafanua’s studies will be funded by the Australia Awards program. Lili is attending uni under the Samoa government’s scholarship program.
Nafanua Brown, who represents Vaoala in the pool of Fiji-bound scholars, is excited as her primary goal is to serve Samoa after obtaining her Bachelor of Commerce degree at USP.
“I’m aiming to be an economist and major in economy and marketing,” she said. “The main goal for me is to serve our country. Economists can be teachers…to help our country to develop to achieve our economic goals.”
The Brown family celebrates the scholastic achievements of Nafanua, 20, and her 18-year-old sister Lili. Lili skipped Year 11 and joined Nafanua in Year 12 at Samoa College.
The daughters of Elvis and Lei Brown, graduated from Samoa College and then NUS foundation year together. However, because Lili was born in American Samoa, she was not eligible for awards from Australia or New Zealand, said Nafanua.
“Another reason for me to pursue my career goals is that my family are science people, even my sister,” she said. “I want to be different.”
Nafanua landed an Australia Awards scholarship and Lili’s scored a Samoa government scholarship. They’re both going to study for their bachelor’s degrees in Fiji.
“This is a great opportunity to explore the world,” she said. “I’m actually pretty scared. It’s a bit difficult for me to go out there.”
Australia Awards are prestigious international scholarships funded by the Government of Australia.
During her speech, Australia Deputy High Commissioner for Samoa, Amanda Jewell, congratulated awardees and reminded: “never lose focus” in Fiji.
(Source: Samoa Press Secretariat — www.samoaplanet.com)
WILEX SAMOA LAUNCHES NEW DAIRY FREE COCONUT CHOCOLATES FOR EXPORT
The Wilsons; Nathan, father Tagaloa Eddie and mum Carol with sister Grace at the launching of their new chocolate brands
There is a popular saying “Life is a box of Chocolates! You never know what you’re gonna get” and Wilex Samoa launched a NEW Range of Chocolate Boxes to add to its ever popular KOKO LOA line of chocolates. Its 3 New products- aimed for the local, tourist and export markets.
The 3 new products are:
- The “Dairy Free” Milk Coconut Chocolate — is a first of its kind in the world- and is a delicious products targeting the Vegan Market as well as health foods markets. “We developed this chocolate after numerous requests from our “Vegetarian and vegan community” as well as surveys carried out at the Auckland, Food Show held in July where Koko Loa displayed some of its products.
- The Koko Loa Assorted Gift Pack of Chocolates is simply divine! “The Gift Packs were inspired by our customers feedback saying they wanted something slightly bigger to show off Samoa to family and friends, we’ve worked tirelessly with our design people in Wellington, NZ to bring you this beautiful packaging masterpiece. The new packaging arrived last week and we’re so excited for our Farmers, Retailer and also Our Employees as if Sales pan out we will definitely need more employees. We promise it is quality chocolate. Still proudly produced here in Lelata by our 20+ staff. Wilex strives to give an exquisite taste of Samoa with nuts and fruits to tickle your taste buds! Koko Loa was just launched in American Samoa last week- and so far support has been overwhelming, with resulting orders now being sent over.
- Koko Loa Macadamia Gift Pack is now being produced here due to popular demand by our American and Asian Customers. Wilex hopes to use existing Samoan Macadamia and nut tree’s for these products to encourage and support small farming communities. “This will provide an extra source of income for our people, instead of going to NZ and Australia, we want to encourage our people to stay in Samoa and farm our land,” said Tagaloa Eddie Wilson.
- Wilex Samoa has a network with over 300 farmers /families since the Mid 1990s, and plans to continue local production are ongoing.
“Our farmers are 2nd- 3rd Generation Wilex Farmers, I worked with their Grandparents and parents to develop their farms and now they’re teaching there children as well, so the more success Wilex see’s so will their farmers” noted Tagaloa Eddie Wilson.
The brand Koko Loa was envisioned by founder Tagaloa Eddie Wilson, the name Koko Loa is a ‘play’ on his Chiefly title Tagaloa – a God of our ancestor. Thus, Koko Loa is “Heaven Sent”.
The Koko Loa Gift Packs were just launched in American Samoa last week and so far support has been overwhelming with the resulting orders now being sent over
Wilex Samoa has been working with the Am Samoa Government and farmers in growing cocoa in the American territory.
Soon Wilex will start producing chocolates from cocoa grown in American Samoa. Plans are for manufacturing arm of the company to be established there as a doorway from the American market.
Koko Loa has now established export markets in Am. Samoa, New Zealand, USA and Japan.
The local factory has just commissioned new plant-equipment including a refiner/conches to increase its exports capacity.
Wilex Samoa has a network with over 1100 farmers- families since the Mid 1990s and plans to continue local production are ongoing. It plans to increase local cocoa production by at least another 2000 acres with its farmers and its farmers and its own.
Plans are also in place to establish joint ventures in Fiji and Tonga as well to increase market access to the Pacific tourism industry.
(Source: Samoa Press Secretariat)
MARITIME BOUNDARIES TALKS’ PROGRESS
Positive and Constructive outcomes have been reached at the USA Department of State (led by Legal team leader Oliver Lewis) hosted Maritime talks with Pacific nations in Washington DC. Delegates from the Kingdom of Tonga, Niue and Samoa met with Department of State officials.
The Samoan delegation was led by Attorney General Lemalu Hermann Retzlaff assisted by Constance Tafua Rivers Lesa, (Assistant AG) Matilda Bartley (MFAT) and Safuta Iulio (ACEO - MNRE).
Lemalu stated: "Samoa has the smallest Exclusive Economic Zone in the Pacific region. As members of the Cabinet appointed National Maritime Boundaries Committee for Samoa, we have an extremely important task with plenty of work ahead. This gathering was a positive step forward."
"We have now initialed and are ready to present our draft bilateral treaty with the Kingdom of Tonga, to Cabinet for their consideration and approval. The teams have agreed in principle only, subject as appropriate, to that final approval. The talks have ironed out details for it to now be given that final consideration."
On talks with the USA, Lemalu further stated "information was formally exchanged and talks between Samoa and the USA Department of State also resulted in a positive open door for ongoing future discussions with them."
The talks were facilitated by the Pacific Community (SPC) Geoscience Energy and Maritime Division. (Represented by Malakai Vakautawale and Andrick Lal) and assisted by counsel from the Australian Attorney General's Department, Ms Frances Anggadi.
(Source: Samoa Press Secretariat)