Pacific Islands

Work commences on Pacific undersea internet cable

The 13,700km Southern Cross NEXT cable will connect Tokelau for the first time, as well landing points in Kiribati, Fiji, Samoa, Australia and New Zealand.

Nokia's Alcatel Submarine Networks is building the network, which will be the largest capacity system between Australia and New Zealand and the US, its chief executive Philippe Piron said in a post on LinkedIn.

New Zealand is putting $US14.8 million toward connecting Tokelau to the cable, while the territory's government is contributing $US4.5 million.

     

Pacific travellers encouraged to get measles vaccination

New Zealand's Director of Public Health said a lot of people have close ties with the Pacific region and with school holidays approaching, many plan to travel.

Caroline McElnay said the Ministry is seeing a substantial number of measles cases in Auckland and wants to limit the outbreak.

China's Pacific investment a 'trap'

It comes as Solomon Islands continues to reassess its relationship with Taiwan, ahead of a possible diplomatic switch to China.

Sixteen Solomons MPs declared last week they wanted the country to stick with Taiwan, following the visit of a ministerial delegation to China.

The group is led by the Minister for National Planning, Rick Hou, who said a vote in parliament on the matter would not happen this year.

Speaking to reporters in Palau last week, Dr Wu said he respected that the Solomons needed time to debate the issue.

Auckland city kava bar hopes to win hearts and minds over drink

The drink - an earthy-tasting ground root which numbs muscles and has been used to treat anxiety and stress - has been used widely across the Pacific and among its diaspora for centuries.

But the West, commercial traction has been held back by a lack of education around Pacific culture and limited research into its effects, experts say. Although legal in New Zealand, kava imports been restricted in many Western jurisdictions, including parts of Australia.

Pacific Islands to be well represented at the Internationale Tourismus-Börse Berlin

Member countries are represented by their national tourism offices and these include Cook Islands Tourism Corporation, New Caledonia Tourism, Samoa Tourism Authority, Vanuatu Tourism and the Solomon Island Visitors Bureau.  Private sector participants are Turama Pacific, Air Caledonie International and Noumea Discovery Travel Company

Illegal fishing on Pacific leaders summit agenda

The Pacific Island Leaders Meeting, known as PALM, is held in Japan every three years.

Japan's government hosts the PALM summits as a way to share its assistance programme with Pacific Island Forum countries.

Ahead of this summit, Tokyo said measures to help Pacific countries enforce maritime law within their maritime jurisdictions would be included in a joint statement for the eighth PALM meeting.

Pacific Island countries struggle to adequately police their exclusive economic zones which have become subject to regular incursions by so-called Vietnamese blue boats.

Kiwifruit body wants more RSE workers

The body's chief executive, Nikki Johnson, said this reflected the current labour shortage facing the industry in the Bay of Plenty region.

The cap was increased from 10,500 to 11,100 for this year's season and around 2000 RSE workers would operate in the Bay of Plenty at some point, Ms Johnson said.

An extra 1200 workers were needed over the next month, however, to pick and pack the kiwifruit crop, she said.

Countries agree to cut shipping emissions, to Pacific delight

The agreement came at the end of a week-long meeting of the International Maritime Organisation, a United Nations body, in London, where small countries were pitted against large shipping nations that were against such restrictions.

Friday's agreement calls for global shipping emissions to peak as soon as possible, and to reduce the total annual greenhouse gas emissions by at least 50 percent of 2008 levels by 2050. It also calls for efforts to be pursued to phase out greenhouse gas emissions from shipping entirely.

Traditional vaka used to tackle climate change

The Okeanos Foundation is stationed across the Pacific mostly in remote islands where big freight companies don't usually operate.

Commander and master navigator Peia Patai says they're pushing for traditional Pacific navigation methods to be revived and raising climate change awareness.

"Our ways of propelling these vessels are sustainable," he says. "Using the sun, the wind and we have engines fitted on that use coconut oil that have been created by people on the islands so at the same time we're conscious of the ocean's health."

NZ pledges further $1.5 million to Pacific Islands Cyclone Gita relief

The money is on top of the $750,000 (US$552,000) that the Government has already contributed to the relief efforts.

“This additional funding will be directed to Tonga, Samoa and Fiji which have all felt the impact of the cyclone,” said Peters.

“A picture of the extent of damage caused by Cyclone Gita is emerging and it is clear a big response and clean-up job lies ahead. We are here to help our neighbours get through this,” he said.