Designer Nev Hyman creating flat-pack, cyclone-proof housing for vulnerable Pacific nations

After launching three surfboard brands — the first in 1973 — Hyman initially invested in plastics recycling.

“Being in Bali in the late 70s and early 80s and seeing how fantastic [Bali] was, and then going back there and seeing more and more rubbish in the oceans ... I ended up thinking I might as well invest in a plastics recycling company,” he told 7.30.

Zika virus may have originated from Pacific Island canoeists

NZ Herald reports the study, published in PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases, suggests the Zika virus sweeping through Latin America may have been introduced to Rio de Janeiro during the 6th World Sprint Championship canoe race in August 2014.

The race included teams from four Pacific countries French Polynesia, New Caledonia, Cook Islands and Easter Island where the virus circulated during 2014.

Zika is believed to cause defects in the brains of fetuses if women become infected during pregnancy.

Pacific countries struggle to shake tax haven reputation

RNZI reports millions of documents from a boutique Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca -- now known as the Panama Papers -- were given to several media organisations around the world and have revealed the firm's involvement in setting up shell companies in offshore jurisdictions, which has allowed the world's richest people to avoid paying taxes.

Pacific needs help building resilient economies, says ITC

The ITC is the joint agency of the United Nations and the World Trade Organisation and advises and trains producers on how to reach international markets.

Following a visit to Fiji, Arancha Gonzalez identified climate change as being the biggest challenge to Pacific farmers being able to access international markets.

Bleak outlook for Pacific on World Health Day

RNZI reports the focus of World Health Day this year is Beat Diabetes with emphasis on scaling up prevention, strengthening care and enhancing surveillance.

The Director-General of the Pacific Community Colin Tukuitonga said diabetes rates in the region continue to climb at an alarming rate and a multi-dimensional approach is needed if there is to be any hope of slowing let alone stopping the trend.

Asbestos still being exported to the Pacific: PacWaste report

A report from SPREP, the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme, in collaboration with the European Union and the World Health Organisation, has identified what it calls an unevenly distributed problem.

It says just four countries, Nauru, Niue, Kiribati and Vanuatu, account for 83 per cent of all the non-residential asbestos in the Pacific.

Academic says NZ needs robust advice on Pacific

RNZI reports the New Zealand Institute for Pacific Research was launched this week, and is a collaboration between the University of Auckland, Auckland University of Technology and the University of Otago.

It's funded with US$5 million over five years by the New Zealand government.

Pacific exchange in drive for quality cocoa exports

This is part of a wider drive to improve the quality and reputation of Pacific cocoa, so that it can be sold into higher priced international markets. 

The Pacific Horticultural and Agricultural Market Access (PHAMA) Program brought together experts from PNG, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and Samoa to foster technical discussions and exchanges on cocoa quality testing and build the capacity of technical staff from relevant research organisations.

US Tuna boats back at work in the Pacific

The impact of both the recent increase in world market prices for skipjack tuna and the re-licensing of United States purse seine vessels has prompted the move.

RNZI Marshall Islands' correspondent said in mid-January, a record 38 purse seiners were anchored in Majuro Lagoon but with departures this week that number was down to 14.

NZ urged to help monitor tuna poachers in Pacific

TVNZ reports the international study estimates US$616 million worth of tuna is taken illegally out of Pacific waters every year.

“No more than four per cent of fishing may be occurring illegally by pirate boats. So we know now that most of the problem is of unreported and unregulated activities of licensed boats,” said James Movick, Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency director general.

It's the first time the extent of tuna poaching in the Pacific has been valued and the report finds better monitoring is desperately needed.