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Pat on back for Pacific public health successes, but also criticism

Participants of a walk against Diabetes and for general fitness around Nauru airport.  Photo by Lorrie Graham.  Contact photolibrary@ausaid.gov.au to request a high resolution original.

A walk against diabetes and for health around Nauru airport. Image: Lorrie Graham/PhotoLibrary

Significant achievements in Pacific public health, reports Asia-Pacific Journalism. But there is a serious downside too.

Pacific Scoop:
Report – By Chelsea Armitage

Progress is being made in Pacific health in New Zealand in some areas, but falling short in others, says a recent public audit report.

The first six-monthly update on ‘Ala Mo’ui: Pathways to Pacific Health and Wellbeing 2014-2018 was released this month, collating quantitative data on Pacific health.

Pacific Islanders in New Zealand trumped the general Kiwi population in a number of factors, the report says. Read more »

19 years on, Wansolwara’s student journalists still tackle tough issues

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Student journalists Avneel Abhishay Chand (left) and Sharol Kondaiya out distributing the latest issue of Wansolwara on the University of the South Pacific campus. Image: Wansolwara

Pacific Scoop:
Special Report – By Kai Ping Lew

The editorial supervisor watches the students like a hawk as they type frantically, occasionally barking questions about their stories.

Her eyes alternate between scanning the laptop in front of her and monitoring the progress of her reporters-in-training doing their best to meet the looming print deadline.

The modest classroom is a makeshift newsroom, home to the award-winning University of South Pacific’s Wansolwara student newspaper. “Wansolwara is pidgin for “one ocean, one people” and the newspaper covers serious local and regional issues. Read more »

Pacific languages more popular with youth but funding cuts impact on role

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Professor Tania Ka’ai speaking at the launch of the Cook Islands language app. Image: International Centre of Language Revitalisation

In spite of an increase in interest in Pacific languages from second and third generation Pacific Islanders in New Zealand, critics say the government “doesn’t value Pasifika languages and cultures”. Asia-Pacific Journalism reports in the wake of Pasifika Education Centre funding cuts.

Pacific Scoop:
Report – By Mata Lauano

Language retention among second and third generation Pacific people is on the rise, but recent funding cuts to a major education provider is jeopardising this.

Labour MP Su’a William Sio says funding cuts to the Pasifika Education Centre could mean the demise of a charitable trust that exists to preserve, maintain and promote the use of Pacific languages.

This doesn’t bode well for the retention of Pacific languages in New Zealand, says Su’a. Read more »

Native Affairs trumps mainstream media in exclusive West Papua TV report

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Preview of producer Adrian Stevanon’s groundbreaking report on West Papua. Image: MTS Native Affairs

“We were among the first media people allowed in in decades. The challenge now is to see if other media outlets in New Zealand will take the opportunity to try and apply.” Asia-Pacific Journalism reports on the West Papua mission by Adrian Stevanon.

Pacific Scoop:
Report – By Latifa Daud

Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo lifting the foreign media ban in West Papua is a promising step, says Māori Television Native Affairs producer Adrian Stevanon.

Stevanon has recently returned from West Papua, saying the experience was “interesting” and his programme is being broadcast tonight.

“Going in you’re not so sure how things are going to play out on the ground. I felt pretty safe the whole time,” he says. Read more »

Rainbow Warrior campaign pushes spotlight on Pacific fish ‘laundering’

Crew of illegal fishing vessel Shuen De Ching No.888 look on as the Rainbow Warrior pulls up alongside. The Rainbow Warrior travels in the Pacific to expose out of control tuna fisheries. Tuna fishing has been linked to shark finning, overfishing and human rights abuses.

The crew of the illegal fishing vessel Shuen De Ching No.888 watch as the Rainbow Warrior pulls up alongside. Tuna fishing has been linked to shark finning, overfishing and human rights abuses in the Pacific. Image: Greenpeace

Nauru’s recent announcement that it would ban transshipping practices makes it the third Pacific Island country to do so. Asia-Pacific Journalism reports on the impact for the region.

Pacific Scoop:
Report – By Kai Ping Lew

Nauru has joined the Marshall Islands and Tuvalu to become the third country in the Pacific to ban the controversial practice of transhipping.

The ban comes in the wake of the Rainbow Warrior III discovering Taiwanese longliner Shuen De Ching No 888 operating illegally in its waters, including offloading its catch to a mothership and keeping incomplete records of its catch.

The practice of transhipping allows longliner vessels to stay out on the high seas without coming to port for long periods at a time by transferring their catch to other ships. Read more »

Cook Islands artists hosted in Creative NZ Pacific heritage project

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The six artists chosen for Creative New Zealand’s heritage art exchange between the Cook Islands and Aotearoa. Image: Creative NZ

Sharing knowledge and skills of traditional art forms – ranging from tattooing to drumming – provide insights into a distinct culture, reports Asia-Pacific Journalism.

Pacific Scoop:
Report – By Georgina Harris

The Auckland War Memorial Museum recently hosted six Cook Islands artists as part of Creative New Zealand’s Pacific Heritage Artists Project.

A day of demonstrations, talks and workshops on September 12 allowed the specialist artists to share knowledge and skills of their heritage art forms – ranging from tattooing to drumming – that are distinct to the Cook Islands culture.

The project is a Creative New Zealand annual exchange intended to support Pacific art links with New Zealand. Read more »

Paying it forward – a new dance concept with Ia Manuia

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Ia Manuia … contemporary dance with strong Pacific values. Image: PMC

“Pacific communities don’t have a lot of role models leaving behind legacies for young Pacific …” Asia-Pacific Journalism reports on one strategy based on dance.

Pacific Scoop:
Report – By Susan Epskamp

Walking into a dance studio for the first time can be daunting, but all expectations and fears evaporate as soon as you hear the laughter. And there is a lot of laughter coming from a New Zealand dance studio every Thursday night.

“Poetry in motion, straight up contemporary techniques, and then we will finish with some improvisation to make everyone feel all good.”

This is how Jahra Wasasala, associate artistic director of Ia Manuia, starts her dance class in Auckland’s Wellesley Dance Studio. Read more »

Digital broadcasting switchover starts for Pacific nations

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PNG’s Minister for Finance James Marape switches on Fiji-based Click TV’s equipment at the launch of the first HD broadcaster in the Pacific Islands. with him is Reenal Deo (left), Click’s engineering manager and managing director Richard Broadbridge (right). Image: Click TV

Nine Pacific countries now national “roadmaps” for the transition to digital broadcasting. Without a digital switchover, Pacific broadcasters face increased costs, reports Asia-Pacific Journalism.

Pacific Scoop:
Report – By Matthew Hutching

Following the Pacific Media Partnership conference in Apia last month, there are plans for Papua New Guinea, Samoa and Tonga to start the transition to digital broadcasting within the next two years.

The conference was organised by the Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union and International Telecommunication Union with the aim of addressing the challenges of content production, new technologies, and digitisation of broadcasting in the Pacific region.

So far, the ITU has helped nine Pacific countries develop national “roadmaps” for the transition to digital. They include Fiji, Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and Tonga. Read more »

Push to ban transhipments in ‘out of control’ Pacific tuna fishery


Abuse at sea – “we were paid nothing at all”. One of a series of testimonies by abused fishermen. Video: Greenpeace

Transhipment – the process of transferring fish at sea from a smaller fishing vessel to a larger storage vessel – has been linked to overfishing, and calls have been made for a Pacific-wide ban. Asia-Pacific Journalism reports.

Pacific Scoop:
Report – By Michael Neilson

Pressure is mounting to outlaw Pacific region transhipments – a practice linked to overfishing – after Nauru’s decision to impose a ban in its waters.

This decision follows Greenpeace’s discovery of the Taiwanese longliner Shuen De Ching No. 888, which the environmental organisation claims had been fishing without permission near Nauru’s waters for two months.

Along with an illegal amount of shark fins, Greenpeace said the logbook also showed an implausibly low catch of five tonnes, suggesting the vessel had been transferring undocumented fish to another ship. Read more »

Worst drought in two decades forces PNG to close many schools

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Women of Papua New Guinea collecting water. Image: Nic Dunlop/IOM

Thousands of children in Papua New Guinea are currently receiving little or no education because of a severe drought making drinking water scarce, reports Asia-Pacific Journalism.

Pacific Scoop:
Report – By Ida Brock

Children playing in the schoolyard is an increasingly rare sight in Papua New Guinea these days.

The country is currently battling a severe El Niño-driven drought which is leaving the country low on drinking water, says Dr Mike Bourke from the College of Asia and the Pacific at the Australian National University.

He has recently been in Papua New Guinea to assess the situation. Read more »

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