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‘Mataliki’ Tokelau preschool wins okay for expansion plans

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Preschoolers at play in Mataliki Tokelau Akoga Kamata in Mangere, Auckland. Image: Mataliki Tokelau

Pacific Scoop:
Report – By Mikaela Collins

A Tokelau language preschool in New Zealand that started out as a playgroup in a Mangere garage in Auckland plans to expand.

Mataliki Tokelau Akoga Kamata has been granted permission by Auckland Council to extend the one existing building.

The preschool was started by Foai Foai and Feagai Foai in 1987 and has been operating at its Aorere Park location since 1998. Read more »

USP appoints new journalism coordinator amid controversy

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Pacific Scoop:
Report – By Shireen Lata in Suva

A former broadcast journalism lecturer and media centre broadcaster of the University of the South Pacific, New Zealander Patrick Craddock, is returning to Suva to take up the journalism coordinator’s post.

Craddock replaces Australian Dr Ian Weber who resigned suddenly last week.

Craddock has worked for nearly 20 years in different countries in Africa and the Pacific teaching radio journalism, writing scripts and producing radio drama for adult education. Read more »

Election, constitution and declaration round out busy Forum week

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The opening ceremony of the Pacific Islands Forum in Majuro, the Marshall Islands, last week. Image: Pacific Islands Forum

Pacific Scoop:
Report – By Michael Sergel

Australia has elected a new leader, Fiji has passed a new constitution and Pacific countries have signed a new declaration on climate change at the end of a ground-breaking week in Pacific politics.

Tony Abbott led the Liberal-National Coalition to electoral victory on Saturday, to become Prime Minister-elect of Australia and one of the most powerful players in the Asia-Pacific region.

He was due to clarify an arrangement for asylum seeker resettlement in Papua New Guinea in the near future, and incoming Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop told ABC that developing a “strong mutually respectful relationship with Indonesia” would also be a top priority.

Read more »

MPs apologise to Pacific over NZ failure to sign climate change pact

Climate change

Climate change … along with depleted fisheries and savage storms, this is one of the great challenges facing the Pacific. Image: Fiji Times

Pacific Scoop:
Report – By Michael Sergel and Finian Scott

Rising sea levels, falling fish stocks and more extreme storms have proven destructive and deadly, Pacific leaders told a Wellington forum at the weekend.

New Zealand Green MP Kennedy Graham launched an apology to delegates at the Pacific Parliamentary and Political Leaders Forum on behalf of New Zealanders who disagreed with the government’s decision not to sign the Copenhagen Agreement on reducing carbon emissions and alleviating climate change.

Other delegates spoke of the threat that rising sea levels posed to low-lying islands, the effect of overfishing and environmental changes on the Pacific fish stock, and the recovery efforts after severe storms in Samoa, Tonga and other countries. Read more »

Team put together to review Pacific Plan this year

Pacific Plan

The Pacific Plan … under review, criticised. Image: PMC

Pacific Scoop:
Report – By the PMC news desk

An independent review team of leading experts has been named to consider the Pacific Plan during this year.

Pacific Islands Forum leaders nominated a former Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea, Sir Mekere Morauta, to lead the review at the Forum meeting in the Cook Islands last September.

Following a competitive selection process, the rest of his team has been named. Read more »

The diplomacy of decolonisation – plenty of Pacific flashpoints to challenge officials

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New Caledonia’s Northern Province independence leader Paul Neaoutyine … negotiated contracts with South Korea and China. Image: David Robie/PMC

Decolonisation might not look like a hot-button issue but after Australia’s Security Council win the country will now have to start taking it seriously in the Pacific. A special two-part report.

Pacific Scoop:
Analysis – By Nic Maclellan

The successful bid for a rotating seat on the UN Security Council places Australia in an interesting place. Over the next few years, the country will be in the spotlight as the United Nations addresses hot-button international issues: maritime disputes between China and its Asia-Pacific neighbours; the prospects for Palestinian statehood; negotiations for a global climate treaty and a new compact to replace the Millennium Development Goals after 2015.

But closer engagement with the United Nations will also create a few thorny dilemmas on issues that receive less international attention.

One often ignored issue is the future of the UN Special Committee on Decolonisation and the lack of international action to complete the UN agenda on self-determination and political independence. Read more »

Clinton says Pacific ‘big enough’ for both US, China

PIF Retreat

Pacific Islands Forum leaders meet at their retreat on Aitutaki atoll in the Cook Islands yesterday. Image: Cook Islands News

Pacific Scoop:
Report – By Shaun Tandon, Neil Sands and Rachel Reeves on Rarotonga

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has vowed the United States will remain active in the South Pacific for the “long haul” but says the region is big enough for a rising China.

Clinton announced some $32 million in new aid projects as she became the first US secretary of state to take part in the traditional dialogue after the Pacific Islands Forum leaders summit, in a sign of renewed interest in the vast region.

Clinton’s visit came as many island states have been forging closer ties with China, which according to Australia’s Lowy Institute has pledged more than $600 million in low-interest and mostly strings-free loans to the South Pacific since 2005. Read more »

Cook Islanders welcome Clinton for post-Forum dialogue with Pacific

Hillary Clinton

Cook Islanders welcome US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to Rarotonga last night for the post-Forum dialogue today. Image: CSM

Pacific Scoop:
Report – By Calida Smylie on Rarotonga

After much hype and speculation about whether US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton would attend the Forum, she finally arrived in Rarotonga last night and was engaged in talks with the Pacific today.

Clinton flew in last night just before 11pm on her personal jet, one of four government C-32s, or a Boeing 757 fitted with auxiliary fuel tanks enabling it to fly about three hours longer than a regular 757.

She had breakfast today with other leaders at Trader Jack’s and afterwards attended the 24th post-forum dialogue partner’s meeting at the National Auditorium. Read more »

43rd Pacific Islands Forum Communiqué

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Pacific Scoop:
Report

Here is the 43rd Pacific Islands Forum Communiqué released at the end of the Leaders’ Retreat held in Aitutaki in the northern Cook Islands today:

FORUM COMMUNIQUÉ

The Forty-Third Pacific Islands Forum was held in Rarotonga, Cook Islands, from 28 to 30 August 2012 and was attended by Heads of State and Governments of Australia, the Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of Kiribati, the Republic of Nauru, New Zealand, Niue, Papua New Guinea, Republic of the Marshall Islands, Samoa, Tonga and Tuvalu. Read more »

Oxfam calls for ‘fair and binding’ Pacific climate change pact

Oxfam’s Barry Coates … better climate change planning and accessible funding needed. Image: Oxfam/PMC

Pacific Scoop:
By Henry Yamo on Rarotonga

Oxfam has called for a “fair and binding” international agreement to boost strategic funding for climate change adaptation for all Pacific countries.

“Much more needs to be done to access climate change finance – a core message is that response to climate change depends heavily on building in-country capacity,” executive director of Oxfam New Zealand Barry Coates said today at the launch of a new Oxfam report on climate change in the Cook Islands.

“And for such capacity to be fully effective, it requires collaboration between all actors at all levels of society.” Read more »

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