NEWSROOM 21 November

(Photo: Nick Bakulich)


NEW ZEALAND: Samoan women in rugby
Source: Manu Sina Rugby Press Release

Samoan Women have been hugely involved in recent rugby campaigns including turning out for the Rugby League code. On the first Saturday of October reigning NPC champions Auckland Storm edged out Canterbury by 13-12 in one of the most dramatic finals at Eden Park.

Auckland boasted Manu Sina props Fionna Timoteo and Rona Mulitalo who provided the grunt up front, Bella Milo started on the bench. Black Fern Samoans Fiao’o Fa’amausili, Monalisa Codling, Linda Itunuu, Justine Lavea and Fa’anati Aniseko all made contributions. Loosehead prop Val Davis was the lone Samoan for Canterbury.

Later in October the New Zealand Black Ferns returned from Australia after winning their IRB sanctioned two test series against the Australian Wallaroos by 2-0. The three Samoans in the squad were Fiao’o Fa’amausili, Monalisa Codling and Linda Itunuu. The Black Fern superiority against their Tasman neighbours followed up their 2-0 series win last year in New Zealand.

Otahuhu rugby stalwart Mele Leuluaialii was named in the Fetu Samoa Rugby League team at the Women’s World Cup held in Australia. A strong Otahuhu Rugby Club presence also included Esther Fuaivaa, Laine Fa’apito and former Manu Sina sevens representative Sarah Clayton; Sally Va’afusuaga was the team Manager.

Also in the Fetu from the Ponsonby Rugby Football Club were Neta Peau and Theresa Malaitai, Black Fern Justine Lavea from the Marist Club featured in the centres. Rounding off the large rugby union contingent were players from Wellington including its NPC captain Serena Curtis-Lemuelu, others were Tatiana Tafatu, Akenehe Pereira, Fuarosa Time, Jean Oti and Maryann Collins.

The team finished the tournament on a high after demolishing Russia 52-8 in their final game on Friday; the Fetu finished their World Cup campaign in a more than respectable 4th position with other wins against Tonga and France.

The New Zealand Kiwi Ferns were once again crowned the Women’s Rugby League Queens beating Australia by 34-0 in Brisbane. A former Manu Sina loose forward captained the Kiwi Ferns, arguably the Women’s game most feared player in Luisa Avaiki who helped the cause by scoring a try. Former Manu Sina midfielder and sevens representative Cynthia Ta’ala was also part of the world champion team.

The Marist Club, which included Vaniya Lavea and Mulitalo, have returned from winning the Rarotonga Sevens. The Manukau Rovers Rugby Club and Otahuhu and are both preparing to send teams to Samoa in February with a view to play locals in a 15’s game and to participate in the annual Marist St Joseph’s International Sevens tournament where the Rovers will be looking to defend their title won at this year’s event.


(Photos: Samoa Tourism Authority)


SAMOA: Samoa goes ‘Totally Wild’
Source: Samoa Tourism Authority Press Release

You’ve probably seen it or heard of it from your kids, but it’s safe to assume that nearly everyone with a TV in Samoa knows of the children’s Aussie television programme ‘Totally Wild.’

Now, for the first time, those that watch the half hour programme on our local television stations will be able to enjoy 20 special episodes featuring Samoa and our people on the ‘Totally Wild’ small screen show.

These specific ‘filmed on location’ episodes are scheduled to be on air in January 2009. It is expected to be watched by millions of people in Australia and seventeen other countries, as well as thousands of viewers around the Pacific region that receive the program. Series Repeats of these episodes will also be run at later dates and could be repeated up to three times over a five year period, therefore the value of airtime and number of viewers is certain to increase.

An invitation by Samoa Tourism Authority (STA) Marketing Representative in Australia to all industry related media prompted the interest of Network Ten’s production team to feature stories of Samoa in its ‘Totally Wild’ programme.

Now, thanks to a STA initiative, in collaboration with the airline and local tourism industry, the impossible likelihood of Samoa being filmed by Australia’s Network Ten’s popular ‘children’s magazine style viewing program’ has already become a done deal.

From 26 October – 06 November, one of Totally Wild’s popular presenters, Philippa (Pip) Russell, accompanied by a cameraman and a sound technician, travelled around Upolu and Savaii filming various parts of the country and people.

Totally Wild‘s stories cover a range of subjects with a bias towards nature and the environment, sport and adventure.’ It is lively, informative and rewarding entertainment that reflects young people’s interests, achievements and points of view.

Their storyline footage in Samoa covered: Apia Harbour and historical points of interest; Siva Afi Academy and how it is helping the youth of Samoa; BEN (Beautiful Expressions of Nature) Art Gallery & Academy; Sopoaga Falls’ botanical gardens; Manono Island’s Vaotuua Beach Fale; Mt Matavanu and Saleaula lava fields; Avao and Manase villages focusing on the life of a fourteen year old who is a school boy by day and a fire knife dancer by night; tapa making in Palauli; surfing at Aganoa; traditional dancing and umu making lessons at Manase; Falealupo rainforest with attention to the mamala plant; Tufutafoe’s cape Mulinuu; Alofaaga blowholes; Mata o le Alelo spring; Fagamalo Bay snorkelling and marine life exploration.

The contributors to the film project which assisted STA’s efforts included: Polynesian Blue; Hotel Insel Fehmarn; Vacations Beach Fales; Le Lagoto Beach Resort; Manumea Hotel; Tanu Beach Fales; Dive Savaii; Airport Authority.

Photo Captions:

Photo 1 -
(L-R) Fabien Lebon of Dive Savaii, and ‘Totally Wild’ crew; Glen Armstrong (camera man), Philippa Russell (presenter), Ashley Eden (sound technician).

Photo 2 - Philippa (Pip) Russell of ‘Totally Wild’ and cameraman filming local children.


AUSTRALIA: SkyAirWorld ready to move in for Anuha
Source: Solomon Star

SkyAirWorld says it is excited and is prepared to commence work once an agreement is signed with the government and landowners to redevelop Anuha. 

Chief Executive Office of SkyAirWorld David Charlton said this after the Cabinet approved his bid to re-develop Anuha Island in Central Province.

 “SkyAirWorld is delighted with the news and looking forward to commencing work on the Anuha Island redevelopment,” Mr Charlton said. 

“There are great opportunities to develop tourism in the Solomon Islands as a result of this development,” he added.  

 Mr Charlton is likely to visit Anuha soon as part of inspecting the damaged resort before work starts.
“Yes we will inspect the island prior to the signing ceremony which will be held in Tulagi in the coming weeks. Survey work will commence in the next few weeks,” he said.

Mr Charlton also confirmed that the airstrip on the island will be redeveloped and SkyAirWorld domestic aircraft will service the island during development and when work is completed.   

SkyAirWorld will be flying in their booked tourists to Honiara and connect to Anuha on board a caravan plane to Anuha and by sea.

 “Yes, SkyAirWorld will look to operate air and sea domestic transfers from Honiara to Anuha Island,” Mr Charlton said.  

He said further details of the plan will be provided soon.



(Photos: United States Embassy, Fiji)


USA: Construction of Fiji’s U.S. Embassy clocks a million hours without injury
Source: Pacific Magazine

Local and overseas contractors and workers at the new American Embassy complex site in Suva, Fiji are celebrating a million work hours without any disabling injury.

This has also meant zero delays in the project through injury-related incidents or stoppages.

When completed, the 4.3 hectare compound will host a state-of-the-art embassy facility set in a lush garden with both American and local design elements, providing 4,600 square meters of safe, secure and functional office space.

The U.S. Department of State’s Overseas Buildings Operations (OBO), which is directly supervising the new project in Tamavua, said this safety milestone is a direct result of the commitment to health and safety awareness and practices by Telesource SHBC (Fiji) Limited, the project’s general contractor, and other contractors.

“Safety is a key element of our global building program. A safe work environment increases worker morale and productivity,” said OBO Project Director Tracy Thomas.

“The importance we place on safety is also a means to show respect to the local host community. We recognize ourselves as guests in Fiji for this endeavour, and the project would not be a success without the local construction workforce,” she added.

The new embassy site, worth over FJ$30m, employs 50 overseas and 400 local workers and staff members through Telesource (an American general contractor registered in Fiji since 2000) and its major sub-contractor Fletcher Construction.

“The math is simple. When man-hours increase, risks and injury exposure increase. But it is a fact that organizations that care about their employees and their contractors’ employees continually look for ways to make their construction environment safer,” said Thomas.

“Based on statistics from the Labour Ministry’s HASAWA [Health and Safety at Work Act], this is the first time a project has reached this milestone on any construction projects in the Fiji Islands.”

Telesource Chief Executive Officer Nidal Zayed said that safety is Telesource’s most important core value, and the team was doing an exemplary job.

Photo Captions:

Photo 1 -
Construction underway in the basement of the United States’ new embassy in Fiji.

Photo 2 - A bird’s eye view of workers on top of the building at the site.


VANUATU: Vanuatu government again faces no confidence challenge
Source: Radio New Zealand News

Thirteen members of the Vanuatu opposition bloc have filed another motion of no-confidence against prime minister Edward Natapei.

This is the third such motion since his election two months ago.

The Office of the Speaker says the opposition is argues that the election of the prime minister was undemocratic and dishonest.

Meanwhile, President Kalkot Mataskelekele is urging all Members of Parliament to be responsible for the needs of their people.

He has urged MP's to use their best ability, efforts and initiative to help improve rural livelihood by responding positively to the different needs requested


(Photo: National Pacific Islander Educator Network)


WORLDWIDE: Dannica Ofisa receives NPIEN scholarship
Source: National Pacific Islander Educator Network Press Release

Lakewood High School graduate Dannica Ofisa received the Christina Diaz Scholarship at the National Pacific Islander Educator Network’s (NPIEN) 7th annual conference on November 15, 2008 at Paramount High School.

Named after the late Native Hawaiian artist, Christina Diaz, the scholarship recognises Pacific Islander students who have excelled academically.

During her senior year, in addition to her rigorous academic schedule, Dannica participated in the Link Crew, as an American Red Cross volunteer, and basketball team manager. She also helped special education students to develop better social skills in the Best Buddies Club.

Dannica is majoring in Criminal Justice at Cal State University, Fullerton. Ray Diaz, Christina’s husband, was present at the event with his Hawaiian Gourds display.

This year’s scholarships were sponsored by Vemma, Wilson Financial Services, NT& Associates, and Guesthouse International Hotel, Long Beach.

Since only one out of ten Pacific Islanders graduate from college, and many lack funding to pursue higher education, the scholarships are very significant to the Pacific Islander community.

Over 240 teachers, students, and parents attended the 2008 NPIEN conference. Keynote speaker James Kawika Riley of the Big Island of Hawaii encouraged students to never give up the pursuit of their dreams.

Riley as an undergraduate student, challenged federal policies that did not recognise Pacific Islanders as underrepresented minorities in higher education, resulting in decades of the denial of financial aid opportunities.

Thanks to Riley, Pacific Islander students will enjoy more financial resources in fulfilling their academic goals. His story demonstrates that despite difficult odds, we can make a difference with persistent effort.

NPIEN salutes Dannica Ofisa.

Learn more about the organisation at

Photo Caption: Dannica Ofisa receiving her NPIEN scholarship.


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