Easter Chu Shing is the new Deputy Director General of the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP). Chu Shing has worked with SPREP for the past 10 years, originally as the Biodiversity Adviser and then as Director of Environmental Monitoring and Governance.
Zed Seselja is Australia’s new Minister for International Development and the Pacific. He replaces Alex Hawke, who has been promoted to the more senior cabinet role of Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs.
New Caledonia's SLN nickel company has a new CEO, Guillaume Verschaeve, who will have the challenging task of restructuring operations to avoid insolvency. He replaces Colin McGibbon, who was in the role less than a year.
Regional telco, Amalgamated Telecom Holdings (ATH) has three new directors, Tupou’tuah Baravilala, who is Fiji’s Director-General for Digital Transformation, Cybersecurity and Communication, Viliame Vodonaivalu, who is currently Chief Investment Officer at the Fiji National Provident Fund and Pravinesh Singh, who is FNPF’s Chief Financial Officer. The new directors replace Ajith Kodagoda, Tom Ricketts and Arun Narsey.
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Former Cook Islands Prime Minister, Joseph Williams, has died of coronavirus in Auckland. At 82 years of age, Williams was a well-known GP, politician and author, as well as a former Cook Islands Health Minister who had been based in New Zealand in recent years, still serving his community as a doctor. “Our national has lost a much-loved son”, Prime Minister Henry Puna said in tribute.
A long term campaigner for workers right and fair pay, Father Kevin Barr, has died in Suva at the age of 84. Father Barr for many years worked to assist Fiji’s most vulnerable urban poor. As we went to press, details for his homecoming mass were still being finalised.
New Zealand’s Consul-General to New Caledonia, French Polynesia and Wallis and Futuna, Bruce Shepherd, has died in Noumea. “Mr Shepherd, whose diplomatic career took him to virtually every corner of the world promoting New Zealand’s interests, will be deeply missed by colleagues here and abroad,” NZ Minister for Foreign Affairs, Winston Peters said.
Palauan music legend, Johnny B has died due to kidney favour. His tape Micronesia was the first commercial recording released by a Palauan, and he had 500 songs in his repertoire and was hugely popular in the north Pacific.
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Niue’s new Premier is Dalton Tagelagi. He won 13 votes to rival O’love Jacobsen’s seven. Tagelagi was previously Minister for the Environment, Natural Resources, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries and replaces Sir Toke Talagi. Meanwhile Crossley Tatui has been named as Minister for Finance and Infrastructure, Mona Ainuu is the new minister for Natural Resources and newcomer Sauni Tongatule is the new minister of Social Services.
New Zealand-based Samoan lawyer, Satiu Simativa Perese, has been sworn as Samoa's new Chief Justice, replacing the recently retired Patu Falefatu Sapolu. He has worked at the NZ Crown Law Office and is a past President of the Pacific Lawyers Society and member of the NZ Human Rights Tribunal.
Kiribati’s Parliament has elected its first female Speaker, former Opposition member Tangariki Reete. She is a former Minister of Women, Youth and Social Affairs.
Musie Werror is the new Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer at Ok Tedi Mining, replacing Peter Graham, who is now Chairman and Acting Managing Director at Kumul Minerals Holdings. From Madang, Werror was formerly Deputy Chief CEO and General Manager Employee and External Relations. He first joined OTML under the Graduate Development Scheme in 1988.
Cook Islands Prime Minister Henry Puna has taken over the Police portfolio in a Cabinet reshuffle. The portfolio had been held by Vaine (Mac) Mokoroa, who is now Education Minister. There had been tension between Mokoroa and the Police Commissioner over the later’s contract and tenure.
In Vanuatu, the Acting Director of the Department of Hospital and Curative Services, Russel Tamata, has been named as the new Director General of the Ministry of Health. Tamata takes over from Johnson Wabaiat, who is now the Acting Director of the Department of Hospital and Curative Services. In other appointments, the former boss of the Vanuatu Association of Sports and National Olympic Committee, Henry Tavoa, has been appointed as Director of the Department of Youth and Sports Development.
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KIRIBATI’S partially state-owned fisheries company Kiribati Fish Ltd, which is controlled by Shanghai Fisheries General Corporation (Group), announced late last year it will supply fish certified as sustainable by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC). Under the partnership with Pacifical, which markets MSC tuna caught in PNA waters, Kiribati Fish is expected to process MSC-certified yellowfin tuna steaks and loins bound for the EU and US.
The supply begins this month. Kiribati Fish has already spent around $10million in its processing factory in Tarawa, said managing director, Xue Jun Du. Kiribati Fish was formed in 2010 as a partnership between the government of Kiribati (40 per cent), Golden Ocean Fish of Fiji (40 pc), and Shanghai Fisheries. Golden Ocean Fish is also owned by Shanghai Fisheries, meaning the Chinese firm controls 60 pc of Kiribati Fish.
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JOSEPH Parker became the Pacific’s first world boxing champion after beat - ing Mexico’s Andy Ruiz in Auckland, New Zealand for the vacant WBO title. Now honoured as a matai, the New Zealand-born Luoesoliai Laauliaalemalietoa Joseph Parker has been feted in his motherland of Samoa by local dignitaries.
He is also the first New Zealand born world champion. Fijian Alipate Kororovou held the Commonwealth Middleweight title in the 1970s but no Pacific islander has ever been world champion untiol now. Samoan Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Lupesoliai Neioti Aiono Sailele Malielegaoi, was instrumental in ensuring his country paid $USD100,000 for promotional rights during the fight.
The money went towards promoting Samoa as a tourist destination as it ramps up hotel construction and airport refurbishment projects.
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