MASI aims to develop regional journalism with USP boost

Media Association of Solomon Islands president Charles Kadamana, a University of the South Pacific journalism alumni, with wantok student journalists Rosalie Nongebatu (left) and joint top award winner Elizabeth Osifelo. Image: Harrison Selmen/Wansolwara

By Geraldine Panapasa in Suva

The Media Association of Solomon Islands (MASI) plans to work closely with the University of the South Pacific journalism programme to develop journalists in the region, says president Charles Kadamana.

Kadaman, a senior journalist with the Solomon Star daily newspaper, says past collaboration with USP Journalism has been successful, including a recent week-long training on anti-corruption reporting in the Solomon Islands.

He said the training was timely as the Solomon Islands government was in the process of debating the Anti-Corruption Bill.


“In Solomon Islands, there are about 36 USP journalism alumni now holding top jobs in the media industry, the government and in the private sectors,” said Kadamana, who was a guest at last week’s 18th USP Journalism Students Awards ceremony at Laucala campus in Suva.

“Looking at the list of journalism alumni, it is evident that the USP journalism programme has produced a lot of communications professionals in different areas contributing to our countries.

“Fiji and other Pacific countries also have USP journalism alumni in top posts.


“Today, there is growing interest of journalists studying at USP. I am also happy to see the number of students from Solomon Islands is increasing.”

Dominated awards
Eleven student journalists are currently with the USP programme and they dominated the awards.

As educated young people, Kadamana encouraged student journalists to take up leadership roles, adding taking up journalism was not an easy task.

“There will be people who will stab you in the back. To avoid disaster, all you have to do is produce the results.

“Do not be the person who only wants the position for status and glory,” Kadamana said.

The USP journalism alumni said the university had been the breeding ground for nurturing future journalists to meet the needs of the region during the past 50 years.

Wansolwara News and the Pacific Media Centre have a content sharing arrangement.

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MIL OSI – Source: Evening Report Arts and Media

Gallery: Pacific student journalists show their stuff on USP awards night

Pacific Media Watch Newsdesk

Student journalists have celebrated the end of the academic year with their 18th annual awards at the University if the South Pacific.

They were in jovial spirits as 14 awards and cash prizes to the tune of $6000 were awarded to many of the students in a ceremony on Friday evening.

Solomon Islands students did especially well, taking away many of the prizes.

Keynote speaker was a former coordinator of the USP journalism programme, Professor David Robie, director of the Pacific Media Centre.

Media Association of the Solomon Islands (MASI) president Charles Kadamana, a senior Solomon Star journalist who graduated from the USP programme last year, also spoke.

Full awards list | Professor David Robie’s speech

  • Photographers: Harry Selmen, Jovesa Naisua and David Robie

USP1: Graduating final year students and their awards with USP journalism coordinator Dr Shailendra Singh (left) and PMC director Professor David Robie. Image: Harry Selmen/Wansolwara

ISP2: Part of the crowd at the USP journalism awards night. Image: Harry Selmen/Wansolwara

USP3: Invited speakers … USP journalism programme coordinator Dr Shailendra Singh (from left) with Pacific Media Centre’s professor David Robie, head of the School of Literature and Media (SLAM), and MASI president Charles Kadamana. Image: Harry Selmen/Wansolwara

USP4: MASI president Charles Kadamana and PMC director professor David Robie with graduating student journalists. Image: Harry Selmen/Wansolwara

USP5: PMC’s Dr David Robie speaking at the USP journalism awards. Image: Harry Selmen/Wansolwara

USP6: Keynote speaker Professor David Robie (left) presents a koha from New Zealand to USP journalism programme coordinator Dr Shailendra Singh during the awards ceremony. Image: Jovesa Naisua/Fiji Times

USP7: PMC’s Professor David Robie, Fiji Times editor-in-chief Fred Wesley and USP journalism coordionator Dr Shailendra Singh at the awards. Image: Harry Selmen/Wansolwara

USP8: Fiji Times editor-in-chief Fred Wesley presenting an award with the Storyboard in the background. Image: David Robie/PMC

USP9: PMC’s David Robie making a prsentation at the awards. Image: Harry Selmen/Wansolwara

USP10: Second year student journalists – smartest dress award? Image: David Robie/PMC

USP11: Kava not Fiji Gold. Image: David Robie/PMC

USP12: USP Journalism’s Geraldine Panapasa amd PMC’s Professor David Robie share a joke. Image: Harry Selmen/Wansolwara

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MIL OSI – Source: Evening Report Arts and Media

NZ aid workers’ open letter condemns broadcaster for Pacific ‘leeches’ attack

By RNZ Pacific

OPINION: An open letter to broadcaster Heather du Plessis-Allan on behalf of New Zealanders who have worked, and those are who are still working, in development in Solomon Islands:

Heather du Plessis-Allan’s recent comments on [Newstalk ZB] that the Pacific are leeches on New Zealand is dangerously ignorant, insulting to Pacific Islanders working hard for their countries, and undermines New Zealand itself.

This open letter is supported by a group of New Zealanders who have worked and those are who are still working in development in the Solomon Islands and condemns Ms du Plessis-Allan’s remarks on Newstalk ZB as well as Newstalk ZB’s implicit support.

History has shown that the dehumanisation of a group of people by referring to them as a class of non-human animals liberates aggression and has far-reaching consequences in enabling one group of people to hurt the other group. Well-known examples of this have been shown in the calling of Tutsi people as “cockroaches”, Bosniaks and Croatians as “aliens”, and Jews as “rats and parasites”.

READ MORE: Tongan scholars lodge protests over broadcaster’s ‘leeches’ jibe

Journalism and broadcasting plays a crucial role in all countries as voices and opinions are distributed nationwide, and so the spread of hatred should have no place in this process. National broadcasters should know better.


Here in the Solomon Islands, we work alongside many hardworking people. We work across a range of sectors, including governance, justice, climate change, health, education, youth, tourism, infrastructure, and journalism.

We work with people from the country leader level down to the staff out on the field. While of course no country is without bad people here and there, they are always outnumbered by the many good people who are dedicated to the development of the country.

It would not be surprising to find that Solomon Islanders are vastly dedicated to their own development, equally if not more so, than those in New Zealand. We have no doubt that the Solomon Islands are not unique in the Pacific in this aspect.

‘Hellholes’ insult
To paint entire countries and regions as hellholes and leeches is an insult to the good people working hard to make a change.

Finally, as there are many exemplary New Zealanders who have dedicated many years working across the Pacific Islands to help build capacity and strengthen institutions, it follows that the remarks belittle our efforts. To say that Pacific Islanders are leeching off us is a gross misunderstanding of the situation and undermines the credibility of the work of New Zealanders in the field.

Heather du Plessis-Allan … the open letter writers in Solomon Islands say “the fraction of money that the NZ government spends here is well worth the returns we receive.” Image: RNZ Pacific

Foreign aid exists not simply as a charity, but it is well understood that helping our neighbours helps us in return. In turn, we have more trade partners, better prevention of epidemics, better regional and national security, improved international relations, and of course a better reputation for New Zealand. To say that the Pacific Islands don’t matter shows a lack of understanding. The fraction of money that the New Zealand government spends here is well worth the returns we receive.

We understand that everyone is entitled to their own opinion. We simply hope that the opinions are well-formed, evidence-based, and do not spread hatred due to gross generalisations and misinformation.

However, while her comments have certainly not gone unnoticed here in the Solomon Islands, the general reaction from Solomon Islanders indicates an understanding that the unfortunate actions of a few individuals do not represent an entire nation, let alone an entire region.

Solomon Islanders continue to hold New Zealand and New Zealanders in high regard and we New Zealanders working here are confident that this remains the case.

On behalf of:

Nid Satjipanon
Howard Lawry
Rosalind Lawry
Kate Haughey
Anna O’Keefe
Sophie Lewis-Smith
Elisabeth Degremont
Jack Thompson
Craig Hooper
Pip Stevenson
Catherine Hanson-Friend
Patrick Rose
Nicole Herron
Jackie Cronin

This article is republished under the Pacific Media Centre’s content partnership with Radio New Zealand.

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MIL OSI – Source: Evening Report Arts and Media

Japanese development aid funding splits Pacific unity on key WHO post

Dr Colin Tukuitonga, a New Zealander of Niuean descent and proposed by New Zealand, was given resounding support for his nomination from Pacific countries. Image: AUT

The Western Pacific post for the World Health Organisation is a vitally important role for the region. However, reports Sri Krishnamurthi for Asia Pacific Journalism, the earlier unity over a strong Pacific candidate has slipped.

All the headlines at the recent Pacific Islands Forum in Nauru were political so the upcoming nomination for the election next month for the key role of World Health Organisation regional director for the Western Pacific went largely unnoticed.

The Pacific’s endorsement of Colin Tukuitonga, a New Zealander of Niuean descent and proposed by New Zealand, was resounding and support for his nomination from all countries had seemed to be a fait accompli.

He along with three others – Dr Narimah Awin, proposed by Malaysia; Dr Takeshi Kasai, proposed by Japan; Dr Susan Mercado, proposed by the Philippines – were then in the running for the nomination which will take place during the 69th session of the Regional Committee for the Western Pacific in Manila, Philippines, on October 8-13.

READ MORE: Building healthy communities on the Pacific


“Yes, all health ministers agreed and endorsed me at the WHO Regional Committee Meeting held in Brisbane in October 2017.

“They agreed to have one candidate and five ministers approached me to stand,” Tukuitonga told Asia-Pacific Report.


At the forum in Nauru he learned that the endorsement from the Pacific Island states was not as united as first thought.

“Since then, we are aware that Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands have expressed public support for the Japanese candidate [Dr Kasai],” he says.

Most of Pacific supportive
“We understand that this is in exchange for Japan paying for developments in country. We also understand that Vanuatu has made the same decision.”

“We understand that all other Pacific nations remain supportive, including New Zealand and Australia as well as other nations.”

The Director-General of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community says it is a positive for the role being at the PIF, it provided an opportunity to network with the leaders.

“All regional agencies – the council for regional organisations in the Pacific (CROP) decisions and priorities are influenced by forum leaders decisions. It is also a good opportunity to meet Pacific leaders and others.

“PIF presents a lot of opportunities to meet bilaterally with donors and those that are present. It also a critical forum”.

He does have a view on the 120 children in the detention camps on Nauru and their mental state but does not want to air it publicly.

But he is happy to voice his concerns about the health of Pacific people.

Diabetes, heart disease major problem
“Non-communicable diseases (NCD) such as diabetes and heart disease are the major cause of death and disease,” says the former chief executive of NZ’s Ministry for Pacific Island Affairs.

“NCDs are fuelled by poor diets, low levels of physical activity, high rates of smoking and high prevalence of obesity.

“In some Pacific nations, child health diseases remain high due to lack of clean water and sanitation. All Pacific health systems are fragile and underfunded leading to high preventable deaths and disabilities.

“Continuing high fertility rates putting pressure on government services in all Pacific countries. PNG also has high rates of HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria,” says Dr Tukuitonga.

Making matters worse for the people of the Pacific is the very realistic issue of climate change.

“A clear and present danger for all Island nations, threatening lives and livelihoods, we have five of the 15 countries most vulnerable to disasters are in Pacific,’’ he says.

“Climate change causes less dramatic impacts such as ocean acidification, causing coral bleaching and threatening the food chain and it provides 80 percent of the protein source for Pacific communities which come from fish and seafood.

Big deal
“Threats on food security is a big deal for the Pacific. Significant negative health impacts such as spread of mosquito-borne dengue fever and other diseases.

“Climate change aggravates existing problems, so preparedness is key for example, outbreaks post disaster is the result of existing organisms, not new organisms.”

He has worked for WHO before and finds it “challenging” but not a mission impossible.

Sri Krishnamurthi is a journalist and Postgraduate Diploma in Communication Studies student at Auckland University of Technology. He is attached to the University of the South Pacific’s Journalism Programme, filing for USP’s Wansolwara News and the AUT Pacific Media Centre’s Asia Pacific Report.

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MIL OSI – Source: Evening Report Arts and Media

NZ must help Solomon Islands tackle unemployment ‘time bomb’, says Clark

Former PM Helen Clark at the National Council of Women conference yesterday … New Zealand should rethink its aid structure. Image: Del Abcede/PMC

By Jessica Marshall in Auckland

The Solomon Islands faces a “time bomb” with a youth unemployment rate of 82 percent and New Zealand needs to do more to help the Pacific country, says former Prime Minister Helen Clark.

Youth unemployment is “one of the huge challenges of our time”, she says.

“They’ve all got ideas, they want to do things, and . . . I really urge our aid programme to focus back on some of these basics again,” she told the annual conference of the National Council of Women (NCW) in Auckland yesterday.

READ MORE: Violence against women is a national crisis: Clark

Clark, former Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), is the new patron of NCW and is the author of a new book launched this weekend, Women, Equality, Power.

She said the New Zealand government needed to rethink how its aid programme was structured.


“A country like the Solomon Islands could have a future but it needs investment in its agriculture.”

She said New Zealand used to invest its aid programme – in places like Thailand, for example – in the country’s agriculture.

“How much focus have we got on agriculture now?” she asked.

‘No brainer’
“It’s just a no brainer to try to support people back into the value chain.”

She made the call during a discussion on the UN Sustainable Development Goals which Clark was instrumental in developing during her time with UNDP.

Dr Gill Greer, chief executive of NCW, said that the inclusive manner in which Clark went about developing the goals was “not typical of the UN at many times”.

“It was a vision, it is a vision,” said Dr Greer, adding that the goals did not go far enough on the issue of gender.

“The living framework has one indicator, and that is all, and in this room [of 200 people] just think of how many we could suggest immediately?”

Clark replied: “Gender is in every goal”.

Clark also discussed the issue of migrants in Nauru, proclaiming it to be a crisis.

“There is something fundamentally wrong, this is not a sustainable situation and it’s no way to treat people.”

Earlier yesterday, the BBC reported that children had been attempting suicide and self-harm on the island.

The Pacific Islands Forum leaders summit opens in Nauru tomorrow.

Jessica Marshall is a student journalist on AUT’s Postgraduate Diploma in Communication Studies (Journalism) course.

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MIL OSI – Source: Evening Report Arts and Media

NZ and Pacific countries contest Asian influence for WHO regional director

Hundreds of millions of health dollars are at stake as the Pacific region grapples with a number of crises including diabetes and even the re-emergence of polio. Image: TVNZ

By Barbara Dreaver

Battlelines are being drawn as New Zealand and Pacific countries lobby for an important appointment at the World Health Organisation.

The region’s health ministers had all agreed to support a Pasifika candidate, but offers of aid and influence from Asian countries have left that in doubt.

Hundreds of millions of health dollars are at stake as the region grapples with a number of crises including diabetes and even the re-emergence of polio.

The regional director nominee, Dr Colin Tukuitonga, says the small island communities do not get a fair deal from the World Health Organisation.

“People complain about resource limitations, there is never enough money. The voice of the islands is often drowned out by the voices of the bigger Asian countries,” he said.

It is why New Zealand has nominated Dr Tukuitonga as the WHO regional director.


At a recent meeting, Pacific health ministers unanimously agreed to support that nomination.

Sudden change
But things suddenly changed. Both the Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea have gone back on their agreement, publicly expressing commitment to Japan.

“This is an opportunity to remain united and influence a particularly important position for the health of the people of the region. And clearly we have two members who haven’t honoured their commitment to regionalism,” Dr Tukuitonga said.

Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters says the government hopes that the Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea “will this time sign up for their own neighbourhood rather than bargain their vote off somewhere else for alternative reasons”.

Coincidentally, Japan has made aid offers to island countries, including a major international airport extension and rebuild for the Solomon Islands.

“A free airport does not improve the health of the Pacific people,” Peters said.

Dr Tukuitonga said: “Some of our island members are very vulnerable, very susceptible to these offers. And that’s the unfortunate thing I think.”

Nonetheless there’s been solid support for Dr Tukuitonga who’s pledging to fight for a region he’s already dedicated to.

Projected decline
“WHO budget is projected to decline. There’s a lot to be said about getting a fair share for our region because if you do that then you have a better chance of allocating a decent level of resource to our island members,” he said.

Peters said: “We start with a huge asset on our side. We have got the right candidate.”

It would be an historic win for the Pacific as the role has always been held by Asia.

Thirty countries will decide if the time is right for change in October.

Barbara Dreaver is the Pacific affairs correspondent of Television New Zealand. This article is republished with permission.

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MIL OSI – Source: Evening Report Arts and Media

Former PCF media intern welcomes Pacific newbies on NZ exchange

Adi Anaesini Civavonovono of Fiji (left) and Elizabeth Osifelo of the Solomon Islands (both of the University of the South Pacific) against the green screen in the television studios during their visit to Auckland University of Technology this week. Behind them are the Pacific Cooperation Foundation’s Suzanne Suisuiki (partially hidden) along with AUT students Leilani Sitagata and Pauline Mago-King. Image: Del Abcede/PMC

By Rahul Bhattarai

It was a case of Pacific meets Pacific in AUT’s School of Communication Studies this week as one of the inaugural winners of the Pacific Cooperation Foundation internships welcomed this year’s new batch of four student journalists from Fiji, Samoa and Solomon Islands.

Pauline Mago-King of Papua New Guinea was a final year communication studies student in Madang when the internships began and she visited New Zealand in 2015 thanks to PCF.

Now she is a master’s degree student at Auckland University of Technology doing research into domestic violence and non-government organisation responses in her home country.

She says she knew the flexibility of the AUT programme was just right for her – “especially when you come from a country where there aren’t enough opportunities for a student to gain experience.”

AUT’s Pacific Media Centre hosted the PCF internship students and director Professor David Robie welcomed them, saying “we‘re just a small programme but with quite a reach, we have an audience of up to 20,000 on our Asia Pacific Report website”.

The PMC, with a small part-time team, covers the region with independent news as well as conducting out a discrete media research programme.


Three of the students on the two-week internship in New Zealand come from the University of the South Pacific and the student newspaper Wansolwara – Elizabeth Osifelo (Solomon Islands), Salote Qalubau and Adi Anaesini Civavonovono (both from Fiji). The fourth, Yumi Talaave, is from the National University of Samoa.

The interns toured AUT’s communications facilities, including the state-of-the-art television studies and control room.

Pacific Media Centre student journalist Rahul Bhattarai and University of Samoa’s meet King Kong on the AUT television studio green screen. Image: David Robie/PMC

They then visited AUT’s journalism newsroom and media centre.

The students also watched the final editing stages of a short current affairs documentary by two AUT students involved in the PMC’s Bearing Witness climate change project.

Hele Ikimotu and Blessen Tom travelled to Rabi Island in the north of Fiji in April and filmed the documentary Banabans of Rabi: A Story of Survival in the hope of spreading awareness about the impact of climate change in the Pacific.

Their lecturers, Jim Marbrook and David Robie, hope to enter the documentary into film festivals and an earlier video by the students as part of the project gives a glimpse of life on the island.

Suzanne Suisuiki, communications manager of PCF, says these kinds of internships provide the opportunity for Pacific students to gain wider exposure and better understanding of media.

“We wanted interns who had a sense of appreciation of the media industry,” she said.

She plans to next year expand to the wider Pacific region, including Tonga and Papua New Guinea.

Two students were also selected from New Zealand to go to Fiji and Samoa.

The Pacific Cooperation Foundation internship students with Pacific Media Centre students and staff at AUT this week. Image: Del Abcede/PMC

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MIL OSI – Source: Evening Report Arts and Media

Watchdog role of media highlighted in USP journalism talk

Dr Shailendra Singh … “news media is an important and a crucial pillar of democracy.” Image: Solomon Star

By Ronald Tito’ona in Honiara

Local journalists in the Solomon Islands have been again reminded of their watchdog role by keeping the government accountable in the fight against corruption.

Head of the University of South Pacific journalism strand Dr Shailendra Singh spoke to a group of journalists in a four-day anti-corruption reporting workshop in Honiara yesterday.

He said the role of a journalist was important in order to keep people informed and to keep the government accountable.

“The priority is scrutinising the government,” said the regional media specialist.

Dr Singh added that the private sector and civil society organisations were also prone to corruption.

Informing public
“People need to be informed to be able to analyse government’s performance, because we have elections every 4 to 5 years.


“And, people need to be fairly informed, to be able to make a right choice,” he said.

Dr Singh explained that if people were informed of the government’s conduct or policy, they could choose to either vote the government out or keep it in power.

“That is why it is so important that we, the media, scrutinise both the government conduct and policy on a regular basis.

“This is something we do constantly, but it is good to revisit and be reminded of our roles because we do this all the time, it can become a routine,” Dr Singh told the journalists.

Dr Singh said that this was how the news media performed its Fourth Estate role and upheld a country’s democratic system.

‘Very important role’
“So the news media is an important and a crucial pillar of democracy in any country. Without it, the government is no longer as accountable to the people.

“Without the news media, the government does not feel as accountable to the people. The government can act with impunity, and indulge in corruption more freely.”

Local journalists were also told to be vigilant and with a priority placed on reporting corruption.

“So do not underestimate your role. You will get a lot of criticism in the course of your work.

“People you question will criticise you, and they will also try to belittle you.

“So do not let them detract you, from this very important role,” said Dr Singh.

He reminded participants that they were representatives of the public, and without the media the public was handicapped in choices they made.

Ronald Tito’ona is a journalist on the Solomon Star.

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MIL OSI – Source: Evening Report Arts and Media

Cook Islands, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu win medals at Games

MIL OSI – Source: Evening Report Arts and Media

Headline: Cook Islands, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu win medals at Games

Celebrating Pacific successes at the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast. Image: SBS

By Stefan Armbruster of SBS News

Three countries that have never won a medal in Commonwealth Games history are celebrating after bagging bronze in weightlifting, javelin and lawn bowls competitions on the Gold Coast.

A quarter of the 71 teams entered the 21st games medal-less, but now Vanuatu, Cook Islands and Solomon Islands have joined the ranks of podium-finishers.

While the Commonwealth winners circle is getting wider, 15 competing teams have still never won a medal at any games.

READ MORE: Commonwealth Games coverage

Friana Kwevira, from Vanuatu, won bronze in the para-athletics womens F46 javelin. Image: SBS

Friana Kwevira, javelin (Vanuatu):
On Monday night, Friana Kwevira won bronze in the para-athletics women’s F46 javelin and then had a sleepless night.

“I didn’t sleep until two o’clock, they were all say congratulations, you make us proud of you, your family and your island too, as well as your country Vanuatu,” she said.


The shy para-athlete only took up the sport 10 months ago and she is now Vanuatu’s first ever Commonwealth Games medalist.

She said she wants to empower women – especially those with a disability – back home.

“Don’t look at disability, look at your ability, you can do it as I have. If I can make it, you can make it,” she said.

Her eyes are set on an even bigger goal: the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Lawn bowlers Aidan Zittersteijn and Taiki Paniani have won bronze. Image: SBS

Aidan Zittersteijn and Taiki Paniani, lawn bowls (Cook Islands):
Taiki Paniani, 19, and Aidan Zittersteijn, 20, made sporting history by claiming bronze in the men’s lawn bowls pairs, clinching the first ever medal for the Cook Islands.

“I guess a lot of elderly people, a lot of older people play it but the sport name is ‘lawn bowls’ not ‘old people’s lawn bowls game,” Paniani told Māori Television.

“To play against top players is actually a real good experience and it shows me and it shows the people back home we need to lift up our standard or our standard is pretty good and we just need to add a little bit more”.

Jenly Wini is the woman behind Solomon Islands’ success. Image: SBS

Jenly Wini, weightlifting (Solomon Islands):
Jenly Wini is the woman behind Solomon Islands’ success, lifting the country to victory in the 58kg weight division earlier in the games.

“It speaks to the whole relevance (of the Games), not just of the high-performance athletes, in terms of world record holders and achievers and Commonwealth record achievers, but also where this plays in the development of sport across the Commonwealth,” said David Grevemberg, CEO of the Commonwealth Games Federation.

“The Commonwealth is a great platform for that, the more we can do that consistently from games to games to games, the more legitimate the games become and the more credible the Commonwealth is as a movement.”

These Pacific nations are now inspired after stepping up in into all-time medal ranks.

“It means we have a lot of potential into the future and if we invest more resources into it we’ll be able to better results more medals,” said Vanuatu chef de mission Mike Masaovakalo.

Stefan Armbruster is Pacific correspondent of SBS News. This SBS article has been republished by Asia Pacific Report with permission.

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NZ to give $6 million boost for USPNet telecommunications upgrade

MIL OSI – Source: Evening Report Arts and Media

Headline: NZ to give $6 million boost for USPNet telecommunications upgrade

USPNet … the regional University of the South Pacific’s satellite educational communications system. Image: USP

By Salote Qalubau in Suva

The New Zealand government has committed $NZ6 million ($F8.84 million) to improve the University of the South Pacific’s digital e-learning sector.

The commitment was revealed by USP Vice-Chancellor Professor Rajesh Chandra during the unveiling of the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) commemorative monument at the Laucala campus last week.

The grant is expected to boost USPNet and ICT developments.

“New Zealand contributed significantly to the development of USPNet and to ICT development that strengthened links between all our campuses and greatly improved both the administrative communication and the teaching capacity of USP,” he said.

“We are very grateful that NZ has made a grant of $NZ6 million to totally re-engineer USPNet and replace all the satellite dishes to create a 21st century learning network for the Pacific Islands. This is a special contribution from NZ to mark our 50th anniversary.”

Air force base campus
Meanwhile, New Zealand Defence Minister Ron Mark also announced two new developments in Fiji and New Zealand’s defence relationship when he joined more than 100 ex-5 Squadron servicemen and women for the unveiling of the commemorative monument to mark the land that was once home to the RNZAF 32 years ago.


“The New Zealand government announced the deployment of both the Royal New Zealand Navy inshore and offshore patrol vessels to Fiji later this year. The first, the IPV will be here in May, the OPV will follow after that,” he said.

“These and the deployment of the two technical advisers from the New Zealand Army and the Royal New Zealand Navy are two examples of our collaborative approach to supporting the development of our respective forces.”

Mark said he was also honoured to be able to commemorate the unveiling of the monument and the university’s 50th anniversary.

“Both of these partnerships are very important to New Zealand,” he said.

Salote Qalubau is a final year University of the South Pacific journalism student reporting for Wansolwara News.

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