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Pacific News Briefs

Students, who are the recipients of the 2017 Rotary Club of Pago Pago 4-Way Test, with President Margie Tafiti seated, and inset Representative Samuel Meleisea. [Courtesy photo]
compiled by Samoa News staff


The Rotary Club of Pago Pago presented its 2017 Four Way Test Award to 12 seniors from each high school at a ceremony held at the Goat Island Cafe, Sadies by the Sea.

The Four Way Test Award is the only award that is chosen by the students themselves, selecting the classmate who best exemplifies the principles of the Rotary Four Way Test:

1. Is it the Truth?

2. Is it Fair to all Concerned?

3. Will it build Goodwill and Better Friendships?

4. Will it be Beneficial to all concerned?

The Key Note Speaker, Representative Samuel Meleisea, himself a Four Way Test recipient presented each student a Certificate and a check for $100 for the student's College expenses. The Presentation was followed by a dinner for the students and their parents.

The student recipients are; Emla Solaita -Tafuna HS, Mafi Latu - Iakina HS, Sabrina Fefiloi Patiasa Uipo - Manu'a HS, Grace-Damona Lumina Tuato'o - Samoana HS, Leone Alofa - Fa'asao Marist HS, Seon Woong Ham - Manumalo Baptist HS, Lisa Cecila Malieo Pine - Kanana Fou HS, August T. Isaia - Faga'itua HS, Aiden Mao - Leone HS, Fuamai Tago - Nuuuli Polytech HS, Clarence Herdrich - South Pacific Academy, Nina Biance Vergara - Pacific Horizons School.

(Source: Rotary of Pago Pago)


May 23, 2017 — the American Samoa Shipyard Services Authority announces re-certification scheduled for the Paint division to be conducted by Specialist Rog Busch and Richard Koreman from Altex Coating Ltd, NZ. The company is based in Auckland and is a supplier of Carboguard, which is an advanced technology coating suited to marine and industrial applications for atmospheric and immersion exposures.

The re-certification effors by Busch is an investment the company is making into the Shipyard’s paint division to further improve their abilities and experience in the application of Carboguard. Shipyard CEO Moefaauo Bill Emmsley has displayed great appreciation to the company training efforts to further develop its paint division.

The shipyard over the years has formed strong relations with Altex Coating, as it has utilized its specialized marine coating brands for all fishing vessels requesting new paint jobs, repair and upgrades to below waterline hull surfaces and maintenance sweeps for government transportation vessels.

(Source: Shipyard Services Authority)


Member of Parliament Olo Fiti Vaai has blamed Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi for the “joint venture” with Virgin Australia, saying it was mistake from the start.

“It’s his mistake and I’m glad he’s correcting it,” said Olo referring to the government’s decision not to renew the joint venture.

In a letter from Prime Minister Tuilaepa to the Chief Executive Officer of Virgin Australia Pty Ltd, John Borghetti, he said Cabinet has unanimously decided not to re-new the Joint Venture (“JV”).” 

During an interview with the Samoa Observer, Olo agrees with the decision. He accused Virgin Australia of taking advantage of Samoa.

 “We pay $1,000+ one-way and yet when you go to Auckland, its $150-$200NZD to fly to Australia,” he said. “They are making money off of the Samoan people, yet they charge us an arm and a leg.” 

The M.P. reiterated that “the fares from here to New Zealand are extremely expensive and the airlines, are doing that by limiting the flights.” 

“Virgin and Air New Zealand are deliberately controlling the flights into Samoa to ensure that they get significant profits from us,” he said. 

“We advised the Prime Minister back then... we knew the two airlines would dominate this market and sure enough they are and now the public is paying for their mistake.

“I’m glad they’re are correcting their mistake. This was long overdue.” 

Levaopolo acknowledged the public’s concern about Polynesian Airline’s mistakes in the past, but he is positive.

He also commented on the why the problems occurred.  

“The predicament was that the former Management team was not looking after the daily operation properly as they should. 

“There were a number of people on the management level, which was one of the problems.”

The M.P. says the government needs to look at capitalizing the move to revive Polynesian Airlines. “The government needs to invest in the re-starting of Polynesian Airlines.”

Prime Minister Tuilaepa is adamant that the government’s decision to let go of Virgin Australia is the best move for Samoa.  

 Responding to questions during his weekly media session, the Prime Minister assured the government has learnt from mistakes of the past and is ready to proceed with the Airline’s international operations. 

As for the joint venture between Virgin Australia and the government, Tuilaepa is steadfast.  

“This can’t continue on especially when the airfares continue to increase and the hotels are complaining that there are not enough tourists coming to Samoa.” 

Asked if the move has anything to do with the significant management fees, wet leases and commission paid to Virgin Australia, Tuilaepa was coy. 

“We can’t continue this partnership. For any country, they have to have their own airline.” 

(Source: Samoa Observer)


The Spokesperson for the Police, Su’a LeMamea Tiumalu, has unreservedly apologized to the ANZ Bank.

The apology follows media coverage of a press conference last Friday where he told the media the Police are investigating “$150,000” missing from the ANZ Bank at Salelologa, Savai’i.

The information was the subject of a story titled “Police probe bank’s missing funds” published on the front page of the Samoa Observer yesterday.

The story was refuted by the ANZ Bank, in a letter from their lawyer, Matafeo George Latu.

“We write to raise the following matter with you, namely the accuracy of the facts behind this morning’s front page article,” he wrote.

“Our clients checked (after receiving reports) about missing funds of $150,000 and advise that there has been no such loss or defalcation for that amount at the Bank’s Salelologa branch or any other ANZ Bank branch in Samoa.”

“This afternoon we contacted the Police spokesman and he has confirmed (after rechecking their files) that there is no loss of $150,000 which has been reported to the Police from the Salelologa branch or any other branch of the ANZ Bank Samoa Limited.”

When Su’a was contacted for a comment, he quickly apologized to the Bank and the public for the dissemination of wrong information.

Asked how this came about, he blamed a “typo” on the information sheet he used during the press conference.

(Source: Samoa Observer)


Iwi claims on New Zealand's coastline are about recognising ties to the land - not about ownership, leaders say.

More than 380 claims for customary and protective rights have been made under the Marine and Coastal Area Act but the government says only a handful of them will be successful.

The countdown to making claims for customary title of the coastlines had been in place since the Marine and Coastal Areas Act was made law in 2011.

The deadline closed on 3 April and applications were being submitted right up until the final hour.

Māori could chose to either negotiate their claim with the Crown or file it in court.

The Ministry of Justice has received 381 claims, not including applications made to the High Court.

Ngāti Toa Rangatira has interests in the coastlines of the Marlborough sounds and its governing body chose to deal with the Crown directly.

Te Rūnanga o Toa Rangatira chair Matiu Rei said customary recognition was valuable to iwi.

"This is not about ownership, it is about defining customary area," he said.

"Each tribe has a customary area and while they may overlap they are nevertheless important from an iwi perspective that it maintains and sustains its interest in its customary area."

Mr Rei said it intersects with a number of laws and could strengthen the tribe's position when making other claims.

Gaining Customary Marine Title or Protective Marine Title means they are notified about resource applications and, in some cases, can decline permission.

Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations Minister Chris Finlayson said the test to get customary title was to prove continuous occupation since 1840 without substantial interruption.

Prime Minister Bill English said only a handful of claims would meet the criteria.

"The legislation that is in place makes it quite difficult for those claims to be turned into reality," Mr English said.

The law states that the marine and coastal area is not and can never be owned by anyone.

Customary title would not stop the public from going to the beach or fishing.

On the contrary, Motiti Island hapū spokesman Hugh Sayers said having it in place could benefit all New Zealanders.

"We want to restore the connection that tangata whenua have and that all New Zealanders desire to have with the moana," he said.

"To be able to exercise our customary rights to gather kaimoana and the customary right to protect through rāhui, to close areas.

"And the public recreational right to get a feed."

Mr Sayers said government agencies and legislation had failed to protect the tribe's taonga and fish stocks had depleted massively.