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Pacific News Briefs

compiled by Samoa News staff


WASHINGTON – U.S. Interior Assistant Secretary of Insular and International Affairs Doug Domenech has authorized a payment of $653,003 to the Ninth Circuit Judicial Council Pacific Islands Committee to provide and oversee legal training for FY2018 in the judiciaries of the U.S. Territories of American Samoa, Guam, and the Northern Mariana Islands, as well as the freely associated states of Micronesia, Marshall Islands, and Palau.

“The rule of law is fundamental for a strong economy and effective democratic rule in any society,” said Assistant Secretary Domenech. “I am pleased, on behalf of the Secretary and the President to continue to support judicial training and court development services in the Judiciary systems across all the U.S.-affiliated Pacific Islands.”

The Pacific Islands Committee of the Ninth Judicial Circuit was established to fulfill oversight responsibilities with respect to the judiciaries of the U.S. territories of American Samoa, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and the former Trust Territories of the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, and the Republic of Palau. 

All judiciaries in these Pacific Island jurisdictions are modeled after the U.S. judicial system and the Pacific Islands Committee is charged with monitoring their judicial development.

Specific responsibilities of the Pacific Islands Committee include: 1) assisting in the development and provision of continuing judicial education and court professional training and 2) overall improvement of the administration of justice in the courts.

Support for judiciary systems in the U.S.-affiliated Pacific Islands began as early as 1976, when U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice Warren Burger established a Pacific Territories Committee to develop and work with courts in the U.S.-affiliated Pacific areas, appointing Ninth Circuit Chief Judge Richard Chambers as Chair.

The Pacific Islands Committee Judiciary Training program continues that work today.  Funding is provided in part through the Technical Assistance Program of the Office of Insular Affairs in the Department of the Interior and through Compact of Free Association funding provided under U.S. Public Law 108-188.

(Source: Office of the Assistant Secretary - Insular and International Affairs)


Samoan Prime Minister Tuila'epa Sa'ilele Malielegaoi is concerned at the possibility of his police officers being enticed to move to New Zealand.

He expressed grave concern at what might happen to the Samoa Police Service if its members were to take up an offer from New Zealand Police to work there.

The prime minister fears that police could sign up in large numbers leaving a depleted force in Samoa.

During last week's visit by New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Adern it was mentioned that the New Zealand Police were looking to recruit from the Pacific, including Samoa.

Tuila'epa said if a large number of Samoan police move away the country will face a major problem.

(Source: RNZI)


Multinational nappy company Huggies has removed an online list of Māori baby names with advice for parents after complaints it was racist and offensive.

Māori cultural adviser Karaitiana Taiuru told Morning Report he complained to Huggies for about 18 months, but it wasn't until the story was picked up on social media and news organiZations that the information was removed.

He said some of the names were not Māori, were incorrectly translated, or were offensive because they referred to gods.

"Gods' names such as Tangaroa the god of the ocean, Rūamoko the god of earthquakes, Mahuika the god of fire.

"There was one name that wasn't a Māori name, Nyree.

Taiuru said the list also included racist advice on how to pick a Māori name. "Blatantly racist, so suggesting that a name shouldn't be long or hard to pronounce because the baby might be teased at school. There was other strange comments that a name ... needs to be able to flow with the surname, so there was no cultural understanding of the names."

"The general tone of the advice was racist. It did ignore that we are a bilingual country, we have the Māori language act, we have a commitment to the Treaty of Waitangi, and I think it's just inappropriate for an international corporation to not actually get proper advice.

He said there were also problems with translations.

"For example, the name Ahurewa was only referred to as 'a sacred place'. The real meaning of Ahurewa is much more in depth and could be equivalent to naming your baby the pope, a priest, or another sort of religious term.

"The name 'Matiu' was another name which was offered as 'a gift of God' which is really a common translation of the name Matthew, so the 'gift of God' is more of — as I understand it — a Hebrew translation of the name Matthew."

"It was wrong and it was offensive, there was just no consideration of Māori names and how a lot of Māori names originate — for example from ancestors, from iwi names — there was no consideration of any of that.

He said the information had been on the Huggies website for at least five years, possibly longer.

He first complained about it 18 months ago, give or take a month or two.

"I used their online web form. Then several months later I tried ringing, then earlier this year I sent a public tweet to a ... twitter account for Huggies NZ, it was only yesterday that I found out that that account wasn't an official account."

He said the company now had taken all the pages down voluntarily, and had assured him it would do its best to correct the issues in the pages.

"My concern is the information's been there for five years, how many newborn babies during that period have incorrect names or have names that their parents think it means one thing yet it means another thing."

No spokesperson for Huggies was immediately available for comment.

(Source: RNZI)


Traditionally, the funeral industry is a male dominated field.

But the landscape is changing and over the years women have become more interested in working in a funeral home.

Now, Samoan woman, Luana Michael, has become Samoa’s first qualified female funeral director.

Based in New Zealand, Luana has roots in Lelepa, Togafuafua Salevalu and Aleipata.

She works at South Auckland business, Ese Tatupu Funeral Directors and Mortuary Embalmers. 

The young graduate recently achieved the Funeral Directing qualifications at the Wellington Institute of Technology, which is the only learning institute in New Zealand that offers such a qualification. 

Speaking to the Samoa Observer, the 25-year-old tells us that she has always had an interest in working within the funeral home environment.

“My background was working for the Manukau Memorial Gardens Cemetery, Auckland,” she said. 

“I had experience working with bereaved families. I always had an interest working in a funeral home environment. Joining the team at Ese Tatupu Funeral Directors was not a hard decision.”

Having knowledge and experience of Pacific Island funeral practices is an important aspect in some requests from families in New Zealand for their deceased ones. 

Laura was able to work directly with Funeral Home Director and owner, Ese Tatupu, who is also a qualified Weltec supervisor.

 (Source: Samoa Observer)


The Minister of Health, Tuitama Dr. Leao Tuitama, has rejected reports the Government is planning to slash the salaries of doctors working at the hospital as part of the merge between the National Health Service (N.H.S.) and Ministry of Health (M.O.H.).

He has instead accused the National Health Services of spreading false rumors as part of a conspiracy to sabotage the merge.

“All this false information is being spread around,” the Minister told the Samoa Observer yesterday. “It is the present management that has been spreading the false information that the salaries will be slashed once they come under the P.S.C." 

“I can tell you there is no plan for that. The merge is a different issue it’s not about salaries.”

The Minister said the rumors are part of a conspiracy to sabotage the merge; they are looking to implement in July 2018.

 “The salary issue originated because the doctors complained that the management was not complying with the Cabinet’s decision, which was based on the Salary Tribunal recommendation to set the doctors salary according to the structure back in 2013." 

“Cabinet endorsed and approved the recommendation and ordered the management to get on with it and put the doctors’ salaries, yet up until now, nothing has been done." 

“There was some suggestions the management should be fired given they were not complying with Cabinet’s decision.”

Attempts to get a comment from N.H.S. were unsuccessful yesterday. 

 (Source: Samoa Observer)


Samoa Airways has requested the Samoa Airport Authority (S.A.A.) to waive its landing fees for 2018. 

S.A.A. Chief Executive Officer, Magele Hoe Viali confirmed this during a phone interview with the Samoa Observer. 

Initially, Magele said he could not comment, but afterwards confirmed that Samoa Airways has applied to waive their landing fees. 

“There is a thing called Air Service Incentive program that is being utilized by the Atlanta Airport in America."  

“It's a practice that is being utilized all over the world and the request has been considered by the Airport." 

“And as the P.M said, this would have to go through proper channels for approval from Cabinet as the Prime Minister indicated to you,” said Magele. 

Asked whether the airport gave the same incentive for Fiji Airways, Air New Zealand and Virgin Australia, Magele said no. 

“This is how it works. We only offer incentives to new carriers or the airlines taking new routes. If there are current routes, why would there be any incentives given to those airlines," he said. “Again the incentives are only given to an airline that has developed new routes and or developed a new airline." 

Magele pointed out, “Also if it is considered for the Samoa Airways, it has to be applied to all the new carriers." 

He said it has to be approved by Cabinet, “given that we are operate on public funds, so of course it has to be approved from the top.” 

According to the C.E.O., the same incentive was given for Samoa Air and Talofa Airways. 

 (Source: Samoa Observer)