Pacific

VIDEO: Digicel to provide full satellite coverage across the Pacific

In this Business Plus PNG interview, David Conn talks to Intelsat’s Managing Director for the Pacific, Robert Suber about the partnership with Digicel in the region as well as the impact it has had on communication services available in the network.

 

Hawai'i tree disease could spread across Pacific

The fungal disease known as Rapid 'Ōhiʻa Death was first discovered in 2014 and has affected about 75,000 acres of ōhi'a forrests on the island of Hawai'i.

The fungus behind the plant disease, Ceratocystis fimbriata, lives in the soil and causes leaves to turn black and fall off, killing a tree within in a matter of days.

The University of Hawai'i said that while some feral animals and beetles had been vectors for the disease, human movement was the biggest cause of its spread.

Pacific electricity costs under scrutiny

Pacific island countries have some of the highest electricity costs in the world, making power beyond the reach of many.

This is mainly due to high electricity tariffs, the high cost of service connections and the cost of wiring premises.

RNZI reports the conference will explore regulatory reforms, technology and innovative financing to make electricity more affordable.

Dame Meg Taylor who leads the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, stressed the vulnerability of the region's countries to global oil price fluctuations.

World Bank tries to make Pacific solar power decisions easier

At a regional energy summit in Samoa, the World Bank said it was detailing the potential for its online solar atlas, which gives interested parties the means to find where solar power potential is most concentrated.

PACER Plus could erode social services in Pacific says CTU

The CTU secretary Sam Huggard presented evidence to New Zealand Parliament's Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade select committee.

RNZI reports Mr Huggard examined the progress on the PACER-Plus trade agreement.

He said taxes on goods from Australia and New Zealand support health, education and social services, for which there are few alternatives.

"One of those would be a consumer tax like a GST or a VAT, and in the end those taxes hit the poor much stronger than they hit people who are well-off."

Kava drinking club - cool or cultural appropriation?

The multi-cultural group meets up for a drink each week, and is part of a trend that has seen kava go beyond its Pacific roots, but the Kava Society has got some social media users hot under the collar. 

But one of its founding members, Zbigniew Dumieński, said the group didn't pretend to follow any rituals or ceremonies and thinks it would be bad, culturally, if they did. 

He said his initial interest in kava was sparked while he was in the Cook Islands and Niue for research. 

Across the Pacific Islands, the price of kava is surging

The tradition, ceremony and culture that surrounds kava could be at the greatest risk.

Following the collapse of the kava market in the 2000s, many South Pacific kava farmers slowed production or walked away from their plantations entirely. Given kava takes a minimum of three years to harvest (depending on the season), response to surging Western and local markets is slow.

Pacific’s missed opportunity at Oceans Conference

Instead, the final Call to Action adopted by leaders the first UN Oceans conference in June ‘continues to perpetuate the myth that we are weak and small and need to be treated differently’.
 
Dr Aqorau, who is a former CEO of the Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PNA), said Pacific and other Small Island Developing States (PSIDS) need to change this mindset because the current myth of smallness and we need special help is ‘undermining’ the value of their natural capital.
 

New World Heritage site 'links all of Polynesia'

Last week, UNESCO accepted the bid for Taputapuatea marae to become a world heritage site after nearly two decades of campaigning.

The marae complex is about 1000 years old and is seen as the point of origin for Polynesian seafarers who travelled to Rapa Nui, Hawai'i and New Zealand.

Otago University's Paul Tapsell said the site had always been significant and connected the people of the Pacific.

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Value chain workshop to propel growing coconut industry in the Pacific

Local farmers, regional traders, farmer cooperatives, non-governmental organisations, industry consultants, and representatives from key trading partners and actors from all levels of the industry will come together for the three-day workshop from 11-13 July.