May 12, 2021 Last Updated 12:56 AM, May 11, 2021
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Partner Advertorials (33)

The University of Fiji has recognized the need to adjust to the ‘new normal’ where minimal physical interaction and an increased reliance on technology have become necessary in educational institutions and workplaces due to the advent of COVID-19.   The Acting Vice-Chancellor of The University of Fiji, Professor Shaista Shameem, says the pandemic has significantly changed the teaching pedagogic methods at the University.   “Students have had to learn new methodologies of learning,” she says, “and staff have also had to learn new ways of teaching.”   But with these new methods have also come the need to adapt to…
Having seen firsthand the utter devastation disasters like the Aitape tsunami inflicted on rural communities of Papua New Guinea in 1998, Tevita Ravumaidama insists on incorporating disaster risk management (DRM) training in all community projects he is involved in these days. Irrespective of whether the project is developmental or humanitarian in nature, the long-time community development leader and executive director of Partners in Community Development Fiji (PCDF) knows that disaster preparedness, and DRM training in communities does save lives. “That was a terrible tragedy,” recalls Tevita of the tsunami, which claimed more than 2500 lives.   “I was then working for World Vision PNG, and we were among a number…
Businesswoman Neelam Maharaj is a mentor with South Pacific Business Development’s Fiji Bloom program. With her sister Neelma, she has built up three businesses from scratch learning many valuable business lessons along the way. Neelam talks to us about her own business journey, and her mentoring of SPBD members.   Hello Neelam. Please tell us about your business, Friendly Mates. What services do you offer? Our business is all about providing janitorial services. The business name is Friendly Mates—cleaning services and we’re 17 years old. Our business employs only women, and we provide interior cleaning, and exterior cleaning such as water blasting, tile polishing and rug shampoo. Friendly Mates is owned…
A pathway to reopening Pacific Island tourism in parallel with the roll out of NZ's COVID-19 vaccination programme in 2021 would be a significant economic boost for the region. While NZ tourism operators enjoyed a buoyant domestic holiday season the same can’t be said for tourism hot spots such as Fiji, Vanuatu and the Cook Islands.   Yet tourism is not a silver bullet for these economies, and nor does it solve the deeper challenges facing the Pacific Islands.   During the three years ending 2021, MFAT will have invested over NZ$1.3 billion in the Pacific region1and there are plenty…
Documentary LOIMATA, The Sweetest Tears, has just won the Grand Prix du Jury at Tahiti’s prestige FIFO, (Festival International du Film Documentaire Océanien). Produced and written by AUT Senior Lecturer (Communication Studies) Jim Marbrook and his sister Anna Marbrook (who directed the film), it debuted at Whānau Mārama: New Zealand International Film Festival 2020, where it received outstanding reviews and box office sell-outs. The documentary also made the stuff.co.nz top ten films of 2020 list. AUT students formed part of the crew for some of the Auckland portions of the shoot. At the prizegiving ceremony Jury member Julia Overton, a…
The Australia Pacific Training Coalition is an Australian Government-funded initiative in partnership with the Pacific. As Australia’s flagship technical and vocational education and training (TVET) investment in the Pacific region, APTC has trained over 16,000 Pacific women and men since its commencement in 2007. Like other regional training providers, the disruptions of the COVID-19 pandemic significantly impacted APTC’s operating context. However, APTC continues to respond through its ongoing localisation approach, which has seen an increase in local trainers, a significant modification to different country contexts and investments in strong relationships with country and regional stakeholders to support adaptation. Despite the…
A papua New Guinea case study Sustainability is rarely an easy road to travel and Hydroflux Epco's latest sewage treatment project, in Papua New Guinea (PNG), is a textbook case of determination and persistence to bring sustainable health care to the country’s second most rugged province.   At the Wabag hospital site in the PNG rainforests of Enga, sustainable health care is about bringing medical treatment within range of the population, offering services and facilities that meet a broad range of patient needs whilst treating resultant hospital wastewater to a standard that will protect villagers and the environment downstream of…
South Pacific Business Development Fiji has launched its TC Yasa Rehabilitation Loan Programme, with 361 loans totalling $1.22 million processed in the first release. The loans were handed over in Labasa and Savusavu in ceremonies late last month. More than half of SPBD’s members in the Northern Division reported damages to their homes as a result of TC Yasa, and 78% reported losses to their main income sources.   The loans range from $1000 to $2500, and they will be consolidated with any existing loans.   Amongst the loan recipients attending the Savusavu ceremony was a contingent of members from Rabi. Read their stories below.      …
SPC Land Resources DivisionIn a move to help boost food security as the Pacific recovers from COVID-19, The Pacific Community’s (SPC) Land Resources Division (LRD) has established two rapid response projects: The Pacific Regional Integrated Food and Nutrition Security Initiative to COVID-19 (PRISCO19) and the Micronesia COVID-19 Response (MICCO19). PRISCO19 and MICCO19 are primarily funded by the European Union. MICCO19 is also funded by the US government with the support of the American people. As the anniversary of the Coronavirus pandemic passes in March 2021, food security in the region continues to deteriorate. Even the Pacific region’s small, isolated island states…
Providing basic access to safe water and services is essential in achieving sustainable and inclusive growth in the Pacific region. However, access to improved sanitation is uneven in the region. According to UNICEF, countries such as Kiribati, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu are hosting 81 per cent of the population without access. [1]   We recognise the importance of providing safe and sanitary water supply for communities throughout the Pacific. This is why we have actively pursued water and waste-water treatment projects in the region, funded by agencies such as the Asian Development Bank.   Reeves Envico is a group of…
Reducing Fiji’s dairy import bill is one of the key focuses of the Ministry of Agriculture’s Dairy Industry Support programme.   Agriculture Permanent Secretary, Mr. Ritesh Dass said the programme was designed to help raise and improve the Fiji dairy industry’s contribution to increase the overall local milk production and also improve rural income earning capacities from dairy farmers.   “There is definitely an interest in this programme that will benefit farmers in providing a market that will provide a consistent income,” he said.   Maneta Lakhan, 55, a widow and dairy farmer of Waidalice, Tailevu is one such successful…
Farmers all around the world experience the same problem; over time, their crop yield slowly drops, the amount of fertiliser they need to use (as well as the amount of money they must spend) goes up, and their crops become weak and sickly. Many farmers do not realise that soil is alive. One tablespoon of soil contains more than 7 billion micro-organisms, which play a vital role in the biological processes of plant growth. Excessive farming, especially where chemical fertilisers are involved, causes these micro-organisms to die. Dead micro-organisms means dead soil, and dead soil cannot give life to crops…
New Pacific research from AUT puts the sacred concept of the vā at the heart of its study. For pan-Pacific peoples, the vā is generally acknowledged as the relational spaces that bind and unify all people and things. Nationwide, more than 500,000 Kiwi adults live with low literacy and numeracy (L/N) skills. Māori and Pacific peoples are strongly over-represented in this cohort. Led by AUT’s NZ Work Research Institute, “The expression, experience and transcendence of low-skill in Aotearoa, New Zealand” is a qualitative study that explores the barriers against and enablers to transcending this low skill base. The Pacific component…
Cyclone Yasa bought a wet and windy full stop to a very difficult year for Fiji’s people.   South Pacific Business Development Fiji General Manager, Elrico Munoz, says their Vanua Levu, Rabi and Taveuni clients were particularly affected. “We were able to visit about 83.49% of our clients in the Northern Division (where we have two branches) as part of our rapid assessment exercise, Munoz said. “As shown in the table below, more than 50% of the 1,314 SPBD members in the Northern Division report varying degrees of damage to their houses and around 78.08% of them suffered losses from their means of livelihood.”   “We asked our clients…
According to the World Health Organization global health survey in 2016, 71% of deaths globally were due to non-communicable diseases (NCDs). In the Pacific, NCDs are the leading cause of deaths accounting for 75% of mortality. While this is worrying, the good news is that NCDs are preventable. The COVID-19 pandemic and reports from health experts identified that persons living with NCDs such as diabetes, heart diseases, hypertension, chronic lung diseases and cancers were more vulnerable to becoming severely ill with COVID-19. While the region is on alert with its COVID-19 preparedness and response, it is important that there is…
Five Pacific researchers have received 2021 Pacific Health Career Development Awards from the Health Research Council (HRC). The HRC’s annual career development awards foster and sustain New Zealand’s health research workforce. In 2020, more than $13 million was announced for researchers across three categories – General, Māori Health, and Pacific Health. Since 1990, the government’s principal funder of health research has invested approximately $1.7 billion in research aimed at making a difference to the lives of New Zealanders. The HRC is particularly proud of its commitment to Māori and Pacific health researchers whose work has helped shape and influence health policies, while addressing inequities and social disparities. Pacific mental health: Integrating Pacific world views…
When Neptune and PDL joined into what would become Neptune Pacific Direct Line (NPDL) in March 2020, we never imagined the unprecedented challenges our world would face in response to Covid-19. The road to full recovery is long, but what we learned from the past year has only strengthened our resolve and commitment to our mission to provide over the long term reliable and affordable shipping services that link the Pacific Island peoples and economies to international markets.   First, the health and safety of our crewmembers and market remain our top priority. We engaged expert epidemiologist and formulated and…
Associate Professor Dr El-Shadan Tautolo has been recognised for his outstanding achievement and leadership in Pacific public health. The Public Health Association of New Zealand honours outstanding contributions to the nation’s public health in the annual PHANZ Awards. Tautolo was the recipient of the inaugural 2020 Pasifika Award, which he dedicated to the late Dr Joe Williams. Tautolo says, Dr Williams’ work provided an example of how public health research can influence clinical practice and help address health issues for Pacific peoples. The award was unexpected. “I was really surprised, but happy to accept it on behalf of our Pacific families and communities, and all of the…
Vanua Levu farmer, Isikeli is one of the many Fijians who saw his property destroyed during Tropical Cyclone Yasa in late 2020. The roof of his home came off in the strong winds. But the first thing he is doing to recover from the cyclone is to work on his crops, and he is relying on a liquid soil conditioner and soil microbial stimulant, Karyon, to help him do just that.   Karyon Organic is made from plant by-products and is fully organic. It is not a fertiliser and is meant to be used in combination with fertiliser, whether organic or chemical. This is because Karyon…
  Fiji’s first business accelerator program for micro-entrepreneurs successfully graduated nine businesswomen in a simple ceremony last November. An intensive six-month program, which combines formal training sessions with onsite business coaching, South PacificBusiness Development’s (SPBD) Fiji Bloom Program has three main components:• Business Formalisation – this is intended to assist theinformal business sector to become part of the formaleconomy by registering their businesses with the Registerof Companies and Fiji Revenue & Customs Service, and by obtaining the necessary business licenses.• Business Development Services – the micro-entrepreneurs are linked to existing reputable business development services providers and SME Preparation Workshops to help them prepare strategies for their growth.•…
20 years ago, serial social entrepreneur Greg Casagrande made his first foray into the Pacific Islands, setting up the South Pacific Business Development (SPBD) Samoa operations with the aim of helping women in need to help themselves out of poverty.   The network of microfinance institutions now spans five Pacific nations and continues to lead and innovate in the microfinance space. SPBD works to eradicate poverty by empowering women in rural villages with the opportunity to start, grow and maintain sustainable, income-generating micro-enterprises, build assets, and finance home improvements and childhood education.   SPBD provides its clients with training and…
Our 10 years of Service “Our 10th anniversary celebrations is not only to recognise our achievements operating as South Pacific Waste Recyclers, but to acknowledge especially that in these 10 years we “walk the talk”. When we started in 2010, we were committed to protecting the environment and that is exactly the foundation of our work as a recycling plant and we have not wavered from that focus in any way.” Chairman and Managing Director, Mr Charan Jeath Singh   South Pacific Waste Recyclers Ltd, a subsidiary of the Charan Jeath Singh Group of Companies, celebrated its 10th Anniversary on Thursday 26 November at its factory in Laucala Beach, Suva. The 350…
Early this year as borders closed, and the depth and severity of the impact of the coronavirus on Pacific island economies became evident, experts predicted a dramatic decline in remittances to our region.   In revised figures, the World Bank now predicts a less pronounced decline of 7% in remittances to low and middle income countries this year. However Fiji’s Reserve Bank reports that total inward remittances from January to October this year stood at around F$521 million, with a total of $69 million in October alone, the highest monthly remittance since 1993.   ANZ Pacific Economist, Kishti Sen said…
A study of Pacific mothers in New Zealand reveals that being fluent in both English and Pacific languages may decrease the likelihood of postpartum mental disorders.   English-and-Pacific speaking mothers had the lowest rate of mental disorder symptoms, followed by those fluent in Pacific languages only. Both were significantly lower than their English-only speaking peers.   Associate Professor El-Shadan Tautolo, Director of the Pacific Islands Families (PIF) Study at Auckland University of Technology (AUT), says: “Language fluency speaks to a person’s ethnic identity, who they are and where they come from. And a strong sense of self and belonging is…
Creative and cultural sectors across the Pacific and the world, have been among the hardest hit as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. While the value of arts and culture is often framed in strictly economic terms and there is no denying the significant contribution to the tourism industry, or the taxation revenue created by cultural events and exhibitions, the creative and cultural sectors of the Pacific serve a far deeper and more important role for the people of this region. In the Pacific, our culture is our identity; one that comprises spiritual faith and customary beliefs and practices. We…
A national survey shows that stroke is not recognised as a major cause of death. It also reveals low-level awareness of stroke among Pacific peoples. A random sample of 400 adults participated in the national telephone survey. When asked to identify the most common cause of death, participants named heart disease (37 percent) and cancer (33 percent). Only 1.5 percent of those surveyed named stroke as a common cause of death. “The recognition of stroke as a common cause of death was low, well below heart disease and cancer. This may be due to low level awareness of stroke as…
Congratulations Fiji Pacific Trade Invest New Zealand extends its well wishes to the people of Fiji on the 50th anniversary of their independence.New Zealand and Fiji have long enjoyed a strong trading relationship with Fiji being New Zealand’s largest trading partner, in the Blue Pacific and in NZ’s top twenty trading partners worldwide.Through mutual business, trade and investment New Zealand and Fiji continue to support each other’s regional growth and integration.   Who We ArePacific Trade Invest New Zealand is an agency of Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFS) and is funded by New Zealand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade…
From Reaction to Prevention: Civil Society Forging Partnerships to Prevent Conflict and Build Peace In July 2005, a thousand peacebuilders gathered at a GPPAC civil society conference at the UN Headquarters in New York. They all felt that it was time to finally prioritise the prevention of violent conflict and to build a global peace movement. Together, we joined hands to launch People Building Peace: A Global Action Agenda for the Prevention of Violent Conflict. A 15-member delegation conveyed Pacific  priorities during regional consultations. They included Rev. Akuila D Yabaki, Noelene Nabulivou and Lillian Thaggard from Fiji, the late ‘Akilisi Pohiva and…
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