Pacific Islands

Major League Rugby scouting for Pacific talent

Major League Rugby completed its inaugural season last month with the Seattle Seawolves beating the Glendale Raptors in the grand final.

Former Fiji sevens captain Osea Kolinisau (Houston SaberCats) and 'Ikale Tahi first five Kurt Morath (Utah Warriors) were among the Pacific players to feature in the debut Major League Rugby campaign.

The competition's top try-scorer, Tonata Lauti, was born in Tonga before moving to Salt Lake City with his family in 1996.

Illegal fishing on Pacific leaders summit agenda

The Pacific Island Leaders Meeting, known as PALM, is held in Japan every three years.

Japan's government hosts the PALM summits as a way to share its assistance programme with Pacific Island Forum countries.

Ahead of this summit, Tokyo said measures to help Pacific countries enforce maritime law within their maritime jurisdictions would be included in a joint statement for the eighth PALM meeting.

Pacific Island countries struggle to adequately police their exclusive economic zones which have become subject to regular incursions by so-called Vietnamese blue boats.

Kiwifruit body wants more RSE workers

The body's chief executive, Nikki Johnson, said this reflected the current labour shortage facing the industry in the Bay of Plenty region.

The cap was increased from 10,500 to 11,100 for this year's season and around 2000 RSE workers would operate in the Bay of Plenty at some point, Ms Johnson said.

An extra 1200 workers were needed over the next month, however, to pick and pack the kiwifruit crop, she said.

Countries agree to cut shipping emissions, to Pacific delight

The agreement came at the end of a week-long meeting of the International Maritime Organisation, a United Nations body, in London, where small countries were pitted against large shipping nations that were against such restrictions.

Friday's agreement calls for global shipping emissions to peak as soon as possible, and to reduce the total annual greenhouse gas emissions by at least 50 percent of 2008 levels by 2050. It also calls for efforts to be pursued to phase out greenhouse gas emissions from shipping entirely.

Traditional vaka used to tackle climate change

The Okeanos Foundation is stationed across the Pacific mostly in remote islands where big freight companies don't usually operate.

Commander and master navigator Peia Patai says they're pushing for traditional Pacific navigation methods to be revived and raising climate change awareness.

"Our ways of propelling these vessels are sustainable," he says. "Using the sun, the wind and we have engines fitted on that use coconut oil that have been created by people on the islands so at the same time we're conscious of the ocean's health."

NZ pledges further $1.5 million to Pacific Islands Cyclone Gita relief

The money is on top of the $750,000 (US$552,000) that the Government has already contributed to the relief efforts.

“This additional funding will be directed to Tonga, Samoa and Fiji which have all felt the impact of the cyclone,” said Peters.

“A picture of the extent of damage caused by Cyclone Gita is emerging and it is clear a big response and clean-up job lies ahead. We are here to help our neighbours get through this,” he said.

RSE scheme likely to keep growing, says NZ minister

Around 11,000 Pacific people are working in New Zealand's viticulture and horticulture sectors this season under the RSE scheme.

Since 2014, the number of RSE workers has risen each year, due to increased demand from employers.

The Workplace Relations Minister Iain Lees-Galloway said he thinks the RSE scheme will keep growing.

"We're seeing the industries that make use of the scheme growing. There is potential for it to maybe expand into other industries as well in the future. That's something that we're considering at this stage.

Pacific Islands Forum offers members tax advice

Five Pacific countries remain on a recently down-sized EU blacklist of nine tax haven nations.

The forum secretariat's deputy secretary general Cristelle Pratt said a meeting with the European Commission next month may provide an opportunity to discuss the issues directly.

"It may well be an issue that could be discussed, and it would be something of course that we would work with our members on if they requested support and assistance in that regard," Ms Pratt said.

The EU said the blacklist was part of a greater plan to promote good tax governance globally.

Linking agritourism and trade changing mindsets in the Pacific

Over the past five years the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation has been helping regional governments to develop agritourism policies and grow trade.

This has been achieved in Samoa and Fiji by linking hotels with the local farmers associations.

In Vanuatu, the government now primarily sources locally produced food for all its official functions and events.

In Solomon Islands work is beginning on developing food tourism and tapping into niche markets like beauty and wellness products.

Pacific Island leaders share climate concerns at COP23

They hope to play a key role in discussions on how to implement the 2015 Paris agreement on cutting carbon emissions and helping to prevent global warming.