Tongan church elder in Auckland keen to highlight impact of measles as free vaccinations launch

Free vaccinations are being offered in South Auckland today as a part of the response to the growing outbreak.

Free clinics are also operating at the Clendon Shopping Centre in Manurewa and Middlemore Hospital.

There more than 920 cases of measles across the country prompting outreach programmes like the one at the Free Church of Tonga in Māngere.

A church elder, Reverend Ifalame Teisi, said the church is concerned about what's happening.

He said people need to get immunised and it's important to spread the word.

759 measles cases now confirmed in Auckland

Auckland is at the centre of the outbreak with hundreds more cases than the rest of the country combined

The Auckland Regional Public Health Service said the number was 143 higher than this time last week.

It was warning Auckland schools to take serious precautions if they were participating in the many sports tournaments due to start around the country next week.

Anyone with symptoms of measles, including a cough or runny nose, should not be included in teams, it said.

Auckland city kava bar hopes to win hearts and minds over drink

The drink - an earthy-tasting ground root which numbs muscles and has been used to treat anxiety and stress - has been used widely across the Pacific and among its diaspora for centuries.

But the West, commercial traction has been held back by a lack of education around Pacific culture and limited research into its effects, experts say. Although legal in New Zealand, kava imports been restricted in many Western jurisdictions, including parts of Australia.

Two cousins found guilty of murder and attempted murder

Mesui Tufui and Fisilau Tapaevalu have been on trial at the High Court at Auckland charged with murdering Abraham Tu'uheava and attempting to murder his wife Yolanda. 

On Friday, the jury delivered a unanimous verdict finding both defendants guilty. 

In April 2018, Abraham Tu'uheava was lured to Greenwood Rd in Māngere, south Auckland for a potential drug deal, the court heard during the trial.

There, he was shot at least seven times and died within minutes. It was a "miracle" his wife survived after she was shot multiple times in the head, the court was told.

Police issue safety message ahead of Mate Ma'a Tonga/Kiwi international league match

Police are encouraging league fans to plan ahead for Saturday night’s game.

Area Commander for Counties Manukau in Auckland, Inspector Matt Srhoj says Police have been working with a number of partners from different communities and organisations around planning for the game.

“We know this is an exciting time for league supporters and we encourage people to enjoy the night,” said Inspector Srhoj.

“We also ask that while people are having a good time that they are also respectful and mindful of others."

Mt Smart Tonga: A home game for the Kiwis?

For the New Zealand men's and women's rugby league teams, Saturday's matches fit firmly into that category.

As they did in selling out Mt Smart Stadium for last year's test against Australia, Tongan fans will be out in force to support their side.

Kiwis playmaker Shaun Johnson admitted silencing the song, and lowering the thousands of red flags, would take some doing.

"We'll do our best to try to take the crowd out of the game. Whether we can do that or not, because they're so passionate, that's yet to be seen.

Elton John's New Zealand concerts rescheduled - but Auckland get an extra show

After some confusion on Wednesday, John also confirmed he has changed the dates of three of his concerts in this country "due to an unforeseen scheduling conflict".

The new and third Auckland show will be at Mt Smart Stadium on February 20, 2020. Tickets for that show will go on sale on May 22.

The dates for John's other two Auckland shows, and for the second of his shows at Mission Estate Winery in Hawke's Bay, have been delayed by a week.

Olympic qualifier draw complete

The event will take place between 21 September and 5 October.
During the Draw, OFC Competitions Director Chris Kemp was assisted by Rajesh Patel, the President of the Fiji Football Association, who are the hosts of this year’s tournament.
Fiji will be joined by seven other Member Associations with the winner securing the rights to represent OFC at the Men’s Olympic Tournament at the Tokyo Games in 2020.

Variety of Pacific products on show in Auckland

With the cancellation of Pasifika and the final day of Polyfest last month, organisers say Saturday's Path to the Pacific Trade Show may well be the only Pasifika event pre-Easter that incorporates business, entertainment, seminars and food.

The Path to the Pacific will feature Fiji ginger that's making waves worldwide, organic jams and coconut soap from Fiji; rare gems and stunning handicrafts from the Solomon Islands and Pacific fashion, bilum weavers, coffee and baskets from Papua New Guinea.

Polyfest 2019 kicks off in Auckland

The 44th ASB Polyfest, which runs until Saturday, will see more than 12,000 secondary school students take to the stage.

Groups from 66 schools have entered into the competition, which is being held at the Manukau Sports Bowl.

The Minister for Pacific Peoples, Aupito William Sio, said Polyfest helped ethnic communities hold on to their sense of identity and culture.