New Zealand

Men caught smuggling KFC into lockdown-hit Auckland

The men were charged with breaching the country's tough COVID-19 rules.

Under Auckland's strict Level 4 lockdown, all restaurants, including take-away services, remain closed.

Police said the men, aged 23 and 30, had travelled from Hamilton, about 75 miles south of Auckland.

A police spokesperson told the BBC that officers made the arrest after they noticed a suspicious looking vehicle travelling on a gravel road on the outskirts of the city.

Meth export suspect appears in Tonga court

Nomani Kama Manulevu from Nukuhetulu appeared in the Fasi Magistrates Court on Monday.

His case has been adjourned to 13 December as police continue with their investigation according to a report by Tonga Wires.

The methamphetamine which was concealed in a refrigerated food container was seized in New Zealand.

The illicit drugs were intercepted through a joint operation between Tonga Police and the New Zealand Customs and Police in early August.

Manulevu was arrested on 9 September.

New Zealand funds rehab centre for Tongan deportees

The move comes after Tonga criticised New Zealand and Australia over their controversial deportations of Tongan convicts, many of whom have spent little time in the Kingdom.

New Zealand's just approved 28,000 Tongan pa'anga, or around $17,000 Australian dollars, which will go towards funding a new centre run by Tonga's Dare to Dream Foundation, which has been providing support for people deported to the Kingdom for years.

The foundation's chair, 'Uhila-moe-Langi Fasi, said it was good news for deportees struggling in Tonga.

NZ criticised for abstention in vote on deepsea mining

Greenpeace Aotearoa made the criticism after the vote at the International Union for Conservation of Nature's World Congress last week.

The motion received support from most countries, but Greenpeace Aotearoa seabed mining campaigner James Hita said New Zealand's government continued to fall behind the rest of the world in preserving oceans.

Delegates at this year's congress also voted overwhelmingly for reform of the International Seabed Authority, the UN-mandated body tasked with regulating this activity

One-way quarantine-free travel for Samoa, Tonga,Vanuatu RSE workers to start in October

The change was announced by, New Zealand's COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins and Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor announced today.

“We want to provide certainty to the horticulture industry that we are moving forward with safe quarantine-free travel for RSE workers in time for the upcoming picking season,” Damien O’Connor said.

Pasifika mass vaccination events launching around New Zealand

The first drive-through event which coincides with Tonga Language week - runs from 8.30am-4pm, Thursday to Saturday at the Free Wesleyan Church Of Tonga.

As of this week, 56 percent of the eligible Pacific population 12+ years have received at least one dose of the vaccine.

Pacific Response Co-ordination Team chair Pakilau Manase Lua said Tonga is a proud nation with community spirit and hopes to capture 12-30 year-olds who are yet to be vaccinated.

NZ and Tongan police investigate drugs found in shipping container

Prime Minister Pōhiva Tu’i’onetoa has confirmed the investigation this afternoon during a government sponsored livestream show released by FM 87.5 Broadcomm.

The Prime Minister was responding after he was asked to clarify the allegations regarding the drugs.

“It has been alleged the drugs were imported from Tonga but let’s leave that to police to work together with New Zealand Police to confirm it,” Tu’i’onetoa said in Tongan.

Minister urges Tongans to keep their community safe as he opens Language Week

The theme of this week’s Tongan Language Week is Fakakoloa ‘o Aotearoa ‘aki ‘a e Ako Lelei, which means enriching Aotearoa with holistic education.

Sio, who is also the Member for Mangere, said young people should also feel comfortable learning their language, culture and genealogy.

Speaking from his backyard, the Minister said Language week was being launched online as a way of keeping the community safe from Covid-19.

He said the government would encourage Island communities to be vaccinated over the next four months.

Tonga’s language week goes virtual

“We have been working closely with the Tongan community ahead of Uike Lea Faka-Tonga, and they have selected the theme Fakakoloa 'o Aotearoa 'aki 'a e Ako Lelei. In English, it means, Enriching Aotearoa New Zealand with holistic education.

“Of course, right now, learning the traditional way – such as attending school or university – is on hold due to the current COVID-19 restrictions. Alert Level 4 and 3 means students must learn from home, and follow the golden rules. 

Moderate 4.9 quake widely felt in New Zealand’s central North Island

Geonet says the quake was centred 5km north of the town at a depth of 36km.

It occurred just before 5pm (local time).

Within 15 minutes more than 6000 people had registered their ratings of the quake on the Geonet website.