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Electricity restored in Tonga, almost six weeks after Cyclone Gita

Power authorities in Tonga are celebrating restoring full power to the main island less than six weeks after the electricity grid was destroyed by Cyclone Gita.

Authorities issue warnings throughout Ambae as Manaro volcano flares up again

Provincial authorities in Vanuatu are warning communities who live close to the Manaro Volcano on Ambae Island to beware of the risks and take action to protect themselves.

Cook Islands rugby thrown a lifeline

Rugby union in Cook Islands suffered a hammer blow in 2017, when the national side were knocked out of World Cup qualifying by Tahiti.

Still chaos in PNG: Australian doctor

The head of an Australian medical team sent to PNG says earthquake-affected areas face a significant risk of disease outbreaks, while local health workers have already been pushed to their limits.

"It's really unfair": Solomon Islands Premiers outraged at proposed budget cuts

The backlash against the government in Solomon Islands is intensifying after it proposed a string of heavy cuts to the budgets of the nine provinces.

Warnings over cryptocurrencies in Samoa; Central Bank worried they're a new 'pyramid schemes'

As we've seen elsewhere in the Pacific, and the world, the popularity of cryptocurrencies has been on the rise in Samoa.

"No-one seems to know what they're doing": Plenty of confusion in the PNG highlands

A humanitarian aid doctor who's just returned from Papua New Guinea's highlands has described the chaos as aid agencies and emergency authorities try to help the half a million people affected by last month's massive earthquake.

The extinction of Asian Tiger mosquitoes on Palmyra Atoll

Island communities across the Pacific would love to be rid of mosquitoes, because at best they're a nuisance, and at worse they can carry diseases like dengue and malaria.

Public holiday on International Women's Day touted as SODELPA policy

Fiji's opposition SODELPA Party has promised to make International Women's Day a public holiday if they are elected.

Shipping business hopes to be missing link in Pacific's recycling woes

Agreement's been reached between one of the largest shipping companies servicing the Pacific and the region's key environmental organisation, SPREP, for it to export the region's recycling material, for free.

Can you ship away the Pacific Islands’ waste problems?

Pacific islands, many of them tiny atolls with little space to spare, have long faced serious challenges dealing with their growing piles of waste.

"This can't be real": Tonga's government under fire over ban on girls playing rugby in public schools

There is still plenty of confusion about the Tongan government's ban on girls playing rugby at schools, but that hasn't stopped the news from going viral and provoking widespread outrage and bewilderment.

How green is Marshall Islands digital currency plan?

The government of Marshall Islands have made international headlines with their plan to become the first in the world to establish a digital currency as legal tender.

Evacuating from Ambae volcano 'worst-case scenario'

Vanuatu's Manaro volcano on Ambae island is showing signs of increased activity, just four months after all 11,000 people returned home after a forced evacuation.

Warnings a generation may miss out on school after PNG quake

School-aged children in some areas hit by Papua New Guinea's magnitude-7.5 earthquake are being told they won't be able to return to school for the rest of the year.

Life on Vanuatu's Ambae island disrupted again by Manaro volcano

Vanuatu has raised the volcano alert level on Ambae island from two to three, meaning the Manaro volcano is in what is called a 'minor eruption state.'

Solomon Islands government slashes CDF funding to the provinces

Solomon Islands' nine provinces have appealed to the national government to reconsider its decision to cut their funds by 90 percent but maintain money used by MPs in their constituencies.

Professional contracts on offer for six of the Pacific's brightest Rugby stars

Hot on the heels of World Rugby's decision to change the age regulations for the annual Pacific Challenge, they've introduced what's being described as a world first initiative to open a pathway for more players from Fiji, Samoa and Tonga to secure a professional contract.

Vatican removes Guam Archbishop, says 'guilty of certain accusations'

The group that helped expose a widespread child sexual abuse scandal within the Catholic Church in Guam says their experiences can be a lesson for others in the Pacific region.

PNG PM orders 'lessons to be learnt' from Australian emergency management

As Australians right across the country deal with a variety of natural disasters, from a cyclone in the north, to bushfires on the east coast - a large part of the emergency response has been carried out by volunteers.

Australian seismologists investigate deadly PNG earthquake

Two Australian seismologists have travelled to PNG to monitor ongoing aftershocks in the highlands region, and they say to debunk myths that the magnitude 7.5 earthquake was triggered by the oil and gas companies' work in the area.

Disappointment among staff at Fiji's largest hospital as government cracks down on fundraising campaign

A women's charity says it's been ordered by Fiji's Ministry of Health not to raise badly-needed funds to rebuild the bathrooms at the maternity unit of the country's biggest hospital.

Search underway in Kiribati for missing fishermen

New Zealand has joined the search for two fishermen who have been missing for five days off the Kiribati coast.

FFA policy revamp to help domestic violence victims at work receives widespread support

One of the biggest organisations in the Pacific, the Forum Fisheries Agency, has launched a new policy that allows them to provide immediate financial assistance to workers who are victims of domestic abuse.

Fiji Warriors take out Pacific Challenge Cup as World Rugby tighten age restrictions

World Rugby says new age elibility rules for the Pacific Challenge rugby tournament in Fiji is about attracting, and keeping, young players in their respective home countries.

Australia resists push to allow kava imports

Vanuatu's Agriculture Minister and leading members of the country's kava industry have renewed a call for Australia to remove its ban on kava imports.

Vanuatu's deputy PM given two year suspended sentence for conspiracy, but will he step down?

Vanuatu's Deputy Prime Minister Joe Natuman has been given a suspended two year sentence for conspiring to pervert the course of justice four years ago when he was prime minister.

Fiji government moves to introduce prison terms for harmful online behaviour

Fiji's opposition says new laws to promote online safety need to be considered carefully to ensure they don't suppress freedom of speech on the internet.

Settlement expected by June for Guam's Catholic Church abuse scandal

A lawyer in Guam says around 160 cases of child sexual abuse related to the Catholic Church have now been filed - in a scandal that's implicated more than a dozen priests and even a bishop and archbishops.

Calls for Catholic Church to give equal justice to overseas, including PNG, abuse victims

The Australian Catholic Church is being challenged to take responsibility and deal with crimes carried out by its Church officials overseas, in countries that include Papua New Guinea and the Philippines.

How do you quake-proof a country that straddles the Ring of Fire?

As Papua New Guinea undergoes a rapid period of urbanisation, with thousands continuing to flock to the major towns, there are fears that buildings aren't being constructed to a standard that would survive a strong earthquake - which could result in large numbers of casualties.

Kava Industry Pushes back against Vanuatu proposal to export tudei kava

The head of Vanuatu’s Kava Industry Association says allowing exports of so-called “two-day” kava would send a very bad message to overseas customers and local farmers.

Government scrambling to fund aid effort to PNG Highlands

The Papua New Guinea government is scrambling to raise money to continue transporting relief assistance to parts of the highlands devastated by a massive earthquake several weeks ago.

PNG earthquake: Leaders warn more lives are on the line without clean water

PNG leaders from areas affected by the highlands earthquake almost three weeks ago say people will die if they don't get reliable supplies of clean drinking water soon.

State of emergency extension in Tonga not welcomed by local businesses

Tonga's Prime Minister has this week extended the state of emergency that has been in place since Tropical Cyclone Gita tore through the country in February.

Genetic studies shed light on history of migration to Vanuatu

From the earliest settlers making their way out of southeast Asia to the current day population, researchers are filling in the gaps of the Pacific's genetic history.

Heavy rain to heighten risk of landslides in earthquake ravaged PNG highlands

Weather forecasters in Papua New Guinea are warning that the country can expect significant rain and flooding in the next few weeks until the end of the monsoon season.

Heated debate in Vanuatu on the future of kava exports

Vanuatu's biggest kava exporter says the heated debate about which varieties of the crop are more suitable for export is hurting the country's kava industry.

PNG earthquake: Angry highlanders call on relief agencies to sidestep the government

People in earthquake-affected areas of the Papua New Guinea highlands have asked international agencies to bypass the national government when providing relief.

Big growth in Rugby 7s fuels hope for Solomon Islands future on the World circuit

While Fiji and Samoa are still the big guns of sevens rugby in the Pacific, Solomon Islands believe they have what it takes to fight their way into the World Series core group over the next few years.

Research findings on land expansion in Tuvalu criticised by Sopoaga government

People living in the low-lying island nation of Tuvalu have long been nervous about rising sea levels, but New Zealand researchers have concluded that the country's landmass has actually got bigger over the past four decades.

Kava debate heats up in Vanuatu

Kava is drunk all around the Pacific for its relaxing effects but in Vanuatu it's been a source of heated debate.

PNG's counselling hotline reaches out to quake survivors

In the wake of the deadly earthquake that shook the PNG Highlands a fortnight ago, those affected have been seeking help wherever they can - including via the mobile phone.

PNG Church group overwhelmed by donations towards earthquake relief effort

The Catholic Bishops Conference in Papua New Guinea is calling for donations to help rebuild dozens of schools, health clinics and churches after the massive highlands earthquake two weeks ago.

Fijians use social media to campaign for repairs on maternity ward toilets

Photos of the poorly-kept toilets at a Fiji hospital are being shared far and wide on social media in a bid to raise money to fix them.

Three years on from Cyclone Pam and Vanuatu has come a long way

Three years after the strongest cyclone to ever hit Vanuatu devastated the archipelago, there's a sense that the recovery is moving ahead and people are getting on with their lives.

'Slavery' on the high seas: murder case sheds light on fishing crew mistreatment

The International Organisation of Migration says the case involving 6 Indonesian who murdered the captain of their Vanuatu-flagged fishing vessel, is not isolated.

Indonesian fisherman convicted by Vanuatu court of murdering captain says easier access to help needed

The case of a group of Indonesian fishermen who murdered their Chinese captain back in 2016, and now face 18 years behind bars in Vanuatu after their appeal was dismissed, has highlighted what industry insiders say is part of a much bigger issue: the poor treatment of foreign crew on fishing boats.

Hand scanners to help accountability in PNG's public service

The PNG government is stepping up its efforts to stamp out widespread absenteeism and unproductive behaviour in the public service.

PNG's Oro Governor Juffa cracks down on illegal logging operation

A group of foreign workers has been arrested and heavy equipment seized after authorities shut down an illegal logging operation in Papua New Guinea's Oro province.

Rugby 7s: In-form Fiji close the gap on South Africa in World series

With just four rounds of the World Rugby Sevens series to go, Fiji are on the march, becoming the first team to win two rounds of the current season.

Fiji to announce it's host city for Rugby Sevens World series bid

It's been over a week since Fiji submitted a bid to World Rugby to host a leg of the World Sevens series in 2020, but which major town, Suva or Nadi, would play host if the country is successful with its bid?

'Worst decision we ever made': Why you should think twice before buying a slice of Pacific paradise

Australian's interested in buying retirement homes in the Pacific islands are being warned to be very careful in order to avoid losing their money.

Free legal service for domestic violence victims in Tonga now open

Tonga's first legal aid centre focused on helping survivors of domestic violence has opened today in Nuku'alofa.

Concerns for long-term mental health issues for PNG quake victims

While the immediate health priorities for PNG's earthquake victims are clean water and food, a Red Cross health worker says she believes there will be long term mental health issues for a large number of people.

PNG authorities admit weaknesses in quake response but say lessons are being learnt

It's 2 weeks today since PNG's highlands region was hit by the magnitude 7.5 earthquake, and yet there are still communities which haven't yet received critical aid relief.

US anthropologist says bones found on remote Kiribati island are Amelia Earhart's remains

A US anthropologist is the latest person to claim to have solved the mystery of what happened to famed aviatrix Amelia Earhart.

Upset parents demand an apology from PNG Police after school teargas incident

Parents in Port Moresby are angry after tear gas deployed by police drifted through a primary school and caused some students to collapse and left others panicked and struggling to breathe.

Increasing tensions in New Caledonia as countdown looms for Independence vote

There are two key votes on Independence due in the Pacific in the next year or so: Bougainville has a target date of June 15th 2019 for its referendum on whether to separate from PNG.

#PNG earthquake: MAF disaster response team says tens of thousands in dire need

One of the key organisations helping deliver aid in Papua New Guinea's earthquake-devastated highlands paints a picture of a region where normal life and business has been suspended as entire districts wait for help.

'Tree of life' under threat in Solomon Islands amid efforts to tackle the deadly Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle

Agricultural authorities in Solomon Islands fear the march of a beetle lethal to coconuts is inevitable now it's been found in the largest plantation in the southern hemisphere.

What do ni-Vanuatu women think about reserved seats for female MPs?

The rate of female participation in politics across the Pacific has long been a concern for observers, with most island nations only having a few women MP's, and some like PNG having none at all.

Calls for urgent action on maternal mortality rates across the Pacific

One of the big barriers for many women in the Pacific region is still basic access to healthcare, especially for mothers and babies.

PNG facing a very long road to recovery after highlands earthquake, says PM

Papua New Guinea's Prime Minister Peter O'Neill says it's going to take several years before his country fully recovers from the devastating earthquake in the Highlands, which authorities estimate has claimed over a hundred lives.

Why are there so few women politicians in the Pacific?

The rate of female participation in politics across the Pacific has long been a concern for observers, with most island nations only having a few women MP's, and some like PNG having none at all.

What's in a name? Candidate in Fiji elections takes on her ex-husband over her moniker

An incident involving a female candidate planning to run in Fiji's election this year is getting a lot of attention - because she's chosen to run using her former husband's name.

Seismologist predicts PNG aftershocks to continue for months, "even years"

Strong aftershocks have continued to shake PNG's highlands region, more than a week after the deadly magnitude 7.5 quake, but seismologists say that's entirely normal - and predict the aftershocks could continue for several more months, possibly even years.

Where is the census data on ethnicity in Fiji?

Questions are being raised about the reasons being given by Fiji's government statistician for not releasing census data on ethnicity.

PNG sprinter Toea Wisil looking to bounce back from rocky 2017 performances

When the Papua New Guinea team marches into the stadium at the Commonwealth Games Opening Ceremony here in Australia next month, there will be one notable absentee - the track queen of the Pacific, Toea Wisil.

Gusty winds and heavy rain in Vanuatu as Cyclone Hola passes through

Authorities in Vanuatu say Tropical Cyclone Hola has caused some damage as it crosses the country but it's too early to say exactly how much.

As severe aftershocks rattle PNG's highlands, data collection teams quantify damage from 7.5 earthquake

Papua New Guinea's Highlands have been rocked again this morning by a magnitude-6.8 aftershock, one of six strong shakes since midnight.

PNG earthquake: Australian military aircraft helping to clear blocked roads in the highlands

Authorities in Papua New Guinea have begun clearing blocked roads in the earthquake affected parts of the PNG highlands.

PNG's Prime Minister pushes for a first-past-the-post system at the next election

Papua New Guinea's Prime Minister says the current voting system used during national elections is too costly and takes too long to produce a result.

Opinion poll says one-third of Fijian voters are undecided ahead of general election

A huge proportion of Fiji voters still can't say which political party they will vote for this election year.

PNG government pitches a student loan scheme like Australia but can it afford it?

Papua New Guinea's government says it wants to follow the lead of Australia and introduce a student loan scheme, to help young people who may be struggling with their university fees.

Demands for clarity over Fiji's ethnicity data

The Fiji Government is being called on to clarify what data on ethnicity was collected in last year's census, with both opposition politicians and a leading NGO saying the information is needed to better target the needs of specific community groups.

Tongan Minister arrested ahead of Parliament's first sitting since Cyclone Gita

Tonga's parliament sits for the first time today since Cyclone Gita destroyed the country's historic Parliament House last month, but it seems Tonga is on the verge of a political storm too.

Archbishop of Canterbury challenges wealthy nations to make up for climate change mistakes

Climate change was at the top the agenda for the Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury, the church's most senior bishop, during his visit to Fiji at the weekend.

Honiara's Chinese community in shock after businessman stabbed

An elderly Chinese businessman in the Solomon Islands is recovering after being stabbed in a botched robbery attack.

Men and women leaders in Vanuatu celebrated on National Chiefs Day

Today is national Chiefs Day in Vanuatu, and while this special holiday is about saluting the heads of the villages, who are overwhelmingly male, women leaders at the local level are gradually getting more recognition.

Planning for a new Court of Appeal in Nauru sparks heated argument between leaders

Nauru's former Chief Justice has described as complete nonsense the government's claim that the country's judicial system was "open to corruption and cronyism".

Call for PNG emergency authorities to tackle the potential crisis posed by 'quake lakes

A geo-hazards specialist is calling for an international effort to avert what he says is a potential crisis as massive landslides caused by last week's 7.5 earthquake create dams that could break and flood in the rainy season.

Helicopter pictures of PNG's highlands 'quake show extent of the landslide damage

A helicopter pilot whose extraordinary video of the massive landslides that buried a major river during PNG's highlands earthquake hopes the online reaction will prompt international help for communities still in shock from the quake and its aftershocks.

Disappointment in Australia over limited coverage of PNG earthquake

Now it's becoming clear just how bad the damage is from the Papua New Guinea earthquake, some people in the country are asking why there seems to be relatively little interest from much of the Australian news media.

PNG earthquake: Plenty of relief fundraisers in Port Moresby this weekend

Authorities in Papua New Guinea's capital city are organising fundraising events to assist in relief efforts for three highlands provinces devastated by Monday's Earthquake.

Communities in Malaita band together to build a future without logging

The logging industry is huge in Solomon Islands bringing in millions of dollars to the economy each year, but the environmental destruction its caused has many communities in recent years questioning whether it's the right path for them.

Former Tonga PM Lord Tu'ivakano arrested by police

Tonga Police have arrested a former prime minister and charged him with numerous offences relating to passport fraud, bribery and money laundering.

Can media freedom in the Pacific improve when journalists and governments have different agendas?

In the final of Pacific Beat's week-long series on media freedom in the Pacific, Bruce Hill looks at the issue of the sometimes awkward relationship between journalists and Pacific governments and asks whether it can be improved.

Pacific journalists say media freedom ideals aren't being helped by the excesses of social media

The impact of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, blogs, podcasts and alternative media on the internet is affecting the Pacific as it is the rest of the world.

Growing concern PNG's quake was caused by oil and gas extraction but experts reject that

In the aftermath of this week's powerful earthquake in PNG, there's been renewed concern that the country's oil and gas operations in the highlands region may have triggered the quake.

NZ Foreign Minister urges Australia not to forget the Pacific

New Zealand's Foreign Minister has issued a stark warning that Australia and New Zealand's influence in the Pacific is waning as China flexes its muscles.

Oil and gas companies in the PNG Highlands offer their help in earthquake recovery effort

The Papua New Guinea government is yet to announce what measures it will take to help people in the remote regions of the highlands worst hit by the quake.

PNG villages in still in shock after deadly highlands earthquake

Stories continue to emerge about the devastation Monday's earthquake caused in small villages throughout the Papua New Guinea highlands.

Fiji election hopeful claiming to be a former US congressman yet to produce proof of his credentials

In Fiji, the political future of a man claiming to have been a US Congressman is uncertain, as he has been unable to prove it.

Solar powered 3D printers make a difference in Solomon Islands

3D printing has taken the world by storm in recent years, and the futuristic technology looks set to make a big impact in the Pacific.

Highlands communities in PNG rattled after devastating earthquake

A full picture of the devastation caused by Monday's powerful earthquake in the Papua New Guinea highlands is slowly coming into focus.

Fiji's Human Rights Commission pledges to investigate claims of police torture

Fiji's Human Rights Commission head says claims by nine men that they were tortured by Police will be investigated by his office.

Media freedom in the Pacific: Policing of journalists an ongoing problem in Fiji

While there have been instances of reporters facing difficulty doing their jobs around the Pacific recently, possibly the most challenging environment for journalism in our region is Fiji.

Samoa PM says improving radio emergency warnings is a priority

Local media in Samoa reports an 8-year-old boy has died after being electrocuted by live broken powerlines, which were downed by Cyclone Gita earlier this month.

Fiji 'in with a good chance' for World Rugby Sevens bid

It's the last day for applications for the 2019-2020 World Sevens Series and Fiji is one of 19 countries that's vying for a spot.

PNG government to hold emergency meeting as quake toll expected to rise

PNG officials say at least 14 people have died after Monday's powerful earthquake, although there are unconfirmed reports that the death toll could be as high as 30, with details of extensive damage slowly emerging.

Dengue and fresh water among health challenges for Tongan authorities

Emergency authorities in Tonga say they're winning the battle to supply fresh drinking water to the tens of thousands of people on the main island of Tongatapu trying to rebuild after the onslaught of Cyclone Gita two weeks ago.

Political career of Joe Natuman in jeopardy as Vanuatu Deputy PM pleads guilty to conspiracy

Vanuatu's Deputy Prime Minister Joe Natuman has pleaded guilty to conspiring to pervert the course of justice.

Nurses in Solomon Islands issue 28 day strike notice over allowances

Hundreds of nurses across Solomon Islands are threatening to strike, in response to a lengthy delay from Ministry of Health in delivering on their promise for a new a pay agreement.

Cricket: PNG Barramundi's gear up for the biggest game in their history

The Papua New Guinea cricket team begin its World Cup qualifying campaign in Zimbabwe later today when they take on Scotland in the a warm-up match.

Samoa PM says urgent need for easier access to climate change finance

Samoa's Prime Minister says it remains a challenge for Pacific islands nations to access global funds which are meant help countries like his adapt to climate change and natural disasters; and it's an issue which he says is exacerbated by a lack of local capacity in small island nations.

Balancing media responsibility with free speech rights in the Pacific

Free speech, including media freedom is considered to be a fundamental right - and is recognised as such by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

#CycloneGita rebuild chance to cyclone-proof Tonga: Aust High Commissioner

Australia's High Commissioner to Tonga says the reconstruction of hundreds of buildings destroyed by Cyclone Gita is a chance to ensure the country's infrastructure is cyclone-proof as climate change causes stronger storms in the Pacific.

Engineer says an explosion at PNG LNG project is possible, but unlikely, after 7.5 quake

Several oil and gas operations have been suspended in the PNG highlands' region after yesterday's 7.5 magnitude earthquake.

Solomon Islands police reach peaceful resolution with visiting Bougainvilleans

A group of 29 men are back in Bougainville after making headlines in neighbouring Solomon Islands following their sea crossing to Western Province where they got themselves arrested and then broke out of jail.

Vanuatu all-rounder Patrick Matautaava makes bid for slice of cricket's Big Bash action

The last 12 months have been remarkable for the Vanuatu cricketer, Patrick Matautaava, who almost gave the game up, then starred in an international tournament in South Africa, and now has been recognised as one of the best 11 players in the world, outside the test playing nations.

"We should have been invited": Local leaders denounce PNG meeting on illegal logging

A high-level meeting in Port Moresby between Asia-Pacific countries on illegal logging has been slammed by community leaders from at least one part of Papua New Guinea that's faced the issue for years.

PNG rocked by strong magnitude 7.5 earthquake

Papua New Guinea's central highlands have been shaken by a significant 7.5 magnitude earthquake this morning.

Tahiti fails to break Ukulele band world record

Tahiti has failed in its attempt to reclaim the world record for the largest band of ukulele players.

Veteran ABC Pacific reporter Sean Dorney optimistic despite diagnosis of motor neurone disease

For more than 40 years, Sean Dorney covered the big stories in the region as the ABC's Papua New Guinea and Pacific correspondent, and made himself a household name in the process.

How free is the Pacific's media?

There's been series of incidents recently across the Pacific that have seen journalists at the centre of stories; rather than simply reporting on the news themselves.

PNG Government plans to toughen gun laws

The PNG government aims to crackdown on people using guns illegally, by announcing its plans for strict new laws that include penalties of up to 10 years in jail and fines as high as K10,000 (around $AUD 4000.

Divided loyalties for PNG rugby fans as Brisbane Broncos touch down to play the Hunters

It was a sea of maroon in the PNG capital when the Brisbane Broncos arrived in Port Moresby ahead of this weekend's historic clash against the much beloved PNG Hunters.

Alarm in Fiji after allegations of police torture

A Fiji Human Rights lawyer, Aman Ravindra-Singh, is accusing Police of torturing nine men.

Tonga's political leaders in talks to rebuild flattened parliament

The future of Tonga's Parliament remains uncertain in the wake of the total destruction of the old Parliament House during Cyclone Gita.

Pacific nations urged to be cautious as China flexes its muscles in the Maldives

Pacific nations are being warned if they accept too much Chinese loan money they may end up like the Maldives.

Samoan PM makes plea on climate change action as new research predicts Paris Agreement targets not enough to stop sea levels rising

New research shows that sea levels will continue to rise over the next two centuries; even if governments around the world commit to, and meet, the ambitious targets of the Paris Agreement, which aim to reduce carbon emissions.

Anger after cruise ship refuses to dock at PNG port after anthrax scare that authorities say is confined to pigs

The tourism community in Madang on PNG's northern coast is blaming social media for inflaming details about an outbreak of the bacterial disease, anthrax, on a nearby island to such an extent a cruise ship cancelled its long-scheduled visit, leaving hundreds of locals very disappointed and out of pocket.

Warning issued to would-be PNG investors of digital currencies

Around the globe, there's been a rise of digital currencies, with 'bitcoin' the most famous.

UNICEF's school-in-a-box brings classrooms to village schools destroyed by #CycloneGita

As the remnants of Cyclone Gita cause damaging winds and significant flooding in New Zealand, more aid is arriving in Tonga to help communities on the main island of Tongatapu recover from the category four storm.

PNG Minister's proposal for tougher gun laws gets mixed response in Enga

Gun violence has long been a problem in Papua New Guinea, and after a recent shootout at a shopping mart in the capital, a debate over the need for a nation-wide firearms ban has been reopened.

"They should be at one with the people": Questions over Tonga's politicians during Cyclone Gita recovery

Tonga's government needs to be seen to be leading the country as it recovers from Cyclone Gita according to the Tongan political scientist in New Zealand Dr Malakai Koloamatangi.

Plenty of #Pacific potential for micro businesses hosting home-stay tourists

Would you invite strangers you've only met online, into your home?

Power and clean drinking water a priority in #Tongatapu one week after #CycloneGita

One week after category four Cyclone Gita slammed into Tonga's main island with a direct hit on the capital Nuku'alofa, most people now have safe drinking water although 4,500 people are still living in evacuation centres after 1500 homes were destroyed.

PNG uni Vice Chancellor considers legal action after Unitech sacks him over certificate copy

The Papua New Guinea University of Technology council has sacked its Vice Chancellor, saying he failed to produce original certificates to authenticate his qualifications.

Solomon Islands: More than a hundred endangered birds in rehabilitation

Authorities in Solomon Islands are working to rehabilitate a local population of endangered birds, after a large flock were illegally captured and only narrowly avoided being sold overseas.

Huge decrease in yaws on PNG's Lihir Island gives hope for global eradication

A groundbreaking strategy tackling a long-standing skin disease in a Papua New Guinea island community has been endorsed by the World Health Organisation.

Volunteer donors put their hands up to help Sione Vaiomounga

There's encouraging news about Sione Vaiomounga, the Tongan rugby player who's been marooned in Romania after being diagnosed with kidney disease.

Shelter still an issue almost a week after #CycloneGita hit #Tonga's capital

A shortage of adequate shelter remains a major issue in Tonga nearly a week after Cyclone Gita battered the country.

Do we need more categories for bigger cyclones?

Cyclone Gita was the most powerful storm on record to hit the Tongan capital, and coming after two more record breakers, Cyclone Winston in Fiji and Cyclone Pam in Vanuatu, Neville Koop, from the Na Draki Weather Service says the impacts in recent years have been alarming.

Whale watching okay if you know what you're doing, says expert

Tomorrow is World Whale Day, and with whale numbers on the rise, and more tourists flocking to the Pacific, there's more demand for whale watching trips.

Fiji human rights groups welcome UN Commissioner's comments

There's been a positive reaction from human rights groups in Fiji to strong statements by the visiting United Nations Human Rights Commissioner.

Launch of AFLX a potential shake up for Rugby 7s

The international success of Twenty20 cricket, rugby sevens and Fast5 netball, has prompted the AFL to join the party, with their own short form version of Australian Rules Football called AFLX.

'Lack of awareness' about ship limitations still an issue across the Pacific despite efforts to improve

Investigations continue into Kiribati's latest maritime disaster, the sinking of MV Butiraoi, with more than 90 people presumed to have died.

PNG's Chief statistician urged to co-operate with police over fraud allegations

Anti-corruption organization Transparency International are urging senior bureaucrats in Papua New Guinea to make themselves available for questioning over fraud allegations.

Alarm in Fiji over police investigation into Islands Business

Journalists with Fiji's Islands Business magazine were taken in for a second round of questioning by Police detectives today.

Concerns about PNG women turning to abortions to stop 'unwanted' pregnancies

This week Pacific Beat has explored some of the issues around family planning in the Pacific, and particularly, the questions of where and how modern contraceptive methods, like the implant, fit in with PNG's culture and religion?

Tongan residents urged to rebuild 'cyclone resilient' homes in Gita's aftermath

With early government estimates suggesting that around half the houses on Tonga's main island of Tongatapu have been damaged or destroyed, there are already calls for people to rebuild 'cyclone resilient' homes.

Mobile phone communications under pressure as Tongatapu recovers from #CycloneGita

As Tonga struggles to recover from Cyclone Gita, both phone networks on the main island of Tongatapu - TCC and Digicel - were down yesterday and overnight.

Tonga to appeal for more foreign aid for Cyclone Gita recovery, says deputy PM

Around half the houses on Tonga's main island of Tongatapu have been destroyed or damaged by Cyclone Gita.

Tongan sporting community at rock bottom after Cyclone Gita

After Cyclone Gita struck with a vengeance, could the Tongan government's decision to abandon hosting the Pacific Games next year come back to bite the country, as the recovery effort continues?

"I thought coaching was a men's job": Soccer coach breaks new ground in PNG

With two rival soccer factions competing over who should run the national soccer competition in Papua New Guinea, the recent appointment of a woman to coach a newly-formed club in the National Soccer League, appears to have flown under the radar.

Cyclone Gita: Relief supplies and military aid on its way to Tonga

International aid is quickly being pledged to Tonga, with Australia and New Zealand sending emergency relief supplies, including temporary shelter and hygiene kits.

PNG's Catholic health clinics accused of 'wasting' family planning items

The PNG Government is being called on to reconsider its contracts with the Catholic Church, with concerns that certain Catholic-run health clinics aren't providing the full family planning services they're obligated to.

Remote Fiji islanders make contact: Cyclone Gita destroys crops and some homes

As Cyclone Gita moves out of Fiji waters, it's been upgraded to a category five storm and is now heading towards Vanuatu's most southern islands and New Caledonia.

Speaking the vibrant languages of the Pacific the best way to access education

With more languages being spoken in the Pacific than in any other region in the world, there are questions about whether education should focus instead on national languages like bislama or tok pisin or even international languages like English or French.

Fears that Tonga's dengue outbreak may get worse after #CycloneGita

Police in Tonga's capital Nuku'alofa have confirmed one man died when Cyclone Gita slammed into the main island of Tongatapu, causing widespread destruction.

Cyclone Gita: Tongan diplomats divided over early plans to rebuild parliament

The full extent of the devastation caused by Cyclone Gita in Tonga is still to be established, but the question of what happens to the seat of government now that the parliament building in Nuku'alofa has been levelled is one that has to be dealt with soon.

Small Fiji islands brace for strengthening Cyclone Gita

Weather experts say Cyclone Gita shows no signs of abating, as the storm continues to head towards Fiji's southern islands.

UN Human Rights Commissioner urges independence of Fiji Gov institutions

The UN's top Human Rights figure is urging the Fiji Government to ensure its institutions are independent, while he's also calling for this year's elections to be free and fair.

PNG women raise concerns about implant contraceptives but experts say side-effects minimal

There are growing concerns among a small group of women in Papua New Guinea that they're experiencing serious side effects from implants - a modern contraceptive which experts say is growing in popularity since it arrived in the country around seven years ago.

Islands Business journalists questioned by police over ATS magistrate article

Police in Fiji have detained and questioned three journalists after they published an online article about the magistrate who ruled in favour of Air Terminal Services workers when they were locked out for a month over an industrial dispute.

Food and water shortages a serious concern on Tongatapu

In the wake of Cyclone Gita, there are concerns there will be severe food and water shortages for tens of thousands of people living on Tonga's main island Tongatapu. More than 300 members of Tonga's military have been clearing the roads around the capital Nuku'alofa since dawn.

Tonga's Cyclone Gita described as the most frightening storm ever experienced

Disaster officials and locals alike in Tonga are describing Category 4 Cyclone Gita as the worst storm they've ever experienced.

Tonga disaster authorities say Cyclone Gita has impacted tens of thousands

Tongans have endured a night of horror, as Cyclone Gita brought winds topping 200 kilometres an hour, ripping off roofs, bringing down trees, while heavy rain has left many streets of the capital Nuku'alofa underwater.

Cyclone Gita: Tonga braces for category five storm

A state of emergency has been declared in Tonga as the country prepares for the arrival of what could be the strongest cyclone to ever hit the country.

PNG promises Human Rights Commission

Papua New Guinea's Prime Minister is promising to set up a Human Rights Commission.

Investigating the case for Family Planning in the Pacific

The world's population stands at around 7.6 billion people, but it literally grows each and every second.

Cyclone Gita due to hit Tonga with Category Four force

Tens of thousands of people on Tonga's main island are preparing for the worst as Cyclone Gita bears down with Category Four force, bringing very destructive winds and storm surges.

Samoa in recovery mode after Cyclone Gita stopover

The cleanup continues in Samoa, after Cyclone Gita hit there early on Saturday, causing widespread flooding and forcing around 300 people to evacuate their homes.

PNG villagers at Kokoda demand major review into track administration

Papua New Guinea's Kokoda track remains blocked off by local landowners, who are ramping up their calls for a total review of the organisation tasked to manage the famed tourist attraction.

"Making a bad situation worse": Kiribati reacts to journalists coverage of ferry disaster

The Government of Kiribati says media reports that it prevented foreign journalists from reporting on last month's ferry disaster are misleading.

Social media changing business in Pacific but high costs still restrictive

The internet, including social media, is changing the way business is conducted right across the world, and experts say the Pacific is no exception.

New cable expected to cut cost of internet in half for Samoa

It's a historic day for Samoa today, as its new submarine telecommunications cable is being officially launched - bringing with it the promise of cheaper and quicker phone and internet connections.

New Zealand TV crew shocked by treatment from Kiribati authorities

Immigration officials in Kiribati have ordered a New Zealand news crew to delete interviews they'd shot with survivors of a ferry sinking that's claimed around 90 lives.

Tongan economist wants donors to back rugby as a 'tradeable commodity'

A Tongan economist is calling for more investment in the development of grass roots rugby in the Pacific, with the aim he says of making the sport a tradable commodity.

Kiribati ferry disaster: Government criticised for blocking overseas journalists

The government of Kiribati says it doesn't want foreign journalists entering the country to report on the fallout from the ongoing ferry disaster until the incident has been investigated.

PNG lands department under fire as Manumanu files go missing

Anti-corruption watchdog Transparency International PNG says Papua New Guinea's lands department can't be trusted after it lost crucial files for controversial lease deals.

Pacific Island stars to lead the Melbourne Rebels in 2018

Ahead of the new Super Rugby season, and the inaugural Super W season for women's teams, the Melbourne Rebels have chosen two captains with strong Pacific Islands heritage.

Fiji's star batsman recruited by local Melbourne cricket club

While Papua New Guinea and Vanuatu both have big overseas tournaments to look forward to in the next few months, the state of cricket in Fiji is not quite so healthy, as the national side look to find their way back up the world ladder.

PNG tourism authority confident Kokoda Track shutdown can be quickly resolved

Government authorities in Papua New Guinea is holding an emergency meeting this morning after land owners of part of the Kokoda Track closed it to trekking, saying the PNG Government isn't delivering promised funding.

Call for Pacific authorities to enforce maritime safety powers after another ferry disaster

As Kiribati authorities investigate the capsize of an inter-island ferry with more than 90 people missing, there are questions about whether some Pacific ferry operators are taking safety seriously.

Trip to the Torres Strait goes bad for PNG fisherman

Officials from Australia's Border Force say a group fisherman from Papua New Guinea who were rescued after spending six days stranded in the Torres Strait are lucky to be alive.

Fiji rugby league CEO doubts player boycott will eventuate

The head of rugby league in Fiji is questioning the authenticity of reports that Fiji Bati players are threatening to boycott their next Test - over claims they haven't yet been paid their share of prize money for making it to last year's semi final of the world cup in Australia.

PNG's Kokoda track blocked off by protesting landowners

The Kokoda Track in Papua New Guinea has been shutdown by traditional landowners, who say they're being "exploited" and "suppressed" by both the PNG and Australian governments.

Fiji's Anti-Corruption body overloaded with complaints, says ANU report

The performance of Fiji's Independent Commission Against Corruption has received a mixed review from an academic study in Australia.

Calls for a PNG women's political party ahead of next election

Papua New Guinea's political scene is known for being unpredictable, and after a chaotic election last year that resulted in no women MP's and a weak Opposition, many critics are calling for change.

Aunt of teen missing from Kiribati ferry says operators "gambling with people's lives"

One family member looking for those answers is Wanita Limpus, who now lives in Australia and is the founder of the Kiribati Australia Association.

Seven Kiribati survivors healthy but traumatised as they arrive in Tarawa

A huge crowd lined the dock at Kiribati's capital Tarawa to welcome the seven survivors of the ferry that sank more than a fortnight ago - as they finally set foot on land again.

Talented Sevens newcomer Alasio Naduva helps a resurgent Fiji to Hamilton win

Fiji has thrilled their many fans who travelled to Hamilton in New Zealand to win their first tournament of the World Rugby Sevens Series.

Relentless rain leads to grave safety concerns on PNG's main highway

The Highlands highway is the economic backbone of Papua New Guinea, connecting several rural provinces to the cities of Lae, Madang and Goroka.

New Zealand a potential model for resolving land disputes in PNG

As Papua New Guinea grapples with the problems of trying to unlock the economic potential of communally owned land, could there be useful lessons from New Zealand?

Fiji government struggling to keep hold of secretaries

The departure of senior expat civil servants working for the government of Fiji is becoming a regular occurrence.

Calls to decriminalise sex work in PNG to combat high HIV rates

Health workers are calling for PNG to update its sex services and homosexuality laws to counter HIV and other sexually-transmitted infections, which they say are threatening to spread into the wider community.

A focus on the seven Kiribati ferry survivors due to arrive soon in Tarawa

Seven survivors from the Kiribati ferry disaster are due to arrive in the capital Tarawa on Saturday, almost a week after they were rescued.

Kiribati and Fiji authorities suspend aerial search for missing ferry's life-raft

Emergency authorities have suspended the aerial search for the missing Kiribati ferry that sank with 88 people onboard more than two weeks ago.

Former president calls for independent inquiry into Kiribati ferry tragedy

A prominent politician in Kiribati has called for a Commission of Inquiry to investigate the sinking of a ferry with around 90 people on board.

Proposal to give PNG security guards police powers to help cut crime

In a place deemed to be one of the world’s most dangerous cities, the Governor of Papua New Guinea's capital city wants private security guards to carry out police work.

Health worries for Vanuatu island that had entire population evacuated because of erupting volcano

Two months on from the mass evacuation in Vanuatu that saw more than 11 thousand people forced off their home island, there are concerns the whole exercise may have longer term impacts on their food security – and even their diets and health.

Government plans to recruit foreign workers gets mixed response in Fiji

The Fiji government is attracting both praise and criticism over plans to import foreign labourers to help cut sugar cane and do construction work.

Young PNG girl accused of sorcery relocated and recovering well

The six year old Papua New Guinea girl who was tortured with hot knives on suspicion of being involved in sorcery is recovering well more than two months after the incident.

Cheap imports might dampen benefits of Vanuatu's plastic bag ban for basketmakers

Vanuatu's ban on single-use plastic bags is expected to have flow-on effects for the local handicraft sector, when it begins to take effect from tomorrow.

Heavy rainfall battering PNG and Solomon Islands

Heavy rainfall is causing chaos in Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea, with highways blocked, rivers bursting and hundreds of children being sent home from their flooded schools.

Call for national prayers as authorities reveal Kiribati's ferry toll could reach 100

The Kiribati Government has declared a week of prayer in memory of the passengers on a ferry that sank last week as it's revealed there may have been more than 100 people onboard.

Search continues for dozens missing from Kiribati ferry

As seven people were rescued after drifting for days in a wooden dinghy in Pacific waters off Kiribati after their ferry sank - and dozens more remain missing - questions are being asked about the way the search operation has been handled.

High-tech solution to tracking Pacific tuna from 'bait to plate'

The ground-breaking technology behind crypto-currencies like Bitcoin is being used to trace tuna caught in the Pacific to stop illegal and unsustainable fishing.

Support for Fiji Electoral Commission's decision to not use number 666 on ballot papers

When Fijians head to the polls this year - at a date yet to be announced - they won't be able to vote for a candidate with the number 666.

Fiji's Olympic champions under pressure to perform at Sydney Sevens

The World Rugby Sevens carnival has rolled into Sydney for what will be round three of the men's series and round two for the women.

PNG government's lack of funding blamed on rising sorcery beliefs

Researchers studying the escalating rate of violence against people accused of sorcery in Papua New Guinea say it's largely being caused by the failure of the national government to commit funds.

Calls for Australia Day date change issue that resonates with Pacific people

As calls for a change in the date of Australia's national day grow, Australian/PNG musician, Airileke says it's an issue that resonates with the people of PNG and the Pacific, given their own colonial histories.

Indonesia government accused of ignoring Papua as dozens of children die from measles

Indonesia is under fire for its slow response to a severe measles outbreak in the province of Papua that has claimed the lives of dozens of children.

PNG human rights advocates accused of supporting sorcery

Papua New Guinean human rights advocates are putting their lives in danger to stop violence against people accused of practising sorcery.

Solomon Islands called out for not doing enough to stop smacking of children

The Solomon Islands has been called out for failing to outlaw the physical punishment of children in its schools, and at home.

PNG advocacy group calls plans allowing banks to take customary land as loans security a 'land grab'

A push to make it easier for traditional land owners in PNG to access loans and mortgages, by having PNG banks accept customary land titles as security loans, is being described by critics as "another land grab".

Anote's Ark brings the ravages of climate change reality to Sundance audiences

A documentary tellling the story of the fight to save Kiribati as rising seas threaten to swamp its low-lying atolls, has been well-received at the Sundance Film Festival in the United States with sell-out audiences at its premiere this week and followup screenings.

PNG police blame lack of resources to help tackle sorcery-related violence

PNG police are planning to charge villagers who attempted to torture a man they accused of using sorcery to kill rugby league star Kato Ottio.

PNG government gives mobile phone users another 3 months to register sim cards

There'd been fears that more than a million people in PNG may have had their mobile phone service cut off this time tomorrow., after a deadline to register phone sim cards was due to have kicked in.

PNG sorcery beliefs: why and how people claim to prove witchcraft exists

In PNG, there are reports four policemen were injured when they rescued a man being tortured by villagers who accused him of using sorcery to cause the death of rugby star Kato Ottio.

Solomon Islands crocodile threat prompts call to lift ban on selling their skins

Community leaders and police concerned about the growing number of crocodile attacks in Solomon Islands want the ban on exporting their skins lifted, so it is lucrative for communities to kill them. Police in West Guadalcanal are hunting a saltwater crocodile that attacked and killed a 20 year-old man last week while teams in Central and Western Provinces have killed three crocs since mid-January - one of them five-and-a-half metres long, as Wendy Everett reports.

Tonga's first-ever male cross country skier qualifies for Winter Olympics

The Pacific has its own "Cool Runnings" story: Tonga is heading to this year's Winter Olympics in South Korea.

Sanguma: The belief behind a rising number of murders in Papua New Guinea

Nearly 100 men face are likely to be sentenced to life in prison in PNG - and possibly even face the death penalty - after a court convicted them of murdering seven people over allegations of sorcery in a remote area of the Madang Province.

Hospital stands by treatment of PNG rugby star Kato Ottio

The Port Moresby hospital which first treated PNG rugby league star Kato Ottio, who died last week from suspected heat stroke, is defending its handling of the situation.

Fiji's Coral Coast Sevens helping to find the next generation of Olympians

The former USA rugby sevens captain, Brian Hightower, calls it the hardest domestic tournament to win in the world: it's Fiji's Coral Coast Sevens in Sigatoka.

Relocations continue amid concerns of more volcanic eruptions off PNG's north coast

Relocations are continuing from an island off the north coast of PNG after a volcanic eruption caused

Pacific nations quiet so far on Aus/China dispute over its aid to region

There's so far been little reaction from Pacific governments to the diplomatic crisis between Australia and China over loans and aid.

Heat stroke likely to have killed PNG rugby star Kato Ottio

Massive crowds are expected to turn out for the funeral of Papua New Guinea's rising rugby league star, Katio Ottio who died suddenly this week, aged just 23.

Death of seasonal worker sparks questions about program

The death of a Tongan seasonal worker in Queensland has raised questions about the way the Pacific seasonal worker program is operating.

Plans to permanently resettle those from PNG's Kadovar Island

The Papua New Guinea government will resettle around 2,000 people displaced after a volcano erupted in East Sepik province.

Senior PNG politician calls for AFP to help with "breakdown in law and order"

A senior PNG politician is calling for Australian Police to once again be allowed to carry out investigations and help local officers address what he says is a "breakdown in law and order".

West Papuan resistance figure to face trial

A West Papuan youth activist is set to go on trial today in the town of Timika, after nearly eight months in custody without charge.

The difficulties of deportees: Samoans sent back after committing crimes posing problems for the government

Samoa is a small country dealing with a big problem: an influx of Samoans deported from the United States, Australia and New Zealand after committing crimes.

Papua New Guinea's Tumultuous Year

Pacific Affairs Correspondent Liam Fox is joined by PNG correspondent Eric Tlozek and producer Bethanie Harriman to discuss the events of the last 12 months and what lies ahead for Papua New Guinea in 2018.

Tati Mangi, Paulini, and Airileke: The Pacific artists who made a statement in 2017

Sean Mantesso takes a look back at the Pacific's music scene in 2017 - from fresh talent, to favourites that made a comeback, and a couple of controversies along the way.

Trauma, conflict and climate change: Pacific filmmaking goes to new heights in 2017

Bindi Bryce takes a look at Pacific filmmaking in 2017 - from an Oscar nomination for the Vanuatu film Tanna, to international praise for a short film about grief in New Zealand's Samoan community.

Pacific Health in 2017: Headway made amid funding setbacks

2017 saw more progress made in the fight against the Pacific's high rates of cervical cancer, as Vanuatu slowly implements the oral health survey with the help of some dedicated volunteers. Meanwhile Papua New Guinea's doctors pushed for more funding and better access to safe surgery and anaesthesia. Pacific Beat's Lauren Beldi looks at some of the successes and setbacks of the campaign to improve healthcare in the Pacific in 2017.

Rugby League comes of age in the Pacific

Pacific Beat's Richard Ewart takes a look back at landmark year for rugby league in the Pacific, a year in which the PNG Hunters won the Intrust Super Cup for the first time, while the Kumuls played World Cup pool matches in front of sell out crowds in Port Moresby. Fiji made it to their third World Cup semi-final in a row, and only a controversial refereeing decision stopped Tonga from joining their Pacific rivals in the last four.

The Pacific Year in Soccer - the year the world took notice of the talent in the Pacific islands

2017 was the year in which the rest of the world took notice of soccer in the Pacific, after Vanuatu scared the life out of Mexico and Germany at the Under 20 World Cup. Meanwhile the domestic split in PNG saw the formation of a breakaway Premier League, Fiji set out on their World Cup Mission 2026, and Kiribati won a place in the alternative World Cup, the 2018 CONIFA World Cup. Richard Ewart is joined by the founder of the Football in Oceania website Ola Bjerkevoll to mull over the big talking points of the year.

Tonga in 2017: A snap election, but no Pacific Games

2017 proved an eventful year in Tonga - from controversially pulling out of hosting the Pacific Games to a snap election after the King dissolved parliament. Bruce Hill speaks to Tongan journalist Kalafi Moala about the events that shaped Tonga this past year.

Vanuatu threats of 2017: volcanoes, income tax and votes of no confidence

We take a look back at the year that was in Vanuatu - from the mass evacuation of all 11,000 people from Ambae island amid fears the Manaro volcano would erupt, to the threat of the income tax and how the people of Vanuatu responded to the Government's attempts to increase its revenue. We also discuss the legacy of the late President, Father Baldwin Lonsdale after his shock death, and the hype of Hollywood; despite missing out on a win, the film, 'Tanna' continued to make history for Vanuatu when it was nominated for an Oscar.

Facing an uncertain future in 2018: Solomon Islands without RAMSI, Samoa with rugby in the doldrums

After 14 years of support from the billion-dollar regional intervention RAMSI, Solomon Islands and new prime minister Rick Hou have just a year before national elections will test the foundations of its rebuilt society that still needs generations of peace-building. As the main players take us through the story of 2017 in Solomon Islands, Pacific Island Studies Associate Professor Dr Tarcisius Tara Kabutaulaka gives his analysis of politics and culture. While in Samoa, changing the Constitution to declare the country a Christian state could be considered less controversial than the issues Samoan rugby is facing . We hear insights from journalist and rugby patriot Keni Lesa.

Rise of the PNG Orchids caps off a big year for women's sport in the Pacific

Bindi Bryce takes a look at the year of women's sport throughout the Pacific - from the cracking start to the year for women's rugby in Papua New Guinea to Samoa's first Olympic medal finally awarded for Ele Opeloge's performance at the Beijing games.

Mining at Panguna put on hold indefinitely

Mining at Bougainville's troubled Panguna copper mine - one of the world's biggest - is being put on hold indefinitely.

Courting controversy: the legacy of famous Australian photographer Frank Hurley's 1922 expedition to PNG's Lake Murray

Just under one 100 years ago, the seemingly wild and relatively unexplored island to Australia's north - known now as Papua New Guinea - was a particular drawcard for explorers and anthropologists, with many regions still to be discovered, even just 100 years ago. One of these self-proclaimed adventurers was one of Australia's most famous photographers, Frank Hurley, who wanted to make contact with tribes he'd heard were headhunters, living in the upper reaches of Lake Murray - near the border with Indonesia. It was a controversial voyage at the time, when Hurley and his crew were accused of stealing artefacts. But as Catherine Graue discovered, the photographer's legacy is continuing to generate controversy nearly a century on.

Lawyer and activist question use of Fiji's sedition laws

Fiji's Director of Public Prosecutions says the country's sedition laws are not being used to prosecute people for voicing political dissent.

More than 500 people forced to evacuate as volcano erupts off PNG

PNG authorities are working to help more than 500 people forced to evacuate from their small island, after a volcano began erupting there in spectacular fashion at the weekend.

Calls for proper recognition of WWII's Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels

There are calls for the contribution of the legendary Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels, Papua New Guineans who came to the aid of Australians in the Kokoda campaign, to be properly recognised.

Food security concerns remain for Vanuatu's Ambae islanders after volcano

It's been two months since residents of Vanuatu's Ambae island returned home after the mass evacuation -- which was prompted by predictions the island's volcano would erupt with devastating consequences.

English language school planned for Fiji's Kiribati community

While most kids are enjoying their school holidays, a woman from Kiribati who's now living in Fiji is raising funds for an ambitious plan to set up an English language school for her community.

Fiji: A look back at 2017

From cyclone recovery to the COP 23 presidency - Joe Yaya takes a look back at the big stories out of Fiji in 2017.

Vanuatu bans plastic bags from February

Single-use non-biodegradable plastic bags will be banned in Vanuatu from February, as the government there tries to control a growing plastic waste problem.

Hopes for Tongan dialysis clinic in 2018

Last month we brought you the story of a crowdfunding effort for a Tongan international rugby player stranded in Romania, unable to return home because of his need for dialysis treatment that's not easily available in Tonga.

Pacific countries cautious in UN vote on status of Jerusalem

An overwhelming majority of countries voted in the United Nations overnight in favour of a resolution calling for the United States to drop its recent recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital, despite President Donald Trump threatening to cut aid to those who voted yes.

Anti-violence activist calls for better investigation into girl's torture

No arrests have been made yet over the torture of a six year old Papua New Guinea girl suspected of involvement in sorcery.

New data reveals domestic violence impacts broad cross-section of PNG women

The family support service, Femili PNG, have uncovered evidence that suggests the problem of family and sexual violence affects all levels of Papua New Guinea society, including the most educated.

A Happy Christmas on Fiji's Koro Island as local kids get ready for school

When Cyclone Winston struck Fiji in 2016 the villages on the island of Koro were devastated, homes and schools were destroyed, and for many in the local community life ground to a halt.

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