What's Niu

Funerals could take similar approach to tangihanga under new rules

By Jordan Bond for Radio New Zealand

Government ministers have backed down over tangi and funeral rules, which initially restricted attendees to a maximum of 10 people at a time.

It is now set at 50 people, but the funeral director must submit a plan and have it accepted showing they can mitigate health risks of spreading Covid-19.

"It's definitely what the public have been asking for, so they'll be happy. We're happy, and we'll accommodate whatever needs to be accommodated by the Ministry of Health," said Funeral Directors Association spokesperson Simon Manning.

The association asked Minister of Health David Clark for the limit to be 100 people, arguing they would be more than capable of handling that number, Manning said.

Gee and Hickton Funeral Directors general manager Gavin Murphy agreed that 50 people was too few, but should be better than a limit of 10, which put some families in an unfathomable situation.…more

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Prime Minister of Samoa's response to the New Zealand Law Society


Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi has responded to New Zealand Law Society President Tiana Epati’s “serious concerns” with the constitutional law reforms under review in Samoa.

The Prime Minister’s reply is published verbatim.

“There is no place for the President of an overseas Law Society to use that organization’s name to try to lecture us or interfere with our country’s democratic processes.

Samoa’s Government is trying to create a Specialist Court of Appeal for its own cultural Lands and Titles to be legally acknowledged and preserved.

It is a matter now at Select Committee for public consultation, and it is a matter for Samoa. In short, it is none of your overseas presidential business.

All the best as you concentrate on the needs of all your society’s members, and we will concentrate on looking after our own country-Samoa.…more

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Ministry of Health Samoa Update: - 

As of 9:00am 11th April, 2020, there are NO CONFIRMED CASES of COVID-19 in Samoa. We continue to provide care for all patients who need it, and are prepared to provide care for those who may become infected with COVID-19.

At the time of this update, we can report the following:

1)    The 12 outstanding specimens were sent to New Zealand Tuesday evening on an emergency medevac flight

2)    The results of these 12 tests were all NEGATIVE for COVID-19.

3)    To date, all of the 32 samples sent overseas (New Zealand) for testing came back negative

4)    For the past 5 days, no new samples were collected for COVID-19 testing.

MOH will continue to investigate people reporting fever and flu-like symptoms with a history of travel in the past 14 days overseas, and update the public on the status of their COVID-19 testing.

Active surveillance for early detection of COVID-19 cases in Samoa is ongoing.…more

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New website for Pacific communities to Fight COVID-19

A new website dedicated to providing information for Pacific communities across New Zealand has been launched to help stop the spread of Coronavirus.

PreparePacific.nz  is supported by Counties Manukau Health, Auckland District Health Board, Waitematā District Health Board, Northland District Health Board, Ministry of Health and The Cause Collective.

The aim of the site is to provide up-to-date and relevant information that supports the fight against COVID-19 but in a one-stop shop portal and from Pacific perspectives.

Counties Manukau CE, Fepulea’i Margie Apa says Pacific peoples are faced with a lot of mixed messages about Covid19, and PreparePacific.nz will help them find what they need in one place.

“Our Pacific communities told us they have to look at many different sources to find information which at times is difficult to understand,” says Apa. “We listened to their insights and designed PreparePacific.nz around their needs.”

Features include panels in Pacific Island languages, health messages from Pacific doctors, contacts for family and sexual violence, financial support information and a list of essential services and Pacific providers.…more

What's Niu


The spread of the Covid-19 virus and the compulsory self-isolation period has dramatically changed the way we live, with restrictions on how we socialise and gather as a community.

One area that has had a devastating impact on our families is the strict restrictions on the funeral and burial process when loved ones die during this period. The Ministry of Health has banned all public funerals and burials and in most cases, bodies are buried between 24 to 48 hours after death.

“This has been the hardest time in my entire career,” says Tongan/Maori funeral director Francis Tipene, who also fronts the popular reality show The Casketeers. “It’s been heartbreaking to uplift someone from a home or the hospital and telling their family that would be the last time they will see their loved ones.”

This week, Francis and other funeral directors challenged the strict guidelines, knowing how difficult it was for Pasifika families who were in mourning. Changes were made, allowing family members living in the same household as the deceased, to attend a funeral service and burial.…more

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World Bank provides US$5.1m for Samoa COVID-19 response

Press release - World Bank Group 

The World Bank has delivered US$5.1 million in immediate funding to support Samoa’s response to the global COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic. The funds will support Samoa’s efforts to prepare and manage its response to COVID-19.

Samoa currently has no confirmed COVID-19 cases, however a State of Emergency is now in place across the country.

“Protecting Samoan people from COVID-19 is our absolute priority,” said the Hon. Sili Epa Tuioti, Samoan Minister of Finance. “While we remain fortunate that we currently have no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Samoa, it is critical that we are as prepared as possible.…more

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Business Hub for Pacific officially launches in Auckland!

The Pacific Business Hub has officially launched in Manukau, South Auckland and the event held last Friday also marked a milestone for the establishment as it celebrates its 1-year anniversary since opening its doors.

For founder, Laura Keil-Hall, the Hub is the fulfillment of “a passion and a dream”. It started with a bit of inspiration from her years as a Bank of New Zealand business manager.

The concept of The Pacific Business Hub is based on the existing model of co-working and shared office space. A base for small and new start-up businesses to collaborate resources and share space. 

Laura remembers “The first time I walked into [BNZ’s] Highbrook Partner Centre, I immediately said to myself, ‘I would like to one day offer a space like this for…the Pacific.’”

Laura envisioned a professional yet nurturing hub for Pacific entrepreneurs, an affordable place for startups and small businesses to set up office, meet with clients, get creative, collaborate and be inspired by other ambitious like-minded thinkers.

The difference is, the Hub is not your average traditional shared office co-working space.…more

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History made as Brisbane welcomes its first QLD Tongan Language School

History was made and classrooms were packed as Brisbane’s Tongan community welcomed the long-anticipated QLD Tongan Language School at Griffith University Logan Campus.

A team of volunteer teachers, members of the Brisbane Tongan Community executive, media and a mixture of pre-school, primary and secondary school students in addition to a keen open adult class converged on campus to study a 12-month course in Lea Faka-Tonga the Tongan Language.

Convenor of the QLD Tongan Language School, Bruce Manu-Sione explained that the curriculum was developed with assistance from the NSW Tongan Language School with generous support from their principal, Mrs Uanivā Havea.

“The course is designed for beginners in all age groups and we are so stoked to see the diversity of ethnicities joining the classes, including Papālangi, Samoans, Māori and Tongans,” Bruce Manu-Sione added.

The first day of classes was opened in a traditional ceremony acknowledging indigenous Australians and a spiritual devotional led by Brisbane Tongan Community President, Rev. Maile Molitika.…more

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The Ministry of Health in Samoa have released a statement to clarify that they had not authorized the $40.00 tala vaccination record fee and were also not aware that staff had unilaterally imposed the fee to acquire the vaccination records for school enrolment.

As a result, Director General of Health, Leausa Dr. Take Naseri had instructed staff members to cease any fees immediately when informed of the situation last Friday.

He says that these fees in question are old charges implemented during the former National Health Service when parents’ requested replacement of their immunization books and records when they'd been lost or misplaced. 

This is the record they usually take with them when they emigrate overseas to NZ, Australia or the USA. 

The staff members involved did not take into account that the old law governing the NHS operations as a State-Owned Enterprise had already been voided.

Worse, they did not ask the authorities before continuing with the old practice.…more

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Lineup announced for 'I Love Samoa' benefit concerts in NZ

via Radio New Zealand Pacific 

The first lineup announcements have been made for a series of concerts in New Zealand, which aim to raise funds for the families of measles victims in Samoa.

The 'I Love Samoa 2020' concerts will take place in Auckland, Wellington and Australia's Gold Coast from the end of the month.

The concerts will include Ardijah, Annie Crummer, Sammy Johnson, Lole and traditional powerhouses Punialava'a.  Hip hop stars Savage and Swiss will also perform as well as other Pasifika stars.

Organiser Danny 'Brotha D' Leaosavai'i told Radio 531PI the response from the musicians had been heart-warming.

"They're all donating their time and their talents for this.  The monetary value of each of these artists is far beyond what probably we could have paid for...I'm speechless. I want to thank them personally and sincerely."

Brotha D said the lineups might differ at each venue but more details could be found on the event Facebook pages.

He said the aim was to get as much financial assistance to Samoan families as possible.…more