Minpacalumni's Weblog

Weblog for former staff of the Ministry of Pacific Island Affairs in New Zealand

2009 Pacific Islands Political Studies Association (PIPSA) Conference

Posted by Sai Lealea on November 24, 2009

Fale Pasifika, 20 Wynyard Street, University of Auckland

3-4 December, 2009

Theme: Pacific Democracy: What’s Happening?

More than 50 papers will be presented by leading scholars, analysts and political commentators from around the Pacific region including Samoa, Fiji, Tonga, Hawaii, Australia, United States, Japan, Niue, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands, on issues relating to constitutional change, coups, political violence, human rights, development, corruption, peace-building and conflict resolution, alternative political systems, parliamentary democracy and more.

Sir Paul Reeves, former Governor General of New Zealand, distinguished statesman and eminent political mediator in the Pacific region, will open the conference. Sir Paul Reeves’ speech will focus on problems of democratization in the Pacific.

The keynote speaker on day 2 (December 4) is Mr Phil Goff, former Minister for Foreign Affairs who will be speaking on “Pasifika New Zealanders in the new political scene.”

PIPSA was established in Hawaii in 1987 as a forum for Pacific scholars, policy makers and analysts to engage in discussion, research and publications about political issues in the Pacific islands. The PIPSA general conference takes place once every two years in different locations around the Pacific, including Port Vila, Suva, Noumea, Queensland, Rarotonga, Honolulu, Christchurch and Guam.

You are welcome to attend. The registration fees are: Academics (F/T) and Employed (F/T) (Non PIPSA Member)-NZ$80.00; Academics (F/T) Employed (F/T) (PIPSA Member)-NZ $70.00; Students/Pensioners-NZ$50.00.

PIPSA conference organizing team

Steve Ratuva, PIPSA President, University of Auckland (s.ratuva@auckland.ac.nz)
David Hegarty, PIPSA Vice President, Australian National University (david.hegarty@anu.edu.au)
Jonathan Schultz, PIPSA Secretary/Treasurer, University of Melbourne (j.schultz@pgrad.unimelb.edu.au)
Tarcisius Kabutaulaka, Committee member, University of Hawaii (tkabutau@hawaii.edu)
Anne Brown, Committee member, University of Queensland (anne.brown@uq.edu.au)
Tina McNicholas, Committee member, Pacific Cooperation Foundation, (Tina@pcf.org.nz)
Folole Asaua, Conference coordinator, University of Auckland (f.asaua@auckland.ac.nz).
For further information please contact Folole Asaua (f.asaua@auckland.ac.nz)


Day 1 (December 3)
8-8.30 Registration

8.30-8.45 Traditional Maori and Pacific Island welcome

8.45-8.55 Welcome and introduction, Dr Steven Ratuva, President PIPSA

8.55-9.30 Opening and keynote address, Sir Paul Reeves, The crisis of democracy in the Pacific: The case of Fiji

9.30-10.00 Morning tea

10.00-11.30 Plenary: Coups and the crisis of democracy in Fiji – Facilitator:
Shubhash Appanna (Auckland Institute of Studies), From democratic dictatorship to democracy in Fiji.
Dr Susanna Trnka (The University of Auckland), From the ground up: Ethnographic analysis of ethnic identity, violence, and the state in Fiji.
Hélène Goiran (New Caledonian independent scholar), The political roles of the Fiji military: a history of the chiefs’ warriors, heroes of the World Wars, peacekeepers and dictators
Rev Akuila Yabaki (Fiji Citizens Constitutional Forum), From paramountcy to equality: Constitutionalism, dialogue and ethno-political conflict in Fiji

11.30-1.00 Plenary: Democracy in Samoa – Facilitator:
Dr Desmond Amosa (University of the South Pacific), Political stability in Samoa: A devil in disguise?
Falaniko Tominiko (University of Auckland), Temokalasima le fa’amatai: A true democracy or dictatorship in disguise?
Tamara Tulitua (University of Auckland), Talatala le upega: Disentangling the net-Samoan culture, identity and politics

1.00-2.00 Lunch

2.00-3.00 Plenary: Politics in the French PacificFacilitator:
Dr Mathias Chauchat (University of New Caledonia), Seeking a collegial politics in New Caledonia today
Dr Sémir Al Wardi (University of French Polynesia), Tahitian democracy: a specific political culture
Dr Christophe Chabrot (University of New Caledonia), Citizen involvement in the independence or autonomy process in New Caledonia

3.00-3.30 Afternoon tea

3.30-4.30 Plenary: Democratic reforms in Tonga – Facilitator:
Tevita Havea (University of Auckland), The Constitution of the Kingdom of Tonga v. Democracy
Prof Ian Campbell (University of the South Pacific), Pacific democracy: What’s happening in Tonga?
Dr Malakai Koloamatagi (University of Canterbury), Constitutional reform and democratization in Tonga

4.30-6.00 Plenary: Democracy in Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands – Facilitator:
Dr Bill Standish (Australian National University) PNG: Reforming sub-regional democracy. Or not?
Gordon Nanau (Solomon Islands College of Higher Education), Understanding vulnerability, insecurity and instability in the Solomon Islands
Jackson Gege (Solomon Islands College of Higher Education), The impact of public service management practices on democracy in the Solomon Islands.
Joe Kanekane (PNG Law and Justice Sector) Informing and educating the masses under a stable government, an analysis of how the media in Papua New Guinea is performing its role, under the National Alliance led government from 2002- to the present.

6.30-9.00 Cocktail

Day 2 (Friday 4)

8.30-10.30 Plenary: Pacific women and politics – Facilitator:
Dr Christine Forster (University of Queensland); Sexual offences, law reform in Pacific Islands: Replacing colonial norms with international good practice standards
Dr Yvonne Underhill-Sem (University of Auckland), Sexual and gender-based violence as a regional politic issue: taking us back to move us forward?
Dr Alumita Durutalo (University of the South Pacific), The principle of political equality in Pacific electoral systems: case study of women’s participation in Fiji’s elections since 1972
Dr Lawrence Kalinoe (University of Papua New Guinea), PNG – Nominated women MPs and reserved seats for women?
Dr Asenati Liki Chan Tung (Australian National University), Women and Leadership in Pacific Public Sectors – Samoa and Solomon Islands

10.30-11 Morning tea

11-12 Plenary: Pasifika politics in NZ – Facilitator:
Keynote: Hon. Phil Goff (NZ Leader of the Opposition), Pasifika New Zealanders in the new political scene
Hon Carmel Sepuloni (NZ Labour Party), Voting patterns of Pacific Islanders in New Zealand elections
Peni Fa’alogo (University of Auckland), So you are sorry: what does that mean? Can the apology reshape the collective membership of Samoan New Zealanders?

12-1 Plenary: Pacific ParliamentsFacilitator:
Dr Quinton Clements (Center for Democratic Institutions, Australian National University), Pacific Parliaments: Research Report
Prof Bob Nakamura (New York State University) Pacific parliaments: Research report
Afamasaga Toleafoa (Samoan economist/diplomat/politician/consultant), Pacific parliaments: Research report
David Hegarty (Australian National University) Melanesian local governance – Absent the state

1.00-2.00 Lunch
Parallel session A (Room 104) Parallel session B (Room 107) Parallel session C (Room 108)

2.00-300 Democracy, civil society and the media – Facilitator:
Dr Crosbie Walsh (University of the South Pacific), Political Blogs on Fiji: Cybernet Democracy or What?
Dr Mark Hayes (Queensland University of Technology), What to do when statements fail: Responding to assaults on media freedom in Fiji and PNG
Jan Beange (Barrister and Solicitor), Promoting civil society voice in the Pacific-Does NZ charity law impose regulatory barriers to [private aid?
Traditional governance, identity and youth Facilitator:
Tarisi Vunidilo (Archaeologist), Na bula vakavanua: Case study of change in contemporary village governance in Fiji: An indigenous view
Dr Patrick Vakaoti (University of Otago) and Vanisha Mishra (University of the South Pacific),An exploration of youth leadership role in Fiji
Birtha Richmond-Tongahai (Niue Government), Findings of Niue’s inaugural Youth Assembly project
Human Rights and corruption – Facilitator:
Rebecca Emery (Amnesty International, NZ), AI human rights abuse assessment method
Apolosi Bose (Amnesty International, London), Human rights abuse in Fiji
Dr Peter Larmour (Australian National University), Anti-corruption and anti-politics in the Pacific Islands

3.00-3.30 Afternoon tea
Parallel session A (Room 104) Parallel session B (Room 107) Parallel session C (Room 108)

3.30-5.30 Democracy and development Facilitator:
Trisia Farrelly (Massey University), Democracy and development: An indigenous Fijian example
Dr Haruo Nakagawa (University of the South Pacific), Democracy, governance and growth
Scott Hook (University of Queensland), Indigenous capacity development and local institutional structures-is there a role for the World Bank (and other donors)?
Rethinking democracy and human rights Facilitator:
Tui Rakuita (Australian National University), Disentangling language games: Problems associated with democratic practice in Oceania
Hūfanga Dr ’Okusitino Māhina (Vava’u Academy for Critical Inquiry & Applied Research),Culture and Identity: A Tā-Vā, Time-Space, Theory of Democracy
Dr Volker Boege (University of Queensland), Democracy and custom – incompatibilities or complementarities? Legitimacy issues in Pacific democracies
Governance and democracyFacilitator:
Duncan Wilson (Senior Regional journalist), Models of democracy and society in economic development: The Solomon Islands and the “Washington consensus”
Siobhan McDonnell (Australian National University), State failure and the politics of intervention: What can Australian indigenous policy makers learn from the Pacific
Yolinda Chan (University of Auckland), PACER-Plus: The emergence of “forced consensus” approach to regional economic governance in the Pacific

5.30-6.00 Summing up plenary
Dr Scott Kroeker (University of Hawaii), Submerged democracies: Future considerations for disappearing Pacific states
Summing up

6.30-10 Farewell Pasifika feast ($40 per ticket)


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Samoa Tsunami Aftermath

Posted by Sai Lealea on October 7, 2009

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Samoa Tsunami

Posted by Sai Lealea on October 5, 2009

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Congratulations to Su’a for his Appointment to the Forum in Suva, Fiji.

Posted by Sai Lealea on September 28, 2009

Pacific Island Forum Press statement (53/09)
14th September 2009


The Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat in Suva, Fiji has appointed two new Programme Directors.

They are Su’a Kevin Thomsen from New Zealand as Director Strategic Partnerships and Coordination and Ms Tanya Chakriya Bowman from Australia as the new Director – Economic Governance Programme. Mr Thomsen is the first Director Strategic Partnerships and Coordination after the position was created recently.

In welcoming the appointment of the two new programme directors, Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, Tuiloma Neroni Slade said: “The appointments to the two senior positions at the Secretariat were made after an open and transparent process of advertising the positions and assessing the candidates including several rounds of interviews.”

“Due to the seniority of the positions within the Secretariat’s structure, it is important that we get the candidates that meet the criteria prescribed for the two positions and I believe that two candidates appointed have the relevant qualifications and experience.”

Mr Slade added: “The experience that Mr Thomsen and Ms Bowman bring will be an asset to the Secretariat and will help strengthen team performance and leadership within their respective programmes as well as support to the Secretary General and policy advice in their areas of work.”

Mr Thomsen’s most recent position was Manager Pacific Engagement International Relations with the Ministry of Social Development in New Zealand. His other roles include Director Policy and Communications in the Ministry of Pacific Islands Affairs from 2001 – 2008. In 1999-2001 he was Senior Adviser Policy and Service Development at the Department of Corrections Policy and Service Development.

Ms Bowman has held the post of Director and Trade Advisor, Pacific Group in AusAID from 2007 to 2009 and was AusAID representative on the Interdepartmental Committee initiating the Pacific Seasonal Workers Pilot Scheme in Australia. She also provided advice on development aspects of Pacific trade negotiations and the coordination trade related support to the Pacific. Among the other positions she has held, Ms Bowman was also Economics, Trade Policy and APEC Unit Manager in the Asia-Economic Section, Asia Regional Branch from 2005 – 2007.

Ms Bowman begins her appointment with the Secretariat in early October while Mr Thomsen will start in early November.


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Su’a Farewell Party

Posted by Sai Lealea on September 28, 2009

Hello everyone,

Hope everyone’s well. You are invited to a dinner party for Su’a Thomsen’s farewell on Friday, 23 October.

Its $25 per head or $40 couple (including Pacific buffet, soft drinks and our farewell pressie for Su’a) – BYO alcohol.

RSVP by 2 Oct. I will come around next pay day to collect your money. It will also be a great opportunity to get together and catch up!

If you know of other ex PIA staff not on this email please forward this invitation to them esp mama Louisa and the first generators of PIA :0)

Keep an eye out on this site for more updates: https://minpacalumni.wordpress.com/events-notices/

Have a good weekend

Angie Enoka

Senior Communications Adviser
Department of Labour | Te Tari Mahi

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Release of Pacific Division Review Report

Posted by Sai Lealea on March 5, 2009

For a full copy of the report go to http://beehive.govt.nz/sites/all/files/80404v3.pdf

The response below can be attributed to Christopher Blake, Chief Executive, Department of Labour.

The release by the Minister of Immigration of the Pacific Division Review, and his direction that I consider reintegrating all activities of the Division back into Immigration New Zealand, provides clarity around the Government’s priorities for immigration services in the Pacific region. The Minister has reviewed all the information available to him and considers that reintegration of the Division’s activities into the core of Immigration New Zealand would improve services in the Pacific.

I intend to formally consult staff about potential structural changes resulting from the Minister’s direction to consider reintegration, in line with the Department’s agreed processes. In light of this consultation process, no further comment at this stage is appropriate.

I commissioned the Pacific Division review last year to look for solutions to challenges that are unique to the Department. I acknowledge and share the concerns of the Minister about the issues identified in the report.

The report makes 46 practical recommendations for improving the way we do our business in the Pacific region. I have been working with the current Head of Immigration New Zealand and my Strategic Leadership Team to ensure these recommendations are implemented. Work on nearly half of the recommendations has been completed and is well underway on most of the others.

The review also found that the staff are hard-working and committed to their work.

Our role now is to continue to address the issues raised, to complete work on the remaining recommendations and to respond to the Minister’s direction that I consider reintegrating the Pacific Division into the core of Immigration New Zealand.


Scathing Pacific immigration report


Dr Jonathan Coleman, Immigration Minister has today released the long-awaited report into the Pacific division of Immigration New Zealand

, and it doesn’t paint a very pretty picture. Then again, given that the Pacific division was established by Mary Anne Thompson, the former head of Immigration, that comes as no surprise at all!

The media release accompanying the report notes:

“The Pacific Division was the ill-conceived creation of the last Labour Government, set up by the former head of Immigration Mary Anne Thompson. It was never given a clear mandate by Labour; the leadership was poor and the performance has been sub-optimal. Despite previous reports about the Pacific Division the last government failed to take appropriate action. The mess described in this latest report is unacceptable.”

“This latest review has found severe deficiencies across Immigration New Zealand’s Pacific Division. It paints a damning picture of a poorly performing service that was poorly led and lacked a clear strategic mandate. The Division has become isolated from the rest of Immigration New Zealand over time, effectively acting in an autonomous manner which is out of keeping with accepted practice.”

The specific failings are detailed in the media release to which we have linked earlier in this thread. Suffice to say that just about everything that could go wrong has done! Yet despite that, the report’s authors recommended that the Pacific division remain.

Coleman disagrees. That in itself is refreshing. But not only does he disagree, he’s actually going to do something about it – read this:

Dr Coleman agrees with the report’s authors on the description of problems in the Division. However, he disagrees with the report’s view that on balance the Pacific Division should remain.

“The report does not present a convincing argument for why the Division should be retained. There is well documented evidence of poor performance by the Pacific Division over an extended period. The Division has been poorly led and has assumed an unmandated role that has resulted in serious dysfunction.”

“This situation has simply gone on for too long. It is clear to me that effective immigration services cannot be delivered by the Pacific Division in its current configuration.”

Consequently the government is taking the following action:

1. The Minister of Immigration will direct the CEO of the Department of Labour to consider re-integrating all activities of the Pacific Division back into the core of Immigration New Zealand. This will ensure that there are clear lines of accountability and that the workings of the Pacific Division are aligned with the rest of Immigration New Zealand.
2. The Minister of Immigration will appoint an independent advisor to report to him on the Chief Executive’s actions in relation to the Pacific Division and to monitor service performance.


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Damning report into Immigration’s Pacific Division

Posted by Sai Lealea on March 5, 2009

For a full copy of the report go to http://beehive.govt.nz/sites/all/files/80404v3.pdf

The Immigration Minister has asked for the Pacific Division to be reintegrated back into Immigration NZ after a critical report

The Pacific Division may be absorbed back into Immigration New Zealand after a damning report into its leadership. Immigration Minister Jonathan Coleman says he has received a report on the performance of the division conducted by Ernst and Young.

The report was initiated after serious concerns were raised about its practices, and the performance of its former manager Mary-Anne Thompson. Dr Coleman says the review paints a damning picture of a poorly performing service. “The report detailed serious concerns about divisional leadership that lacked accountability and transparency, failed to observe proper process and created a thiefdom mentality.”

Dr Coleman says the report highlights major concerns around financial procedures, accountability and transparency. He says the division has not served Pacific people well. The Immigration Minister has asked the head of immigration to consider reintegrating the Pacific Division back into the core of Immigration New Zealand.

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Pacific people need strong representation

Posted by Sai Lealea on February 24, 2009

Party politics should have been put aside in the best interests of Pacific Island people Labour Pacific Affairs spokesperson Luamanuvao Winne Laban says.

“A fono and meeting today to discuss Pacific Island jobs could have been an opportunity for all groups to come together to ensure Pacific voices were heard. Unfortunately the National Party decided not to invite Labour’s Pacific MPs. It is particularly disappointing for Labour Pacific MPs not to be invited when Labour Maori MPs had been invited and took part in a government run Maori economic workshop in January this year.

“Labour wants to work constructively and proactively with government in the best interests of Pacific Island people and New Zealand.

“Pacific people are extremely vulnerable during harsh economic times and they need to know their elected representatives are doing everything to help them.”

Winnie Laban said Minister of Pacific Island Affairs Georgina Te Heuheu was not part of the meeting of economic ministers organised by Prime Minister John Key in January to plan the jobs summit that will be held next week and has now missed a valuable opportunity to include people who wanted to contribute.

“We also have no idea whether the Minister has even been invited to take part in next week’s jobs summit or whether she is lobbying her colleagues and ensuring that Pacific Island concerns are being heard at the highest levels of Government.

“We need to ensure that our Pacific representatives in Government are working in the best interests of our people and not simply engaging in talk-fests. New Zealand needs real solutions that will keep Pacific people in jobs during this recession,” Winne Laban said.


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Pacific people hit hard by recession

Posted by Sai Lealea on February 24, 2009

Pacific people hit hard by recession

By KATHERINE NEWTON – The Dominion Post | Friday, 20 February 2009

Pacific Islanders are far more vulnerable to the effects of the economic crisis than other groups, a forum was told yesterday. Pacific Island Affairs Ministry chief executive Colin Tukuitonga told the meeting of community and business leaders that almost a quarter of islanders were employed in manufacturing an industry already hit by the downtown.

The ministry forum is designed to help New Zealand’s Pacific Islanders through the recession. Mr Tukuitonga said that, although the community was resilient, he was worried about the proportion of young, unskilled workers. He said younger people should be encouraged to stay in education. “We want to focus on skills and training and higher education so they … set themselves up for better jobs when the upturn comes.” In 2006, 48 per cent of Pacific Island people in New Zealand were aged under 19 and 64 per cent of Pacific Island employees worked in semi-skilled to low-skilled jobs. Dr Tukuitonga also said he had concerns about how extended families, who exist on money sent from wages earned in New Zealand, would be affected by the downturn.

About 40 Pacific business and community leaders attended the forum. Many believe the recession is hitting Pacific people hard. “It’s very real out here in Porirua,” Porirua city councillor Litea Ah Hoi said. “Our unemployment rate has risen by 500 in the last three months.”

People still felt obliged to help out extended family even though times were tougher, Ms Ah Hoi said. “And families still want to spend big money on weddings and funerals, leaving less for essentials. “We just have to hold back and look at what is really important. That’s making sure that the rent is paid, there’s a roof over kids’ heads and food in their tummies.”

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Fono looks for Pacific solution to jobs dilemma

Posted by Sai Lealea on February 18, 2009

Georgina te Heuheu

18 February, 2009

Fono looks for Pacific solution to jobs dilemma

Minimising the impact of the global economic recession on Pacific people is the goal of tomorrow’s fono called by Minister of Pacific Island Affairs, Hon Georgina te Heuheu.

The fono will canvass a Pacific perspective for the Government’s jobs summit later in the month.

Mrs te Heuheu said the current global economic climate presents challenges for all New Zealanders including Pacific communities.

Decreasing global demand for New Zealand products would have significant impact on the industries that employ Pacific people. Unemployment was likely to rise particularly for lower skilled workers in primary and manufacturing industries.

Ministry of Pacific Island Affairs Chief executive Dr Colin Tukuitonga said Pacific people are arguably already disadvantaged in the labour market.

‘They tend to work in low-skilled and low-paid jobs. The average Pacific worker earns $3.66 an hour less than other workers.

‘Almost one in four of Pacific people have jobs work in manufacturing – and we know that some of those jobs are starting to disappear.

‘We will look at what we can do to keep people in work as long as possible – whether by protecting existing jobs or creating new ones.

‘Where that isn’t do-able, and people are laid off and unable to find new jobs, we want to focus on skills and training and higher education so they make best use of the time off work and set themselves up for better jobs when the upturn comes.

‘Let’s not forget that the youthfulness of the Pacific population means that they will be an increasingly important part of the future workforce, under pressure to support an aging New Zealand population.

‘It’s in all our interests that they are supported to stay in work, or where that’s not possible, helped to stay positive and focussed on getting work, retraining or studying for higher qualifications.’

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