Cook Islands considers legalizing homosexuality

A new bill has been proposed by the Cook Islands government to remove provisions banning “indecent acts” between two men and “consensual sodomy”, with prison terms of between five and seven years, from the Cook Islands’ 1969 Crimes Act. Although convictions are rare, according to Radio NZ, “The Solicitor General, David James, says the new bill makes laws suitable for the modern era, and means people will no longer be locked … Continue reading Cook Islands considers legalizing homosexuality

Police loses 4 kg of marijuana in Tonga

According to the newspaper Matangi Tonga, the police of Tonga “lost” 3.8 kg of cannabis. The unusual accident was revealed at the trial of the owner of the confiscated cannabis on July the 27th. According to the newspaper, “The prosecutor told the court the exhibits had been lost during the refurbishment of the police station, when they were removed to the Longolongo Police Station.” The photos … Continue reading Police loses 4 kg of marijuana in Tonga

This film-maker changes Tongan society by telling its sad stories

Women’s rights activist and filmmaker ‘Ofa Guttenbeil-Likiliki believes in the power of story-telling, even when they’re not feel good stories. By daring to tell the harrowing stories of real life survivors of violence against women and girls (VAWG), she has made this pressing issue hard to ignore in her native Tonga and brought about change in the face of strident opposition. “When one chooses to … Continue reading This film-maker changes Tongan society by telling its sad stories

Meet Cecilia Nembou, doctor in mathematics from Papoua New Guinea

Dr Cecilia Nembou made history in January 2016 when she became the first woman to lead a university in Papua New Guinea. A mathematician by training with a PhD in Operations Research from the University of New South Wales, Dr Nembou has served an academic and higher education administrator for over 40 years. She has held various academic and senior management positions at the University … Continue reading Meet Cecilia Nembou, doctor in mathematics from Papoua New Guinea

Photo: courtesy Victoria University

Dr Teresia Teaiwa: a Pacifican academic, teacher, artist and feminist

When beloved Pacific academic Dr Teresia Teaiwa died this March following a short illness, it was a loss that reverberated throughout the Pacific community in the region and around the world. “She was a wonderful Pacific woman and leader who was a role model for all Pacific people. She was hugely committed and passionate about people and social justice in the Pacific, and she will … Continue reading Dr Teresia Teaiwa: a Pacifican academic, teacher, artist and feminist

Rosine Streeter, Union Activist, New Caledonia, SPC

Her message to Pacific women: “Be strong, fight for a place at the table where important decisions are made”

70-year-old Rosine Streeter is a pioneering trade union activist in New Caledonia who has dedicated her life to fighting for women’s rights in what was largely a male domain. For a time, she was the only  Kanak woman to run a trade union. In 1979, Rosine was appointed General Secretary of Union des Syndicats des Ouvriers et Employés de Nouvelle-Calédonie (USOENC), the renowned trade union for workers … Continue reading Her message to Pacific women: “Be strong, fight for a place at the table where important decisions are made”

She became the first woman doctorate, deputy then President of the Marshall Islands

President Dr Hilda C. Heine made history as the first woman to lead an independent Pacific Island nation when she was elected President of the Marshall Islands in January 2016. By shattering this long-standing glass ceiling, President Heine is paving the way for more women leaders at all echelons of Pacific society including its highest offices. She’s also a role model for young Pacific girls … Continue reading She became the first woman doctorate, deputy then President of the Marshall Islands

A health worker administers medication for lymphatic filariasis. Photo by: Ruth McDowall / RTI International / CC BY-NC-ND

Tonga eliminates filariasis after a 300 years epidemic

The World Health Organisation (WHO) confirmed this week that the kingdom of Tonga eliminated the lymphatic filariasis disease after an epidemic of three centuries that, only 40 years ago, infected 45% of the population, with one in 12 people declaring elephantiasis. This lymphatic filariasis plague is caused by a parasitic worm, transmitted by mosquitoes. Some of the ill will develop a syndrome called elephantiasis, causing their limbs or … Continue reading Tonga eliminates filariasis after a 300 years epidemic

How Joyce Napuat wins at life with only one leg

Joyce Napuat knows first hand what it’s like to live with a disability. Born with one leg on the island of Tanna, she’s had to overcome many challenges throughout her life. Growing up, Joyce had to walk on crutches over long distances of rugged terrain simply to get to school. But despite coming from an extremely marginalized background, she pursued her education with the support … Continue reading How Joyce Napuat wins at life with only one leg

Lourdes Pangelinan, the first woman to lead a Pacific regional organisation

When Lourdes T. Pangelinan became Director-General of the then Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) in January 2000, she made history as the first woman to lead a Pacific regional organisation, the SPC. She first joined the Pacific Community as Deputy Director-General in 1996. At the time, she was no stranger to the organisation, having represented Guam at SPC technical and policy meetings for a … Continue reading Lourdes Pangelinan, the first woman to lead a Pacific regional organisation