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The Pacific Ocean is the largest single geographic feature on our planet. It represents half the world’s ocean area, occupies one-third of the earth’s surface, and helps support complex ecosystems, ocean-based economies, and hundreds of millions of people.
That is directly quoted from the Center for Ocean Solutions which is affiliated to Stanford University:
The Pacific is also the engine room of Earth’s climate and the storeroom of its ocean biodiversity.
However, the people from around the Pacific Ocean, from the Arctic to Antarctic, from countries populous and sparse, are witnessing a decline of the Pacific Ocean’s vast resources and in the ability to use those resources. Pollution, habitat destruction, overfishing, climate change, and invasive species emerge repeatedly as the major causes. These threats interact with each other to damage natural ecosystems, reduce biological and human economic diversity, destroy productivity, and encumber human use of the sea.
(Center for Ocean Solutions, USA)
It identifies the following threats to the Pacific Ocean:
We hope others, in and outside of the South Pacific region, will take up the challenge and write about these threats to our environment and survival, particularly for small island nations. Due to scarce resources and available time, we aren’t able to do justice in covering these stories . Wish we could. For example, do people, other than governments and environmental groups, in the Pacific region realise the impact of overfishing for the region? I think not. What role have island governments played in protecting those assets? Can they? This is a big business story, not just a marine story. Who are the biggest contributors to the depletion of these natural marine resources? And what role is international legislation doing, or not doing, to protect the vast resources of the Pacific Ocean.
To give us a perspective of sizes, look at a map of the oceans of the world. The smallest is the Arctic Ocean, followed by the Indian Ocean, then the North and South Atlantic Ocean. Then there’s the North and South Pacific Ocean. Yes, it is the largest biggest ocean out there. It covers a wider geographical area bigger than all the other oceans combined.
We hoped to bring you information direct from Fiji’s Meteorology Centre but we are having trouble opening its page in a timely way. This morning’s update from Fiji Times
Update: 9:19AM HURRICANE Tomas, the Category 4 Tropical Cyclone (TC), is on its final 12 hours of intensity, and is currently hammering the Lau Group.
The eye and core feature of the cyclone with destructive Storm Force to very destructive Hurricane force winds are now moving over Northern Lau Group and are expected to affect Central and Southern Lau later, said director of meteorology, Rajendra Prasad in a brief issued at 9am today.
The Northern division which has been pounded by hurricane force winds and effects since Sunday evening should now see winds decreasing slowly today with rain easing, he said.
In the Central division, including the capital city Suva, damaging gale force winds with gusts to 85km/hr can be expected today with periods of rain.
Mr Prasad said some flash flooding was possible in the Central division but not on a large scale.
Reported earlier today by Fiji Times.
A WOMAN sacrificed her life to save her sisters and two children when huge waves swept them three metres from the beach to sea as Hurricane Tomas bore down on Fiji.
Tamarisi Tabua, 31, was hailed a hero as her family huddled in grief and took cover from torrential rain and wind brought on by the category three hurricane, which was expected to reach the north-eastern part of Vanua Levu this morning with wind speeds of up to 220km per hour.
Ms Tabua was with her sisters Mereula and Alanieta Evans, nephew Mesake, 10, and niece Fulori, 4, when waves swept them into Namilamila Bay in Ucunivatu, Cakaudrove on Vanua Levu, on Saturday.
Alanieta, a former national netballer on holiday here from England, said they would have died if it had not been for her sister.
GNS Science New Zealand
NZ SCIENTISTS GATHER INFORMATION FOR DISASTER PREPAREDNESS
Geologists from GNS Science will spend the next six months collecting information on buildings and infrastructure in Pacific Island countries to measure vulnerability and risk from earthquakes and cyclones in the southwest Pacific.
The project is part of a joint initiative involving the Asian Development Bank and the World Bank Regional Partnership for Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Preparedness.
The Asian Development Bank has contracted GNS Science to carry out the work over the next two years in association with the Pacific Disaster Center and the Pacific Islands Applied Geoscience Commission (SOPAC), based in Fiji.
The work will be carried out in the Cook Islands, Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.
The data collection will start in the Cook Islands in February 2010 and finish in Tonga in September 2010. The entire project is scheduled to be completed in September 2011.
Project leader, Phil Glassey of GNS Science, said they will be collecting existing building, road, pipeline, and utility network data held by the countries. Where this is lacking, they will collect it by field survey, concentrating on the major urban areas.
“The field data collection will involve staff from each of the country governments using hand-held computers with integrated camera and GPS,” Mr Glassey said.
“The location of many of the assets will be captured using satellite imagery, prior to data collection in the field.”
Mr Glassey said data would be collected in a form that could be used in any Geographic Information System (GIS) to ensure it had maximum utility for the project and for the countries involved.
“Data for each country will be retained by the country with a regional database held and maintained by SOPAC. The data will help local and regional decision-making processes and support greater resilience to the impacts of natural disasters and climate change.
“The data will also be a critical input into the assessment of a regional catastrophe fund – a related World Bank project.”
The project stems from a similar undertaking in New Zealand called Regional RiskScape, which is a joint venture involving GNS Science and NIWA. Regional RiskScape is a computer analysis tool that converts natural hazard exposure information for a region into damage and replacement costs, casualties, economic losses, and number of people affected.
An earthquake measuring 5.0 struck in Fiordland this morning.
GNS Science reported the 8.55am quake as being centred 80km west of Te Anau at a focal depth of 7km.
It was likely to have been felt in Fiordland and possibly western Southland.
A $5.5 million reconstruction package for the Cook island of Aitutaki, which was devastated by Cyclone Pat, was announced today by Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully.
Cyclone Pat ripped through the Cooks last month, causing severe damage on Aitutaki.
“Around 80 per cent of the houses on the island were affected in some way, and 72 were completely destroyed,” Mr McCully said today.
“Tourism on Aitutaki is a vital income source for the Cook Islands. Our assistance will help get things back to ‘business as usual’ as quickly as possible, and ensure the economy does not suffer long-term effects.”
New Zealand had already provided $350,000 for emergency relief efforts, while a RNZAF C-130 Hercules and engineering team supported local efforts in the immediate aftermath of the cyclone.
“We are now addressing the longer-term reconstruction needs through a substantial contribution to the Cook Islands Government’s reconstruction plan,” Mr McCully said.
On the matter of TVNZ and its Pacific Correspondent Barbara Dreaver versus Samoa. TVNZ’s latest PR arsenal to circumvent any damage from the BSA findings. The timing of it all makes one very cynical and only more distrustful. It’s starting to feel like a Margaret Mead re-run. Looks like TVNZ issued a release promoting its good works in Samoa, and the rest of the Pacific, on the same day that the Samoan Government issued its release on the BSA findings. Coincidence? That release within days of both parties receiving the BSA ruling. Whoever issued their release first, it’s no coincidence. You be the judge. The intended effect we suspect from TVNZ’s latest PR spinning is to help minimise any damage to its correspondent’s and network’s reputation in the islands.
It’s a PR story where TVNZ and its Pacific Correspondent hold itself up as the champions of Pacific broadcasting by delivering equipment and the like to the islands to improve broadcasting. Very clever. They’re broadcasting it on One News tonight. Usually those types of stories haven’t warranted making it onto the news agenda on mainstream One News. It’s hardly hard news and certainly not controversial so it’s usually covered by its magazine style show, Tagata Pasifika. But not hard news Dreaver, although we did notice there was a distinct but subtle change in direction with her stories after Samoa laid a complaint. She suddenly did more soft news stories on PIs like the story about a rowing team of PIs in NZ who use rowing as a form of healing therapy.
The time and the charity image that TVNZ have sought to convey here has the effect of one, deliberating positioning Dreaver as a supposed champion and supporter of free Pacific media. It also has the unspoken premise that islands like Samoa should not complain when TVNZ gets it wrong because look at what we’re doing for you and your people. Tacky PR from TVNZ.
Let’s hope Dreaver had someone else teach ethics and basic journalism standards like accuracy, fairness and balance, while they were there. They are running their PR story as a news story on One News tonight, according to their release. We were not sent a copy of the release. No mention though of when they will issue the statement stating the BSA findings. But don’t worry, the pacific grapevine still works, loud, long and far.
By the way, the BSA report does not specifically name the reporter. As is standard practice for the BSA, the Authority’s practice protects the journalist’s anonymity on record but not the complainant.
Auckland City Council
1 March 2010
The countdown’s on to Auckland’s biggest
Pasifika Festival yet
The week leading up to Pasifika Festival Day on Saturday, 13 March sees new events and new locations, including;
? The Best of the Auditions – featuring performances from the top 10 individuals and groups from festival auditions held in January, and guest artists from Dawn Raid and the Mana Maoli Collective from Hawaii
? Fakakaukau – a Pacific debate series featuring academics, politicians, artists and activists discussing a variety of current Pacific topics
? Po; Beautiful Darkness – featuring Mika and the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra in Mika’s one-night only return to the stage.
The Pasifika Festival Opening Night Concert takes place on Thursday, 11 March at Western Springs and features performances from each of the 10 communities represented on Saturday’s festival day, as well as performances from several international artists. All elements respond to this year’s festival themes – the molokau (centipede) and frangipani flower – symbolising perseverance, fertility and growth, and acknowledging the first-born.
The climax, Festival Day on Saturday, 13 March, brings together thousands of Aucklanders in a unique celebration of our Pacific communities.
With more than 350 stalls, 10 Pacific Island villages, 12 stages, delicious traditional foods and flavours, non-stop entertainment, including appearances from Sweet & Irie, Annie Crummer, and King Kapisi – plus cultural workshops, and giveaways….this is one great day not to be missed!
Auckland’s popular Pasifika Festival is a free celebration organised annually by Auckland City Council.
Pasifika Festival 2010 is proudly supported by 2degrees, Air New Zealand, Youthtown, The Radio Network , Māori Television, Tip Top Ice Cream, Pacific Media Network, The Edge®, Dawn Raid Entertainment, New Zealand Major Events, NZCT, Creative New Zealand and Te Puni Kōkiri.
Visit www.aucklandcity.govt.nz/events to find out more about these and other events and activities during festival week.
Getting to Pasifika Festival – information for public
- Park and Ride – free at Unitec (Carrington Road)
- Public parking – available at Western Springs College and MOTAT 2 (both on Motions Road)
Bus or Train:
- Take the bus or train to the Britomart Transport Centre in the city centre and get a connecting bus to Great North Road and Pasifika Festival.
- Take the west-bound train from Britomart Transport Centre (CBD) or Waitakere. The closest stop to Pasifika Festival is Mt Albert.
Making the most of Pasifika Festival
- Site maps, programmes, cash out facilities and information tents are located at the three main entrances to the park (at the Western Springs Stadium gates, next to MOTAT on Great North Road and at the playground near Auckland Zoo).
- Keep left when walking on the path to make getting around the festival easier for everyone.
- Remember to drink lots of water and wear sunscreen and a hat to protect yourself from the sun.
- Help us keep our park clean – please put your rubbish in the bin. Recycling options are also available.
- We encourage a family-friendly smokefree festival. Please use the designated smoking areas.
- Remember to check out the Molokau Pasifika Rock Sculpture at the corner of Motions and Great North roads, and the Kilikiti tournament at the sports fields.
- Have a go! There are so many opportunities at Pasifika to dance, try weaving, play games and get involved, so don’t be afraid to try something new.
- Check out the displays and activities throughout the park provided by our sponsors and supporters.