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Scene set for first NZ-Melanesia Symposium




Sir Rabbie Namaliu to set the scene for first NZ-Melanesia Symposium


For immediate release - Friday 12 September 2008:

(Wellington, NZ) Former Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Sir Rabbie Namaliu is guest of honour at a ground-breaking event aimed at tackling New Zealand’s relationship with Melanesia. He will present the opening keynote to an inaugural New Zealand-Melanesia Symposium this month hosted by the Pacific Cooperation Foundation.

The ‘Tok-Talanoa: Pathways to the Future’ theme of the Symposium on Monday 29th and Tuesday 30th September in Wellington, aims to raise issues on which New Zealand is tipped to strengthen links with the Melanesian sub-region.

The Symposium opening on the evening of the 29th will be followed by a full day of discussion on political and regional relationships, economic development, security and governance, and cultural frameworks.

Sir Peter Kenilorea, the first Prime Minister of the Solomon Islands and its current Speaker of Parliament also forms part of the Symposium line-up, alongside New Zealand’s first Maori Governor General, Sir Paul Reeves. Fiji’s former trade maestro and diplomat Kaliopate Tavola, who retired under the former Qarase government while he was in charge of Foreign Affairs, will lead a session on economic development while Pacific development expert Paul Roughan will chair a session on security and governance featuring former Papua New Guinea High Commissioner to New Zealand Bernard Narokobi as the key speaker.

While Polynesian communities and nations take up much of the Pacific agenda in-country, it is the Melanesian sub-region of Fiji, Vanuatu, the Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea and New Caledonia which is home to over 8.3million of the Pacific’s total 9.5million people; along with the same lions share of natural resources and development challenges.

The Symposium programme is aimed at getting to the heart of what role New Zealand, given its own new initiatives with migrant labour from the region and a new strategy for Pacific development, will take with Melanesia. Other leading guests and invited speakers include Vanuatu’s Motarilavoa Hilda Lini, Fiji’s Alumita Durutalo, and Christophe Sand of New Caledonia.


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