Author: Teuila Fuatai

Righting an injustice: Sāmoa citizenship bill

“There was this fear that if the Privy Council decision was upheld, 100,000 Sāmoans living in Sāmoa would arrive in New Zealand, virtually overnight, because they, by right, were also New Zealand citizens.” — Arthur Anae, on the 1982 law that denied New Zealand citizenship to a group of Sāmoans.

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Vanuatu’s call for climate justice

“The very activities that exploited our people and land contributed to the fossil fuel-dependent economies of France, England, Australia, and other developed nations. These are the economies . . . that are feeding the climate crisis. Now, our islands and communities are the victims of that crisis.” — Vanuatu MP Ralph Regenvanu.

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In the sacrifice zone

“We’re in a place where it’s hard for many of us to see a life without the US hovering overhead. Our sense of dependency has become so ingrained that we’re weighing promises of economic benefits . . . against significant damage to our islands.” — Sheila Babauta from the Mariana Islands.

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How we save our Pacific languages

“The English were willing to borrow and absorb. When they saw a word that they needed, they took it and made it their own. They even took Polynesian words, like tapu (taboo) and tatau (tattoo).” — Sefita Hao‘uli, Tongan language advocate.

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Cutting back on inclusion

“It seems that after a run of good years, we’re moving backwards. And all the progress that had been made by those who came before me for equity and inclusion of Pacific is set to be undermined and undone.” — Petra Satele, PhD student and assistant lecturer at Massey.

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Why we’re on the RSE scheme

“I was scared we’d get accused of money laundering because he was sending so much money home. It was double or triple what I earned at the bank — and that job was a good income at home.” — Noellina Meltenoven, an RSE worker from Vanuatu.

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Being told you are worth less

Over a working lifetime, the average income gap between Pākehā men and Pacific women amounts to nearly half a million dollars. For Pacific men, it’s $400,368. “That’s a lot of money our families and communities are missing out on.” — Teuila Fuata’i.

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