News in the Amazing Pacific Islands – June 22, 2024

sea and rock formation photo
Photo by Anand Dandekar on

New Caledonia’s Emergency Fund for Social Security System

New Caledonia’s Congress has endorsed a special emergency fund to salvage its ailing social security system, the CAFAT, with a total of $US54 million. This package aims to provide sufficient cash flow to implement plans to assist individuals who have lost their jobs due to the recent riots that erupted on May 13, 2024. Beneficiaries will receive temporary allowances ranging from 70% to 100% of their previous salaries. However, the French assistance funds are deemed insufficient, prompting President Louis Mapou to request an additional $US280 million from Paris to ensure operational cash flow for the next two months. The Congress meeting, the first since the civil unrest, began with a minute of silence in homage to the nine individuals who died during the riots and clashes[3].

French Polynesia’s Court Acquits Father Using Cannabis for Son’s Treatment

A court in French Polynesia has acquitted Ariimatani Vairaaroa, a 47-year-old man prosecuted for treating his disabled son with cannabis. Vairaaroa was using cannabis oil to provide relief to his 10-year-old son suffering from epilepsy. Despite the illegality, Vairaaroa argued that the treatment successfully reduced his son’s seizures. The government of French Polynesia is currently working on legalizing cannabis for therapeutic purposes and potentially for recreational use in the future[3].

Tahiti’s Olympics Surfing Fan Zone Relocation

Due to delays caused by heavy rains earlier this year, the location initially planned to host the 2024 Olympics surfing fan zone at Riri Point (Tahiti) has been moved to Teahupoo on the west coast of the main island of Tahiti. Although the new infrastructure, including restaurants and a sports recreational park, will not be ready in time for the Olympics, it will be completed and handed over by the end of this year. Locals will still benefit from the $US15-million project[3].

“Bula Paris 2024” Music Show

A music show dedicated to Pacific music, “Bula Paris 2024,” will take place during the 2024 Olympics in Paris. Scheduled for July 26, 2024, the event will coincide with the Olympics opening ceremony. Artists such as Ratu, Billy T, Lesi Fiji, Miles Manulevu, and Kylie Fisher will perform, offering a blend of traditional Fijian music and contemporary island rhythms. The event, held at the “Taki Bar” in Paris, aims to attract guests supporting the Pacific island teams competing in the Olympics[3].

Tahiti Singer John Gabilou Honored

John Gabilou, an 80-year-old Tahiti singer, has been awarded the French medal as a Chevalier of Arts and Letters in recognition of his career spanning over sixty years. The ceremony took place at the French High Commission in Papeete. Gabilou, who represented France in the Eurovision contest in 1981, plans to release a new album titled “Island Home” this year[3].

Super Rugby Pacific Grand Final

The Blues and Chiefs have confirmed their teams for the 2024 Super Rugby Pacific Grand Final. The Blues have been boosted by the return of captain Patrick Tuipulotu, while the Chiefs have had to make adjustments due to injuries. The final will take place at Eden Park, Auckland, on June 22, 2024[4].

These stories highlight the diverse and dynamic events occurring across the Pacific Isles, reflecting both the challenges and cultural vibrancy of the region.


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