Pacific Islanders voices and updates on the COVID-19 virus

(For the week of April 27 – May 1)
The purpose of this blog post is to share updates of the COVID-19 virus in the Pacific, hearing from Pacific voices about how their lives, communities and islands are being affected.

This project is the brainchild of Hete Huke, a Rapa Nui urban planner living in Rapa Nui, and Vehia Wheeler (co-founder of SOS), a Tahitian urban planner living in Tahiti. Pacific Islands have common themes across the region in terms of issues that we face: dependence on tourism as an economy, high imports of food, issues to sufficient health care access, among other issues.
We are looking for ways to hear from Pacific Islanders about their experiences living in the time of COVID, comparing and contrasting issues that could potentially run across islands and ways at how to look for problem solving.

Let’s hear from our Pacific Islander colleagues!

RAPA NUI
Hete Huke

Hetereki Huke is an architect and territorial Planner, Presidential Advisor on Indigenous Issues in Chile, and the Director of Keho Studio

TE AO MA’OHI / TAHITI (French Polynesia)
Vehia Wheeler

*also forgot to add: non-profits are doing a wonderful job at aiding families in need!

Vehia Wheeler is a environmental urban planner located on Mo’orea in the archipelago of the Society Islands (also known as Tahiti). She is the co-founder of Sustainable Oceania Solutions.

COMMON WEALTH OF THE NORTHERN MARIANAS ISLANDS (CNMI)
Sami Birmingham-Babauta & Thomas Mangloña II

There are 14 islands in this island group – the three main/inhabited islands being Saipan, Tinian, and Rota. 

Sami Birmingham-Babauta is a daughter of the Marianas, born and raised on the island of Saipan. Sami is currently an extension aide for the Northern Marianas College – Cooperative Research, Extension, and Education Services (NMC-CREES): Nutrition and Health Program.

Thomas Manglona is from the island of Rota in the Northern Marianas. He is a graduating senior from UC Berkeley majoring in Media Studies. He’s currently a Correspondent for KUAM News on Guam reporting out of Saipan on the impact of COVID19. He is a Gates Millenium Scholar and a Harry S. Truman Scholar. He will pursue his MA in Journalism at Stanford University this Fall.


COOK ISLANDS
Tiana Haxton & Arona Isaiah Ngari

Arona Isaiah Ngari (18) and Tiana Haxton (19) are both young Cook Islanders in the media industry, working for Cook Islands TV Local News. They are both situated on the Main Island in the Cook Islands, Rarotonga.

Thank you for listening, we hope to continue this series of Pacific Islander voices speaking on their situation in their homelands as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.

SOS is dedicated to sustainable solutions in the Pacific region. In the time of COVID-19, we are continuing our efforts for environmental education and responding to food security issues in Tahiti.

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