September 20, 2018

Sonny Bill Williams hits back over 'leeches' controversy

Sonny Bill Williams hits back over 'leeches' controversy

All Blacks star Sonny Bill Williams, whose father is Samoan, has hit back at Newstalk ZB presenter Heather du Plessis-Allan after her controversial on-air comments on the Pacific Islands.

Earlier this month, Newstalk ZB presenter Heather du Plessis-Allan told her listeners it was not worth the expense of sending the PM to the Pacific Islands Forum in Nauru.

"The Pacific Islands wants money from us," she said.

"The Pacific Islands don't matter. They are nothing but leeches on us."

Her comments were posted on social media, prompting lots of angry reactions and some abusive and offensive putdowns of the broadcaster herself.

Williams posted on Twitter last night that he was "disheartened" by the "bigoted" comments.

"I don’t [sic] care what the "context" was - calling Polynesians 'LEECHES' is not okay - period," he wrote.

Williams' response is the latest among New Zealand stars' criticising Ms du Plessis-Allan, actor Sam Neill last week also made his thoughts clear on Twitter after the heated debate became a hot topic.

"How far can you take offensiveness and utter stupidity?" he wrote.

Samoan-born New Zealand writer, actor and Sunday News columnist Oscar Kightley also said Newstalk ZB "owes our Pasifika neighbours an apology".

Ms du Plessis-Allan later invited Privacy Commissioner John Edwards onto her show to debate the issue. He declined and she hit out.

"Go back to university and do some more training. You are not good enough."

She said Mr Edwards' reaction was symptomatic of intolerance on the political left.

"They are like all deep-thinking and progressive but the moment someone says something that they don't want to see the nuance in, they just take the broad brushstrokes of something."

Ms du Plessis-Allan also insisted on air that she had not "dehumanised" or insulted anyone, she had commented only on Pacific Islands' governments.

"I will double down on this. I do not regret what I said because I was not talking about people living in this country or the people themselves. I was talking about the Pacific Islands and the people who run it [sic]," she said.

TVNZ's long-serving Pacific affairs reporter Barbara Dreaver was in Nauru for the Pacific Islands Forum last week when Ms du Plessis-Allan called the Pacific Islands "leeches" on air.

"Now that the phosphate dust has settled and the shameless self-promoting headlines about the Pacific being 'leeches' and a waste of time and money have lost their hysterical edge - let's take a look at some facts," she wrote on the TVNZ website this week.

"New Zealand needs the Pacific as much as the Pacific needs New Zealand," Ms Dreaver said.

Source: RNZ
Cathay Pacific spells own name wrong on new plane

Cathay Pacific spells own name wrong on new plane

An airline has had to send a new plane back to the paint shop after the company's name was spelled incorrectly on it.

Hong Kong-based Cathay Pacific painted its name as "Cathay Paciic" on the side of the jet.

Eagle-eyed travellers spotted the mistake at Hong Kong International Airport and contacted the airline.

"Oops this special livery won't last long! She's going back to the shop!" the company joked on Twitter.

The airline said it was a genuine mistake, although some in the industry said it was inexplicable.

"The spacing is too on-point for a mishap," an engineer for Haeco, a sister company of the airline, told the South China Morning Post.

"There should be a blank gap in between letters if it was a real mistake I think."

Social media users saw the funny side, however.

Source: BBC
Inglis won't let Bunnies get overawed by Cronk

Inglis won't let Bunnies get overawed by Cronk

Greg Inglis doesn't particularly like playing against former teammates, especially when they're as good as Cooper Cronk.

Inglis and Cronk played in four grand finals together at Melbourne Storm, won two of them (2007, 2009), and played in the halves together in two of those matches.

On Saturday night, each will be trying to keep the other out of next Sunday's Telstra Premiership grand final.

The preliminary final between the Rabbitohs and Roosters has many storylines. The friendship formed between 31-year-old Inglis and 34-year-old Cronk in Storm, Queensland and Australian sides, is one line that extends the longest and deepest.

"He's great Cooper ... stunning footballer," Inglis told

"But coming up against him ... well, you want to play against the best – that's what you want to do. It doesn't matter if they're a good mate, or former teammate.

"And that's what makes our game so good because we have such great players and they are spread across the whole 16 teams.

"Coops and I have separate jobs to do on Saturday, but we have the utmost respect for each other."

Still, Inglis won't let any of his teammates be overawed by the brightness of Cronk at No.7.

The Rabbitohs skipper actually thinks the danger-men in the Roosters line-up are the No.6 Luke Keary and No.1 James Tedesco.

"Having Keary back (from a knee injury) makes them stronger and his linking with Tedseco is definitely threatening," Inglis said.

"Those two are forming a nice combination so we have to try to nullify that. And that takes attitude."

It also requires a certain amount of patience, as expectation is growing among Rabbitohs fans that a repeat of their 2014 premiership triumph is on the way.

"We just brush it, and put it aside as best we can," Inglis said.

"We know what we're capable of. But we have to turn up ready to play – it seems like the easiest thing to do but it's the hardest.

"Playing our brand of footy for 80 minutes and not in patches is the goal.

"And not offering a 70 per cent completion rate, like we did against the Dragons (30 from 42 sets). We need to be up around 90 per cent or we'll give ourselves little chance."

The number of fans who turned up to Tuesday's training – waving South Sydney flags and wearing the famous cardinal and myrtle jerseys – proves the love they have for their football team.

"Obviously being in the prelim is the exciting thing. It doesn't feel like four years since we were at this stage," Inglis said.

"It's gone so quick. I think back 12 months ago and I wasn't anywhere near this kind of situation," he said referring to his knee reconstruction and mental health battles.

"We've come a fair way as a team after 2014. Obviously didn't get too far in the finals in '15 [lost week one] and then missed them completely in '16 and '17.

"As a team and as a club, we're just stoked and so happy to be back in this position again. We've lost a few players, got a new coach, but here we are."

Despite Inglis' lengthy association with big matches – including being a Clive Churchill Medallist – he gets anxious prior to kick-off.

"I still get nervous but I've got no routine before big matches .. I just chill ... do nothing.

"The nerves will be there no matter what I try to do. Once I get to the ground and start getting taped, I know it's time to zero in and stop the chilling."

Photo Fox Sports

Tongan scholars lodge global complaint against broadcaster’s Pacific ‘leeches’ comment

Tongan scholars lodge global complaint against broadcaster’s Pacific ‘leeches’ comment

Tongan community leaders and top scholars in New Zealand will complain to the Human Rights Commission against broadcaster Heather du Plessis-Allan’s outspoken comments against Pacific people.

The complaint will also be lodged with the Broadcasting Standard Authority New Zealand and contact will be made with the Forum Secretariat of the Pacific Islands Forum as well as United Nations Human Rights Council.

According to Kaniva News, the action was initiated by the Executive Director of Health Promotion Forum of New Zealand, Sione Tu’itahi and came after Du Plessis-Allan commented after Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s said she would visit Nauru during the Pacific Island forum leaders’ meeting earlier this month.

Du Plessis-Allan told her Newstalk ZB listeners: “The Pacific Islands don’t matter. They are nothing but leeches on us.”

She also referred to Nauru as a “hell hole”, and said it was not worth attending the Forum anyway because the Pacific Islands “don’t matter.”

Tu’itahi said it was unfortunate that some people did not use their roles in news media wisely and instead used them to thrash the weak and those who were voiceless.

He said they must do something to stop this kind of attitude, if not, people like Du Plessis-Allan would think they were right and they would continue to do it.

Tu’itahi was responding after Dr Malakai Koloamatangi of Massey University asked people to share a link to an opinion piece  by Luamanuvao Dame Winnie Laban on Radio New Zealand called ‘Pushback against du Plessis-Allan’s Pacific ‘leeches’ comments encouraging.’

Leban said: “When I first heard Heather du Plessis-Allan’s comments, I was reminded of Paul Holmes’ “cheeky darkie” rant about Kofi Annan and Robert Muldoon’s labelling Pacific Islanders as “over-stayers.”

“Outrageous comments are the stock and trade of some broadcasters and politicians. So, it is good to hear that some New Zealanders know and understand Pacific history, value New Zealand’s relationship with the Pacific and Pacific peoples’ contribution to New Zealand, and are prepared to speak out when ill-informed comments are aired feeding bigotry and casual racism.”

Dr Koloamatangi has described du Plessi-Allan’s comments as discriminatory, degrading, disdainful and racist (fa’ahinga lau ngali filifilimānako, tukuhifo, siolalo mo laulanu.)

Dr Sūnia Foliaki also of Massey University said: “Nauru a ‘Hell Hole’? Yeah, it’s  a hell hole after NZ farmers benefited from the phosphate dug up to leave those holes in Nauru.”

“A march to Newstalk ZB to ask du Plessis to give us a lecture on brain holes or other holes seeing we should ALL refer to her now as the Holes Expert?”

The Tongan petition was supported by many Tongan academics, including Professor ‘Ōkusitino Māhina, Dr Viliami Puloka, Dr Paula Onoafe Lātū and others.

Despite nationwide outrage and calls for du Plessi-Allan to make an apology or resign, she has remained defiant and stood by her comments, according to Radio New Zealand.

Du Plessis-Allan’s comments were posted on social media, prompting lots of angry reactions and some abusive and offensive putdowns of the broadcaster herself.

Du Plessis-Allan invited Privacy Commissioner John Edwards to appear her show to debate the issue last Tuesday. He declined and she hit out.

“Go back to university and do some more training. You are not good enough.”

She said Mr Edwards’ reaction was symptomatic of intolerance on the political left.

“They are like all deep-thinking and progressive but the moment someone says something that they don’t want to see the nuance in, they just take the broad brushstrokes of something.”  RNZ
Fijians outraged as US businessman trademarks 'bula'

Fijians outraged as US businessman trademarks 'bula'

Ross Kashtan, owner of a Florida kava bar, has trademarked the word, which is the title of his business, Bula Nation Inc, as well as three bars. But of course, the word is also used by the entire nation of Fiji, and the trademark has angered some.

Fijian woman and University of Hawaii professor Tarisi Vunidilo says she's shocked. Fijians weren't consulted, given how important the word is to them, and many have called the trademark cultural appropriation.

“Reversing it may be difficult, but this is to highlight to him that there are people behind that word that have this word that means so much to them,” she says.

Intellectual property lawyer Sebastien Aymeric says to have the trademark revoked someone would need to successfully prove it is offensive. He says that process won't be easy or cheap.

“Legal proceedings in the US will be five to 10 times more expensive than here, so they're probably looking at least hundreds of thousands of dollars.”

Aymeric says the trademark won't impact anyone using the word bula outside of the US, but it could catch out anyone exporting products like kava with the word, including to the US.

Kashtan wasn't available to speak to Newshub, but a barman at his Bula on the Beach says they've been inundated with angry messages.

“We have nothing but love and respect for kava and I know my boss is just trying to do good business,” he says.

It's not the first time this has happened. In August a Chicago company caused outrage after it trademarked the traditional Hawaiian greeting, aloha. A bid by Fiji Airways to trademark 15 traditional tapa design prints in 2013 also caused upset.

“Money isn't the issue for us,” says Vunidilo. “The issue for us is giving consideration for the people who own these words in the first place.”

She plans to start a petition to have the trademark revoked.