Tanna kastom shines on the Oscars red carpet

Red carpet kastom – directors and cast of Tanna at last night's Academy Awards in Los Angeles, USA. Photo: @tannamovie/Twitter

Red carpet kastom – directors and cast of Tanna at the Academy Awards ceremony in Los Angeles, California USA last night. Photo: @tannamovie/Twitter

Just to have been nominated for an Oscar is still something to celebrate even if Tanna did not win the foreign language film winning category. Iranian film The Salesman has won the category. Nevertheless it generated enough excitement to have a powerful kastom dance from Tanna take over the foyer of the National Convention Centre in Port Vila during live streaming of the Oscars ceremony here yesterday afternoon, where Tanna stars Dain and Wawa were guests of honour. Dain told Len Garae of Daily Post he “never dreamed the movie would make it to Port Vila let alone as far as Hollywood”.

A different kind of Vanuatu matter has also received media coverage in the United States — kava The New York Times writes about kava issues here and in Fiji where a specialist in an NGO concerned with kava production, Professor Rob Erskine-Smith says “kava is the biggest opportunity Fiji has”. Our resident expert, Dr Vincent Lebot, answers various questions concerning the need for quality controls for export. He outlines what are the main problems affecting the ‘prescribed’ commodity often brought about by bad harvesting techniques and little regard for anything except profit. Vincent Lebot: “It is important that the region works together because kava is unique to the region”. And it has a price advantage for some island countries which cannot secure overseas markets for their fruit and vegetables. Yes, and as The New York Times points out Fiji and Vanuatu lead in regard to kava – and Vanuatu’s annual exports are double Fiji’s.

Air Vanuatu is expecting to announce an appointment for a CEO in March. There has been speculation and suggested names flying around in social media. Vanuatu Digest is awaiting a formal announcement by Chairman John Lum.

287 educators who following graduation have been working professionally in government service have now won contracts after filling gaps in the service—all unpaid—for some time. All the primary graduates for 2014 and 2015 are covered and more than half last year’s and all secondary graduates for the three years are going on the books and budgetary provisions have been made. Daily Post reports that difficulties in staffing are being largely overcome this year despite the increasing need for classroom professionals.

14 militarily designed vehicles for the VMF donated by China have arrived. The shipment includes transport vehicles, transport for casualty movement and equipment to be used at the VMF Cook Base and workshop. Much personnel safety equipment went into the gift package as well and PM Salwai indicated his pleasure in the continuous assistance from China.

Government, and chiefs of Efate and Shefa re working together to protect the Efate Land Management Area (ELMA)The Independent reported last weekend. This is the vast and rugged area in central Efate where all main rivers on this, the main island, have their sources, the Minister for Land and Natural Resources Ralph Regenvanu says. Conservation is also needed to protect species and help them survive naturally, he said. An area so largely unspoiled and so near the capital must be regarded as a natural treasure.

Repair work on the Efate Ring Road has been picked up as an important issue by the Vaturisu Council of Efate Chiefs. Vaturisu Chairman Henry Manlaewia has pointed out in the weekend Daily Post that bridges need to be rebuilt and tenders close during March and support and cooperation will be needed from villagers right round the island.

Two Banks Islands Area Councils have formulated their five-year plans during the last quarter of 2016: Mota and Motalava. Then the two Area Council islands of Gaua, Merelava, Vanualava, Ureparapara and the Torres follow in March.  Provincial Planner Michael Silona says these plans are in line with government”s decentralisation policy. Details have not been made available but presumably where tourism is concerned claims to custom land ownership of the many sensational sites is now being discussed.

Fifteen Melanesian Spearhead Group secretariat staff have taken employment grievances to the Commissioner of Labour. Allegedly changes have been made to labour contracts without proper consultation with employees. The complaints were made against the MSG and DG Amena Yauvoli. No response has yet been published.

An extraordinary number of advisors have been appointed as staff to the Parliamentary Secretary on Health and had their posts gazetted. This would seem to be an excessive number, Daily Post makes clear, when there are only six Parliamentary Secretaries for just six ministries anyway and the public is concerned to have health officials properly paid, many with outstanding wages.