Tokelau – Mental Health

As more locals are finding the courage to speak up, a different story is emerging in Tokelau that goes back to July last year,  before New Zealand went into its August to December lockdown of 2021.

When approached for a comment a senior clinical nurse in NZ replied, quite simply,

“This astounds me!”

With more than 12 months passed, that’s a long time for these three Pacific island communities to live in fear, with closed borders and mandatory jabs threatening to keep the population disconnected from the outside world beyond their planned border reopening in the coming weeks. 

New Zealand media team Counterspin has recently completed a 3 months tour of NZ looking at our own depressed situation.
That’s a fantastic effort and possibly the only real media effort in that respect in our own country.

We’re not immune to the mental health impacts of Ardern’s Podium of Truth and her pandemic strategy and nor should we expect the Tokelau people to suffer alone without that being acknowledged.

Although there is a newly appointed director of health in Tokelau, experienced New Zealand practioners have been quick to point out that, “She appears to be silent, instead of putting these health related issues before their Taupalenga (Atoll elders councils) to rule on.”

Recently, Aupito William Sio, MP for Māngere and New Zealand’s Minister for Pacific Peoples, acknowledged that he is the Minister responsible for the Polynesian Health Corridor Programme which deals with covid support. Approached for comment on what is currently being considered for Tokelau, Sio responded saying,

“New Zealand is proud to support the Government of Tokelau with their COVID-19 response and is committed to continue working in partnership with them to meet any future needs.”

Health Minister Andrew Little who also replied to questions supported, Mr Sio’s position but made no specific comment.

These concerns, however are not new. It has also been confirmed that former Justice Minister Kris Faafoi was contacted about the ongoing situation before he resigned.
Faafoi is a descendant of the Tokelau community and entered the NZ Parliament in 2010

“I expect to pass through life but once. If therefore, there be any kindness I can show, or any good thing I can do to any fellow being, let me do it now, and not defer or neglect it, as I shall not pass this way again.”

Kris Faafoi Maiden Speech 2010
Kris Faafoi as NZ Justice Minister

Attempts have been made to contact Mr Faafoi but he has since left parliament and as of last Friday had no forwarding contact from parliament. 

The situation remains in limbo with the Tokelau Government not responding to enquiries about who might access the Tokelau Dependency from Samoa and New Zealand as restrictions ease.

Well, it’s obvious something is not right here. Claims are coming from Tokelau residents that the newly appointed Administrator to Tokelau, replacing Ross Ardern is supporting an “Iron Fist” approach rather than any helpful contribution to the current dispute, which looks to be escalating into a lot of people running for cover.

Whatever the current mental health advice is for Tokelau, perhaps our Prime minister will answer those questions when she visits Samoa this week with a bipartisan delegation including members from each political party.

RNZ Pacific will no doubt have a story on that.


Tense On Tokelau

Crunch point is a month away, with Tokelau due to re-open its borders and re-start regular travel from NZ through Samoa to our Pacific dependency.

All three main Atolls (population approximately 1500) to date have remained covid-free, and are highly vaccinated with booster jabs currently being administered.

The health strategy is in plain sight and underpinning a belief on Tokelau that this regime of injections will protect the population from covid.

We’ve learned that high-jab-percentages do not allow herd immunity, reduce natural immunity, and haven’t succeeded as an experimental strategy in places like Israel.

It may take future outcomes for Tokelau to clearly define the validity of the health information and the strategy used here, to settle the ongoing dispute that is disturbing the peaceful way of life of this Pacific paradise.

Meanwhile those who have been under house arrest for refusing to have any covid jab along with those now refusing boosters are faced with a single choice – accept the jab or remain isolated under house arrest or customary Tunoa.

Recent interviews by Radio NZ, which circle around a single family on Nukunono Atoll have richly suggested, the world could not understand Tokelau’s customs without having lived here.

While the remaining people affected are on Atafu Atoll, the Nukunono family who have lived there are additionally said to “not understand” as they shifted from New Zealand to Tokelau.

The Tokelau Government is running a solid campaign through Radio NZ in defence of accusations that Jacinda Ardern as NZ Prime minister and Ross Ardern as the former Administrator of Tokelau are directly responsible for ongoing human rights abuses, saying it is a “Village Rule” and nothing to do with them.

An appeal by the Nukunonu family to use their customary lands on another small atoll has been refused and the Nukunono family must rely on gifts of food, while Atafu Atoll Council recently changed their Tunoa ruling to allow those under house arrest to go fishing and support themselves.

There is a sense of what customs suit shall be applied, considering the harsh communication restrictions that existed before NZ based alternative media delved into this story.

There’s just a little irony here that something foreign has become mandatory in order to gather customary food from a deserted atoll.

The myth is perpetuated that those refusing covid jabs represent a threat of some kind and must remain isolated from the vaccinated population.

The drawn out dispute initially started in July 2021 with 4 dissenting adults in 3 households across Atafu Atoll but numbers are increasingly with more people including government employees refusing booster jabs.

Mahelino Patelesio, moved to Tokelau in 2017 with his family to build a house on their ancestral land on Nukunono and had been a member of the local Taupalenga or council of elders, prior to the Tunoa ruling, forcing them to remain isolated at his mother-in-laws beach house.

If you’ve seen the interview with the Brazilian President, saying he didn’t get the jab as he had already had covid and was told he would have natural immunity, of course this puts one contradictory picture out there and it’s far from a ‘single source of one case’.

It comes back to human rights abuses and although Tokelau people are NZ citizens, their human rights are embedded in their Tokelau constitution.

It will take High Court action which is currently in progress to get a definite answer. The Tokelau High Court is our High Court of NZ (we’re still joined at the hip) which has already ruled that there is no demonstrable reason for mandates in New Zealand.

Questions I have put through their government website about tourist and visitor requirements remain unanswered, so naturally locals are concerned that if they leave Tokelau they may not be able to return.

The fight continues as both sides dig in while some of the thinking seen here might look just a little like co-governance redefining democracy in NZ.

Relevant RNZ interviews:

“We care for you and still love you.”

Pacific Report

Here comes Suzie Fergusson RNZ

Covid exists in the NZ Dependency of Nuie

Italian Election … again

The resignation of the Italian Prime minister last week, and although Mario Draghi did reconsider his decision at the direction of their President, has brought down another government.

That’s not entirely unusual for Europe’s third biggest economy. After the upcoming September elections Italy will have their 7th Prime minister in a decade, and the door is open for their first female leader.

Italian politics has always been spicey and unpredictable but this occasion, at this time, may be seen by many as regrettable. 

Italy was the first centre of concern in the Covid Pademic beyond Wuhan. Draghi, best known as, “the man who saved the Euro” was shoulder tapped by their President as a pair of safe hands to bring Italy back from their own covid-crisis.

Draghi should have been Italy’s Prime minister until around March next year, and still could have been if other political parties hadn’t taken the opportunity to turn the resignation debate into a collapse of government.

Although Draghi, as a former EU central bank governor, is highly respected throughout Europe and at home, he’s essentially more the money man, than the  politican, and the current collapse more a miscalculation rather than demonstrable mismanagement, as is visibly the case in New Zealand.

There are similarities in both our political and economic circumstances besides MMP with high public dept, inflation, and food prices, reminders of our current experience.

A lot can happen in the weeks ahead. Italy, as part of Europe, is not immune to the effects of the war in Ukraine and is still trying to wean itself off Russian energy supplies.

The ensuing breathing space could be advantageous to both Draghi, now left with his early departure and his successor … who that might be, at this stage is a complete unknown, but for whoever does rise to the occasion; turmoil is guaranteed.

Italy will grapple with immigration settings and what is immediately necessary to regenerate productivity – the things NZ should and could be dealing with but for “some reason” aren’t.

The one startling difference, and I might as well say it before you do, is that we would relish the opportunity of an early election here in New Zealand, rather than following from afar the progress of functioning democracies like Italy (and Israel for that matter who also have their own early election in progress) getting on with business of running a country.

Updated Monday September 26

Two months later Italy is moving into a new chapter of post covid politics while we muddle on with the same-old same-old in New Zealand.


NZPFU (NZ Professional Firefighters Union) have launched a crisis website – a protest against the mismanagement of Fire and Emergency NZ – there will be more to come of this.


You may have heard some of our mainstream journalists complaining about the Government’s failure to co-operate with Official Information Requests (OIA) and more recently the Chief Ombudsman raising his concerns about the extent to which this issue had grown?

I’m not posting this in defence of our media. This is a legitimate concern and I want to put some context around this as it relates to FENZ (Fire and Emergency NZ).

You may have seen the link only posted yesterday about the NZPFU (NZ Professional Fire Fighters Union) starting a protest website about mismanagement at FENZ.

These are serious allegations and some people might write that off as politicking having gone a step too far in the current environment however I would ask you to read on before you do adopt that point of view.

First, in relation to what the Ombudsman said, there is a major concern there and it’s this: When the OIA system fails, and especially alongside a disfunctional question time in Parliament, ministers become essentially unaccountable.

@avancenz complains long and loud about this, so I’m not alone here.

What happens then is that Ministers rely on Parliamentary media to reply for them and that boils down to a “bunch of spinners running Parliament” … which has serious and unacceptable consequences.

Coming back to FENZ, this falls under the umbrella of The Department of Internal Affairs, and Jan Tinetti who has been their Minister since the 2020 Election.

At the time of the 2020 Election FENZ (As it was then!) produced, as they normally would, a report for the incoming minister – it’s a detailed public document outlining the significant issues needing to be addressed at that time.

Recently I wrote to the Minister and asked Ms Tinetti to outline what issues in that report had been addressed or progressed.

The answer to that from her Office was that they needed to treat this question as an OIA for FENZ to answer.

Having waited 28 days I asked when the Minister was going to reply and was told “another couple of weeks”.
I contacted FENZ, who knew nothing about this and asked what I wanted to know.

Bear in mind that there have been changes to the FENZ board since that report was written.

I asked how FENZ would respond to that question to the Minister, from their point of view and what issues had been progressed.

Their answer was, “That information doesn’t exist but you’re welcome to appeal to the Ombudsman.”

I’m not asking any curly questions here. All I’m trying to do is publish what the Minister in her own words says has been achieved or what anyone can tell me has been achieved.

That answer didn’t come from their OIA staff that I normally deal with, it came from their in-house legal advisor doubling as the, Acting Deputy CEO.

I’m not advocating on behalf of the NZPFU, I have never had any contact with them.
I don’t doubt for a moment though that there are serious unresolved issues in the FENZ administration exacerbated by an unacceptable culture in the Office of Minister for Internal Affairs.

Journalism at a very basic level can’t give you the news here, today.

If you’re concerned about the plight of your emergency crews here is the link to the protest website put up by NZPFU if you want to read about their complaints.

Example of the Issues.

Interview with NZPFU

Christine Anderson

Christine Margarete Anderson is a German politician who is serving as an Alternative for Germany Member of the European Parliament. Anderson completed a commercial apprenticeship. She has lived in the United States for six years, where she studied economics and worked for a US trading company. Wikipedia

Born: 29 July 1968 (age 53 years)

The above link is an embedded tweet. If you cannot access that here is what Anderson said:

“This vaccine campaign, it will go down as the biggest scandal in medical history, and moreover, it will be known as the biggest crime, ever committed on humanity.”

“Special Committee on the COVID-19 pandemic: lessons learned and recommendations for the future – EU Whoiswho – Publications Office of the EU”

Anderson is very clear about what she thinks of Canada Prime minister Justin Trudeau, and says so when he visits Europe.

Trudeau a disgrace to democracy.

What About New Zealand

If New Zealand doesn’t follow Europe’s lead and start Covid-19 Investigations we’ll have information available but not the best information relevant to our situation.
Both WHO and Lancet have been clear in pointing out that each country’s situation is different and regional comparisons are better than random comparisons across the world.
Are we not taking our responsibility to our Pacific Partners seriously?

See the damage done to Tokelau Dependency.

Tokelau Is Talking

That’s what democratic media should do. It should start a conversation, especially when two opposing sides are locked in a stalemate.

People are talking about Tokelau, now. They have questions. Why have NZ citizens in Tokelau been detained (by world standards) unreasonably, and without access to a just outcome – a process where detainees can lodge an appeal to reason?

These processes have been somewhat elusive, coupled with uncertainty. That’s possibly because the New Zealand and Tokelau Governments are reviewing their existing legal relationship and the legal system in Tokelau

Those are major changes and have complicated simple questions, such as, what current legal pathway is available to someone who has already suffered close to a year of unreasonable and unnecessary restrictions.

That’s not a good space to be in: Trapped in detention, with a murky legal minefield in front of you, covid confusion surrounding you, and access to communication with the outside world restricted by those same people who have you locked down in your house.

That’s not a lot different to what was happening to us here on the NZ mainland, this time last year. Six months later there would be an anti-mandate protest at our parliament and applications to our High Court.

Fortunately for us, the appeal to reason succeeded.

Our political leaders were making, ideological and political decisions, not rational ones. And we’re still doing the same. When Israel was leading the world in an attempt to produce a medical outcome to beat covid we heard plenty about what was happening there. Not now. The Israelis, to their credit have accepted what is in front of them and moved on.

In May, they opened their borders and as long as you have travel and medical insurance, you are welcome to visit – that’s their story not ours.

In the end that mysterious somebody has to take responsibility. Daily, Ardern’s credibility sinks lower and our Director-General of Health, quite wisely some might say, has abandoned his contracted appointment a year ahead of time.

Tokelau is suffocating under the continuation of New Zealand’s stale covid response (Alongside our own unnecessary political division brought about by Mahuta’s Co-governance) and a failure to recognise its errors and move on.

Do we recommend ourselves, now, as the best example for Tokelau and the Pacific?

I’d say, No. You might think otherwise?

Other countries such as Samoa will be affected in a similar way. When Ardern visits in August “The Covid Queen” may not be such a welcome guest.

There really is no good reason for the Tokelau authorities to continue making pro-choice individuals “Covid-Criminals” in order to demand compliance, and accept a covid injection.

That’s not supported by international law, or even NZ Law. Only by the law of Ardern, and the covid propaganda created through her Podium of Truth.

On the upside, help has arrived; financial and legal support is easing communication issues and opening the door to a legal application for the Tokelau detainees.

Here’s hoping.

Ardern’s New Normal

At 300k a year the job of a NZ Cabinet Minister pays well. But when you make a mess of a country to the extent this government has, those affected are going to start asking questions.

Michael Bassett dissects the crisis behind the crisis.

We haven’t got a covid crisis, we don’t need a monkey-pox mirage either, and as a country we need to stop burning our house down over climate change.

If you’ve read the article Bassetts says at the end,

We are experiencing the worst government of my lifetime, one that has caused more damage and divisiveness in our society, than there has been at any time since the Great Depression.”

And that’s without touching on Labour’s policy proposals like 3 Waters, Mandates, and Agricultural Regulations.

It is stinging criticism from a former Labour cabinet minister, (one might think still a party member) and possibly why he didn’t say more.

World Council For Health

On Thursday, July 21, Twitter permanently suspended the World Council for Health (WCH) from the platform without warning or detailed explanation.

In an email Sunday 24th the WHC had this to say.

WCH continues to carefully monitor the occurrence of Marburg, Monkeypox, and other specific health threats highlighted by the WHO. WCH emphasizes that there currently exists no indication to support potential calls for a new pandemic associated with the Marburg virus.