22 Nov 2011

New Polynesian group to complement Pacific regional line-up

4:13 pm on 22 November 2011

The newly formed Polynesian Leaders Group says it aims to complement other sub-groupings in the Pacific region.

Its eight founding members - Samoa, Tonga, Cook Islands, Niue, Tokelau, American Samoa, Tuvalu and French Polynesia - signed a memorandum of understanding last week.

The group's chair, Samoa's prime minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi, says this group can now discuss specific issues, like cultural heritage and economic development.

"We are a relatively new group, compared to our much older group by our colleagues in the Melanesian Spearhead and also the Micronesian Challenge. We see the development of our own close cohesion as one way forward for working together with the Micronesian and Spearhead to achieve the objectives of the Pacific Plan."

Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi says any country that falls within the Polynesia triangle can apply to become a member, but all decisions are subject to general consensus.

The group's secretariat will be based in Apia for the length of the chairmanship role, which will change every year.