Five northern Pacific islands, from the grouping we call Micronesia, are heading out the doors of the Pacific Islands Forum and they're not going quietly.
Palau, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Kiribati and the Federated States of Micronesia are pointing the finger at the likes of New Zealand and Australia, accusing them of influencing the vote that resulted in their candidate being snubbed for the forum's top job.
Today The Detail's Jessie Chiang talks to RNZ Pacific news editor, Koro Vaka'uta, about why the leadership vote was about so much more than just a position; and what the Micronesian absence could mean.
"Since 1971 there's only been one Micronesian representative as secretary general," he says.
The Forum has “managed to reach consensus on this position all but one time ... but this vote it was so close nine to eight in favour of the Cook Islands' Henry Puna."
Losing out to Puna was Micronesian candidate Gerald Zackios from the Marshall Islands, which has formal diplomatic relations with Taiwan.
That’s a position that Palau president Surangel Whipps Jr has referred to in a recent article in The Guardian, suggesting some members are bowing down to the shadowy influence on China in the Pacific by voting against Zackios.
The rupture comes at a time when unity is needed the most to tackle challenging issues like climate change and rising sea levels, and Covid-19.
Vaka'uta talks about New Zealand's response to the rift - one of sadness and wanting Micronesia to stay, from Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern; as well as the response of other members in the forum.
He also explains the unprecedented possibility of a reversal of the top job and why he thinks that's unlikely.
“I just can't see how you go back from this," he says.
It takes a year to leave the Pacific Islands Forum after submitting a formal diplomatic note so Micronesia will still have a presence in the forum this year, in Fiji in August.