1 NEWS NOW's top stories to come out of the Pacific in 2017

It's been another big year for our brothers and sisters in the Pacific. These are some of the stories that made headlines this year.

1 NEWS Pacific Correspondent Barbara Dreaver shares a beautiful story abou the late Halaevalu Mata'aho, who will be laid to rest today. Source: Breakfast

Tongan Queen Mother dies

The death of Queen Mother Halaevalu Mata'aho at the age of 90 sent the Pacific nation, and its people around the world, into mourning.

Tonga came to a standstill for her funeral, as the country's matriarch was laid to rest.

The Tongan centre said he's proud of what the team achieved on and off the field. Source: 1 NEWS

Tonga stuns the rugby league world.

Tonga's run to the final four at the Rugby League World Cup is one of the stories of the sporting year.

On the back of Jason Taumalolo and Andrew Fifita's decision to turn their back on New Zealand and Australia respectively, Ma'a Mate Tonga went within one controversial ref's call of reaching the final.

Evacuation efforts are scaling up on Vanuatu's Ambae island as the Manaro volcano threatens to erupt. Source: 1 NEWS

Vanuatu volcano threatens to blow

In October more than 10,000 people were evacuated from the island of Ambae after the Monaro volcano became unsettled.

Smoke and lava flows came from the mountain, but thankfully, there was no major eruption.

It did, however, uproot the lives of thousands of residents. 

It's fair to say the PM’s strong suit isn’t dancing - but he can now add a Matai title to his name. Source: 1 NEWS

Bill English becomes a Samoan chief, and dances with delight

In June, then Prime Minister Bill English was given the Leuluaialiiotumua matai title in the village of Faleula – where his wife Mary hails from.

The Prime Minister of Samoa Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi was there along with members of cabinet and traditional leaders, all of whom got to witness Mr English's unique style of dancing. 

Cindy Hanson knows she only has minutes to get home to her teenage son before a North Korean missile strike. Source: 1 NEWS

North Korea threatens to bomb Guam

The tiny US territory of Guam found itself in the middle of nuclear braggado when North Korea announced a detailed plan to launch a volley of ballistic missiles towards it.

The island hosts two US military bases, and came after weeks of angry rhetoric between US President Donald Trump and North Korea's Kim Jong-un. 

1 NEWS Pacific correspondent Barbara Dreaver visited the village of Vunidogoloa. Source: 1 NEWS

Fiji takes the lead on climate change

Pacific nations will be affected by rising sea levels and climate change, so it was only right that one of them took the lead at the COP 23 climate change conference in Germany.

Fiji, where some coastal communities have already been forced to relocate inland, presided over the conference, the first island nation to do so. 



Search continues overnight for crew member missing from Sealord vessel off Wairarapa coast

The search for a crew member missing from a Sealord vessel  off the Wairarapa coast is continuing through the night. 

The company says mid-morning this morning crew onboard the Otakou became aware a crew member did not report for duty.

A full muster was conducted to confirm this, and a search was immediately commenced and authorities notified, Sealord said.

The four vessels involved in the search will search overnight, and will review the situation after sunrise tomorrow.

The two helicopters searching were stood down at nightfall.

Weather conditions in the area are fair but are predicted to deteriorate tomorrow.

Source: NZ Topo Map

Sealord said it is making all effort to notify next of kin. 

It said the crew member was not on active duty at the time of disappearance and the reason for the disappearance is not known at this stage.

All other crew are accounted for, however, they are very concerned for the safety of their team member, the company said. 

Sealord is taking this situation very seriously and is providing support to all staff, it said.

The company is also cooperating with all search and rescue instructions, it said.

Earlier tonight Vince Cholewa of the Maritime Rescue Co-Ordination Centre said the centre was advised of the crew member overboard around 11.30am. 

At that time the person had been in the water for 50 minutes or less, he told 1 NEWS. 

Mr Cholewa said there were four vessels and two helicopters involved in the search - Otakou, two other fishing vessels, the police launch Lady Elizabeth IV, a LifeFlight helicopter and an Air Force NH90. 

The estimated location is 11km east of Glendhu Rocks.

Sealord's Otakou
Sealord's Otakou Source: Sealord



Bittersweet moment for sons of Christchurch rich-lister as they prepare his incredible car collection for auction

A rare Auburn 1920s speedster is being taken out for one last spin as a final farewell for the sons of a man who lived for his cars.

"That'll be the last time I probably drive her before she goes," Gary McVicar's son said.

Forestry magnate Gary McVicar left behind a fleet of rare cars after he died four years ago, and now his family are putting them up for sale.

The car, which could fetch over $400,000 at auction, is one of 29 classic cars going under the hammer this Saturday.

Another vehicle up on the auction block is a 1927 Stutz limousine – the last of its kind in the world.

"These cars are like an occasion, you know? Go back in time when you get in them and drive them," Rodney McVicar said.

Also up for grabs is the Clenet, a 1970s showpiece which took 55 years to put together.

"When they came out, they were 10 times the price of an average car in America, so they were built of the elite - perhaps the Hollywood people, things like that," Turners auctioneer Ian Curry said.

He hopes McVicar's much-loved cars will hit the road soon after going under the hammer.

"I imagine this car will end up back on the road very, very, very quickly with the top down," he said.

"We'd rather see them go out to other people that are going to use them rather than just sitting here, because old cars like this need to be driven," Rodney said.

Gary McVicar died four years ago, and now his family are putting his incredibly rare fleet up for sale. Source: 1 NEWS


The West Auckland home that's a 1980s masterpiece - 'You get a buzz out of it, a bit of excitement'

It's stood staunchly on this ridge of Auckland's Waitakere Ranges for almost 40 years, and now Seven Sharp's had a sneak peek at the 1980s masterpiece surrounded by nature.

Homeowner John Hatchman says, "When you look at the house, it just grabs you. The cantilevered decks, the lovely cedar, the big windows - it just blows you away when you first see it".

"It's just unique. I've never seen a place quite like it."

Designed by architect Chris Meikle, its post-modern focus was on place-making and despite the era, Mr Hatchman says it never gets old.

"The place has retained a lot of the 80s flavour. It's very original. If you took that away, it would destroy the whole thought and concept behind it. It wouldn't be the house that it is."

For both the architect and the owner, the standout feature is something not part of it at all.

"Living up here, you're in touch with nature. All the surroundings are glass, you can see the city, the trees.

"You get a buzz out of it, a bit of excitement. You think, 'What's at the end of the driveway?' And then boof, there it is - it's brilliant."

While he's loved his 80s hideaway and being close to nature, Mr Hatchman is now putting his home on the market so he can move to Europe.

"It's brilliant – a brilliant place."

The Chris Meikle-designed home in the Waitakere Ranges has a post-modern focus and is delightfully date-stamped. Source: Seven Sharp

Family history much more likely than diet to cause gout - research

Gout is much more likely to be brought on by genetics than a poor diet which has long been thought of as the primary cause of the joint disease, new research suggests.

Gout can can cause extreme pain and swelling but scientists at Keele University in Staffordshire, UK, say people with the condition can be reluctant to get treatment because of the social stigma associated with having a poor diet.

The study, which was carried out here in New Zealand by a research team at the University of Otago, counters "these harmful but well-established views and practices, and provides an opportunity to address these serious barriers to reducing the burden of this common and easily treatable condition".

The Press Association reports researchers used data from more than 16,000 American men and women of European ancestry to reach its conclusions.

Gout is caused by high levels of uric acid in the blood, which can form crystals that collect around joints.

Consuming beer, wine, spirits, potatoes and meat can raise the risk of getting gout while cheese, eggs, peanuts and brown bread can lower it.

However, each of these foods or drinks is responsible for less than a one per cent variation in levels of the acid, the study found.

And a comparison of healthy and unhealthy diets showed there was only a 0.3 per cent variation in levels of the acid.

But almost a quarter of the variation could be explained by genetic factors.

Gout is most common in men 40 or older.

Long-held theories gout only affected old men with poor diets could be quashed. Source: 1 NEWS