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Vanuatu island to evacuate again as volcano erupts

Wellington - Villagers on the Vanuatu island of Ambae were facing their second evacuation in seven months Friday after a volcano rumbled back to life and rained ash on their homes.

New Zealand halts new offshore oil and gas exploration

Wellington - New Zealand is halting all new offshore oil and gas exploration to become a global leader in the fight against climate change, the centre-left government said Thursday, but opponents accused it of "economic vandalism".

Power down as fierce storm hits Auckland

Auckland - Up to a quarter of homes in Auckland were without power Wednesday after a wild storm packing winds of more than 200kmh (125mph) lashed New Zealand's largest city.The storm hit the city of 1.

Op-Ed: China building bases in Pacific nations

Sydney - China is discussing building a military base with the government of Vanuatu. This is seen as a further move by China to expand its global and regional projection of power. The question is exactly where this strategy is going.

New Zealand passes law to quash historic gay convictions

Wellington - New Zealand's parliament has passed legislation to erase historic convictions for engaging in gay sex, saying the bill would help right past injustices.

Safety line undone when ocean sailor lost overboard

Wellington - A missing British round-the-world sailor unclipped his safety tether before a swinging boom knocked him into the churning Southern Ocean, likely rendering him "unconscious before he hit the water," his crew-mates revealed Thursday.

New Zealand says it can't find Russian spies to expel

Wellington - New Zealand said Tuesday it would like to expel Russian spies in retaliation for allegedly poisoning an ex-agent in Britain -- only it can't find any Moscow operatives in the remote South Pacific nation.

Mapfre leads Volvo fleet into inhospitable waters

Auckland - Spanish entry Mapfre led the seven-yacht fleet out of Auckland Harbour on Sunday as the gruelling Volvo Ocean Race resumed with its toughest leg across the tempestuous Southern Ocean.

Samoa creates huge shark sanctuary

Wellington - The island nation of Samoa has declared its waters a shark sanctuary, joining a string of other Pacific countries in protecting the marine predators.Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele said the move would help sustain a vital part of the ocean's ecosystem....

New Zealand spy papers reveal 1981 bid to kill Queen

Wellington - A mentally disturbed teenager tried to assassinate Queen Elizabeth II during a 1981 visit to New Zealand and police covered up the botched attempt, according to official documents released Thursday.

Text of revised Pacific trade deal released

Wellington - Details of a revamped cross-Pacific pact aimed at slashing trade barriers were released Wednesday amid a renewed push for the United States to rejoin the 11-nation deal.

Former New Zealand PM Bill English resigns

Wellington - Former New Zealand prime minister Bill English announced his retirement Tuesday after failing to retain office in last year's "Jacinda-mania" general election.

Marathon Kim Dotcom case back in New Zealand court

Wellington - Internet mogul Kim Dotcom's legal case returns to court in New Zealand Monday for what may be the Megaupload founder's final chance of avoiding extradition to the United States.

Kiribati accused of 'cover-up' over ferry disaster

Wellington - The Kiribati government faced criticism Friday for obstructing foreign journalists attempting to cover a major ferry disaster that has left the tiny Pacific nation in mourning.

'World's loneliest bird' Nigel dies in New Zealand

Wellington - New Zealand wildlife lovers are mourning the death of a gannet named Nigel, dubbed "the loneliest bird in the world" due to the absence of any feathered friends on his island home.

Aerial search for Pacific ferry survivors suspended

Wellington - An aerial search for survivors from a ferry that sank in the remote Pacific two weeks ago was suspended Friday with more than 80 people still missing, many of them children, officials said.

New Zealand to probe abuse of children in state care

Wellington - New Zealand ordered a high-level inquiry into historical abuse of children in state care Thursday, saying past failures must be acknowledged to prevent it happening again.

'Youngest and brightest' lost in Pacific ferry disaster

Wellington - Many children and teenagers are among those missing after a ferry sank in the remote Pacific, official figures have revealed, with victims described as their region's "youngest and brightest".

At least 80 on sunken Pacific ferry: officials

Wellington - More than 80 people were aboard a ferry that sank in the remote Pacific, officials confirmed Wednesday, as a senior Kiribati lawmaker called for an independent inquiry into the vessel's disappearance.

Rocket Lab makes history with 1st successful commercial launch

On Sunday, California-based startup Rocket Lab made history again, launching its Electron Rocket from its launch facility on the Māhia Peninsula in New Zealand, carrying a payload of commercial satellites that were successfully put into Earth orbit.
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