09 October 2017
Workers parade through Honiara streets. [Photo: Government Communications Unit]

GCU: A celebration to mark the 10th Anniversary of the New Zealand Recognized Seasonal Employers (RSE) Scheme was held on Friday 6th October at the Rove Police grounds in Honiara.

aunched in 2007, the Scheme is a seasonal labour programme between New Zealand and 9 Pacific Island Countries targeting unskilled and semi-skilled workers.

Solomon Islands officially joined in 2008 and formally signed the Inter-Agency Understanding in August 2010.

The RSE is now in its tenth year and more than 600 Solomon Islanders have participated under the scheme.

To mark the occasion, the workers held a parade on the streets of Honiara before formal speeches were made at the Rove Police grounds.

The Minister for Foreign Affairs and External Trade Hon. Milner Tozaka thanked the New Zealand government for the Scheme and also praised the workers who have made the RSE scheme a success over the past 10 years.

“To the New Zealand Government, my Government and the people of Solomon Islands appreciate very much being part of this Recognized Seasonal Employment scheme.

 “Our RSE nationals, their families, communities the nation as a whole would not be enjoying the fruits of their labour had this scheme was not in place.

 “Both nations have indeed benefited in this win win situation,” Minister Tozaka said.

He added that the financial impacts achieved from Solomon Islands joining the RSE scheme has been quite significant and has indeed transformed the lives of not only the fortunate citizens  who have participated in this program but also those of their families, other individuals and their communities.

Also speaking during the celebration was the New Zealand High Commissioner to Solomon Islands HE Don Higgins who praised the workers for making the RSE scheme become a success.

The occasion also featured two testimonies from two RSE long time workers, who shared about how RSE has changed their lives and has sustained their families until today and enabled them to contribute towards their communities.

Both of these workers told invited guests how they have managed to build permanent houses for themselves and supported their extended families on the same.

They also informed that they could now own vehicles, investing on education for their children and starting small businesses to sustain and improve their livelihood which would have never happened if the RSE scheme was not in place for the unemployed Solomon Islanders.

Another important part of the occasion was the presentation of Certificates of Appreciation to the nine Local Agents who have helped to recruit workers to work in New Zealand.

More than 200 workers participated in the one day celebrations. The celebrations concluded with a volleyball and tug-of war competition enjoyed by the workers.

- Government Communications Unit