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Archived News: May 1997

From Elisapeti Inia in Rotuma (May 18, 1997)

On April 13th both Mua and Fa'u (Oinafa & Motusa) circuits held their nate ne fau. Mua got more than their estimate ($9733 whereas their budget was $9240) for the year. Motusa circuit collected $7,440.50, so will keep working.

The annual meeting of the Methodist Church in Rotuma was held at Pepjei from 30th April to the 2nd of May (Wed-Fri), but the Pepjei people asked the members of the meeting to stay for the night and return on Saturday, the 3rd of May. The meeting was held in rainy days as Cyclone June as coming near us and on the 3rd of May miraculously missed us, like Cyclone Gavin did last time.

School breakup day was Friday 25th of April and the two weeks break had so many unexpected things happening. The Red Cross Branch here in Rotuma received a new and big ambulance, a gift from Fiji, and we got together on the 29th to "mamasa" and to hand the key to the doctor to use for the hospital to transport the sick people, etc.

Regarding the funeral of John Vaivao Fatiaki, who died on May 10th in Suva, Elisapeti writes: "The coffin was brought in 6 a.m. Monday morning to his home till 10 a.m. when it was taken to Churchward Chapel. The church was packed with people of different races. People who spoke: D.O. Mesulama Solomoni on Vaivao's side; Senator Paul Sohiki, who spoke about Vaivao's 13 years work as bursar of Ratu Kadavulevu School; Dr. Meo, Principal of Pacific Theological College, about the 20 years Vaivao spent as bursar of the college. Both eulogies made everyone present feel proud to have such a true son of Rotuma, not only a son of the late Maraf Fatiaki, but a leader in social and religious life. He died in his 75th year, like Wilson did."

Dr. Taukave and his wife Tupou opened the Farm Show on May 13th (Rotuma Day) with a donation of $1000. Visanti Makrava won the trophy. Pep'aki, who is from Lopta but married to Estella of Juju and is living in Juju topped the list of the men who have an acre of well-kept taro plantation. All prizes for the winners were good and all farmers were very happy. The fund raising was good and the prize winners were happy.

The Methodist Conference is scheduled for July 12th in Itu'muta. The President of the Methodist Church in Fiji and the Vice President were invited by the Itu'muta people to attend. Dances will be by Malhaha, Oinafa & Noa'tau: 3 hafa -- 3 sua, 2 tiap hi'i, 3 tiap forau. Breakfast: 12 midnight to 6 a.m. (7-8 a.m. for guests only), service, nate etc. 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., omoe and farewell.

The annual meeting of the Methodist Church that was held in Pepjei finalised the transfering of Fa Hua'i in a few places, e.g., Mesulama & Akesa of Itu'muta to replace Sokra'a & Makereta at Oinafa, when this couple moves to Malhaha; Kia'a & Fanifau at Pepjei to go to Noatau; Arosio and Akanisi at Losa to return to Lautoka where they used to live. New couples to try to be Fa Hua'i include: (1) Ravai Hanfiro & Firomena of Malhaha to go to Pepjei, (2) Sam & Kaurasi of Losa to look after Losa, and (3) Kapani & Fesaitu of Itu'muta to look after Itu'muta church. The Fa Hua'i are to be at their new posts on 15th May.

After Mother's Day (11th May), Gagaj Kausiriaf gave the pure to Sakman & Hanuarani, and the Oinafa Church is closed; Fatiaki and Deaconess Rejieli were brought to the Hua'i's place; Niomfag Tarterani, who is the Oinafa Circuit Tuirara, went to Itu'muta and brought Mesulama & Akesa to live at Ififtoka, his place. So now Poar's side have Mesulama & Akesa as their Fa Hua'i and Kausiriaf's side, Deaconess & Fatiaki.

William Fletcher Bible College (Noa'tau)

The Fletcher Bible College has to depend on Rotuma Division to meet the expenses now. The attendance for the first term was not regular at all. We, who are to teach, feel happy in brushing up our old knowledge, re-reading old notes, etc., and feel happy about teaching them. It is the students who find transport hard; therefore, in a week there are only two school days, Wednesdays & Fridays because that's when the buses go around the island.

From Sanimeli Maraf in Rotuma (May 22, 1997)

Our Rotuma Day celebration is over. There were 16 rugby teams and 8 netball sides. It was a fine day. The $500 prize money was awarded to the the Government workers on the island (Lelepo Ducks). The Juju Ladies Netball team beat the Medics. The Noa'tau team had a win and a draw, but lost the rest of its games.

Sani, who is Chair of the Hospital Board for 1997, has been raising funds to build a garage for the new ambulance. On Rotuma Day she manned a stall selling curry & roti, niu, fekei, papai, herhere & faikakau along with many other items; she planned another stall for Sukuna Day, May 30. The Red Cross had a door-to-door collection on Saturday 18th April and collected $554.

From Alan Howard in Honolulu (May 27, 1997)

The Rotuman Association of Hawai'i (TEFUI) enjoyed a campout over the three-day Memorial Day weekend. The campsite was Malaekahana, on the north shore of Oahu. Around fifty people were present and our little camp consisted of thirteen tents and a common cooking area. As always, there was plenty of food and lots of joking around (we have more than our share of clowns in this group), so it was a pleasant experience for everyone. Under the leadership of our president, Munue Tavo, our association is thriving and we're all looking forward to our next campout, which will be in September over the Labor Day holiday.

From Steve Walker in Sydney (May 25, 1997)

Sunday 25 May 1997 was the first anniversary for the Rotuman Congregation of the Drummoyne Uniting Church. The day dawned bright and clear after a week of showers and heavy rain. The congregation had turned up for a working bee on Saturday to clean up in preparation for the big day and for last minute rehearsals. The day was dull and overcast with a fair bit of rain which had made the surrounding ground very wet and muddy.

On the day itself however, the weather was perfect - clear skies, a very light breeze and temperatures in the 18 to 20 range.Eric Fatiaki, Etike Langi, Teariki Smith, Marseu Semesi, Malagrani Smith, Divuki Atalifo and Vama Pene lead the Sing & Praise section of the service with a variety of instruments adn choruses! They sang for about 15 minutes before the service as the congregation began to arrive. Over 150 people attended including members from the other congregations in the Five Dock Drummoyne Parish. There was standing room only if you were late!! Representatives from all the Rotuman groups in Sydney were also present including Rev Sydney Taito from the Wesley Mission. The service was lead by our minister Rev Trevor Lunney while Rev Peter Davis preached the word to us. There were items from the Sunday School, an action chorus from the Youth Group and an anthem from the Choir.

Afterwards of course there was a feast with every type of dish including fekei, pork, curry, chop suey, rice, taro, roti, pavlova, trifle and a 1st anniversary cake!!

It was interesting to see so many of the Europeans happily trying out the various foods many for the first time - of course fekei was a winner all round!! All in all a very sucessful day and an opportunity for fellowship Rotuman style - even if everyone is a long way from "home".

From Steve Walker in Sydney (May 19, 1997)

Six groups gathered at the Riverside Girls High School at Hunters Hill in Sydney for a day of dancing, feasting and fellowship hosted by the Ryde group. The weather was very kind with the rain clearing away in time for a fine warm day. We were joined by the Pepjei group from Suva, Fiji and the group from Brisbane. In all six groups performed a range of dances both traditional and slightly more modern. The programme ran from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. We then went to an Island night held in the Balmain Exchange Hotel.

Sunday everyone gathered in the Balmain Town Hall for an ecumenical service at 10 a.m. Again each group took part in the service which finished about 12 mid day.The Pepjei group are billeted in the Balmain Police Citizens boys Club where we all gathered for Sunday lunch and more speeches. It was here the the arrangements for next year were announced. Rotuma Day 1998 will be hosted in Sydney by the Drummoyne Rotuman Congregation and we look forward to all our friends joining us for that weekend.

From Sosefo Farpapau in Suva (May 13, 1997)

The late Mr. John Vaivao Fatiaki, son of the late Gagaj Maraf Fatiaki and Akanisi passed away on 10 May and was buried on 12 May. Mr Fatiaki was a well known Rotuman personality in the fields of music, religion and in his service to the Rotuman community in Suva and on the Island. He is survived by his wife Akata and sons Tommy and Eric (Formerly of NZ now of Parramata, Australia).

From 'Emi Scott in Wellington (May 10, 1997)

The Wellington Rotuman Group had our celebrations of Rotuma Day today in Masterton and really enjoyed ourselves. Mark, Aggie, Finten and Agsela came last night and at about 9.30 am today, the rest of the troup arrived. We commenced by having our group meeting followed by a taumaka then a huge feast provided by everyone. No fekei, only ice-cream, fruit salad and cakes for afterwards. Taumaka went really well considering how small our group is. Our men persevered the "tiap hi'is" and sounded as if "they were all Rotumans hi'iing". Thanks to Tony, Fon, Mark and Ron for holding on to the sound. I must also praise Arthur, Chris, Finten and Kit (who were not pure Rotumans!!!!) but managed to "hi'i" just like the other Rotuman lads. Well done, it was fun.... To cap up the fun day, our men resorted to the "box" to witness a gutful fight by the "HURRICANES" against the Blues in the Super 12 rugby match at Eden Park in Auckland. What a pitty, Hurricanes just missed winning by 2 points. By the way to those of you (not necessarily in NZ) that do not know who the Hurricanes are, they are the Wellington Rugby team. So there's no need for me to deliberate over it.

Noa'ia ma fu'omus, 'Emi

From Alan Howard in Honolulu (May 12, 1997)

The Rotuman Association of Hawaii celebrated Rotuma Day at Kailua Beach Park on Saturday, May 10th with an all day picnic. About 35 people were there and we all had a great time. There was plenty of food, including two kinds of fekei, fish in lolo, 'ikou puat kau, curried chicken & roti, barbecued beef, hamburgers, cookies, cake, etc., etc. No one went home hungry! Each family performed by dancing (to Rotuman songs, Hawaiian hulas, and even the Macarena), performing a skit, telling a story, etc. Matlena Dumas played the guitar and led us in singing Rotuman songs and Vili Hereniko told some funny stories. We also had a taumaka reviewing the tautoga we performed at Vili's book-launching in 1995. It seems we've forgotten a bit and will need more practice before going public! The two of them are real clowns and kept us fully entertained.

It was a wonderful, fun-filled day. Now we're looking forward to our three-night campout which is planned for May 23-26

From Rejieli Langi in Auckland (May 9, 1997)

Noa'ia 'e mauri se te' ne 'aus 'atakoa. 'Amis 'airot'ak ne 'aus 'atakoa maur ne'ne' lelei la fak se 'amis 'e te'is.

Greetings in the name of our Lord. We hope that plans for Rotuma Day are all set and that everyone is looking forward to some REAL GOOD ROTUMAN celebrations! The Auckland Rotuman Fellowship is celebrating Rotuma Day on Saturday the 10th at Waiwera Hot Pools. All the Rotumans here in Auckland have been invited to come for a day of picnic, pasa, fara, swimming and feasting. We wish all the Rotumans out there a HAPPY and ENJOYABLE ROTUMA DAY!!

Rejieli and Rigamoto Langi
Reverend Jione Langi

The Auckland Rotuman Fellowship is also celebrating Mothers' Day on Sunday and all our mothers will lead the service. There will fekeiherhere and fakakai for the mothers to enjoy on their special day. This will be done by our church steward (Josaia Kaitu'u) assisted by Fekau Langi. We promise to think of you all when we have our Mothers' Day Feast!! HAPPY MOTHERS' DAY TO ALL OUR MOTHERS!! UP COMING EVENTS

The New Zealand Rotuman Fellowship (Inc.) will hold their next meeting in Auckland during the Queen's Birthday weekend, (30th May to 2nd June). Everyone is looking forward to that get together. There will be a taumaka and other preparations for the forth coming tour of Rotuma in Christmas 1998.


Christine Anderson, (nee Forster) peacefully passed away at the St. Joseph's Hospice in Auckland on the first week of April. Our deepest sympathy to all her relatives and friends in Rotuma, Fiji and abroad.

Munivai of Solsesei, Malhaha passed away three weeks ago in Rotuma. Munivai was the father of Savika Oakley, the secretary of the Auckland Rotuman Fellowship. Our deepest sympathy to the families and friends.

Until next time, Take Care and God Bless You All.

Hanisti'uof ma Fu'omus,

Rejieli Langi

We were very sorry to hear about the death of Karl Benz, husband of Elizabeth (Gibson) Benz in Sydney, Australia on May 1st. Our condolences and hanisi to Elizabeth.
Announcement in the University of Hawaii's Summer Program: On Saturday, Auguest 2nd, at the Hilton Hawaiian Village, Vilsoni Hereniko will give a brief talk on indigenous Polynesian theater forms and a give a sneak preview of a scene from his new play, "Fine Dancing." The world premier performance of the play will be on August 9th, when Vili and his fiancée, Jeannette Paulson, will be married.
From Marlon Isimeli in Suva (1 May, 1997):

Noa'ia 'e Mauri se te' ne 'aus atakoa.

I guess you're all looking forward to the Rotuma Day Celebrations that you're all having in your respective areas and thought I'd update all with the latest on the Rotuma Day Celebrations in Suva.

The Malhaha District is the hosting district this year and is in charge of the function, to be held at the Suva Civic Center. All 7 districts are taking part, and will be performing the traditional hafas, as opposed to the mixture of 'cultural' items performed last year. The Malhaha district will be treating the 7 districts to a feast, with each district taking away puaka (hat 'e folu), kau moa ma fekei, after the dances. The youth of Malhaha will play a major part in the event, with their young MCs for the day. Congratulations to Ms Repeka Ufiamorat (le' on Visoni ma Aliti Ufiamorat) for having the unenviable task of being the MC for the day.

The events will all start at 0900 - hopefully not Rotuman time.... :) The Itu' of Pepjei will be travelling over to Sydney to join in the festivities there with the Rotumans in the land down under.

Last year, the districts raised funds - each having to raise $15,000 for the High School back home, with Malhaha the only district to get the amount requested from each district. This money and all other contributions done by the other districts were put to use by the elders and leaders for the school, but that's someone else's the renovations are still on going.

Hope this has been informative and wish you all a happy Rotuma Day celebrations. Take it easy on the feasting.

Marlon Isimeli

Alan Howard and Jan Rensel in Hawaii (29 April 1997)

We just received our copy of Ian Osborn's Rotuma: Fiji's Hidden Paradise and are delighted with its pictorial representation of life on Rotuma. Besides photos from each district, the book includes pictures of houses, handicrafts, tahroro & fekei, canoes, fishing, gardening and copra, the government station, churches, schools, ceremonies, weddings, dancing, feasting, and other social activities. Besides Ian's own stunning color photographs, a selection of black and white photos from the Fiji Museum and the collection of Dr. H. E. Evans (1940-1951) give a glimpse into Rotuma's history. If you want to show your non-Rotuman friends what life is like on Rotuma, this would be a good book to have on your coffee table!

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