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Archived News: October 1997

News from the Nadi Community sent by Vamarasi Pesamino (21 October 1997)

On Saturday, 18 October 1997, three events took place: a papetaioso, a mamasa, and a hapagsu rua.

The papetaioso was for a new baby girl born to Fesaitu and Savike Jioje. Her name is Esta Mareta. Fesaitu is a daughter of Mekatoa & Manao of Lopta, Rotuma. Savike Jioje is a son of Akata Fauoro Aisea and Gagaj Vaenuk (now) of Ropure, Rotuma. Savike Jioje is a brother of Tifare who lives in Hawaii.

The mamasa was for Savike Jioje. He was a Weather Officer in Rotuma for many years, but now is working at Nadi International Airport. He went to Japan for a three-month course and returned on 17 October. Savike is from Mea in Hapmak, Rotuma.

The hapagsu rua was for Mekatoa and Tupou Rigamoto of Lopta, Rotuma. Mekatoa is married to Manao, and they are Fesaitu's parents. Tupou is a daughter of Tausie & Susau, from Lopta, Rotuma. She is a sister of Freddy Susau (now District Officer in Levuka). Tupou is married to Rigamoto Alfereti of Malhaha, Rotuma.

We had a big kato'aga! Tela'a included: Kaut, hat (puaka) fol, kes poet kau fol , fekei moa het, fekei 'a'an, ma fekei niafo'ou (a fancy one, said to be "Lopta's Recipe"-- a mixture of three different colours: red,blue & white), 'a'an ma papai. Also there was plenty of fruit (watermelons & pineapples), and lots of cakes & pies. There was some Indian food, too: puri, curried chicken & beef, mango chutney, etc., etc.

After the traditional Rotuman ceremonies they put on music, and Mekatoa and a few ladies danced while the women prepared the food table for lunch. Plenty kainaga came from Suva & Lautoka. After lunch, we rested for a while, then the old women started playing cards. Suva competed with Nadi & Lautoka to find out who are the "champions," while the old men sat around the tanoa and drank grog & "talanoa" (chatted). The young boys enjoyed their Fiji Beer and merry making. A special bus took the visitors to picnic and swim at Wailoaloa Beach that afternoon. There was so much food prepared on that day that everybody took baskets of food (lovo) home for dinner.

Visitors included Saufuri, his wife Trudy and their children from Australia. Saufuri is the youngest son of Merutu & Tivaknoa of Malhaha, Rotuma. They went back to Adelaide (Australia) on Sunday, 19th of October.

Mekatoa & Manao went back to Rotuma on Saturday, 25 October 97 by Sunflower Airlines.

The Rotuman community in Nadi/Lautoka is being led by the Juju district group from 13 May 1997 to 13 May 1998. Desmond V. Michael from Juju and Pepjei is the leader. The Treasurer is Pene Antrea (USP/Fiji Centre), Secretary is Va Pesamino (FEA), and Committee members are Rachel Morris, Titi Mausio, Peter Pesamino, Petueli Tafoou, Kiji and Jimi Fereti, and Aliti & Joe Fesaitu. The Juju community meets on the second Saturday of the month from 2-5 p.m. and holds a kati. The Committee runs bingo every Wednesday night at Red Cross Hall, from 8-11 p.m. Proceeds go toward fundraising for the 1998 Rotuma Day Celebrations.

From an article in Fiji Times, Monday, October 20, 1997

Rotumans are Overlooked: Dr Mua

The Suva/Rotuma Seven Districts Committee says it is concerned that the Rotuman community has been overlooked in the appointments of Fiji people to overseas missions. Committee chairman Doctor Tukaha Mua said in the last 10 years the Ministry of Foreign Affairs made over 30 appointments at the ambassador/consul level and none of them were Rotumans.

He said the last Rotuman to be ambassador was the late Joe Gibson in April 1987. Another Rotuman, the late Sokmasa Kitione, was attached with the Fiji mission in Canberra but was never ambassador or consul.

Dr Mua said that if this country picked 30 university gold medallists, pilots, judges, doctors, principals, engineers, colonels, permanent secretaries, sea captains and police superintendents, the Rotumans would be well represented. He said Rigamoto Taito, the former permanent secretary for Finance, would be a good candidate for any overseas posting.

He said Mr Taito was familiar with the demands of an overseas mission and his wife, a graduate of Auckland University, would provide high profile support to whatever overseas posting they may receive.

The committee, a replica of the seven districts committee in Rotuma, represents Rotumans living in Fiji but away from the island. It also represents the Council of Rotuma on matters of national importance.

Posted on the Message Board on 20 October, 1997

Jiuria Rigamoto

Mrs. Jiuria Rigamoto, wife of Josefa Rigamoto passed away Friday, 17 October after a short illness. She was buried on Sunday, 19 October.

Jiuria was born in Lopta in 1922, the daughter of Kaurasi Harieta from Pepjei and Aisake Aitu of Lopta. She and Josefa were married in 1938.

She is the mother of the late Victor Rigamoto, and is survived by her husband, Josefa Rigamoto, and their children: Lorraine, Walter, Taito, and Robert.

From Marlon Isimeli in Suva (15 October 1997)

The Rotuma Games kicked off early Saturday morning (11 October) with opening speeches by Pasirio Samisoni, Chairperson for the Rotuman Sports Committee in Fiji, and special guest Mrs Collingwood (wife of Don Collingwood of Sunflower Airlines). Mrs. Collingwood was invited to open the games in recognition of her contribution to Rotuman sports. She helped a great deal getting the Rotuman Rugby and Netball teams over to Fiji for the inter-island zone games held a couple of months back. Other special guests were Mr. Ian Simpson and his wife, Tupou Simpson, accompanied by their son Nigel Simpson who plays provincial rugby for Canterbury in New Zealand. Mrs Simpson sponsored the jerseys for Vatukoula (Tieri), and Nigel sponsored Nadi's jerseys (Granville). The Sarafui jerseys were sponsored by the Sydney ex-Sarafui members, and Pasirio would like to thank them geatly on behalf of the Sarafui sports club for their great help and contributions.

The first game kicked off with good weather despite a national cyclone warning that weekend. The weather was kind to the visitors since it wasn't as hot as expected. Winners of the events were:

  • Rugby A : Sarafui
  • B: Raisea
  • Netball A: Raisea
  • B: Tieri (Vatukoula)
  • Overall best and fairest players:

  • Rugby: George Atalifo (le' 'on Dr. Fiu ma Sapeta Atalifo) of Sarafui
  • Netball: Kelly Fonmoa of the Sarafui A netball team.
  • All in all it was a great day of celebrations for the Rotumans around Fiji, as they met with their distant relatives and long lost friends. "Old timers" reminisced about their good old days, as ladies cheered their respective teams ...

    The Sarafui jerseys were sponsored by George and Lillian Pene of Sydney (formely of Raiwaqa).

    Also, congratulations to Leanne Vaivao (Miss Bula 1997); she celebrated her 21st birthday on the day of the tournament.

    From Sanimeli Maraf on Rotuma (12 October 1997)

    Tupou Taukave put on a luncheon for women "oldies' at Ahau. Makrava Emele is the oldest lady on Rotuma; she's 96 and will be 97 next April. Mrs. Panapasa's mother, Aitu, is 93. Then comes my mother, Vamarasi Sukamanu Elaisa, who is 91.

    Chris Sloffer, the current (and last) Peace Corps Volunteer to serve on Rotuma, will leave the island on 2 December and on 28 November will be "Good Bye Rotuma." He will stay in Fiji until late January 1998, then flies home to Indiana, USA.

    The Fletcher Bible School at Faioa will start again next Wednesday. The Methodist Church here in Rotuma has now split. The western side wants to be independent.

    Extracted from Message Board posting by Viane Amato in England (10 October 1997)

    I am sending this message from Bournemouth University in Dorset, Southern England. I was awarded a U.K. Commonwealth Scholarship to do a MSc in Tourism Management & Planning. Apparently this is supposed to be the best university to do Tourism Management in the world. Who said that? The lecturers of course! People in Bournemouth keep asking me, Why Bournemouth? (They probably think I caught the wrong bus from Heathrow) and I express the same surprise they do, I don't know! But seriously, I had applied to the University of Surrey, Guildford but was strongly urged to come to Bournemouth since the three Tourism experts Prof. John Fletcher, Prof. Chris Cooper, Prof. Westlake had suddenly left Surrey for warmer climes further south. I have no regrets though because after attending the lectures of these three men, they lived up to their reputation as three of the best in the business. Its amazing because Prof. Flettcher has been to places in the Pacific that even Pacific islanders have not been to. He talked about Nauru, Palau, Guam, Ponape, Truk, Fiji, Solomons, Vanuatu, etc. etc. I was proud to tell him that I had been to all of the places he had been to except the Solomon Islands. As you can imagine, being probably the only Rotuman in Bournemouth and perhaps South Western England, to meet a number of men who have been to the South Pacific to places I know made me awfully homesick. Due to these men's reputations, we have 86 students in the Masters in Tourism Management programme I am in! 86!! I expected 10 or 20 at the most but not 86! There are 29 countries represented in our course. Its larger than the undergraduate degree. People don't know where Fiji is, let alone Rotuma. However, I guess I put us on the map when, during the first week orientation programme, I scored the highest English mark in the language test (96%) and won the seminar presentation. I got a tee shirt, a small certificate and a free lunch for my troubles. (Anything for a free lunch, eh!) I hope I can keep this up in all my courses.

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