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Archived News: December 1998

From John Vaivao in Nadi (30 December 1998)

Greetings of the Season from Nadi ! The Nadi Rotuman Methodist Church group celebrated Christmas day with a big outing to Suva to visit the Dilkusha Home and a few couples who often visited us in Nadi in the past. The climax of the outing was the fara which was not of the standard type. Our Youth Group, supported by the elders of the main group, decided to do it the traditional way (tautoga). We thought it might be a marvellous idea to revive the traditional dance and to expose our young people of Nadi to it. Well, a lot of sacrifices were made on people's time to practise and rehearse but it paid off at last. The group left at 2 p.m. on Christmas day and returned to Nadi on the evening of Boxing Day after putting on four performances which we are proud to say were all enjoyed by our hosts. Sorry we don't have any pictures to support our claims. Well, we look forward to future seasons. Until then take care and Best Wishes for a Happy New Year.

Handicrafts on display
Nadi Rotuman Women's Club,
2 December 1998
Patchwork quilt by Vamarasi Pesamino

Photos by Vamarasi Pesamino

From Sanimeli Maraf on Rotuma (19 December 1998)

On 2 December 1998, ex-nurse Makrava Emele passed away at the age of 97, following a fall. Makrava was awarded an OBE while she was nursing for her long service and was given a good conduct medal. The medals were taken to Sydney by her grand-daughter, Joy.

On 10 December a chartered flight brought Mr. Greg Urwin, the Australian High Commissioner to Fiji; Mr. Geoff Adlide, Act. Counsellor; CMDR Keith Eglen, Defense Attache, and two ladies. Also aboard were Minister Paul Manueli and his grandson Peter, and Major-General Jioje Konrote, on leave from his Middle-East UNIFIL command. The High Commissioner came especially to see what help his government could give the Rotuma High School, and to see the Pepjei sea wall. They were invited by Gagaj Maraf to our celebration on Friday, 11 December, and returned to Suva at midday. Minister Paul Manueli stayed and opened our agricultural show; he returned on Saturday, 12 December.

The Bulou Leva arrived on 11 December with heaps of visitors to Itu'muta. The Itu'muta fara will visit us on 22 December and we look forward to seeing our Fiji kainaga.

Three Germans also came on the boat, and one of them lost his backpack at Oinafa Wharf. It contained his snorkeling gear, a tent, a hammock and some personal belongings. He notified the police at Ahau and also asked the chiefs for help. The Germans are gathering information for their radio show, learning about the customs of different Pacific Islands peoples.

Gagaj Tua's höt'ak hafu was on Wednesday, 16 December, at Malhaha. His children came from overseas. After the celebration, the Pephaua/Malhaha fara came to visit us in Noa'tau. That was good.

The Motusa Methodist Bazaar was held on Thursday, 17 December, at Ahau and the Itu'muta visitors opened the bazaar with a $3000 donation. The total amount of donations was nearly $7000 for that day.

On the Thursday flight (17 December) Dr. Lawrence Winkler and his wife Robyn arrived. They are from Nanaimo B.C., on Vancouver Island (where several Rotuman families live). They stayed at Motusa in new huts--accommodations recommended by Sunflower Airlines. The Hospital Board of Visitors had a Working Bee/Breakup Day on Friday, 18 December, so we invited them for lunch, and we all met the couple. Robyn originally came from New Zealand. In the afternoon I took them to the Bennett's at Itu'muta and met up with another couple from New Zealand, Samo's son and wife with their two children. We toured around the island, calling into places and ending up at Rocky Point for cold beer.

Lastly, the Dau Soko is at the wharf and will be leaving this evening. It brought gear to fix the water pump. The wharf extensions are now finished so vehicles can roll on and off. Two buildings have been constructed, one as a shelter for people, the other to store bags of copra prior to shipping. The machinery used for construction will be loaded aboard and returned to Fiji with the workmen.

Wishing all of you a prosperous 1999.

From Elisapeti Inia on Rotuma (21 December 1998)

The Suva Itu'muta people have come--so many of them--not only from Suva but from all parts of Fiji and some from Australia and New Zealand. They opened the bazaar (Fa'u Methodists) by donating $4000. The bazaar was held on 16 and 18 December. The Fa'u Methodists took their asi to see them in Itu'muta: 1 kau, 1 hafa, many taro (two bundles from each church which is seven in number, 2 white mats and many brown mats because every woman who went in the la'o carried a mat. The day was spent watching the dances performed by the visitors--a very enjoyable day. They'll go fara on Tuesday, 22 December. Four buses were reserved for them to fara around the island. As there are more Catholics on our side, the fara is delayed till Christmas Day.

Figalelei se fek! We just couldn't resist posting this picture of our niece, Caroline Rensel, with Hannah Bennett, daughter of John and Harieta Bennett. But they seem to embody the holiday spirit as well as anything we can say.




From Vamarasi Pesamino in Nadi (14 December 1998)

News from Suva: On 28 November 1998, I went to Jione's 21st Birthday Party. Jione is a son of Gagaj Mora' ma Han Gagaj ta Mer. Gagaj Mora' is the new chief of Pepjei district in Rotuma. The party was held at the USP Hall from 4 pm to 10 pm. It was a double celebration. Jione was graduated from Fiji College for Advanced Education, Nasinu, on 27 November. This double celebration started off with a traditional ceremony including paega. Paeag ta os sema le agruet, leap ma 'on faua rua, 'eap riri' rotuam ma'oi pau ka mül 'alol, ma kota apei rua, ka rer sema 'e ta ha' sa' 'alol (crochet) keleag lelei paut (size of 2 meters or more). Kota Jione pae se paeag ta, ma mafua heta he'ak mumua koue ta. Koue ta koua rauraut. After ag fakrotuma, his father Gagaj Mora' gave a speech welcoming and thanking all the kainaga and friends, but mostly to Jione's Aunty Fesaitu and Uncle Lui who adopted him. After his speech, Fesaitu and Lui gave Jione his 21st Birthday Key. Jione received his key and thanked them and all his kainaga in the Rotuman language first, then in English for all his school friends. He also thanked the Principal of the Marist Brothers High School, Suva--Susau Managreve--for his good advice and generous help given to him during his school days. He also said he wants to go to USP for further studies. After his speech, he moved on to cut his cake. I made him a two-tiered cake, the bigger one (bottom) for his 21st birthday, and the second tier for his graduation. I made him a two-tiered cake because his sigoa, Uncle Jione Samuela, and Aliti told me that it will be a double celebration. He was very happy to have a double cake. There was plenty of food, plenty fruits, plenty cakes and desserts, plenty drinks and plenty of fun, too. All enjoyed the party, with the celebration lasting til 9:30 pm when the Beer Factory was closed.

News from Nadi: The Nadi Rotuman Women's Club had their Christmas Break Up Party at Aliti Wiliame's home at Martintar on Wednesday, 2nd December 1998. The members get together and display their hand work for the year, i.e. weaving, sewing, crocheting, baking, patchwork, quilting, and many other fancy little things for Christmas decorations. Our President(1998), Vamarasi Kaituu, opened the meeting (party) welcoming and thanking members for the work done during this year, but the Vice-President said the prayer. During the meeting, the new committee members were elected to run the club for 1999. New President is Ma'ana Ravai, Vice-President is Aliti Wiliame, Secretary is Vamarasi, and the Treasurer is Sarote Antonio. The other club members are Akata Aisea, Vamarasi Kaituu, Finau Motofaga, Kafoa Vaivao, Sukafa, Susau, Betty, Joana, and Maria Penesio. The meeting ended with a short prayer by Aliti; then we all had a pot-luck dinner together ..........

E vahiag ne lotomis 'ateag'esea ta, ma haina haihaifaegag ma hugag'esea la a'sok ta kel'ak te (Craft Fair) mea'mea' het 'e Rotuma Day Celebrations 'e fau fo'ou ta--13 May 1999.

On 28 November 1998, the Rotumans kainaga ma kaumane'aga gathered at Aliti and Alfred Wiliame's home at Namaka and celebrated their son Conrad George Wiliame's 21st Birthday. Conrad is attending Pacific Flying School at Nadi International Airport. He passed his (PPL) Private Pilot Licence exams with very high marks. Now he is studying for his (CPL) Commercial Pilot Licence. Congratulations to you Conrad, and please keep up the good work.

Photo courtesy of Fiji Times, 26 November 1998

'Amis a'hae'akiof 'aus 'otomis kainaga rotuam 'atakoa 'e ut tutu ne 'aus noh sin 'e hual ne 'oaf te'is--December 1998 Kesmas Lelei ma Fau Folou 'Oaf'ofa.

Hanisiof ma Fu'amus.

From the Honolulu Advertiser (16 December 1998)

Inoke Breckterfield (son of Pasepa and David Breckterfield) has been named third team All-American Defensive lineman for 1998. This adds to the many honors Inoke has received as a record-breaking football player for Oregon State University. Earlier this month Inoke was chosen as the Pac Ten lineman of the year. He is a hot prospect for pro football and we're all waiting to see which pro team will sign him.

From Elizabeth Benz in Sydney (15 December 1998)

The wedding of Emily Gibson (daughter of Everard Gibson & 'Atfoa, both formerly of Rotuma Is.), took place early in November. Emily married her friend from school days, Ruben Luzaic, whose parents came from Europe. The bride looked beautiful, radiant in her white satin gown with veil edged with white satin binding & held by a beautiful tiara. She had four bridesmaids which included her two sisters Jane & Lillian, & Ruben's sister Lillian & a school friend. Ruben was attended by his three cousins & Emily's brother Peter; there were also two flower girls. It was a beautiful day and they all looked lovely All the flowers & bouquets were specially prepared by a family friend, Maria Lo who did such a beautiful job too.

From George Managreve in Sydney (13 December 1998)

The Rotuman Language Workshop for 1998 commenced on Saturday 8 August and ended on Saturday 14 November 1998. Classes were conducted over 3 hours from 3 to 6 pm on Saturdays followed by light refreshments or a light meal afterwards. A total of 8 classes were conducted this year at the Alan Walker College, Lincluden Place, North Parramatta.

We had two Rotuman language teachers this year - Mrs Kava Fonmoa, who is a retired school teacher, taught the Beginners class and Reverend Emotama Pene taught the Advanced class. Rev E Pene, who is a Rotuman songwriter, is studying for a Bachelor's degree in Theology in Sydney. We are most grateful to them for sharing their talents and giving their time to do this work voluntarily.

We also congratulate all our new members who joined this year and thank our visitors from Fiji, Mr Ravai Mosese and Ms Havatonu Atalifo, who attended and supported our workshop activities this year. We also thank Mr and Mrs (Alan and Jan) Howard from Hawaii, for attending one of our workshops this year and for their kind words of support. Furthermore, we thank Reverend Ian Stehbens for enabling us to use the facilities at Alan Walker College for our workshop classes.

Beginners Rotuman Language Class (Teacher: Mrs Kava Fonmoa)

Students: Amoe Fuata; Teariki Smith; Jules Bryson; Patrick Managreve; Christine Hembrow; Lisa, Kamoe and Mary Muaror; George, Joshua and James Fonmoa; Benjamin, Alexander and Samuel Vafo'ou; and Brittany Atalifo.

Rotuman Language, Storywriting And Music (Teacher: Rev E Pene)

Students: Akanisi Alfred; Malagrani Smith; Divuki Atalifo; Kafi and Akata Muaror; Fred Pene; Martoa Dickenson; Estella Managreve; George Managreve; Sarote Monie; Pene and Lily Vafo'ou.

Safe journey and good health to all who are going overseas or visiting Australia for Christmas 1998.

Other Events
  • 14 November 1998 Rotuman Language Workshop breakup party.
  • 13 December 1998 Sermon by Rev E Pene 3.00pm Rotuman Church service City Wesley Mission, Sydney.
  • 12 December 1998 Marriage of Mr Teariki Smith of Sydney to Miss Marseu Pene of Suva, Churchward Chapel, Suva.

    Photo by Vamarasi Pesamino
  • 1 January 1999 Marriage of Mr Zwingly Fuata to Miss Makareta Antonio of Suva, Churchward Chapel, Suva.
  • 6 March 1999 Rotuman Language Workshop BBQ Garden Party. Venue to be finalised. All welcome.
  • RADIO FM88.9 Rotuman Radio Programme Presenter: Mr Kafi Muaror, 11.00 to 12 midday every Saturday, Skidrow Radio Station, Marrickville, NSW.

Christmas Cards for Sale: Christmas Cards written in the Rotuman Language are for sale now. Words by Emotama Pene and printed by George Managreve. Please contact Fred Pene (tel. no. 02 9630 0777) or Pene Vafo'ou (tel. no. 02 9625 3845) for orders.

Lalavi (means feather): A band called Lalavi is practising in Sydney at present. The band has seven members : Eric Fatiaki, Simone Fatiaki, Fred Pene, Charmaine Fonmoa, George Fonmanu, George Managreve and Etike Lagi. We look forward to hearing a mixture of English and Rotuman songs by Lalavi in 1999.

Workshop '99: Any persons wishing to learn or improve their Rotuman language are most welcome to attend next year‚s workshop. Rotuman Language Workshop '99 will commence with a BBQ Garden Party on 6 March 1999. Looking forward to seeing you then.

The Rotuman Language Workshop Sydney Committee


Fu Omus

From Honolulu (13 December 1998)

Louisa Manueli as Santa

The Tefui Club held their annual Christmas party at the main clubhouse at Windward Estates in Kaneohe, courtesy of Sophia and Meleki Turanga who live in the Estates. It was an ideal place to have the party, with a large swimming pool that kept the youngsters well occupied. There was plenty of food, as always, and Louisa Manueli played Santa, distributing presents to the children. She made them dance for their presents, though, to the accompaniment of Maria Duma on the guitar and Sophia Turanga on the ukelele. Our President, Marseu Nataniela and his wife Maxine distributed presents to each family--a box of biscuits, just so no one would forget Rotuma!

And congratulations to Tifäre Sosefo; his wife Nani gave birth to Keanu Samuel Kalawai'a on 24 November. The baby weighed in at a whopping 9 lbs., 8 oz.

From Radio Fiji (11 December 1998)

The main branch of Morris Hedstrom in Suva burned down on Friday, 4 December.

Morris Hedstrom
Photo by Saverina Peters

From Bruce Tizard-Varcoe in England (8 December 1998)

On November 23, the first program of a series entitled 'Planet Ustinov'was shown on television here in the U.K. In the series, the actor Sir Peter Ustinov retraces the journey American writer, Mark Twain took to various countries a hundred years ago.This first program was filmed in Fiji and Kiribati (July 1997) and amongst the many faces seen included: Marieta Rigamoto (during the Opening of Parliament), George Gibson and the late Victor Rigamoto (both in a scene filmed in Levuka) and Ian Simpson (flying his 'Island Hoppers' helicopter).

From Major-General Jioje Konrote in the Middle East (1 December 1998)

Hanuju Update

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