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Archived News: February 1999

From Fiji Times (27 February 1999) written by Jillian Hicks, sent in by Fr Thomas Splain

A RETIRED professional agriculturalist is vying for the Rotuma communal seat as an independent candidate.

Marieta Makarita Rigamoto retired from the Civil Service in December last year after serving for 32 years in several departments.

Mrs Rigamoto's last posting before her retirement was as secretary to the Office of the President.

Af ter retiring she took up farming in Navua.

Mrs Rigamoto wants to contribute to the development of Rotuma,

"Just then politics came along and I thought I could take it up," she said confidently.

"What touched me most is the fact that I like rural life and thought perhaps I could help."

And that's why her symbol is a hurricane lantern which to her symbolises light in a rural setting. It depicts life, warmth and security in the home.

"In stormy weather it stands for courage, perseverance and endurance," she said.

A mother of three with a grandson, Mrs Rigamoto spent over 20 years in the Ministry of Agriculture.

She obtained a bachelor of science degree in agriculture from the University of Hawaii followed by a post graduate diploma in community development and home economics from the University of London.

She also obtained an award in technical teachers farming from Wolverhampton Polytechnical College in the UK.

She served as principal of Fiji College of Agriculture for seven years.

She has served in the Ministry of Fijian Affairs, Foreign Affairs, Cabinet and the President's Office.

Savika Oakley, from Bombay, New Zealand, recently returned from a visit to Rotuma with her children. We would like to share her reflections with our readers:

Savika Oakley

"The children and I had a most wonderful and memorable time in Rotuma. Two months away from home is quite a long time but we make the most of every moment. We arrived in Mid-November '98 and were able to attend both Primary and Secondary concerts and prize givings as well as agricultural shows, etc. I learned how to make tefui and my children learned how to make the frangipani tefui for the fara. We went fara around the island on the bus and many picnic trips. A few things that are so memorable about Rotuma:

(a) The quiet moonlight nights. The children and I went and sat on the beach one evening and watched the moonlight on the sea. It was just so beautiful, something we never experience on the farm in New Zealand. The children learned to dig up crabs, fish with a fishing line and Scott and James both learned to swim as well.

(b) We went to Hafo'a at Fapufa, you have to walk over the rocks to get there. We walked along the beach, you get to hear the birds, appreciate the quietness, the native plants and birds. These are things I take for granted until leaving behind the fast noisy life in Auckland; then I realise the peacefulness of Rotuma once again.

(c) During very low tide I took my three children and we walked on the corals right close to the reef. It was spectacular watching little coloured fish and different corals. Great experience for the kids.

(d) I showed my children the games I used to play when I was a little girl, playing shops on the beach, 'fui peni', a' pikalosi and many more, not forgetting to teach them to sing Rotuman 'fara' songs. Everyday is a picnic day for us as we took our chilly-bin with us. Every morning we would pack our chilly bin and spend most days on the beach. If not, then we would go around Rotuma in the bus. Pineapples and watermelons mangoes, and vi were plentiful.

From Sanimeli Maraf in Rotuma (25 February 1999)

Congratulations to Frank and Marce Stace Melbourne for their 12th anniversary on 14 February, Valentine's Day! We also celebrated (Granny) mother's 96th birthday at Puka, Malhaha. The Pephaua, Fanmutia and Sauporporo clans got together and sister Nina Hanfakaga came from Lautoka. Mother is well and that is the main thing. She wishes to remember herself and her prayers and good wishes to Maj. Gen. Jioje Konrote and every kainaga in Lebanon. Hanisiof! Vaimarasi "Alalum aus." We also heard from the Benz family in Sydney: Elizabeth, Andrea, Anton, Melissa, and Violet. Thank you for remembering Granny's birthday.

In Rotuma we just came right again now that two boats are at the wharf, enabling us to buy sugar, flour, etc., etc. We ran out of basic supplies over 2-3 weeks ago. We used castor sugar, then icing sugar, then finished up the old honey that was sitting for God knows how long in the pantry. But I think it's good in a way to make people learn to survive with what we've got, saving their money and going back to tupai tapioka, te esu & ti pari. People had to go out fishing and even some ladies threw lines out on the rocks. Fekei uhi, sisi and paha...there's plenty to eat--no starvation. Everything was out of stock except for fuel; thanks to Mobil we have plenty of kerosene, etc. The bad weather is just finishing.

The May celebrations have been discussed and we're looking forward to that. There will be a kato'aga for Hon. Minister Paul Manueli. The Council is organising that for the month of March.

Report on Flood Conditions in Fiji from the Fiji Meteorological Service (5 February 1999)
From Bruce Tizard-Varcoe in England (22 February 1999)

From the March Edition of the 'Rugby World' Magazine: "Fred the Fijian, A ray of South Sea Islands sunshine has brightened Earlsdon (rugby club) with the arrival of Fijian No.8 Fereti Atalifo at Mitchell Avenue. Known as Fred by his new team-mates, he's studying for a Masters degree at Coventry University."

Fred (who is Rotuman) has also represented the 'Pacific Islanders Rugby Club' in London alongside Delai Morris and Bruce Tizard-Varcoe (in a match watched by Samoan Rugby Star, Trevor Leota, who plays here in London for the 'Wasps' Rugby Club).

From Arthur Shaw in Wellington (15 February 1999)

We had a meeting on Saturday 13 February of the Wellngton Group of the NZ Rotuman Fellowship at our home in Whitby. The day was pleasantly warm with temperatures around 25 degs (C).

There was a great turnout of about 30, including children, with Fonmanu Kitione from Napier (4 hrs drive away) Itu Owen and family and Sinive Nasario and daughter Leah all from Palmerston North (2 hrs away) Emi, Chris and Susana Scott from Masterton (1 1/2hrs away) and the "locals," Mark Vaurasi, Maria Cody, Aggie and Kit Kulatea and family, Sydney Viki and "new" son James, Foloi Sio, Kirstina and Ravai Henderson, Lisa Kitione, Gabriel Penjueli and Beverly Tukua, Tony Tuatoko, Ravai and me.

We meet every 6 to 8 weeks and it was great to see everyone again. The positive atmosphere generated at our last meeting on 31 December 1998 was again evident. These meetings allow everyone to "re-connect" and catch up not only with what is happening in NZ but also to share "home" news. The "young ones" enjoyed the day as well and it is particularly pleasing to see them enjoying each other's company. All group members are very keen to maintain their "Rotumaness". A koua was put down for lunch.

We had a few hands at our national game - pasa, which drew many challenges and usual excitment when the competition is close. Those not playing enjoyed the warmth of the day and the hanuju.

The gathering dispered late afternoon which meant that those having to travel arrived home at a reasonable hour. Our next meeting is scheduled for 24 April. We have a number of young people finishing university this year; Lisa Kitione - Law and Arts, Ron Scott - Food Technology, Kafoa Tevita - Architecture. The ones beginning post secondary studies are Susana Scott at Massey University, Lana Vaurasi at the Central Institute of Technology and Angela Sheehan at the Wellington Polytechnic. Our other young folk are at different stages of primary or secondary schooling.

End of last year - Susana Scott was awarded by her college the Makoura Trophy - 'Overall student of year'. Kirstina Henderson was selected by her school (one of six chosen) to go to Japan as an exhange student for 6 weeks. This is her second trip to Japan.

We pass on our warmest regards to all our transnational Rotuman community.

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