From Sanimeli Maraf on Rotuma (27 July 1999)
Reverend Langi already told Maraf about his plan for the year 2000. On New Year's Eve we go to Losa to bid farewell to the sun setting for the last time during 1999. Then, in the early morning of the first day of the new millenium, we will wait at Afgaha, Noa'tau, maf hanueta, to see the sunrise. I believe that on Saturday, 31 December, there will be a kato'aga at Ahau for all.
Four ladies from Rotuma, including Mrs Rev Langi, Mrs Rev Pili, Mrs Sanimeli Maraf and Mrs Jiuria Taki are going to join four other Rotuman ladies from Fiji and with about 30 Fijian ladies, will leave on 17 August for Samoa to attend a Pacific area seminar of the World Federation of Methodist and Uniting Church Women of South Pacific. The theme of the conference is: "Holy Spirit--weave the people of the Pacific together." The conference will last until 27 August. I am looking forward to that.
The hospital has no transport for the moment. Dr.
Rafai's car and the ambulance both went to Fiji for repairs two weeks
ago. Dr. Rafai asked for a replacement but the ministry didn't give
From Alan & Jan in Honolulu (28 July 1999)
Elizabeth K. Inia and Tupou Taukave from Rotuma are in Honolulu and will be going to Hilo tomorrow to attend the 1999 World Indigenous People's Conference on Education . The theme of this year's conference is "The answers lie within us." Mrs. Inia will present a paper on Rotuman Indigenous Sprituality. The conference is scheduled from 1-7 August, with a pre-conference workshop 30-31 July. Mrs. Inia will return to Honolulu after the conference and will remain until 17 September. While in Hawaii she will work on a book describing Rotuman ceremonies along the lines of her description of Rotuman wedding customs .
From Fijilive (20 July 1999)
Network Roads, shipping, health priority for Rigamoto
The improvement of roads, shipping and health facilities will be a priority for the Assistant Minister for Agriculture who has been given extra responsibilities as Special Advisor to the Prime Minister on development for the Rotuman people.
Speaking on Radio Fiji One this morning, Rigamoto pointed out the urgency of improving the condition of the roads on the island. She will also be trying to improve the frequency of shipping to the island, as it is the only way Rotumans can bring their produce to markets in Fiji and overseas.
Another area, which the Assistant Minister will be
looking at, is the hospital on the island. According to Rigamoto,
the present hospital is getting too old and she will advise the Government
of the need to upgrade both the building and equipment. She believes
the hospital should be upgraded so that only very serious cases are
sent to Fiji.
From Fijilive (19 July 1999)
Rigamoto appointed Rotuman adviser
Rotuman MP, Marieta Rigamoto has been appointed special advisor to the Prime Minister on Government's development support for the Rotuman community in Fiji and Rotuma.
A Cabinet statement issued today says Rigamoto's work will ensure that Government support for the Rotuman community is in accordance with their wishes.
She will also consult closely with the Rotuma Island Council and the Rotuman Association in Fiji.
Rigamoto is also the Assistant Minister for Agriculture.
From Alan & Jan back in Honolulu (16 July 1999)
We are now back home and will endeavour to keep things up-to-date. We apologize for the lapse while we were away but it was impossible to upload files from abroad, mainly because of security measures at the University of Hawai'i computing center. We were fortunate, though, to see a number of people who are members of the global Rotuman community, such as Lorraine (Rigamoto) Tizard-Varcoe and her family, Harieta (Muaror) and Sheridan Rosser, Katarina Erasito, Luisa (Lilino) and David Copping, Jieni (Howard) Sturton, Hans Schmidt, and Emily (Morris) and Leo Clarke.
We were especially delighted to stay at the Hope Cove Hotel in Devon, England. The hotel is owned and operated by Emily (Morris) and Leo Clarke. Hope Cove is surely one of the most beautiful places on earth and Emily and Leo are wonderful hosts.
Tafo'ou and Janice sent us three clippings from newspapers concerning the triumph of Rejieli Paulo, who won the Australian Youth Aria at the conclusion of the 52nd Dandenong Festival of Music and Art for Youth. Rejieli, who is 23 years old, is described by a judge as an outstanding talent who will go on to star in Australia and overseas. Rejieli attended Hallam High School and St. Margaret's Girls School at Berwick. She was accepted to the Melbourne Conservatorium at Richmond, where she achieved her bachelor of music and where she is now studying French.
Six finalists competed in the youth aria, the highlight of the festival's final night. Rejieli is quoted as saying, "This is such a big surprise. There was so much talent I did not think I would be the winner."
Rejieli has been notified by the Australian Opera Company that they would like to take her aboard next year after she completes her degree. Her voice was described as "raw, sweet, and forceful." It is a voice of great force, coming from a person of undistilled passion, according to one of the judges.
Not only did Rejieli win the $3500 prize to go towards
her future studies, she also received a gold medalilion award for
the most outstanding artist in the vocal section of the festival.
On Saturday, the 26th of June 1999, the Suva Noatau Community hosted a teran mane'a at the residence of Rigamoto and Maalisi Fonmanu at Maqbool Road, Nadera, Suva. This day not only attracted a lot of district family and friends from Vatukoula and Suva but it served the useful purpose of everyone being acquainted with each other and getting to know all the kainaga.
The Vatukoula Noatau Community attended the function and staged an excellent performance for everyone. The performers looked so beautiful and charming, including the old and the young from the Gold Mining town. The hafa item "Atam Atam" was the icing of the cake for these young performers.
Organised activities for the day were volleyball for the teenagers and card competition for the oldies. The card competition was won by Visoni and Kafonika from Vatukoula; they.must have used the gold power!
The Suva Noatau Community must be commended for the excellent hospitality given to everyone who attended the function. They had prepared a big koua for lunch and the evening also. I am sure everyone who attended must have put on a few kilograms, as the food was very delicious. They also had a band that played good music until the end of the function. As an observer, I was quite amazed with the amount of talent our Rotuman people have--the different types of styles and movements to the songs played. Gagaj Riamkau must be commended for his excellent performance.
It is interesting to note that the total contributions given by all who attended the function amounted to $1,200 plus.
After dinner, the Vatukoula Noatau community thanked its kainaga from Suva and headed back for home at about 7 pm. I must say that it was an opportune time for the gold miners to take a break from home and enjoy the city life for once and I am sure if given another invitation, they would attend and still better their performance.
The Vatukoula Noatau Community would like to say a big faiaksia to the Suva Noatau Community for the excellent and warm hospitality.
From Marlon Isimeli in Suva (1 July 1999)
During the South Pacific Games held recently in Guam the Fiji team came second to New Caledonia, with Rotuman Weightlifter Rupeni Varea getting Silver medal in his weight category.
Weddings: On Saturday 26th of June , John Samisoni finally found a lady partner for life. In what was termed as the wedding of the year , John and Ilisapeci Kubuabola tied the knot at the Centenary Church. In a traditional service attended by the Vice President of Fiji Hon Rt Iloilo (also the Tui Vuda), relatives and friends from abroad, John and Ili both adorned their respective cultural dress as they exchanged their vows.