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Archived News: March 2000

From Vanessa Charters in Hong Kong (24 March 2000)

The following news report, from, outlines Nigel Simpson's performance at the 7s competition in Hong Kong.

England and Ireland had mixed fortunes. The former wore unfamiliar blue shirts but still managed to dispose of the Gulf States without too much effort. Nigel Simpson looked unfazed by the big occasion and opened England's account with a brace of first half tries. Five second half tries brought the final score to 45-5. (

More on Nigel Simpson from Vanessa (26 March 2000)

England seven had gained a standing ovation from an estimated crowd of 35,000 after a dropped goal from the touchline in the last minute snatched a 14-12 quarter-final victory against South Africa....The two backs to enhance reputations were Nigel Simpson, a centre at Bath, and Wasps wing Kirk King, 19. Both started out behind Jamie Noon and Steve Hanley but eagerly accepted a new challenge after sickness and a groin strain sidelined their better known colleagues.

The England v's Samoa clash...was both hard fought and revelant. What's more important is that England has found themselves a new young star. When, or perhaps if, Nigel Simpson learns to pass the ball before he gets clobbered he will be a highly effective weapon for someone. The young Bath back hails from Birmingham but boasts one Fijian parent and played with the sort of pace and panache which his heritage demands. Unfortunately he holds onto the ball too long and he received at least one head-high challenge for his troubles. Someone suggested that perhaps he is not the best passer of the ball but we could be a long time waiting to find out. England at least ensured their participation in the senior tournament with a 22-10 victory over a Samoan side which was largely unrecognizable.

From Rocky Peters in Ft. McMurray Canada (22 March 2000)

Rocky has called our attention to a website maintained by the crew of the yacht Starship which visited Rotuma from 4-11 November, 1999. The website contains a daily journal of the crew's activities on Rotuma and some lovely photographs. The URL for the first day of their visit is From there you can go to the next day via a link at the bottom of the page and so on for the eight days of the visit.

From Fiji Times (22 March 2000), submitted by Marlon Isimeli

Poms pick Fijian rugger

Fijian Nigel Simpson has been selected to play for England at this weekend's Hong Kong Sevens tournament.

The former Yat Sen Primary and Secondary School student impressed with his Fijian flair and speed and was included in the squad after confirming his eligibility to play for his father's home country.

His father, Ian Simpson, the managing director of Pacific Crown Aviation, flies out this morning to Hong Kong with his mum Tupou and two uncles to watch him play. Tupou hails from Malhaha, Rotuma. Simpson senior, originally from Staffordshire in the Midlands, said they were keeping a promise made to Nigel that they would watch him play anywhere in the world when he dons a national jersey for the first time.

For Nigel, his speed from his wing position while playing five games for his Bath side, probably earned him a spot in the team. Nigel's sevens experience began while playing for Mt St Mary's Club in Nadi in 1995 when he was selected by Don Collingwood to travel with the Cavaliers team to Uruguay. The same year he moved to New Zealand to study aircraft engineering and joined the Marist Club in Christchurch. The club changed its name to Marist Albion after merging with the latter side. Nigel's talent did not go unoticed and he was selected in the Canterbury Development side in 1995 and in 1996 moved up to play for the team's Colt side. During 1995 to 1998, Nigel became the top tryscorer for his club each year and was top tryscorer for three years in the weekly competition.

In 1996 Nigel was selected in the New Zealand Fijians side for the International Sevens tournament at the National Stadium. The side, coached by Vuli Kolinisau included Senirusi Rauqe[Fiji national 7s rep] and Sale Sorovaki [Fiji national inside center].

Towards the end of 1998 Nigel moved across to England where he joined up with second division side Moseley and was approached to join top side Bath last year. Here he spent a lot of time on the benches not because he was not up to it, but because the Bath backline is England's backline. He was however given five games in the first team on the wing while he played fullback for the second team.

Simpson senior said he was excited over Nigel's selection and said Nigel was "over the moon" when he rang on Saturday night to confirm his selection.

One of Nigel's memorable matches while playing for Bath was against top Italian side Padova in their European Cup clash earlier this year where he scored a try.

Simpson is 25 and was born in Suva's Colonial War Memorial Hospital.

From Sanimeli Maraf in Rotuma (24 February 2000; posted 8 March)

Official visitors from Fiji came to Rotuma last week with Marieta Rigamoto to follow up what they intend doing to improve Rotuma. There will be two new police posts, one in Oinafa to watch out for the landing of the boats and another in Faguta to watch out for the traffic, etc. The Minister for Police made sure the chiefs signed a letter that he will give to the Prime Minister on his return saying they will keep their ties with Fiji.

Rotuma is a small island well blessed with most things. God is still watching over the island and its people so don't worry; our tie is still strong with God. The Korem scam as you all know now was a 'nice try', but no thanks; we prefer to keep things as they are; our way of life here is 'pure' and closer with God.

As for Noa'tau district, we're trying to finish our community hall by December regardless.

The Women's World Day of Prayer falls on 3 March 2000. It will be held at Motusa. The Programme was prepared by the church women from Indonesia. In 1999 the lesson was prepared by women from Venzuela, in 1998 by women from Madagascar, in 1997 by women from South Korea, in 1996 by women from Havana. Each lesson has a deep meaning from the church ladies of those countries. They cry out for help in prayers for their countries' welfare, their families, their troubles. Only God can answer our prayers.

From Mika Taito in California (8 March 2000)

On Saturday March 4th, the Seven Stars of Rotuma Club met at Emeli & Bill Hay's residence in Pittsburg, California.

Also present at the meeting was Shalom Tua'toko (on her way back to Fiji after an interview in New York with the United Nations).

We discussed the events for the Rotuma Day Celebration which was scheduled for Saturday May 13th. An election for the new Chairman and Assistant was held. Positions will be for a 3 year term. Handover of Chairmanship will be done during our Celebration Dinner.

Chairman.........Sopapelu Susau (Lopta)
Assistant.........'Arone Samuela (Pepjei)

Events for the Rotuma Day are as follows:

  • Picnic at the First United Methodist Park in Fremont
  • Dinner at the Church Hall.
  • Entertainment by participating families and a combine "TAUTOGA"
  • Followed by dance and music provided by our one and only famous FATUMANAVA BAND

Our current Chairman Pedro Rigamoto wishes to extend our invitation to any Rotuman living in the United States of America who would like to join us in this celebration. You can e-mail us at

From Jioje Konrote in Suva (6 March 2000)

I started work at the beginning of last month as the Acting Permanent Secretary for Home Affairs, reporting directly to the Honourable Minister. The primary responsibility of the Ministry for Home Affairs is to facilitate the formulation and co-ordination of policies that contribute to the security and defence of the Fiji Islands and to protect the interests of its peoples in the areas of police, defence, law and order, security and intelligence.

I am going through a very 'sharp learning curve'... a change from a military mindset to doing things the civilian way, but I am learning very fast. The government's bureaucratic way of doing things can be frustrating at times, but at least no one is shooting at me with my new job.

Sarote is well and enjoying her new found freedom of being able to catch up with kainaga and friends. Emmanuel (our eldest son) has returned to the University of South Australia in Adelaide to complete his degree and flight training, and young Andrew is completing his final year in Yat Sen High School.

From Rocky Peters in Fort MacMurray, Canada (5 March 2000)

On 26 December1999 (Boxing Day) the Noa'tau fara group from Suva lead by Fuata & Molly left Suva at 3 a.m. for Nadi, Lautoka & Vatukoula. We arrived at Nadi 6:30 a.m. with two buses loaded with teenages and oldies, The fara took place at Alfred & Aliti William's home. The Nadi Rotuman community, and people from Canada, USA, New Zealand & Sweden vacationing in Fiji and Rotuma enjoyed the fara. After the presentation the group had breakfest and continued their journey to Lautoka & Vatukoula.

See photos (two albums)

From Alan & Jan in Honolulu (2 March 2000)

On our recent trip to the mainland we were in Vancouver B.C. for a conference and spent one evening with three members of the Hugagesea Club: Margy Hazelman, Sosefo Avaiki, and Konousi Aisake. We talked about many things, including the problems regional clubs have in keeping their memberships active and committed, in preserving Rotuman language and customs in foreign environments, etc. We talked about the possibility of holding a conference in the near future that would be attended by representatives from various Rotuman communities around the world where these and related issues could be discussed. We believe that much that would benefit the global Rotuman community could result from such a conference and would like to encourage it. The most practical place for such a meeting would probably be in Suva, maybe sometime next year or in 2002. If anyone has ideas about how to proceed please email us <> and we will create a forum for discussing the possibilities.

Margy Hazelman
Sosefo Avaiki
Konousi Aisake

From Aggie Penjueli and Rachael Murray (For Waikato/Bay of Plenty group)
19 February 2000 (posted 1 March)

On the 12th of February Ravai Rennel had his induction as Reverend for the Rotuman Methodist Congregation of New Zealand, attended by Ravai's mother Mua Nafrue, Mareta Samisoni, John Konrote from Fiji and friends & family from all over NZ. The Auckland group hosted the function at Mangere Hall. The day started with the church service followed by celebrations.

A hafa (Rotuman dance) was performed, songs were composed by Rosa & Amoe Penjueli, Emma Carswell, Aunty Mareta Samisoni, Elaijia and Katafono from the Pacific Guardian. The dancers performed beautifully and looked great in their costumes. One would have thought that they were professionals straight from Rotuma. The Pacific Guardian boys provided Rotuman and English music throughout. The Rotuman traditional theme 'os ag fak Rotuma' was used. The young girls performed the kava ceremony and the koua was called out by Suka. There were copious amounts of food, the fekei being devoured first. The Fijian Community in Auckland presented a sevusevu.

Enjoy the following photos of this auspicious occasion. (Click on individual pictures to expand.)

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