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Archived News: November 2001

From Fijilive (28 November 2001)

Rigamoto in UN team for Solomon election

The Supervisor of Elections Walter Rigamoto, will part of the United Nations observer team that will be monitoring the general elections in the Solomon Islands next week.

Mr Rigamoto will be accompanied by three representatives from the Soqosoqo Duavata ni Lewenivanua, Conservative Alliance Matanitu Vanua and the Fiji Labour Party.

The political representatives are SDL secretary Jale Baba, CAMV's parliamentarian Josateki Vula and FLP's parliamentarian Daniel Urai. Minister for Foreign Affairs Kaliopate Tavola, said the invitation for the observers was made by Solomon Island's prime minister.

Mr Tavola said that both Australia and New Zealand wanted Fiji to participate. They specifically wanted Fiji's Supervisor of Elections and according to Mr Tavola this was in recognition of Mr Rigamoto's good work.

He said the United Nations had been very happy with how Mr Rigamoto conducted the general elections.

Mr Tavola said that Fiji should be proud that Mr Rigamoto would be part of the UN team.

The funding for the trip according to Mr Tavola would be met by either Australia or New Zealand.

Father Colm Maguire
in Rotuma, 1960

From Fiji Times (24 October, posted 26 November 2001)

Father Colm Maguire, SM died in Ireland on the 9th October. He was buried at the Marist plot in Dundalk. In his homily during the funeral Mass for Father Maguire, Father Larry Hannan recalled the 40 years of his priestly life spent in Fiji and his particular affection for the people of Rotuma where he worked for 10 years.

A Holy Mass of Thanksgiving for the life and work of Father Colm Maguire, SM was held in the Sacred Heart Cathedral on Thursday 25th October.

A'hae se 'otomis sasig ne a'u'u'irisa ka 'amnek la fuhoi'ak se'; hoa iris ma te'ne iris ne muafua se taf ne 'ou rer ha'. (Canon II of the Mass)

From Bruce Richmond in California (25 November 2001)

Family Thanksgiving gathering in Fremont, California. Guests traveled from as far away as Rotuma, Nadi, and Madison, Wisconsin to attend Thanksgiving at the Rigamoto household in Fremont. Koua turkey, baked ham, roast pig along with fresh yams and 'a'ana plus lots of deserts (including fekei!!) kept everyone satisfied. For photos, click here.

From Hanuarani Atalifo in Rotuma (1 November 2001, posted on 25 November)

Mr Voi Muaror and his wife Doreen have received news from Mr Ravai Rennel in Auckland that the Auckland Rotuman group has approved a grant of $10,000 to buy equipment for the hospital here in Rotuma. He has spoken with me and I have given him a list of equipment needed. Thank you brothers and sisters in New Zealand for your kind gesture. Also, Sheridan Rosser came for his wife Harieta's hot'ak hafu with son David and presented the Hospital Board a gift of $19,000 that he raised from donations in Harieta's honour. We still have to finalise a plan for how the money will be used. I suggested a children's ward as we have none, and to name it for Harieta, but nothing has been finalised.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints has given us a request form for humanitarian projects and we have asked for some big expensive equipment for the hospital. They are currently considering our request.

Our heartfelt thanks to all of you who have contributed to the Hospital Board--to the Seven Stars Club in California, the Tefui Club in Hawai'i, the Auckland Rotuma Group, Sheridan Rosser and son David, Ravai Rennel, Voi and Doreen, and the Mormon Church. Thank you for all the kindness shown to us in Rotuma. Also to Alan and Jan for connecting us to the internet, and for bringing our needs to the attention of all our brothers and sisters around the globe. It has resulted in help pouring in from all over. Noa'ia 'e hanisi, 'omuar hanisi, kal mao ra se 'amisa 'e ta av. Fu'uomus ma alalum 'aus 'atakoa 'e ut tutu ne 'aus noh sin.

We have organised a walkathon on 14 November. We, the seven women from the Hospital Board, will walk from Ahau to Oinafa.

We have had great fun with Lora and Rudolph and daughter Tatiana, all the way from Bejing, China.

The PWD workers are working on the Oinafa jetty now and 28 men are staying at our community hall. The men are repairing the community hall as well. Tarterani Rigamoto and wife Fakrau are the chief cooks supplying the men with food.

The Oinafa youth are coming out for Christmas and we will be having our bazaar for Oinafa district on 28 November.

The airplanes do not come often enough, so mail is quite delayed.

Greetings from Shinn Ete in Apia, Samoa (23 November 2001)

Since the year is drawing to an end,we would like to wish all our global kainaga and friends a very Merry Christmas and looking forward to a more peaceful New Year 2002.

My wife Moana Lisa (nee Hanfakaga) will be leaving for Sydney on 10 December for a course at the Australian Institute of Management. Despite her short start (April 2001) at the National University of Samoa, she has progressed well at the university and is well liked by her peers, hence her nomination. Whilst in Sydney she is hoping to meet up with her mum, Nina Hanfakaga, whom we believe is in Australia somewhere.

I would also like to mention some of our kainaga whom we have had the pleasure of meeting whilst they were here in Apia earlier this year.

  • Aggie and Peter Sosefo from Lautoka/San Francisco -- here on holiday
  • Repeka Ufiamorat -- FTIB Trade Mission
  • Rupeni Mario -- SOPAC -- to conduct training
  • Katarina Atalifo -- on a UK scholarship collecting data for her thesis

Lisa has been very busy with her work committments and we have not started a Rotuman Association as yet. We hope to start something by next year, even with only two families.

May we say a special noa'ia to our families in Lautoka - Misau, Gibson, Singh, and Mikatoa families...see you all next year!

From Savika Oakley (21 November 2001)

Greetings from Auckland

Wish you all our Rotuman Kainaga and Friends throughout the World A Blessed Christmas and Prosperous New Year.

The Auckland community hosted the Labour Weekend gathering at 'Te Aroha'. It was a fun-filled weekend with lots of activities and different games for children, youth and adults.

We were split into three groups, each group containing young children, youths, and adults. Throughout the weekend we worked and played as a group. The rain on Saturday helped the fun when water balloons were included in the games. It was well organised until one of the little ones threw a water balloon into the stomach of one of the elders holding up the bucket. After the fun of attacking one another with water balloons, most of us ended up in the hot pools to unwind.

The tug-of-war was fun when our team, mainly women and children, won over the big strong men with bustling muscles...techniques! techniques! as our sport leader Darlene Penjueli shouted.

At this year's gathering, Rotuman handcrafts and arts were on display for all to see. On Saturday night there was a fashion parade showing traditional Rotuman wear, with explanations by Elizabeth Vaurasi and Fanifau Konrote (Auckland Chairman), followed by Keti's son from Waikato, who took great pride in entertaining us by performing a body building routine. Munivai Fesaitu showed great promise as an impromptu comedian and entertainer. The Oakley children did line dancing while the Auckland Youth performed the suamea 'e vaka dance. The Wellington group also performed a Rotuman dance. The evening ended with an Island Night and lots of dancing, fun, and laughter.

Visitors to Auckland: Kaurasi Tigarea (who has been in NZ for a year on study) and Filipe Nakaora (studying at Christchurch) visited during the weekend. Seini Kitione (from Nadi) stayed for about three weeks and just returned on 21 November, and Marie and Litisie from Motusa, Rotuma, who came to Amoe Penjueli's unveilling, returned at the end of October.

It was wonderful to meet up again with our Rotuman friends and kainaga from the Waikato and Wellington areas.

Overseas trips: Susau and myself, together with 27 women, had the privilege of representing the New Zealand Methodist Women's Fellowship at Loughborough University, England, where we attended the 10th World Federation of Methodist and Uniting Church Women's Assembly. It was attended by Methodist women from all over the world. Rotuma was represented by Fotfiri Voi (the minister's wife from Moiro, Noa'tau), who came together with Fijian and Indian women. It was a wonderful, spiritually uplifting, and humbling experience throughout the week of 14-21 July 2001, listening to and sharing with other Christian women from around the world. It was most humbling to realise that our problems in NZ, Fiji, and Rotuma are so minor when you hear about the suffering some women experience, such as hunger, war, abuse, violence, and about the struggles some of these women are going through. Members of TheWomen's Assembly are trying to help in any way they can.

We were fortunate to catch up with Lorraine Varcoe-Tizard, who travelled into London to take us out and show us the sights. Thank you Lorraine! You made us feel very welcome. I managed to talk on the phone to Lisa Kitione, who is currently working in London. She was in high spirits and seemed to be enjoying herself there.

It was also a privilege to travel to Paris. Paris, known as 'City of Lights', was illuminated and spectacular in the night--just like Christmas. It was a blessing to be back home safely before the terrorist attacks took place in America, but our prayers are always with all those who are suffering and for world peace.

Education: Ruth Oakley, Marlene Pene (both Pukekohe High School) & Sauhili Solvalu (son of Jieni & Niafe) who is going to Fiji on a scholarship to Wesley College, are all completing form 6. Sauhili Solvalu was awarded Dux and Distinction in Maths & Physics (Form 6). Damien Konrote is completing form 7, and Colleen Konrote will complete her Bachelors Degree next year.

From Sanimeli Maraf in Rotuma (7 November 2001, posted 20 November)

In October, Gagaj Maraf was selected by the Rotuma Council to be the Senator from Rotuma Island. The position is for three to five years duration.

The Rotuma Women's Association had its final meeting of the year on the 2nd of November during which the following officers were selected: President, Sanimeli Maraf of Noa'tau; Assistant, Winnie Pio of Itu'muta; Secretary, Paufu Taio of Malhaha; and Treasurer, Betty Joe of Tia, Motusa. Reverend Vai Taukave gave the blessing for the women's great display of handicrafts and their hard work. Appropriately, the Bible reading was Thessalonians 4:11-12 in which Paul, after advising the people of Thessalonica to work hard with their hands, tells them, "Make it your aim to live a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to earn your own living...In this way you will win the respect of those who are not believers, and you will not have to depend on anyone for what you need." It was good advice that we appreciated.

Present at the meeting was: Mrs Fotfiri Taukave, together with Malhaha minister Reverend Irava Fatiaki and his wife; the District Officer and his staff, together with the Council members; and Susana Makrava. Visitors from abroad, Mr and Mrs Ken Gort from Brisbane, Australia, were invited guests. Mrs Gort is Tivaknoa Inoke of Pavau, Noa'tau. They visited her brother, Gagaj Fonman, with a wonderful gift for the family--a car! As the Apostle Paul noted, such brotherly love by one member has a positive effect on the welfare of the whole community. Elizabeth Inia was our master of ceremonies.

After the meeting we celebrated the birthdays of Vevalisi Fagmaniua and Sanimeli Maraf. We had a hearty lunch, including two suckling pigs and everything you can imagine, including watermelon. A word of thanks to everyone, and especially the chiefs, whose presence made this meeting a happy one. The next meeting will be in February 2002.

Other news: The Seventh Day Adventists here in Rotuma are having a five-day camp in Motusa this Christmas. I believe SDA members are coming from Fiji and overseas. Adi Savusavu, the big boat, will bring members over from Fiji. This is the first time that such a celebration has been held here in Rotuma.

I would like to wish Rotumans, wherever you are, north or south, east or west, a very merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year. And make sure to be kind to one another.

p.s. A big happy birthday (7 November) message to my son Frank Stace of Gisborn, South Victoria. See you soon, son. Love as always, Mum xxx

From Thomas Vaurasi & John Inia in New Zealand (30 October 2001, posted 5 November)

New Zealand Rotuman Gathering

Rotumans from Auckland, Wellington and Waikato, gathered for a weekend of fun, sports, an annual general meeting, and of course lots and lots of laughter.

Hosted by the Auckland group (chairman Fanifau Konrote) at TeAroha, the Saturday program consisted of fun games, sports and a splash in the pools

For others, observing the arts and craft displayed (Hanis Afaki Club) and, playing cards were just as entertaining.

As night approached the 3 groups entertained each other with dances, songs of old and healthy rhythms of today. The comedians (kistoni) played their parts brilliantly, in blending the acts together; namely Munivai and Ema Carswell…and the music vibed on to the controls of D.J. Rhann.

On Sunday a church service to nourish the souls was lead by Fekau Ravai. Koua and fekei to replenish the body, and the annual general meeting to elect the office bearers for 2002.

Chairman - Fonmanu Kitione
Vice chairman -Fanifau Konrote
Treasurer- Thomas Vaurasi
Assistant Treasurer -Darlene Penjueli
Secretary- Emi Scott
Assistant Secretary- Aggie Kulatea

We believe it was a positive weekend, promoting unity, encouraging cultural participation and evoking Rotumaness. An identity to be proud of.

Se te, ne kainag Rotuam atakoa, hanis ne os Gagaja ma otimis hea'hea' lelei la ma aus.

NZ Rotuman community at Te Aroha
Visitors from Rotuma, Marie & Litisie (Motusa)
Kauata's painting & Women's art & craft

For more photos, click here

News from Manu Hellesoe in Auckland (3 November 2001)

On Friday 26th October, Helen, daughter of Frank and Fonmanu Hellesoe (nee Fereti Paka), was married to Manish Patel (formerly of Nadi, Fiji), in Auckland, New Zealand. It was a traditional Gujarati ceremony attended by close family. Also celebrating were Helen's grandparents, Apao and Herena Paka, of Mana, Itu`muta, who had their 50th wedding anniversary on 28 October in Rotuma.

Manish and Helen Patel
Apao and Herena Paka

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