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Archived News: March 2002

From Sanimeli Maraf in Rotuma (28 February 2002, posted 15 March)

Gagaj Maraf and Sanimeli
I met with Harieta and John Bennett here, as well as with Jioje Konrote and many friends at the celebrations of Gagaj Maraf's birthday plus twenty years as chief of Noa'tau district. His birthday was on January 25th, but the celebration did not take place until the 23rd of February, after I returned from my trip abroad to visit family in Australia and New Zealand.

It began at 10 a.m. with a church service at Saione, Noa'tau, conducted by Reverend I. Fatiaki. Then we had the koua ha'ak mumua before cutting the cake. The Itu'muta band played and everyone enjoyed the feast. There were two cows, three pigs, three cartons of corned beef, chickens, fish, 'ikou, curry, stews, potato salad, cole slaw, chutney, two kinds of fekei, bananas, and sugar cane. Mafua heta was Fatiaki Motofaga.

Here's a hymn that G/Maraf dedicated in the Hymn Book; I thought some of you would like to make a copy.

1. Alalum'ak Gagaj, 'otomis hanua, la maur lelei.
Te' ne te' ne fupu e 'otou hanua. Ma am ou famori, ne hua'ia.
2. Alalum'ak Gagaj, am lelea Rotuma. Ne maur e i,
La garue fakfor ma garue fak'at,
Ne am re la 'es 'ao. 'E te' ne av.
3. Alalum'ak Gagaj, 'otom Gagaj Pure, la maur lelei
La ir meäv hanis ka puer nonoj aier.
Ma noh agag se äe. Sau ne Lagi.
4. Alalum'ak Gagaj, 'otom roaitu, la mau aier
Amis la ma fumou noh hugag 'esea
Kal e ou hanisi. 'E te' ne av.

Another anthem: 'Otou 'Aitu, 'Otou Hanua.

1. 'Otou 'Aitu, 'otou hanua, Jihova 'äe hu ne ne'ne'i.
Jihova 'äe hu ne mauri, 'otou 'Aitu, 'otou hanua.
'Äe te hu ne 'otou ne'ne'i. 'Äe ta hu ne 'otou mauri.
Rotuma hanua helava.
Fürmaria ma ofa täe e täe
Te mamfua pulio Rotuma la mou se 'Aitu
Rotuma hanua 'ontou.
2. 'Äe 'Aitu na la mou se gou, 'otou 'Äitu, kolori ma ne'ne'e mou se 'äea
La sokoan ma kikia 'ou rere se Rotuma.
Ea' i e ka ma e te' ne ava 'atakoa.
Rotuma la mou aier se 'äe Jihova.
'Ou hanisi la mal ka u am e fisi.
'Äe 'otomis koroa pumua aire.
3. 'Äe sau ne ran te', hevani me te' ne te, 'otomis hanua mauri
Mou se 'äea Jihova 'otom 'Aitu.
Na se am e i ou keresi, la 'otom hanua ma famori
La rog ka pen i is aier Rotuma
A'hanisim Jihova se Rotuma, a'hanisim 'otou 'Aitu
La rog lelei, ka nene' e te' ne ava.
Rotuma la rog se ran te' 'atakoa.
Jihova la fak te'ak e te' ne ava.
E te' ne ava Jihova 'äe he ne ne'ne'i, ko Jihova 'äe he ne hanisi.
"Otou 'Aitu, 'otou hanua.

The conductor was Mr Sagaitu Ieli and wife, Tarosila Ieli. The Halleluia Chorus was sung at the end of the service. Everything was held at the hall in Saione.

At this very moment eight students from USP in Fiji arrived. They are sponsored by the World Wide Fund for Nature and came especially to teach the basics of how to look after our sea corals that have been damaged over time. In Rotuma we call it kam ta. Anyway, two local youths in each district are joining a workshop that will start tomorrow at 3 p.m. after the ladies Women's World Day of Prayer meeting in Malhaha district. The young people who came from Fiji are:

  • Monifa Fiu Manueli & Mani Fiu (from Noa'tau)
  • Sidney Malo & David Solomone (from Oinafa)
  • Luise Antonio & Abel Camilo (from Itu'ti'u)
  • Emi Tanu (from Pepjei)
  • Anare Caucau (Fijian)

We have water problems now because only one pump is working for the whole island. I rang up only to find out that the filter for the pump, which was supposed to have been sent to Fiji, was still sitting at the airport (it doesn't weigh over 10 kgs). The water pressure is not strong enough to come from Motusa to Noa'tau. Let's hope this problem will soon be fixed. Our good Lord provided us with rain for over a week, so now things are not too bad--free water from above; otherwise people will have to turn to their wells.

I would like to add Happy Birthday messages to Tahalia Stace, Kelly Stace, Maureen Stace, Cameron Burns, and Edward Stace on Easter holiday, although it comes earlier this year.

Happy Easter to everyone. Take care and be kind to each other.

From Chuck Cairns in New York City (8 March 2002)

Our Rotuman language project [at City University of New York] is getting along very well, and our work with Shalom Tua'toko is both enjoyable and very profitable. We have a fully enrolled class of doctoral students in Linguistics who are investigating various aspects of the language, using Churchward's grammar and Shalom. We're looking at the stuff linguists have typically been interested in, like the "incomplete" vs. "complete," which has been badly misrepresented in a lot of the professional literature. We're also investigating some intriguing aspects of what Churchward calls the "narrow" vs. the "broad" forms. There's an awesomely complex structure there, and we're having a terrific time investigating it!

Sometime in the next few weeks we plan to establish a new website about our Rotuman Languge project. We'll ask Rotumans to judge grammaticality, meanings, etc. and to comment on our work. We'll also write our findings in two ways: one, that's accessible to Rotumans and, two, for professional linguists as well. Most importantly, in view of the fact that the current professional literature has so many misconceptions about the phonology of the language, we will include extensive sound files. Of course, everything always takes longer than we think it will -- but we do hope to get this website up and running before the semester is out.

For a description of the Rotuman Language Project and a bibliography concerning Rotuman, click here

From Savika Oakley in Auckland (6 March 2002)

Alan & Jan visits New Zealand

It was indeed a pleasure for the Rotumans in Auckland to meet Alan and Jan on their brief visit to Auckland. Alan & Jan attended the church service at Kingsland and after that there was a combined lunch with the other Rotumans who worship at the Salvation Army Chapel. After lunch we stayed back listening to stories of Rotuma and events taking place in Rotuma.

Welcome to Voi, Doreen & Fiu Muaror

It so happened that the Muaror family arrived in New Zealand that weekend and came to worship with us at Kingsland when we had our combined lunch for Alan and Jan. Therefore it was a double celebration to welcome them all and hear their stories about Rotuma. The Muaror's came back to New Zealand bringing their son Fiu for further education and hope to spend a few years here before returning to our homeland in Rotuma. We did not leave for home till late Ð 6 hours at church was a very long time for my children.

Auckland Rotuman Fellowship Community group meetings

Our election was held in February 2002.

Chairman : Remains as Fatnefau Konrote
Assistant Chairperson : Savika Oakley
Secretary: Elizabeth Vaurasi
Assistant Secretary: Remains as Thomas Vaurasi
Treasurer: Patricia Strickland
Assistant Treasurer: Remains as Rejieli Cullen

Our meeting in March was held at Savika Oakley's residence. It was a good turnout. We discussed the preparation for the Rotuman Stall to be held at the Pacific Festival this Saturday 9th March. We are preparing to sell roti/curry, fekei 'a'ana, chopsui & rice, drinks and much much more. It is good to see the enthusiasm, cooperativeness and support from everyone.

From Rosie Ackland in Auckland (4 March 2002)

Rosie Ackland has requested that we post an article that appeared in December 2001 edition of the Newspaper Catholic: The Voice of Catholic Orthodoxy. The article was written by Father Edward Black, who visited Rotuma in August 2001. Father Black is a member of the dissident Catholic group, no longer recognized by the Roman Catholic hierarchy in Rome, that advocates a return to the traditional Mass. He went to Rotuma to minister to dissident Rotuman Catholics who object to the recent change in terminology by the Church from 'Atua and Jesu to 'Aitu and Jisu. To read Fr Black's account of his trip to Rotuma click here.

From Alan and Jan on their return from New Zealand (1 March 2002)

The Wellington Rotuman Fellowship group met on 16 February at the home of Arthur and Ravai Shaw. The group held it's business meeting in the morning followed by a sumptuous dinner. A koua ('ikou puat kau, puaka, kau, moa, a'ana) and two kinds of fekei (mara ma 'ana and fakakai), ia' hala, 'ia fekei, kare sipi, moa ru tahror, roti, tapiko and multiple desserts highlighted the meal.

Forty-three people attended, including a number of children. Following dinner we sat around and talked or played pas lon, the younger men and women played guitars and sang songs, and the children ran around playing games and enjoying each other's company. The weather was fine and it was a delightful day for everyone.

At the meeting plans were discussed for the annual meeting of the New Zealand Rotuman Fellowship meeting which will take place on Labour Weekend, 25-28 October at Manfield Park, Feilding. As in the past, the weekend will highlight Rotuman cultural activities.

The next meeting of the Wellington group will be 4 May at the home of Gabe and Beverley Penjueli in Wellington.

A list of the people who attended the NZRF - Wellington Group gathering on 16 February 2002:

  • Voi and Litisie Alifereti
  • Aggie, Kid, Lena, Fidelis and Fintan Kulatea and Joe Tavo
  • Moses, Ros, Kemweli and Eli Simpson
  • Bev and Gabe Penjueli and Iesha Opai
  • Kautane, Kirstina, Jessie and Ravai Henderson
  • Itu, Don Nadia and Justine Owen
  • Chris and Emi Scott
  • Paul and Sonia Kupuru
  • Craig and Arohana Owen
  • Arthur and Ravai Shaw
  • Fonmanu Kitione
  • Mary Taylor
  • Ben Antonio
  • Tony Fullman
  • Winifred Dalton
  • Keresi Manueli
  • Olivia Mills
  • Sef Mua
  • Rico Panapasa
  • Arnold Politini
  • Torika Quiapon
  • Tupia Hickling
  • Tony Tuatoko
  • Spenser Stevens
  • Sydney Viki
  • Alan Howard and Jan Rensel
For some photos of the Wellington group at the gathering, click here
In Auckland we were picked up by Susau Strickland and taken to a Methodist Church service conducted by Sukamanu Etike. Following the service a luncheon was served in the church hall. The gathering included members of both the Methodist Church and the Free Methodist Church, the first time the two groups have met together in nearly two years. It was a happy reunion and bodes well for the Auckland branch of the Rotuman Fellowship.
The luncheon lasted until 5 p.m. as we sat around and talked story with Voi and Doreen Muaror, who had just returned from Rotuma/Fiji . It was great to catch up with everything that has been happening on the island. One bit of good news--Fiji Air is now making regular scheduled trips to Rotuma every Friday. For photos taken at the Auckland gathering, click here

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