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Archived News: June 2002

From Fiji Times (21 June 2002)

Rigamoto defends farm aid action

By Imran Ali

ROTUMANS on the island and on Viti Levu received farming implements through the Agricultural Diversification Programme which fell under the farming assistance scheme.

Assistant Minister in the Prime Minister's Office Marieta Rigamoto said in essence, the scheme was already in place when the interim government came into office.
She was replying to a writ of summons filed by suspended permanent secretary for agriculture Peniasi Kunatuba in which he claims Cabinet ministers issued free farming implements to people throughout the country in order to win the General Elections last year.

Ms Rigamoto said on July 2 last year she referred the requests from Rotuma to Mr Kunatuba and based on her discussions with Ministry of Agriculture staff in Rotuma recommended that assistance be considered on a district-by-district basis to ensure fair distribution with only the deserving to be given assistance.

She added the scheme's management committee comprised of senior agriculture officials and they processed the applications and made decisions on who should be assisted and the form of assistance to be given.

``As the assistant minister for agriculture at that time, I absolutely see nothing wrong with the assistance given to the people of Rotuma,'' she said.

On claims that she brought further orders for the seven district chiefs of Rotuma, Ms Rigamoto said it was Mr Kunatuba and his staff who flew to the island to screen the additional applications and brought the approved list and issued LPOs to Morris Hedstrom.

``These items were not purchased because the Finance Ministry had suspended the scheme and as such, no additional items were sent to the island,'' she said.

She denied personally distributing items to Rotumans in Davuilevu, Lomaivuna and Vatukoula, saying the ministry's staff distributed the approved items.

``I deny the claims by Mr Kunatuba and I will definitely defend my case in court. I am currently talking to my lawyers regarding my defence case,'' Ms Rigamoto said.

From the Institute for Pacific Studies at USP in Suva (20 June 2002)

The Institute for Pacific Studies at the University of the South Pacific announces the publication of Kato'aga: Rotuman Ceremonies, by Elizabeth Inia. For ordering information click here.

From Lijiana Inia in Suva (18 June 2002)

The Rotuma Day celebration in Suva was held on Saturday, 18 May 2002, at the National Gymnasium and was well attended. Among the guests were Gagaj Fatafes and Gajaj Osias, both of whom were in Suva attending separate meetings.

About F$10,000 was raised on the day. Gagaj Kausiraf, who was the chief guest, donated F$1,000, and with the exception of the host district, Oinafa, the other six districts each performed a tautoga. Lots of food was prepared by the Oinafa District; cakes and sandwiches were served throughout the day. After the entertainment and donations, each district was presented with a koua for lunch, prepared by the Oinafa families. Guests were invited for lunch at Mr and Mrs Paulo Vaurasi’s Residence.

Lunch for Itu'muta District was prepared by the families of Mr Sa’au Makrava, including great grandaunties Aliti Makrava and Marseu and their families. Lunch was at Mr & Mrs Sa'au Makrava’s residence. The group performed their tautoga again to the family to thank them for the food that was prepared.

Hat hak, 'a'ana ma fekei ma te’ ne kainag 'in'in tutu 'os ma itu’ te Itu'muta ate ka rava ka väeväe'ak se te ne famör 'atakoa ne leuaf se ate ianian ta la hoa’ se 'oris hanua.

The District was also blessed to have Gagaj Osias celebrate with them on the day.
Noa'ia Oinafa for hosting this years celebration. It was a huge success. We now wish Itu'ti'u the best in hosting next year celebration.Itu'muta Sports Day

Itu'muta Youth Sports Day

On 27 May 2002, Itu'muta youths had a sports day, enjoyed by both young and the old alike, at the Marist Brothers School Ground. The programme began with a morning devotion during which the Chairman of the Itu'muta Association, Mr Sukamanu Pene, opened the games with a word of thanks and welcome.

It has always been a tradition for Maftoa & Lopo (from Roua all the way to Pala) to play against each other. However, this year's programme was changed a bit and instead of Maftoa vs Lopo it was Lulu vs Vaioa (the names of two beaches in Itu'muta). While the youths enjoyed playing games like volleyball, rugby touch, sack races, and tug-of-war (which was the highlight of the day), the oldies played card games (lono). After a rainy weekend, the day turned out to be beautiful, and a barbecue lunch was prepared by the youth. The programme ended at 2 pm, after which followed a fundraising drive at Rifle Range in Vatuwaqa at Mrs Rejiel Makrava’s residence. The fundraising was 'iom pan jaute ma maka. The amount raised on the day was about F$400.00.

Congrats to Chairman Murray Isimeli and your A-Team for organising a successful Itu'muta Youth Sports Day.

Raiwai Rotuman Methodist Group

On Saturday, 8 June, the Raiwai Choir had a seafood dinner nite at the Churchward Chapel Hall. About $1,200 was collected so far from the seafood dinner. The buffet dinner was attended by many people from all walks of life, including the Deputy HighCommissioner of Australia, Mr Richard Ryan, and some staff of the High

Commission; the U.S Defence Advisor to Fiji and the South Pacific, Major Mathew Bragg and Mrs Bragg; Tuirara/Hua' Vilsoni Fauoro, ma Han Hua’ta Fiu; Gagaj Puer ne Itu'muta 'e Suva, Mr Sukamanu Pene and his wife. The menu included of all sorts of seafood cooked in different styles and was enjoyed by all who attended.
The highlight of the evening was the entertainment group of young kids who performed a mixture of olden and modern dancing to island and Fijian rhythms; faiaksea Sopapelu Fatiaki. Talented guitarists Billy, Tony, Nataniela, and Tonu (Nataniela’s son) and all the young boys from the Raiwai Group harmonised Rotuman songs while guests enjoyed their delicious meal.

A big faiaksea to the group leaders Tui and Vamarasi Tevita, your assistant Maria Sosefo, Fa Hua’ ta Kima, and your committee for a job well done. Thanks also to all those families who belong to the Raiwai Group and contributed so much to making it a successful evening.

Raiwai Choir Group is part of Churchward Chapel Methodist Congregation and has held many fundraising drives to assist them in their end of the month haiag mak ka' pel ma nate. This dinner was one of their major fundraising events of the year.
To all you Suva Residents, the Group will be having a little fundraising this weekend, Saturday the 22 of June. For more information please contact Ms L Inia on phone 338 0630 or by e-mail at

A big thank you to all those who have always contributed or assisted one way or another to the Raiwai Choir Group. And to all you Rotuman brothers and sisters around the globe, our best wishes and hanisi to you all.
May God Bless us all.

From Hanuarani Atalifo in Rotuma (11 June 2002)

The medical goods from the Humanitarian Section of the Church of Latter Day Saints has now arrived in Rotuma. I have asked the District Officer and the Council of Rotuma to arrange a presentation, and Mr Taniela Wakolo or Mr Peter Hussein, the Humanitarian Section Manager, will fly over to make the presentation of the goods to the Hospital Board and the District Officer and chiefs of Rotuma. The Church elders, B. Wannamaker & Vuikadavu will be present as well. Thank you members of the LDS church in Utah and all over the world for this marvellous work. May God bless you all.

Goods from the Rev Ravai Rennell and the Auckland Rotuman Methodist Group are awaiting shipment in Suva for the hospital. All these donations are just pouring in to our island from Rotumans who have settled abroad and become prominent citizens of other countries. This island is so blessed that its seeds are scattered all over the world and their fruits have been sent back to their motherland for all their brothers and sisers to benefit. Noa'ia 'e hanis uan mafut.

During the May celebrations the extension of the wharf was opened by the Asst Minister for Works Mr Kaitani, accompanied by our Minister, Marieta Rigamoto. It was a beautiful morning, with my daughter, Tania, Petmoira (daughter of Torika Mareta), and Priscilla (daughter of Firikese and Fanifau) presenting tefui to the VIPs. Tania presented the scissors and ribbon to the Minister. The three young ladies from Oinafa looked very glamorous in their long outfits.

The sunrise near Haua, the sandy beach, and the calm bay reflected the beauty of the island and its blessings. The party then moved over to Ahau where morning tea was provided by Hangata Sanimel and the women of the Rotuma clubs. A lady whose hard work needs to be complimented on that day is Mrs Fanifau Fatiaki. She both gave of her time and shared her knowledge with the Rotuman women. The Motusa choir provided the entertainment. I was shocked when the "Best Dressed Lady of the Day" award was given to me by the Minister; the best dressed man was Gagaj Makrao from Lopta. I guess my Hawaiian muumuu with matching hat caught the Minister's eye. What a lovely surprise!

Finally, I would like to acknowledge the people who have helped the Board in bringing the LDS project to a successful conclusion. They are:

• Mrs Kiji Sheffet (now in Hawai'i)
• Dr Aisea Rafai
• Dr Eric Rafai
• Dr Sakio Varea (Ministry of Health)
• Dr Lepani Waqataki (Rewa)
• Dr Alefaio
• Dr Ane Atalifo
• NP Olovia Atalifo
• Asst Minister Marieta Rigamoto
• District Officer Mr Moroivalu
• Chairman of the Rotuma Council, Visanti Makrava
• Our clerk, Aliti Raturaobe

From Alan & Jan in Honolulu (6 June 2002)

Last evening Vilsoni Hereniko and his wife, Jeannette Paulson, hosted a showing of film clips from their forthcoming feature film Fire in the Womb at the University of Hawai'i. The film was shot on Rotuma in July and August last year and is currently in post-production.

From Dr Robin Mitchell, Dr Rosemary Mitchell, Dr Tukaha Mua (6 June 2002)

FNPF Plaza, Ellery St, Suva
Phone: 331 3355, 331 3461
Fax: 330 2423


Ms Marie Dickinson (Kitione)
9/9 Trelawney St
Thornleigh 2120

To all our Brothers and Sisters who have gone through Malhaha District School, the Malhaha community in Suva decided to make this year's project:


What prompted this project is our concern for the children at home. Today they are at a far greater disadvantage than we were 50 years ago. In those days, there were no newspapers, reading books, and radios, but this was the same for children in Fiji schools, so we were not as badly disadvantaged then as the children of today.
Today, children in Fiji schools have newspapers, readers, radio, TV, and computers so the disparity is greater, the playing field more uneven, the goal posts moved further back.

This is the reason all of us more fortunate Rotumans are being asked to help the children at home, those with next to nothing, to close the gap with the outside world.
Your brothers and sisters in Suva had one fundraising dinner that raised $2,200. Suva will be having another one after our folks in Sydney, Brisbane, Ba, Lautoka, and Nadi declare their support.

We hope to send 8-10 computers. There is a need to keep a reserve fund to send a technician after 6 weeks and again after 12 weeks. After that they will air freight the computers for maintenance.

We are also mindful that Lopta and Hapmak children attend Malhaha District School. I am coming to explain these issues in detail and to thank you for your support. The funds you donate in Sydney and Brisbane I would like you to keep.
We are likely to buy these computers from an Australian company so there is no need to convert the money to Fijian, then Aussie currency again.

Gagaj Fatafes and our Mata to the Council, Mrs Ramsese Hanre, are here for a week and join the Malhaha Community Suva in sending our good wishes to Fiji's Ambassador and family, and to you all.

Fundraising Committee:
Ms Rakaefono Williams
Mr John Tevita
Dr Tukaha Mua

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