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Archived News: June 2004

From Vilsoni Hereniko in Moscow, Russia (29 June 2004)

For Rotumans in England who might be interested: The Land Has Eyes will be screened at the Moser Room in the Education Centre at the British Museum from 5.30-8.00 p.m. on Friday July 9th.

From Fijilive (29 June 2004)

Cabinet approves air subsidy

Cabinet today approved the payment of subsidies to two domestic airlines to enable them to service uneconomical routes.

As a result Air Fiji will now provide services to Vanua Balavu, Lakeba, Cicia, Koro and Rotuma, while Sun Air will service the Gau, Koro and Moala routes.

The new routes will be serviced by the two airlines from the June 2004 to the of May 2005.

A Domestic Aviation Strategy Study was conducted in 2003 and recommended that the subsidy be on the basis of open tender to all licensed air operators in Fiji.

The two airlines had applied for the routes when it was advertised in March this year.

The award is for a 12-month period and will be reviewed annually.

From Fiji Times Online (27 June 2004)

A piece of wire was used to close an under-carriage door of an Air Fiji aircraft that flew from Rotuma on Wednesday last week.

According to the captain's report, which was filed last Thursday, he found a connecting rod for one inboard door broken and he only fixed it by attaching a piece of wire to the door.

Fiji Air Engineers Union president Attar Singh said this was not the first report filed against Air Fiji to Civil Aviation Authority of the Fiji Islands for mechanical faults this year.

"There had been many specific complaints lodged with the authority about Air Fiji but to date nothing has happened," Mr Singh said.

One complaint lodged two months ago regarding an expired fire extinguisher on board a flight and then just six to seven weeks ago, a flap asymmetry defect on the wing from a Taveuni to Savusavu flight, forced the plane to fly directly to Nausori.

This was after the pilot tried to land it at Savusavu but could not because of the faulty flaps and then flew all the way to Nausori.

CAAFI chief executive Norman Yee could not clarify the issues concerning the complaint because he did not have records with him but would only reply to questions later.

However, he confirmed that the Rotuma flight piece of wire affair had been brought before him.

The captain for the Rotuma flight last Wednesday stated in his report that upon the insistence of senior Air Fiji engineers from Nausori, he managed to fly the aircraft safely back to Nausori with the door tied down with a piece of wire and with seven passengers on board.

"I told my co-pilot not to board the passengers while I informed operations in Nausori asking them to inform engineering and call me at the Rotuma Flight Service office," the captain wrote.

However, the captain further stated that Air Fiji's acting chief engineer, a man he only named as Abdul rang him at Rotuma three times and assured him that the aircraft could be flown back safely regardless of the broken rod.

It was later known that Abdul's full name is Abdul Khan.

"I questioned him that I might get into trouble for it and he said as far as he was concerned I won't," the captain stated.

The captain said the idea to tie a piece of wire to the door was the chief engineer's idea and they both agreed to it.

The Air Fiji executive in charge for the investigations into mishaps, Shaenaz Voss could not be reached for comment.

Alan & Jan in Honolulu (23 June 2004)

We were interested to discover that there is a race horse in England named "Rotuma." He's quite a good horse it seems, and has won several races. For more information about the horse, go to his website.

If anyone out there knows how the horse got his name, or anything else about his background, we'd love to hear from you!

From The Council of Rotuma (posted 21 June 2004)

The Council of Rotuma's Minutes for the meeting of 2 June 2004 (in the Rotuman language) are available in PDF format for downloading. Download PDF file.

Alan & Jan in Honolulu (17 June 2004)

A report on our recent visit to Rotuma and Fiji. A personal account of our activities and the people we spent time with. There are lots of photos, so download time might take several minutes for visitors using dial-up modems.

From the Fiji Times Online (31 May 2004, posted 13 June)

Hard work, dedication leads to success in life for Tiu Mesulame

This item has been transferred to the Life Stories section of the website

From Sanimeli Maraf in Rotuma (12 June 2004)

Our Rotuma Day celebrations went well, with the District Officer wishing to give the day to the women’s organization for a change. Our women did a Rotuman-style “cat walk” of our customs and traditional culture, and the people were in stitches, laughing. The performance started with the Noa’tau women showing how the women went fishing (hagota) in the olden days. Oinafa did not do their part but were supposed to represent the Rotu (missionaries) arriving in Rotuma. The Itu’ti’u women showed the ladies’ tautoga. The Malhaha women portrayed the “Manea’ Hune’ele” and how the Ha’rau boys arrived on their horses. The Juju women performed the old style wedding, ‘inos ta fau, showing how the two young girls carried at fara halao heta and the wooden pillow etc. This performance stole the show for the day, and I thank Hangagaj ta Susau Tigofag and her supporters. Mrs. Elizabeth Inia was our MC and she did a very good job in discussing all the “nick nacks” that, if it had been me, I could not have explained properly to the people.  The Pepjei women showed how the first born was taken care of in the old days. Le’ oj’ak ta was well done. Koua ne taktak’ak vah, ma koua ne of’ak ta ma kota le’ ta po la tak’ak. Ten days the baby is carried, passed from one person to another, and only after the koua can the baby be placed on her bed. The Itu’muta women showed off their muumuus; they were supposed to finish with the modern cat-walk style. Everyone enjoyed the celebration, which was held at Malhaha High School.

The first day of the celebrations began with the high school children performing the tautoga (hafa). I must say our teenagers are real smart in whatever they do for the Rotuma High School. A big thanks to the teachers, but it all begins at home.

On the second day arrived the chief guest, Dr. Peter Mario of Fiji Unit Trust, and his friend, on a small boat that anchored off Oinafa. Business was discussed on how Dr. Mario wants to help the people. They surveyed the fishing places and offered to buy the people’s catch of fish and crayfish. Dr. Mario explained the many uses of coconut oil; tourism; agriculture; etc. He will come back to Rotuma on 28 June for a one-day visit, in a chartered plane, returning to Fiji in the afternoon, in time for the Council Quarterly meetings. Dr. Mario wants to help develop the island.

Professor Vilsoni Hereniko and Professor Alan Howard with their two ladies arrived in Rotuma on 2 June and showed the people the film that was made on Rotuma. Called “The Land Has Eyes” (and teeth), the movie was well done and was very much enjoyed by the people of the districts. Many many thanks to Vilsoni Hereniko of Hapmak, Itu’ti’u, Rotuma. Today they return to Fiji, then Hawai’i. May God continue to bless their work. Faiakse’ea e hanhanisit e amis ne hua’ia os atmot me’amea’ mo teis Rotuma. Hanisiof se te’ ne os kainag ne hog sousou e ut tutu ne ranteis.

From Maretoa Dickinson in Sydney (12 June 2004)

A requiem mass for Inoke Ravai Munivai was held on 2 March 2004 at St Charles Borromeo Parish in Ryde, Sydney. Taking part in the service was Father Paul Monkerude, Rev. Sydney Taito, and Rev. Dr. Fesaitu Marseu; Alex (Inoke's son); Savike (Inoke's sister from NZ); Vilsoni (Inoke's brother from NZ); Peter (Faga's eldest brother from Fiji); The Rotuman Combined Choir; and Inoke's 13 grandchildren.

With all the wonderful tributes spoken about Inoke by everyone I think it was Alex's speech that summed up how we all felt:

Life is but a gift that can never be kept forever. We cherish it, we treasue it, and most importantly we remember it. We cannot help but mourn the death of my father but I would also like us to celebrate the life he lived as well. For it is more important not only to remember the end of life but also to remember the way it was lived. A father, grandfather, uncle, mentor, and soul mate, his legacy will live on with us forever.

Family at Inoke Ravai Munivai's Gravesite

More photos

On 4 February we also lost my aunty Fatafesi in Sydney, today (8 June) I received news that my cousin Muahea'hea Amoe passed away.

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