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Archived News: November 2004

From Fiji Times Online (30 November 2004)

Makrava passes away

Rotuma Island Council Chairman Visanti Makrava passed away yesterday morning after a short illness.

Family spokesman Fatiaki Misau said Mr Makrava came from the island on Wednesday last week to solve the problem of fuel shortage faced by the islanders in Rotuma.

"He came to do some work and sort the problem of fuel out so that the people back home can have a good supply of fuel as it has been out of supply for sometime," Mr Misau said. Upon arrival in the capital city, Mr Makrava fell ill and was taken for medical examination to a private practitioner. Mr Misau said after seeing the doctor, Mr Makrava was not stable and continued to be attacked by the illness.

"We took him to the Colonial War Memorial Hospital early this morning (yesterday) where the doctors and nurses did everything to help him. But we are only humans and can only do so much because God always has the final say," Mr Misau said. Mr Makrava passed away at 6.45am.

"He always came and stayed with me everytime he came to Suva."

Mrs Makrava is on the island and has been informed. Mr Misau said the family were still trying to come to terms with the news as they were very close to their dad. He said Mr Makrava's body would be flown to the island on Thursday morning from Nausori Airport. But this will be followed by an early morning church service at the Churchward Chapel in Flagstaff.

Mr Makrava headed the former National Bank of Fiji, now known as Colonial Bank, at the height of its financial problems, which culminated in losses totalling more than $200million.

From Jack George in Tuakoi, Rotuma (30 November 2004)

Gagaj 'Epikopo Asim Se Rotu 'E Rotuma

Noa'ia Gagaj 'atakoa 'e mauri, gou te'is fä' hoi'akiaf rogrog ne leugam 'on Gagaj Epikopo la asim se Rot Katoliko me na'ia Sakramenta ne Kofimasio se ra'ii 80, 'e Rotuma Parish.

Gagaj te'is ha'um se Rotuam 'i 'e ran 20th Okotopa. Ahai fer ta pusio se Mäiä'ta 'e Malhaha, ma nu'suar ta sae ma Gagaj Epikopo pusio se rer ne Apeita me aap man faua pupui aga'akiof se motoka ta, ma rer sema 'e lo' ha' silik jaraot, ö'ö' haian ne Saulei ta pupuia sal 'on Gagaj Epikopo. Iris heaaksio tefui 'aipoat ma fal'aksio Tofua het, tape'ma se Father Fabiano Dakai ne haiho'agam Gagaj Epikopo. Sister Lucia Kamoe leum ag'esea ma iria 'e Fiti 'e vahiag ne 'oris tauna' ne Haian Ha'a (S.O.L.N.)

Gagaj fa ne Kaurotu 'e fa'u saf se ma 'e tit rauji ma sua "Ki" ta, 'e auhet ne Gagaj Epikopo pusio se rer ne Apei ta. O'fa teis Ravea ta rak'akia sua ne 'ki' ta. Te keleaglelei pau 'on la'oag 'e rer no apei ma eap manfaua ma to ne 'ki' ta a'faiag kelea 'ehanis. Hoi'ak 'e laloag ne motokaat ne ia hot sin Apeit hoal'ak sio la 'on päegat.

Motokaat ne ho'a Gagaj teis, Father Leone Lou ta taria ia 'e Märä' ta, tapema Gagaj Markao, Gagaj Mor'a, Gagaj Kon'a, Gagaj Tavo, ma Gagaj Tepa 'e sua Ki ta.

Iris fu' mea'mea' 'e Haspeta 'e 'ahau ma as se Sister M. Pierre ne tak 'af'af 'e haspeta.

Gagaj Epikopo ha'u'af 'e Sumi, pel ne Rirotu peg'ak la rak'akia se kakai Rotu ne fa sau ne Ekelesia ha'umea se nohoag ne Rotu.

Ö'ö' haina pupui 'on salta 'e 'eap man fau, a ma Apeit 'e Rirot ta hoal'aksio se nu'suar ta 'e Rirot ta. Uas to vil malol pau, ma motokaat ne ho'a Gagaj Epikopo la' 'e on rere ma Gagaj Epikopo pu se mumuliag ne Rirot ta. Ia ro'ait ka vah ma kota hot sio se sisi ma la' 'e rer ne 'epa se ri 'on Gagaj Faha'. Famori ma rai'i ne rak 'e Sumi pae 'e far ne 'epa ma taria Gagaj Epikopo.

'On asim se kakai Rotu haila'oag ma fau 3-4 yrs la a'sokoa kofmasio.

'Aiat ta Paris 'atakoa ta 'opom se sumi la 'asokoa kato'ag ne Mamasan Gagaj Epikopo. Mak tautoag rua 'asok 'e 'aiat ta. Gagaj ne Noatau ma kaurotu to Fa'u. Ö'ö' gagaj ne Rot Uasile tea'gesea ma Rot Katoliko la taria Gagaj Epikopo. Tautoag ne Kaurotu te Fa'u vah ma ö'ö' ne Saulei väe se rua, lele'a hö' la a put susunua garue ne agrakvakat ne sok se ö'hön teis 'Amei Akanisi, ne 'inos ma Mama'o.

Mamas to mou se iris ö'ö' ne Saulei, tör ta sikia fono ma garue'akia koua. Vahiag ne 'ate ma kota famori leuof se al ta 'e Saulei. Ö'hon te'is äf'ak 'e Tamure te Tua'koi 'on hanue ta.

Sapato ta a'sok Misa Ha' ne Kofomasio, räï' 80 tar Sakrament te'is. Kakai Rotu 'ate ag'esea ma Gagaj Epikopo 'e Sumi. Gagaj Epikopo 'oaf pau ne ia haipoag ma lele'a Rotu tap'ema, iris ma'oi ne Rot fak Kariso 'e 'atmot te.

Ia noh'ak gasav 'atakoat ma hö' se Fiti 'e ran 27th ne Okotopa. Te'is rogrog ne po la na'af se 'ausa.

News from Bruce Tizard-Varcoe in England (30 November 2004)

Lance Bombardier Fereti Semesi, son of Tui and Faga Semesi, has safely completed his 6-month tour of duty serving with the British army in Basra, Iraq. He completes a training course near London tomorrow before embarking on his next mission … his wedding in Suva in December to Rowena Langi, daughter of Reverend Dr Jione and Rigamoto Langi.

Fereti Semesi
Fereti and Rowena

From Fiji Times Online (25 November 2004)

Minister to keep fuel vow

Works Minister Ratu Savenaca Draunidalo said his promise to the people of Rotuma on fuel supplies had not changed.

"The fuel will arrive as soon as the next available ship can take it up there," Ratu Savenaca said yesterday. In response to comments by Rotuma Council chairman Visanti Makrava Ratu Savenaca said he had relayed the same message to Mr Makrava.

Ratu Savenaca has asked his officials to keep tracking boats that will set sail for Rotuma so that they can take the fuel there. He admitted that five weeks ago the last ship offloaded five drums of fuel in Suva because the ship was full.

In the meantime the ministry has called on the water supply department on Rotuma to loan drums of fuel from sources on the island and offset this when the government fuel arrives.

The minister said he was acting in their best interests and only demanded that they kept their faith.

From Fiji Times Online (23 November 2004)

State uses up budget for fuel

The Government has used up its budgetary allocation to purchase fuel for government offices on Rotuma, chairman of Rotuma Provincial Council Visanti Makrava claimed yesterday.

Mr Makrava denied a statement made by Works Minister Savenaca Draunidalo that there were no ships to cart fuel to the island.

"We had one which came last three weeks and another is leaving the island today (yesterday) but no fuel was sent for the government offices," he said.

"I was told by Assistant Minister in the Prime Minister's Office, Marieta Rigamoto, that there was no money to buy fuel for the government offices."

Mr Makrava said a senior official with the Regional Development Ministry and another from the Rural Electrification Unit of the Works Ministry also told him there were not enough funds to buy fuel for government offices in rural areas and islands.

"They said part of their budgeted allocation was taken away which is why there is insufficient funds to supply fuel to all the rural areas," Mr Makrava said.

When interviewed on Sunday, Mr Draunidalo said fuel would be delivered to the island when the next ship travels to Rotuma.

"That is what he told me last five weeks and we still have do not have fuel," Mr Makrava said.

A spokesman from the police station on the island told The Fiji Times that the community had been supplying fuel to the station for the past two months.

A hospital worker said X-ray machines and dental compressors were no longer used as there was only enough fuel for the small generator. Fuel supplied by the community lasts a week.

Yesterday, Mr Draunidalo referred queries to his officials saying "he did not deal with those kind of things."

Mr Draunidalo and Mrs Rigamoto are parliamentary representatives of Rotuma.

Meanwhile, the Local Shipowners Association will increase fares and cargo charges from tomorrow because of the rise in fuel prices.

Association secretary Leo Smith said they had no choice because the continued rise in fuel pricing was placing a considerable strain on the transport sector, including their services. "Because of this the industry has no alternative but to implement pricing corrections," he said.

From Ms M. Manueli and Tipo Nasario at Rotuma High School (18 November 2004)

On Friday, October 29th 2004, the Rotuma High School’s new library, funded and built by the Australian Wesley Mission, was named the "Wilson Inia Library" in honour of Rotuma’s greatest mentor.

Wilson Fagmaniue Inia was a selfless, dedicated man of true honour and great wisdom, devoted to duty and to country. He was born on October 2nd 1908, the same day another great man, Mahatma Ghandi, was born. This was a man that lived simply, lived by a strict code of honour and lived to become the greatest benefactor the Rotumans had ever had, from amongst themselves.

He began formal education at a school at Tia in Rotuma, then at the Marist School in Suva, and at Davuilevu. Throughout his life he continued to educate himself in areas he felt lacking in, so that he would be better able to serve Rotuma. He began his teaching career at Davuilevu in 1924 when he was only 16 years old. Later he became a lecturer at Davuilevu Training Institution, training student teachers until 1946. In 1947 he married his wife, Elizabeth, who was a teacher at Annesley Girls School, and they were posted to Richmond Secondary School in Kadavu where they taught until 1952. They got the call to move to Rotuma in 1953, for Wilson Inia to be Principal. Because of their dedication to teaching and their great love for Rotuma, Wilson Inia and Elizabeth Inia became Rotuma’s most influential educators. They are also God’s gift to Rotuma, to mould and prepare young Rotumans about to enter the advancing rat-race in the careers field.

To the students of Malhaha High School (now called Rotuma High School) and the people of Rotuma, Mr and Mrs Inia were two very loving people, loving each other, their three children and others they came into contact with in their daily lives. Their children are Mrs Elizabeth Cokanasiga (Principal Education Officer Exams), Mrs Susana Tevita (Principal of Yat Sen Secondary School in Suva), and Wilson Savea Inia (Manager of Naigani Resort).

Wilson Inia was Principal of Malhaha High School until 1969; he then became Rotuma’s senator from 1970 until his death on 25th August, 1983. Mrs Elizabeth Inia taught at Paptea District School in Rotuma from 1970 to 1977, then she joined the Curriculum Development Unit where she served from 1978 till 1989.

This great man, Wilson Inia, was the epitome of all that is good in a human being. His life and work were governed by Christian values, and he was a layman preacher in the Methodist Church in Fiji and he was also the Vice President of the Methodist Church in Fiji and Rotuma for two years (1977 and 1978). His great love for his people motivated him into founding the RCA (Rotuma Co-operative Association) which became a very successful enterprise. He was Chief Manager of the RCA, offering his services free until his death – this was evidence of his true compassion and boundless love for Rotuma.

Wilson Fagmaniue Inia was a man who "stood tall" amongst good men, and the present Principal of Rotuma High School, Mr. Tipo Nasario, said on Friday, October 29th, at the ceremonial naming of the Wilson Inia Library that “W.F.Inia was a man of godly wisdom, a truly wise man. Rotuma salutes this great man, a true son of Rotuma, by naming the Library of the island’s only High School, “The Wilson Inia Library.”

From Jack George in Tuakoi, Rotuma (18 November 2004)

Rotuma Trip

Noa'ia Gagaj 'atakoa ne noh helau 'e ut tutu ne rante, noa'ia 'aus 'e muari. Gou naaf 'otou hea'hea' lelei ma hanis 'on aitu la ma 'aus, mataaua 'amus mauri 'e te'ne terani, pär tepe'ma 'e firi ma noanoa ne ränte la se hele' a'vauhian se 'amusmauri.

'Amis ne noh ma huå' 'os 'amis ne noh ma hua' 'os 'atmote kat mao'akiara aus ne täe 'e hanua sousou, 'e 'otomis roaitu.

Gou pa faeag'akiaf ti' ne 'otou 'ofa, 'on leugam ne 'otou le' rua'i, Edward ma Rita Jensen.
'E ran siau ne Okotopa (9th October) iria leum se Rotuma la kel ma manea' gasau rua. Irai pu'um se goua 'e Tua'koi, 'e Itu' on Gagaj Markao.

Gou a'sok sin 'os ag fak-Rotuma ma kota iria seksek se ut ma'oi 'e Rotuam 'i la sik mal te.
'Otou haina Elsie hoa' se Fapufa la kel sin ma haipoag ma 'on sagavanta Pita ma Faga 'on rua ne suket (twin sister). Edward ma Rita 'oaf pau se keleag lelei ne Fapufa, ka po ma 'a se papai ne ran ta 'e Fapufa ma 'a he' tapema. Sur se laloag ne 'An ta ma kakou ma pakat fua' ra 'ereko helau ne tan ta ma on matit heta tape'ma po 'e as ta sun pau.

Tene ut ne iria vakai sin gat ke vao ai jarao ma te ho mäur lelei pau ma inea ne pear ta lelei fakapau.

Niu ju lamlam ma niu 'el'el ne po ma fu ma 'atak sin se niu la 'iom heta.
Iria 'ea tape' me 'aitu naam kikia Niu se 'is 'e Rotuam'i, la tag 'os te poag mone. 'Is la hao te ma'oi pau, la po selen, ha la au luak mo'it ka te'i 'ofsea, ma 'is kop la höa se öl niu. Tefakhanis 'on 'aitu se 'is lelea Rotuma, kop ta'ag niu ta. Kamat 'esao ma 'e 'on va'a se 'on turau heta.

Iria sik mal Rirot rua, 'e Sumi ma Upu tape'ma ne ta'ag garue on Faha Faranise ne leum ma garue se Rot Katoliko 'e Rotuma.

Edward ma Rita 'oaf, po ma haum se Rotuma ma kel se helau ne 'os 'atmote, ka 'oaf a'ti ne po ma kel se 'otou ö'hon ta Manuafiua Malelua ne noh maur lamo, mafua fau sivaghul (90 years old) noh ma gou ma 'otou haina Elsie. On häehäe ma on fäefäega nono lelei pau kat re gargar la fakma 'os mou lele'a mamfua 'on rereag. Kat po 'era ta 'af'af furau ne 'is a'fai 'af'af ne suak ta ne tot lamlam ta ne kai for igke tuk ma se 'af'af on lelea' mamfua.

On huga 'oaf ti' pau ne 'on ma'piag het po ma leum la kel se ia, ma 'on haina Rita (Han Samoa) ne faeag Rotuam lelei pau. Gou 'inea ne 'otou le' rua'i 'oaf fakapau se helau ne Rotuma. Mal ne iria siki la ta'ag aierakiag ne helau ne 'os hanuete' Rotuma.

Gou la a'vahia 'otou få' rogrog teis gou a'hae la 'ea se 'aus ne noh helau 'e ut tutu ne aus noh sin, figalelei ma se mao'akia os fäeag Rotuam ta, rakåk se irisa la fäeag Rotuam oligen 'amus lele'a ma ma'ma'piga. Gou famorit ne 'oaf pau se ag fak-Rotuma la mäur 'e te'ne terani. Avat ma ne 'äe räe ta tefui fak-Rotumet 'e ta utut, räe kelkel ma se helau ne 'ou otmot ta Rotuma.

'Äe la fakmaneåk ne 'otou 'atmot ta Rotuma, 'atmot fauag mahmahanat ne temamfua noho 'e. Gou la nofua se 'aus atakoa 'e hanis 'on 'aitu, ö'fa, le'e ma At Ha'a.

Hanisiof ma fuamus.

From Elisapeti Inia (1 November 2004, posted 13 November)

On Friday, 29 October, a kato'ag ne he'oag asa was held at the Rotuma High School in Malhaha to celebrate the naming of the library, which was built in 2002 by the Sydney mission group. The library was named the Wilson Inia Library. I was informed by Gagaj Fatafes, the district chief of Malhaha and also the manager of the school board, that the board and the Rotuma Council agreed to name the library after Wilson. When my daughters Sue and Betty, and my son Save'a, heard about it they donated furniture -- 4 tables and 24 chairs -- for the students to sit on while they read. I'm the forth, and will donate another table and 4 more chairs. I went with the Inia family la'o -- a koua, a roasted cow and pig, one carton of corned beef, kava fa' hata, and a päega for the faki'oga to mauri. Several people gave speeches about Wilson, including Tipo, prinicipal of the high school; Visanti Makrava, chairman of the Rotuma Council; Gagaj Fatafes, Gagaj Urakmat, and myself. Gagaj Tamanav from Itu'muta was the master of ceremonies. It was a lovely day and the kato'aga was delightful.

From Hiagi Wesley in Utah (11 November 2004)

The Utah Fiji Day Celebration was held on 16 October at a hall in Salt Lake City. Approximately 200 people attended. Fiji cultural items were on display and we had a big feast in the evening, followed by entertainment consisting of Rotuman and Fijian dances. We also had a Fijian band from California, so after the performances everyone danced until midnight.

From Fiji Times Online (11 November 2004)

Island runs out of fuel

The government station on Rotuma has been without electricity since last month because there has been no supply of diesel for the generators to operate. Simione Moape, a government worker, said they had to collect money from the workers to buy diesel from the shop.

"We collect whatever money we can from the workers to buy diesel for the hospital, police station and other government offices,'' said Mr Moape. He said they would buy diesel which cost them about $4.50 a gallon.

"We would collect about $30 to $40 and buy about seven gallons,'' Mr Moape said.

A policeman at the Rotuma Police Station said if diesel generators were used, it would only last them four hours.

"The shops don't have enough supply and that is why we can't buy so much because the villagers also depend on it,'' said the officer who did not wish to be identified. He said at most times, the station would be without electricity at night.

"Sometimes we have to use kerosene lamps to help us work at night.''

Work Ministry chief executive Anasa Vocea said the Government was thinking of having its own shipping service to Rotuma. He said Shell was the sole distributor of diesel for the Government but it did not have a depot on Rotuma.

"So what we do, we give them Local Purchase Order and buy through BP,'' Mr Vocea said yesterday.

"But I believe they are no longer operating on the island.''

From Fiji Times Online (2 November 2004)

Official off to island after court training

The appointment of a District Officer for Rotuma has been delayed by training needs for the designate, Commissioner Eastern Rupeni Nacewa said.

"The delay was due to the need for the officer to be able to act as magistrate and also as a Customs and Immigration declaration officer and he has been undertaking that training for two weeks now," he said.

DO designate for Rotuma Jovesa Vocea replaces Luke Maraiwalu. He spent the last week undergoing training in courtroom procedures and the previous week in immigration and customs procedures.

"The DO is the only officer able to give docking and sailing clearance to any vessel or yacht that might call on the island and now these have been completed, he is due to leave for his posting soon," Mr Nacewa said.

Rotuma's representative in Parliament Marieta Rigamoto confirmed efforts were underfoot by the Ministry of Regional Development to appoint an officer as soon as possible.

Apart from this, she said, a food shortage and fuel crisis on the island north west of the Fiji group had been averted after an inter-island vessel docked at the island yesterday morning.

"All the supplies would be on the boat and I expect everything to be okay," Mrs Rigamoto said.

The Cagi Mai Ba left on Saturday for Rotuma and was expected to arrive by yesterday.

From Fiji Times Online (1 November 2004)

Fuel supply sent to island

Residents on an island are looking forward to the arrival of an inter-island vessel today with a fresh supply of fuel.

The Cagi Mai Ba is scheduled to arrive on Rotuma where people are facing water problems because of a shortage of fuel.

A police officer on the island said they collected piped water and used it sparingly. He said people who did not collect their supplies encountered problems because water supply was restricted to three hours a day. The officer said the hospital wasn't affected because it had water tanks. "Hopefully the boat brings fuel tomorrow (today). If the boat comes every month, we won't have this problem. The last one came in September," he said.

Government officers pay for fuel from their own pockets because Government-supplied fuel had run out.

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