From Fiji Times Online (30 June 2005)
State team tours island
ROTUMA has received $924,000 worth of aid in the past four years from the ministry responsible for regional development, making it one of the most developed islands in the Fiji Group.
Provincial Development Minister Ted Young said that figure did not include contributions from other government ministries.
"This assistance basically covered capital projects," Mr Young said.
He said in terms of access to basic amenities water, electricity, telephone, housing, sanitation and roads, Rotuma was one island community that was well developed..
"This demonstrates that you are making full use of the assistance made available to you over the years by the Ministry of Provincial Development," said Mr Young.
"It is my personal wish that the Rotuman communities here will continue to work together through its planning forums and participation of all including those stakeholders who have interest in nation building."
Mr Young informed council members that their commitment was paramount and their success would totally depend on everyone taking ownership of development initiatives for the betterment of the island.
"The Government will certainly assist when and where necessary," he said.
Mr Young was speaking from Rotuma where he is touring with an inter-governmental team led by the Assistant Minister in the Prime Minister's Office, Marieta Rigamoto.
The delegation was expected to visit government project sites as well as proposed government initiatives on the island.
They were expected to be debriefed on board the Iloilovatu before leaving for Suva tomorrow.
From Kerri-Ann Elaise in Kingston, Jamaica (15 June 2005)
Rotuman Places Second in Jamaican Powerlifting Competition
Kerese Elaise of Fiji grabbed 2nd place in the Super Heavyweight Powerlifting Combat 2005 Competition held in Kingston, Jamaica on Saturday 4 June.
The super heavyweight clash rounded off the day-long competition which sees representatives from gyms all over Jamaica meeting in Kingston to vie for the coveted powerlifting light, middle, heavy, and super-heavy trophies.
Kerese was able to lift 505 lbs in the squats, 390 lbs in the benchpress, and 590 lbs in the deadlift. He was 20 points behind the winner, Winston Church and 10 points ahead of the third place getter, Ambrose Brendon.
The Elaise family resides in Jamaica where Kerese's wife, Anna, is based at the headquarters of the UN-International Seabed Authority.
Kerese is the son of Kaitu'u Jione and Makarite Sapeta of Pala, Itumuta.
From Fiji Times Online (10 June 2005)
The following are excerpts from two articles that appeared today, one entitled "State approves air service tender," the other "Air Fiji makes $2.1m profit."
Cabinet this week approved the payment of subsidy on uneconomical routes to Air Fiji from June 1, 2005 to May 31, 2006.
The subsidy is for Air Fiji to provide air services on the Vanuabalavu, Lakeba, Cicia, Koro, Rotuma, Moala, Koro and Gau routes. Cabinet took this decision based on a submission by Mr Kaitani. He said the Government was mindful of the vital link air services provided as the means of promoting economic activities on these islands, especially the promotion of trade and eco-tourism.
A new 60-seater aircraft will be added to Air Fiji's domestic fleet at the end of the year, Mr Vuetaki said.
This part of the company's plans to strengthen its service to the travelling public on its domestic routes.
He said Air Fiji expects this new aircraft to be in service by the end of the year.
The additional two new 60-seater aircrafts will be an added complement to this domestic service as well as Rotuma and Kadavu.
From Fiji Times Online (9 June 2005)
Tomasi Filisiano Romanu sticks it out
This item has been transferred to the Life Stories section of the website
From Jeannette Hereniko in Honolulu (6 June 2005)
The Land Has Eyes (Pear Ta Ma ‘On Maf) was declared winner of the Premiere Festival Prize for best overall entry in the inaugural Waiora Maori Film Festival in New Zealand. The festival screened over 100 feature films, short films, and documentaries, including Whale Rider, which was named best feature film.
The festival's top award, sponsored by the National Geographic All Roads Film Project, was presented to the film's director, Vilsoni Hereniko, during an award ceremony held in the Waiora War Memorial Theater on Saturday night, 4 June. He was given a trophy designed by Maori artist Rakaipaaka Tamanuhiri, and a $1000 check donated by the National Geographic Society.
After the award ceremony, Hereniko said, "This award is recognition from the Maori community of how important and empowering it is that indigenous people tell their own stories and to do so in their own language -- no matter what the risk."
The Land Has Eyes is scheduled to play in Castle Theater at 7:30 p.m. during the opening evening of the Maui Film Festival on Wednesday, 15 June, with Hereniko present to introduce it. On 24 June, the film opens for a theatrical run in Maui at the Maui Megaplex Mall theaters. Hereniko also will attend the Shanghai International Film Festival award ceremony on 19 June where his film is in competition. Of the 200 international feature films scheduled to screen in Shanghai, only 15 were selected for competition. The Land Has Eyes is the only one from the United States of America to be selected for the competition.
From Elaisa Hesaie in Suva (6 June 2005)
From Pam Tanu in Tarsua, Toakai, Itu'ti'u, Rotuma (4 June 2005)
Work has finally been done on the Rotuma Hospital by the Rotary Club, led by Mr. Ray Paris (the President of the Rotary Club of Suva North). The ladies and gentlemen who most generously and graciously gave of themselves have done an incredible job on the hospital. The floors (inside and out) were all replaced; the bathrooms (toilets and showers) were tiled; it was awesome. These people deserve a tremendous thank you--a real debt of gratitude for work long overdue. These people (Rotary Club members) did not come promising big things; they came and did big things. Bless them; the hospital really needed it.
Dr. Sumasafu Manueli and his entire staff are to be commended for making do with the facilities they have had to work with. They work tirelessly, and I am certain it was very frustrating for them at times, as the conditions were deteriorating. Now, although I cannot speak for them, I feel safe in assuming they are most grateful for this work. I, myself, have made a number of visits as an inpatient, and know they are quite thrilled with the work. Thank you Rotary for your incredible generosity! Also, please let me take this opportunity to commend the Rotuma Hospital staff for their wonderful service to the people of Rotuma. I know I was in very capable hands.
I am relieved for the medical staff and the Rotuman people, that sick patients aren't playing "hopscotch" when walking to the vale lailai. It is particularly difficult for such people as Mere Mora, the wife of Pepjei's chief, who recently had a stroke, and is being assisted at the outdoor facility. I am happy to say that, while she did suffer some paralysis on the left side, she is able to talk, feed herself (though the left side does not function), and get around with a walker, courtesy of Ann, an Australian nurse married to Eliesa (of Lau), with experience in rehabilitative therapy. Ann works with folks around Rotuma who have had strokes. She has donated some very useful orthopedic-type equipment to the hospital, and has given generously of her time and rehabilitative skill, not to mention that she walks (or catches a ride any way she can) to visit the homes of people who are recovering from stroke-related paralysis. She is currently working with people in Pepjei, Tarsua, Toakai and I am not sure where else, and she keeps her "antennae" up for anyone in the hospital who could benefit from her work. She gives freely, and is marvelous.
From High Commissioner Jioje Konrote in Canberra (3 June 2005)
The Rotuma Day Celebration 2005 kato'aga was held in Suva on Saturday, 14th May 2005 at the National Stadium. I was invited by the Chairman of the Seven Districts Committee as the Chief Guest and was honoured to be asked to give the official address (pdf file).
It was the district of Juju's turn to host and the Chairman of the district committee, Mr Pasirio Furivai, his committee and the members of the Juju community in Suva and Rotuma are to be commended and congratulated for their efforts in organsing a very entertaining programme and providing each district with the traditional koua at the end of the kato'aga.
From www.stuff.co.nz (2 June 2005)
Waikato pair at home on Maori tour of Fiji
By Martin Tiffany
It was a welcome home of sorts for skipper Jono Gibbes and prop Deacon Manu as the New Zealand Maori rugby team arrived in Fiji yesterday.
Both players have family connections in Fiji.
Gibbes' father Brian is from Suva and his grandmother is from Rotuma - a Polynesian island that is part of Fiji.
Manu's mother Maureen is from Ba, a small town in the west of the main island. She moved to New Zealand as a teenager.
"It will be my first match against Fiji and it will be special for me," Manu said of tomorrow's match.
The Maori had lunch in Nadi yesterday before heading to Sigatoka for a light training run. They were to head to Suva last night to prepare for the game. Both Gibbes and Maori coach Matt Te Pou said they were not taking Fiji lightly.
Tomorrow's game will be excellent preparation for their match against the Lions on June 11 in Hamilton.
From Sanimeli Maraf in Rotuma (14 May 2005, posted 1 June)
We celebrated our Rotuma Day Yesterday at Ahau. It rained the night before and in the early hours of the day, but it turned fine again from 10 a.m. onward.
Our guest for the celebration was Hon. Mr. Kenneth Zink, Minister for Labour; his wife is Rotuman. The Motusa Bay Boys played music during each interval. The Emcee was Gagaj Tamanav from Itu’muta. The devotion was led by Talatala Qase Rev. Gauna, with the Motusa Circuit Choir conducted by Betty Joe. They sang hymns and “Rotuma, ‘Otou Hanuet.”
The retired civil servants and oldies were invited to sit on the pavillion behind the guests. I was happy to see them enjoying the morning tea and the lunch that was served to those who could not walk to the lunch room. They were also provided with transportation.
There was the usual baby show and entertainment was provided by the Women’s Interest Association who put on a catwalk that was emceed by Mrs. Inia:
Noa’tau: ‘Os’os ne os mak fak Rotuma e av ta. Jio ne tefui ko kikia e hata osos e Mairo ma saaga, tofua ta ti takia la haituag ma osi taag. Monuma se han ta ma tit ran ji. Rau vasu ma tit se hu. Leet os’akia te het ka leet ma on os tu het. Fa häk ma han häk.
Itu’ti’u ta hagota. Kel'akia on rere ne ne av ta. Faga tapema.
Juju: 'Os'akia la'la' se mak fak gagaj on gagaj titi ne maternity ta. It was a laugh all the way as some somen dressed up as men with ha'fol ma on tag and sandals with bula shirts. Some ladies dressed up as if they came from different islands, and some painted themselves black. Others made up as if they came from India, from China, or from Africa. I must admit that the Juju and Pepjei people are very good sports. They always perform well, whatever tasks are given to them, tau maka or anything, they do it wholeheartedly. And I must say a big thank you to Hangata Susau Titofag and her ladies. Faiaksea. Everyone enjoyed it.
Pepjei performed a mane'a hune'ele. That was the courting time in the old days when men from other districts visited the manea’ hune’ele of another district where there were certain women whom they wanted to meet. Empty biscuit tins were their drums. I sat next to Fekau Vevalesi from Malhaha and she said to me, “So that’s what mane'a hune'ele is all about. I then realised that she had been brought up in Fiji.
Hangata Mere of Gagaj Mora' from Pepjei was sick and in the hospital. She’s a great person, and we hope that she will recover soon. We miss her.
The traditional games: Sia' rahi (firemaking; the first couple who makes fire the traditional way and lights a cigarette wins), basket weaving for men and women, copra cutting, and ladies kau futfuti.
Our morning tea was provided by the Malhaha women but they couldn’t perform the su fak Rotuma; also the ground was too wet for the päega.
The Itu’muta rotu couldn’t take part because they and their youths provided lunch for the crowd. I must say it was a lovely lunch they spread out, but one thing missing was kekesi. Thank you Itu'muta and Malhaha for the food provided.
I can tell you that everyone enjoyed the celebration of Rotuma Day this year, including Minister Kenneth Zink. He even sang a couple of western songs. I told him to bring his wife next time so he wouldn’t have to get up so much to dance. Thank you Minister Zink for making Rotuma your second home; everyone enjoyed your company. The Honourable Minister stayed at Sumi with the Catholic father. Faiaksea.
The Methodist Church of Fiji and Rotuma programme was held from 2-5 May at Malhaha. The annual meeting of the Rotuma Division was a good opportunity to meet up with Fiji Rotumans who came over for the meeting. Members from the Oinafa and Motusa Circuits travelled by bus every day and returned home late in the evening. Lots of spiritual advice was given to us. “Project Mana” was the topic, and in the year 2007 it will be held in Rotuma. Everyone is aware of it and happy about it. We hope to raise two million dollars. I believe it will be broadcast to friends and kainaga all over the world. The Methodists of Churchward Chapel in Suva will advise on that.
A kato'aga for Rev Dr Jione Langi was held on Saturday, 7 May at Malhaha School, and on Sunday, 8 May, an induction service for Rev Maciu Gauna as Divisional Superintendent of Rotuma Division was held at Saione Church in Noa'tau, conducted by Reverend Langi. It was good to see Mrs Rigamoto Langi; they both look well and happy. God be with us and with all of you, wherever you are.