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Archived News: March 2006

From Mark Vaurasi in Washington, D.C. (26 March 2006)

[Mark is employed at the New Zealand Defence Staff, New Zealand Embassy in Washington D.C.]

We live in Georgetown, Washington DC, approximately two miles from work at the New Zealand Embassy. We used to walk from our apartment (which is opposite the back gate of the Russian Embassy) to work. We have just bought a car and it's a challenge driving on the right hand side of the road and in snow/ice.

The NZ Embassy is located next door to the British Embassy and directly opposite The Naval Observatory Base, and Vice-President Dick Cheney’s residence. Apparently there are approximately 200 Embassies in Washington DC.

We have made contact with some of my old Delainavesi Rotuman friends in San Francisco (David Samson & Curleen Langman) and as a result we will be attending the Rotuman Helava Charity Ball in San Francisco on 29 April, in support of Project Rotuma. We are planning to fly to San Francisco via Salt Lake City and returning to Washington DC via Minneapolis.

To keep us occupied in the weekends, Tina plays netball for Novatel and I am still enjoying playing rugby for the Washington team on Saturdays. We also play touch rugby with the Australians on Thursdays. During our spare time we did the "tourist type" trips to The Capitol, The Washington Monument, Union Station, Lincoln Memorial, National Cathedral, Pentagon, and the White House. We also went snow skiing at Liberty Mountain in Pennsylvania -- YES, we have mastered the art of skiing, well almost. It was also interesting to travel on the Metro (bus & train) to various places like Pentagon City, Potomac Mill, and the Franconia-Springfield Malls. We also enjoy shopping in the nearby states of Virginia and Maryland and the walks along the Potomac River on the weekends. The other places in our "places to visit list" include, Dakota, New York, Canada, and Hawaii. This said, I will be visiting our Defence Staff in Texas and Alabama.

We visited the Fijian Ambassador, Jesoni Vitusagavulu (who is ex-old boy from my old schools, Queen Victoria School and Marist Brothers). We had a lot to catch up about our old school days in Matavatucou. There is also a lady at the Fijian Embassy who is married to a Rotuman guy by the name of Irava; we have yet to meet them.

Despite all the above, we really miss our great Wellington and Kiwi lifestyle: Watching Super 14 rugby and sevens rugby, organised children's sports activities, Rotuman/island food such as taro & corn beef, Keresi's koua/fekei, Sela's special fish in lolo and most of all close family like Sela & Keresi Manueli, Fay & Sidney Viki, Tony Fullman, Win and Bruce, Karen, our children Kirsty Henderson & Danny, Ravai-Jesse, Jason-Craig-Lana Vaurasi, Stacy and our two lovely mapigas, Bev/Gabe Penjueli, Tarani Hickling, Torika/Rahoul, Sue/Sef and our Auckland supporters Vama/Lillyann, Visoni & the two other guys that came down for our farewell in Wellington.

We also miss our families that we spent Christmas 2005/New Year 2006 with in Fiji; from Vatukoula -- Oni/Munivai, Mua/Tivaknoa (mum/dad), Sela/Garsau, Ieli/Jone; from Suva -- Doris/Pene, Aunty Rejieli & family (Ian/Lorna), Aunty Jiurie/Viki Katafono family.

We finally got our home phone and Internet connected last weekend (; you can also contact us at my work e-mail (

Hanisiof to all our families and friends
Mark ma Tina

From Mika Taito in Big Sur California (21 March 2006)

On Saturday, 4 March, The Seven Stars of Rotuma held their second meeting in Fremont, California. Various issues discussed, including the upcoming Rotuma Day 2006.

This year's celebration will be held on Saturday, 13 May at the Centerville Community Center in Fremont. The celebration is scheduled to start at 4pm. Tickets are being sold at $10. A tautoga will be performed by Seven Stars members followed by the ever popular Maliha Band, including "DJ" Pete Mafileo from Nukualofa, Tonga.

An election for the new chairman and other positions was held. Positions are for a three-year term.

Chairman: Pedro Rigamoto ( Motusa)
Assistant: Osotonu Moeava ( Paptea)
Secretary: Mika Taito ( Lopta)
Treasurers: Yvonne Aitu SuniaMafile'o (Malhaha)
Makereat Taito Rigamoto (Lopta)

Our purotu for the tautoga this year will again be Mrs. Marieta Samisoni from Pacifica, California and our next dance practice will be this coming Saturday, 25 March at 2pm in Fremont.

The Seven Stars of Rotuma will be honored to have Maureen Osbourne & Ian Vaurasi from Fremont as our guest speakers for Rotuma Day and Yvonne Aitu SuniaMafile'o from San Jose as our Master of Ceremonies.

Our Chairman, Pedro Rigamoto, and members of Seven Stars, wish to extend an invitation se ta kainag 'e Mereke ma 'e ut tutu ne rante' to join us for Rotuma Day. You can reach us via e-mail at

'Otomis Chairman ta Pedro Rigamoto ma members ne Seven Stars a'hae la naaf 'otomis faeag hanisi ma hea'hea' lelei se te' ne hensasiag Rotuam 'atakoa ne rante' hun se Rotuma Day 2006.

Here are the time and place & directions to the Celebration Hall

Saturday: May 13th 2006
4.00 pm - 12.00 am
Dinner: 6.00 pm - 8.00 pm
Centerville Community Center
3355 Country Drive
Fremont Ca. 94536
(510) 791-4324
Directions from Oakland (North)
Take 880 South
Exit Mowry Ave. EAST
Turn Left on Fremont Blvd
Turn Right on Country Drive
3355 Country Drive
Directions from San Jose (South)
Take 880 North
Exit Mowry Ave. EAST
Turn Left on Fremont Blvd
Turn Right on Country Drive
3355 Country Drive.

Faiaksia ma Fu'uomus

From Dan and Maggie Smith in Fairview, Michigan (20March 2006)

We would like to announce the birth of our second daughter, Hefrani Maoa’noa Smith. Hefrani was born on February 28, 2006 at Alpena General Hospital in Michigan, USA. She weighed 9 pounds and 3 ounces and was 20.5 inches long.


From Jeannette Hereniko in Honolulu (12 March 2006)

There will be a free screening of The Land Has Eyes in Seattle on Thursday, 6 April, at the University of Washington. This will be part of the 5th Annual Native Voices Film Festival and Showcase of Native Scholarship, entitled "Transcending Boundries."

Vilsoni Hereniko will be on hand to introduce the film and to answer questions. The screening will be at 7:30 in the ECC Theater. It will be preceded by a reception from 6-7 pm in the ECC Lobby.

The Land Has Eyes has also been selected to screen at the 2006 Indianapolis International Film Festival, April 26 to May 4, 2006. The film is entered in the Grand Jury Prize Feature Film Competition.

Press Release: Openair Cinemas
Coexistence Openair Films at Britomart
Auckland, 7 March 2006

Open-Air Cinema Ltd., Bluewater and Heart of Auckland City have teamed up for an exciting new project: outdoor movies at the historic Britomart Precinct. The organisers took up the theme of co-existence and put a very interesting programme together including the Oscar winner for the Best Film 'Crash' and nominees 'Munich' by Steven Spielberg as well as 'Joyeux Noel' for best foreign language film.

While thousands of Aucklanders and tourists enjoyed the grass surface covering the car park in the historic Britomart Precinct during February, Openair Cinema director Urs Bauer took the opportunity to setup a temporary movie theatre creating a festival of recent 'co-existence' type films. "The films we've chosen all cover some different aspects of living together in a very diverse universe. I think it's a great way of seeing movies, which will definitely touch the spectators' hearts under the open sky."

The ten night extravaganza starts this Friday with 'Mr. Batignole', a French Drama by Jérard Jugnot which takes up the refuge-story of two Jewish families during 2nd world war, followed by the heart-warming story 'The Land has Eyes' on Saturday. This first Fijian feature film is built around the story of a young woman attempting to escape the stifling conformity of island culture. Inspired by the myth of a Warrior Woman, she recovers from the death of her father and fights for justice and freedom.

Go to complete article

From Fijitimes Online (4 March 2006)

Youths win Commonwealth award

The initiatives of youths towards community-based activities are the qualities that should be nurtured and encouraged.

Members of the Laje Youth after the presentation in Suva yesterday.

Speaking as the chief guest at the presentation of the 2005 Commonwealth Youth Silver Award, Minister for Information, Communications and Media Relations, Marieta Rigamoto said she supported the participation of youths in programs that instilled leadership qualities and had a community-minded approach towards activities that require team effort, planning and co-operation.

"Youths who demonstrate such qualities go on to become good leaders; leaders who are capable of motivating others in creating awareness of national goals and activities that positively impact on the communities they serve," she said.

She made the remarks before presenting the award to the Laje Rotuma Youth members at a special ceremony at Churchwood Chapel Hall in Suva. The Commonwealth Youth Programme Silver Award focuses on the contributions made by young people to the development of their community.

For an additional story regarding LäjeRotuma click here

From Fijilive (3 March 2006)

The man whose organisation has promised more than $11 billion to Fiji landowners, had one of his corporations registered in the imaginary entity of the Dominion of Melchizedek.

Ray Chhat Dam (reportedly a Thai national with US citizenship)--alongside other individuals --was linked to an entity called the Consolidated Credit Bank Limited, which is said to have originally obtained a mail order bank licence over the Internet from the Australian-based Dominion of Melchizedek.

The Dominion of Melchizedek is a so-called micronation with its own legislation and flag and is listed as being located in various parts of the Pacific Ocean islands and parts of Antarctica, and lays claim to a small island off Rotuma called Solkope.

The Dominion of Melchizedek was implicated in trying to separate Rotuma from Fiji in early 2000 after its leader David Korem visited Rotuma and had drafted a constitution and was planning to help it gain independence.

From Maa Emerite Littlewood in Suva (3 March 2006)

(left –> right) Fekau Sumasafu Albert, Faga Albert, Anne Vilsoni, Eliesa Vilsoni

On Thursday 12th of January we had an early celebration of the 60th birthdays of my mum, Anne Vilsoni and her twin sister Faga Albert. These women are the daughters of 'Atu and Raki of Haroa, Motusa. Celebrations were held at the home of 'Emele Tivao in Tamavua.

I would like to thank the Lord for his care and protection over the lives of these two women. Thank you to my Albert cousins and their families and to my sister, Lina Marseu and brother Patrick Vilsoni and their families. Thanks also to relatives who attended and made the day special, especially to Ma'piag Ragafuata Tivao and Raijeli 'Apisai for the paega and tefui.

From Fijitimes Online (1 March 2006)

Fuata Faktaufon's drive is his vision

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

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