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Archived News: April 2006

From Fijitimes Online (29 April 2006)

Air Pac buys out Sun Air

AIR Pacific Limited has bought Sun Air for an undisclosed sum.

The acquisition is in line with Air Pacific's wish to expand and service domestic routes.

From July 1, Sun Air will be changed to Fiji Airlines Limited.

The takeover was subject to the transfer of Sun Air's licence and air operator's certificate to Fiji Airlines Ltd.

Air Pacific chairman Gerald Barrack said Fiji Airlines would start by servicing Sun Air routes with its fleet.

He said all aircraft would be refurbished and new ones bought. Negotiations were in progress with manufacturers for the acquisition of new aircraft capable of flying to all airports in Fiji.

The airline has an ATR42 airplane to fly the Suva, Nadi and Labasa routes and to Rotuma when the island's runway is repaired.

The 44-seater aircraft will service Tonga and Vanuatu from Nausori to supplement Air Pacific flights from Nadi.

Mr Barrack said the airline would be re-branded and painted in a distinctive new colour and design.

He said the company's re-entry into the domestic aviation market was triggered by the Government's request for it to examine the possibility with the aim of providing improved services.

"After the examination of various options Air Pacific decided they could deliver improved comfort, reliability and more affordable travel for residents and visitors to Fiji."

Mr Barrack said the rapid means of providing improved services was through acquisition of one of the two domestic airlines which was accomplished after months of negotiation with Sun Air.

"We will improve connecting flights to help tourists going to Vanua Levu, Taveuni and Kadavu.

"It will be a year before improvements are made but from July customers can experience improved reliability and affordability," he said.

From Fijitimes Online (25 April 2006)

Fesaitu Misau takes it easy, sort of

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

From Fijilive (21 April 2006)

Take a bow, Fred Susau

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

From Fijilive (17 April 2006)

SUVA dominated the 9th Fiji Games Blitz Chess Championships that started at Hoodless House in Suva on Friday.

There was stiff competition as contestants from the eight participating districts Suva, Nasinu, Rewa, Lami, Navua, Lautoka, Rotuma and Labasa polished their thinking caps for top spots in the four open categories . . .

National rep Frentina Antrea (Rotuma) won the Female Open category in a convincing fashion going through the tournament undefeated.

From Fijilive (15 April 2006)

Venesa Koy, Grace Varea and Tiva Palako won the silver medal for Rotuma in the women's team table tennis competition at the Fiji Games.

From Fijilive (14 April 2006)

Errol Somaru, who recently returned from the Commonwealth Games, won the Gold medal for Suva District in the Fiji Games Shooting competition yesterday.

Somaru scored 76 to finish on top while Glen Kable representing Nadi District had to settle for the silver. Kable shot 75 while Richard Fiu from Rotuma took out the Bronze.

From Fijitimes Online (10 April 2006)

Dredge team for Rotuma

The Ministry of Works and Energy will send a dredging team to Rotuma to make the waters at the Oinafa Village jetty deep so that vessels could berth alongside.

The jetty was completed in 2002 but it was not deep enough, Public Works Department divisional engineer Raphael Smith said.

His comments come after Gagaj Voi Muaror of Oinafa Village said construction of the jetty was still incomplete and causing erosion of the shore line.

Mr Smith said the long-term plan of the PWD was to relocate the jetty.

Meanwhile, government remains firmly committed towards the ongoing development of Rotuma and will continue to provide aid for its economic development and welfare of people.

From Fijitimes Online (7 April 2006)

Jetty blamed for erosion

THE construction of the jetty at Oinafa Village in Rotuma is still incomplete and the works have been blamed for the erosion of the shore line.

Speaking from Oinafa Village in Rotuma, Gagaj Voi Muaror said the Public Works Department had put rocks on the foreshore in front of his home to stop sand from washing away but this was of no use.

Oinafa shoreline
This picture is all that is left of a once sandy white beach on the foreshore of the Muaror

"Before we could walk about 200 yards before we reach the water's edge but now, we can only walk about 10 yards," said Gagaj Muaror.

"Even water at the wharf (jetty) is quite shallow because sand is being washed away and when its low tide, large ships can't come close to shore," he said.

"The water near the jetty used to be deep but that has changed." On the condition of roads on the island, Gagaj Muaror said it was worse than what it was four years ago.

He said there was about 18 miles of road all round Rotuma and villagers had been asked to help in the completion of road works. He said all the present government had done for the island in its five years of power was construct the jetty. "That's about the only thing they've done in five years. They made promises to us but that hasn't eventuated," said Gagaj Muaror. United Peoples Party president Mick Beddoes visited the island last week and raised the erosion problem which was faced due to the jetty construction.

PWD Divisional Engineer Raphael Smith confirmed that the jetty was completed in 2002 and that the area around it needed to be dredged to make it deep enough for vessels to anchor. They hoped to send a dredging team in a fortnight's time. He added that the long term plan was to relocate the jetty.

Meanwhile, a war of words has begun between Mr Beddoes and the island's representative in Parliament, caretaker Minister Marieta Rigamoto.

She described Mr Beddoes criticism of her "neglect" of Rotuma as indulgence in "irresponsible politics".

Mrs Rigamoto said the Government had been involved in various projects for the island, which involved the rural electrification projects from 2001 to 2005.

From Alan & Jan in Honolulu (5 April 2006)

Announcing a new feature on the Rotuma Website: an open forum that permits visitors (after registering) to post messages and to respond to prior postings. There are currently three forums, one on Biodiversity & Bioprospecting, moderated by Monifa Fiu of LäjeRotuma, another on the Parliamentary elections of May 2006, which Alan Howard will moderate, and a third on Preserving the Rotuman Language, moderated by Marit Vamarasi. Please note that we expect all postings to follow the rules of civility and will not tolerate obscenities or abusive language.

The URL for the forum is:

If you wish to make a posting make sure to register and read the FAQs that are linked to the page.

From Fijitimes Online (4 April 2006)

Airline service to island 'pathetic'

A POLITICIAN on the campaign trail yesterday lashed out at the telecommunication and airline services on Rotuma upon returning from the island.

United Peoples' Party president Mick Beddoes said despite paying one of the highest domestic airfares in Fiji, Rotumans and visitors to the island were subjected to the most pathetic and unprofessional service he had ever experienced.

He said some of the experiences relayed to him by the people in the last week were unbelievable and his own experience over the three days he spent in Rotuma made it obvious that the airline was going through some serious problems or lacked the required expertise to allocate aircraft to service their routes in a reasonable and professional manner. Air Fiji services the Rotuma route.

The airline's spokesperson Shaenaz Voss said they were not undergoing any mechanical repair of planes but their company policy was to have only one flight to Rotuma per week.

Ms Voss said this happened because there were not enough passengers always and they could not afford to fly empty planes to the satisfaction of some of the customers.

She said they had supplementary flights in the weekends if the number of passengers was economical.

Mr Beddoes said in the space of three days in Rotuma, flights were cancelled, reinstated many times over and people could have even missed their booked flights with a $730 fare.

Commentary by Tom Tolo-Kuno'u

From Alan & Jan in Honolulu (3 April 2006)

We have initiated a special section of the news covering the parliamentary elections in May, that contains news articles of relevance to the Rotuman community as well as information submitted by the candidates.

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