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Archived News: October 2006

News from Bruce Tizard-Varcoe in England (30 October 2006)

'Rotuma' race horse for sale

Readers of the News Page in June 2004 would have seen that Alan & Jan had discovered a race horse here in the U.K. by the name of "Rotuma." The following information and photo are from the Michael Dods website.

Rotuma race horse
Rotuma, a seven-year-old bay gelding

"A sound consistent gelding who has done his owners proud over the last five seasons. Rotuma won one race in 2002, two races in 2003, he recorded three victories in 2004 and was successful at Wolverhampton in November of last year. In 2006 he again made it into the Winners Enclosure at Newcastle in August as well as finishing in the frame on four other occasions. A sound, consistent horse who runs regularly and always gives us plenty of good days out at the races. Rotuma is now enjoying a well earned break but will return to racecourse action in the spring."

The horse is now up for sale, and further details can be found at the website address:

From Fijitimes Online (30 October 2006)

Boat owners to sue insurance company

THE Kadavu Provincial Council will sue Dominion Insurance Company to settle Bulou ni Ceva stranding in Rotuma.

Chairman Ratu Josateki Nawalowalo said there had no option but to sue.

"The chiefs have agreed that we take them to court for not paying us the amount we were owed when the boat was damaged in Rotuma,"he said.

"We have had enough of being pushed around looking for answers, something has to be done and we feel it is only proper that we take the matter to court."

Ratu Josateki said there was no talk of selling the ship which is still at Oinafa jetty in Rotuma.

"I was surprised to find out in The Fiji Times that the Bulou ni Ceva was going to be sold to cover the salvage costs,"he said.

"Government shipping and Workboats Fiji Limited should solve their own problem as it is an internal matter."

This comes after Workboats Fiji Limited filed a stay order on the towing of the boat from Rotuma as the cost had not been settled.

The company was ready to sell the boat to recover the $169,000 it was owed.

Government Shipping Services director Seci Waqa had earlier said that Kadavu Shipping Company no longer had anything to do with the vessel and had tendered its official release of ownership and the Bulou ni Ceva was now in the custody of Workboats Fiji.

From Fijitimes Online (29 October 2006)

Company to sell ship

By Ernest Heatly

Workboats Fiji Ltd has filed an official stay order on the towing of inter-island vessel Bulou-ni-Ceva from Rotuma as the cost of salvaging it has not been settled. The company is believed to be ready to sell the boat to recover the $169,000 they are claiming is owed to them.

Government Shipping Services' director Captain Seci Waqa said Kadavu Shipping Company no longer had anything to do with the vessel, had tendered its official release of ownership which was now in the custody of Workboats Fiji.

Captain Waqa said the company was likely to sell the boat to recover salvage costs in getting the vessel from the reef to Oinafa jetty though representatives were unable to be reached for a comment.

He said the only reason the Government was involved in the salvage operation on September 8 was because there was an unusually high tide and there was a need to take advantage of it.

Government has spent about $60,000 in total in removing oil from the vessel and that its part in the salvage of the vessel had come about through a verbal agreement.

Captain Waqa said he did not recommend the immediate towing of the vessel from Rotuma partly because there were still repairs to be done on it, and that from his knowledge Workboats Fiji were not equipped with a capable tug.

Minister for Provincial Development Ted Young confirmed the Government only committed to pumping oil out of the vessel and cleaning it.

"Salvaging was never part of the discussions that were made and we only got involved in order to get the fuel out of the vessel because of the risk of environmental damage that it posed," said Mr Young yesterday.

He referred all other queries to the Ministry of Transport chief executive Vuetasau Buatoka who could not be reached for a comment.

The inter-island vessel ran aground on June 10 though attempts to siphon oil from it were not made until early September. Efforts to get a comment from Kadavu Shipping Company general manager Ratu Sela Nanovo were unsuccessful.

From Fijitimes Online (28 October 2006)

Fuata Faktaufon shines at special games

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

From Fijitimes Online (28 October 2006)

Rani Fesaitu: Island boy exceeds expectations

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

From Fijitimes Online (25 October 2006)

Men find the 'best alternative to fuel'

WITH fuel prices continuing an upward trend, two men believe they have found the best alternative to fuel for use in motor vehicles.

Entrepreneur John Bennett and Shayne Brodie, a senior Hydraulic technician from Seamech Limited have converted a vehicle so that it can run on coconut oil.

It has yet to be certified by the Land Transport Authority though.

The duo have modified a diesel six-cylinder engine on a Nissan patrol car to run on coconut oil.

"We have converted this vehicle to run on 100 per cent coconut oil with a long term view that we can run most of our vehicles on using coconut oil, which is sustainable in the country," said Mr Bennett.

"We have converted the engine so that we preheat the vegetable oil before it goes into the combustion chamber of the six-cylinder engine.

He said he has been working for about a month with a company in United States of America to convert diesel-powered vehicles to use vegetable oil.

"We simply are replacing the use of diesel with conventional coconut oil."

"In the context of Fiji, we have chosen coconut oil for this conversion because it's a resource that is sustainable here and we can run many of outer island vehicles with coconut oil."

Mr Brodie said Mr Bennett provided a dual conversion system one with a filter with heater radiator and a second radiator.

The conversion took less than a day and the vehicle will be transported to Rotuma for use.

From FijiVillage (22 October 2006)

Bulou ni Ceva still unrepaired

Three months after the MV Bulou ni Ceva ran aground in the reefs of Rotuma the Kadavu Shipping Limited is still waiting for the vessel to arrive in Suva.

Managing director Ratu Sela Nanova said that they were promised earlier by the government that they will get the vessel to Suva but nothing has been done.

According to Nanovo, the MV Bulou ni Ceva is still at the Rotuma wharf, after it was salvaged from where it ran aground, and they have been waiting for FIMSA to bring the vessel to Suva.

Nanovo also adds that they have also asked the Transport Minister Tomasi Vuetilovoni to step in, but nothing has been done.

At the moment the company is not running any vessel to any islands since the Tongan vessel which they brought in has gone back to the owner.

From Alan & Jan in Honolulu (21 October 2006)

Tefui Group

On Saturday, 14 October, the Hawai'i Rotumans got together for a day at the beach in Waimanalo to celebrate the release for individuals of the DVD for The Land Has Eyes.

From left to right: Louisa Manueli, Matelena Dumas, Jan Rensel, Hiagi Wesley, and Vilsoni Hereniko

From the Tonu family in Alaska (21 October 2006)

Tonu Girls
My name is Rotuma Page Tonu and this is my sister Sa'ora Pearl Tonu. Our dad is from Rotuma and our mom is from North Carolina. Just want to say hello to all the Rotumans around the world.

From Fijitimes Online (19 October 2006)

Speedsters want gold

by Petero Qauqau

OFFICIALS expect Stella Maris Primary School speedsters Audrey Saverio and Banuve Tabakaucoro to blaze the tracks during the Flour Mills of Fiji sponsored track and field meet at the Post Fiji Stadium on November 17-18.

Saverio, powered her way to three first placings in the U13 girls - 100 metres, 200m and 4X100m relay at the Suva inter-zone meet held at Laucala yesterday.

Tabakaucoro added to the SMPS medal haul with gold medals in the U14 long jump and 100m.

Saverio wants to finish off on a high note with another gold medal at the annual Fiji Primary Schools Athletics Association national championships next month.

The Rotuman lass has already set her sights on joining Adi Cakobau School next year.

Both Saverio and Tabakaucoro, who are class eight students, are being guided by former athlete Bola Taafo'ou.

The rising stars have also been doing their individual training on a daily basis. The duo have been consistent with their performance and officials are coinfident of a strong performance in the national primary schools athletics event.

"I want to finish off at Stella Maris with gold medals. Ever since class Three I have been winning medals and I look forward to another successful ourting" Saverio said.

The SMPS students will be aces in the Suva squad that begins preparations for the FMF-sponsored games.

Suva team co-ordinator Tui Maloni said his squad was aiming for another good year in athletics.

Last year Suva won the girls and was second overall behind Ra. Ra took out the boys event.

"We have only four weeks for preparations left," the Raiwaqa Primary School teacher said.

"For us it's back to preparing our final team list that should be finalised handed in this Friday. We will confirm both the list and the coaching staff by Friday also." The Suva team will be use the Bible verse from Philippians 3:14 to inspire them during the stiff competitions.

From Alan & Jan in Honolulu (16 October 2006)

Google Earth has recently upgraded their satellite imagery of Rotuma and it is quite spectacular. You can now zoom in and see with considerable clarity individual buildings, and can almost count the coconut trees. It will give you a new appreciation of just how beautiful the island is.

Google Earth is a free, downloadable program. Once you have downloaded it, do a location search for "Rotuma, Fiji," and you will be transported across the globe to our magnificent island. It takes a little practice to learn how to zoom in and out, and to move the vantage point (you can actually do flyovers by tilting the angle), but it's well worth the trouble.

Check out a close up of Oinafa we downloaded from Google Earth.

From Fijitimes Online (12 October 2006)

Freddy Kafoa: An island, rugby and hope

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

From Fiji Daily Post (6 October 2006, posted 9 October)

Teams arrive for meet

THE 18 participating teams at this year's annual Rotuma sports day have arrived.
The three-day tourney begins tomorrow and ends on Monday in Suva at the Veiuto Grounds.

Tournament organiser, Freddy Kafoa, confirmed this yesterday that last year’s winners Lautoka will have a hard time this year after Suva, Nadi, and New Zealand have thrown in their bid to take out the top prizes up for grabs.

The Maliha team from New Zealand already arrived yesterday while the Western teams are expected to check in today.

The teams will be participating in two different sports, rugby and netball and organisers are keeping their fingers crossed for good weather in the Capital City.

"The meet is mainly for the Rotuman community to get together and meet each other," he said.

"Hosts Suva will field 12 teams in which six will contest for netball and the other six in the rugby field."

He added that the event, which was held in Lautoka was hailed as one of the best organised in recent years but further said that Suva will be a different place altogether.

"Lautoka will field four teams and so will Nadi but the New Zealanders will be the ones to look out for this weekend."

By Isaac Lal

From Fijitimes Online (9 October 2006)

Concern over Rotuma water

by Frederica Elbourne

MYSTERY surrounds allegations that piped water on the island of Rotuma is contaminated.

The allegations came to light after some residents on Rotuma requested their relatives on the mainland to arrange for water tanks for them to collect rain water.

Minister for Public Works Robin Irwin and Health Minister Doctor Gunasagaran Gounder were both unaware of the matter when contacted yesterday but said they would look into the issue in the days ahead.

Two families at Tuakoi Village in Rotuma told Fiji Times that precautionary measures were being taken over the consumption of piped water.

They said all drinking water was now being boiled.

The family members requested that their identities be withheld because "things are different in Rotuma".

One family claimed that the water treatment plant on the island was not well maintained, which had sparked the concern over health and safety.

Numerous attempts to gather comments from the Rotuma hospital, the Ahau Government Station, the District Office and the PWD department were futile.

A concerned Rotuman in Suva claimed his children on Rotuma were told by an official that water on the island was unfit for human consumption.

From Elisapeti Inia in Suva (7 September 2006, posted 8 October)

In preparation for the Methodist Conference in August, we started our taumaka af hafu because we composed the maka in Rotuman and had to teach the Suva people. Gagaj Tamanao, who composed the sua and tipa, could not come, but we tried our best. The Suva choir really helped us, not only in the hafa, but in our anthem, too. We joined the Suva choir in singing with them, in the men’s choir, the women’s choir, and combined choir (division) in the anthem and ka'pelu. The taumaka were on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday afternoons. The ka'pelu practices were on Friday afternoon, the hafa on Saturday afternoon and the other afternoons for anthems. Wednesday was the only free day. After church (7 a.m.), there was taumaka for the women’s choir. It went on until the Solevu week (13 - 19 August).

On Sunday the 13th, the solos, duets, trios and quartets sang their pieces. The service was at 1 p.m. Gagaj Markav and Itu'ti'u representatives in Suva brought their contribution of $16,741, the Dilkusha Rotuman Congregation $20,000, and Rotuma $32,000. Contributions from other Rotumans in Fiji and overseas brought the total up to $343,000.  The day started off with light rain showers, but when it was time for us to step out to the muddy ground there was no more rain and the weather remained fine for the rest of the week, and all the choirs enjoyed their singing and na te.

During the conference week at Bau Island, all the Rotumans were billeted at Cautata, a very large village with a population of a thousand people living in 200 good houses, for two weeks. The Suva, Lomaiviti and Rotuman people who came to the conference and Solevu stayed at Cautata.

For the first week of our stay there, we went to our singing competition, which was held at Ratu Cakabau Park in Nausori. The new Rewa Bridge was opened on 17 August, and we went over it on 18 August on our way to the Solevu. The opening of the Solevu was at 11:30am instead of 10am. The Rotumans went first to Churchward Chapel for a half-hour worship and thanksgiving before boarding nine buses to Ratu Cakabau Park. At first we Rotumans filled up the central part of one side, where spectators used to sit. There we sang a few hymns (ka'pel) while waiting for the Fijians to finish decorating the dais for the VIPs. It was ready at 11:00 a.m. when the procession of the fekau and chiefs took place. After they were seated the kato'aga began with a prayer, followed by all the Fijian ceremonies, after which they danced for us. Our combined choir brought rolls and rolls of materials of all colours to “fakawela” (unroll the rolled materials and encircle the dancers with them). The girls went on and on doing fakawela until the dance finished, but the rolls of material seemed to flow to the dancers. The Fijians presented to the Rotumans their gifts: a very big pile of taro, a huge hog, rolled mats, 100 bags of flour, 100 bags of rice, 100 bags of sugar, 100 cartons of soap, 100 drums of kerosene, a koua of taro, roasted cows, pigs, chickens and fish. This koua we used after the opening of the Solevu for our lunch and we all came back to Churchward Chapel and had our meal together at the Churchward Hall and took plastic bags full of baked food home. The stock of flour, sugar, and soap were distributed to all divisions: Oinafa, Malhaha, Motusa, and Churchward Chapel. Our shares were brought to Rotuma and distributed to our congregation -- not only to the Methodists, but to the Catholics, too.

After all the Fijian ceremonies it was our turn to open the Solevu by presenting our dance, the biggest hafa I ever saw, so beautiful with their white costumes and black skirts of rauvaru. It was quite a sight to see the rows and rows of the dancers stand up from their seats in the pavilion and march down to the field. The ground was muddy and the clean bare feet of the dancers seemed to be enveloped by mud before they reached the front of the dais and sat on the prepared canvas, which was spread over the ground by our lads for the tautoga. The dance was good because the rain miraculously ceased at the time we stepped out to the ground and the heavens held up the rain for the rest of the two weeks. After the tautoga we presented the food. The taro arranged on the ground looked more like a real garden, with leaves so fresh and green, standing upright -- afe i'in sema 'e kau, skinned and stacked beside the 'afe of taro and a big hog, cartons of corned beef and a big kava plant. The women presented 8 apei and 25 'eap ma 'on fava, and 1 ag rua. After the la'o had put down the mats in front of the VIPs, Gagaj Maraf, Gagaj Markav, and Gagaj Fakaru'etoag presented a huge cheque of $343,000 on top of an apei with an 'eap ma 'on fava underneath. After the President of the Methodist Church of Fiji and Rotuma took the apei from the three chiefs and thanked the people of Rotuma, 7 bundles of tabua (called 7 vulo) were presented to us. Seven men, one from each district, were sent to receive the 7 vulo from the church as a token of thanks to the Rotumans for opening the Solevu (following a week of fund raising by choirs, stalls, etc.) with $343,000. After all this the crowd was dismissed for lunch around 2 p.m. and we got up from the ground to the buses for Suva where we had lunch at Churchward Hall. This all happened on Friday the 18th of August.

On Sunday, the 20th, the service at Churchward Chapel started at 10 a.m. All our prepared songs for the singing competition were sung for the congregation to hear.

In Cautata we lived in different houses but had our meals at a common ri hapa for all. There were 200 of us billeted there and all those who came visiting us were entitled to join us for a meal. There were three rows of long tables decorated with new cloth every day. The tables were laden with food -- an incredible variety of types of 'i'ini (pork, chicken, meat, and vegetables, taro, curried chicken and roti, and fish for dinner; for breakfast pawpaw & bananas, corn flakes and wheatbix with milk, pancakes, buns, dough boiled, cakes of all kinds, scones, etc.; for lunch taro, lovely 'ikou, Chinese cabbage, vegetable salads.  juice, coffee, tea, and Milo were served at breakfast and after dessert at night. People put on weight after two weeks of being so well fed at Cautata. Four groups of women did the work, each group took a day to decorate the ri hapa with new rolls of printed materials and satin cloth of all colours. All these decorations for a day were stripped off at 11 p.m. and given to the divisions in turn: Rotuma day one, Suva day two, Lomaiviti day three, Rotuma again on day five, and so on. At the end of two weeks we needed a truck to carry all our presents. Superintendent Maciu Gauna and his wife were presented with a new bed and many other gifts -- too much again. We Rotumans cannot be compared to the Cautata people; they are too good.

Bau, the chiefly island, was no longer strictly guarded; it was opened for visitors and the people spent a lot of money for the preparation of their houses and looking after people.

I think this will be my last conference. Let the younger generation take their turn in uplifting the church, etc. I have done my duty, but I don’t want to see people go too far in spending beyond their limit.

This is a year to be remembered by Rotumans as well as Fijians. The opening of the Solevu was really special; it was the first time the two races reciprocated one another in such a lavish way.

Coming back from Cautata we had only one week in Suva, then to Rotuma by Cagi mai Ba.

From Jeannette Hereniko in Honolulu (5 October 2006)

The individual edition of the Land Has Eyes DVD was released today, in conjunction with a showing on Hawaii Public Television. The price of the individual edition is $29.95 USD. The DVD can be purchased online from The Land Has Eyes Website.

From Etika Elaisa in Tonga (3 October 2006)

My name is Etika Elaisa and I am the youngest brother of Sarote, married to George Konrote. I work for Shell Pacific Islands, which is based in Tonga. I am president of the Tonga Rotuman Association, which I started in October last year. The vice-president is Selina Fusimalohi (le' on Sokra'a ma Makereta). Our treasurer is Metuisela Fiu (le' on Fiu ma Lili) and the secretary is Sumasafu Finau (le' on Optaie from Noatau).

The King of Tonga was buried on Tuesday, 19 September. A delegation came from Fiji for the funeral and the Rotumans in Tonga hosted the Chairman of the Great Council of Chiefs, Ratu Ovini Bokini and his wife. The Tui Cakau Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu stayed at my residence. The delegation arrived on Monday morning and we all went to the king's villa and made our presentation (combined Fijians, Indians, and Rotumans living in Tonga) with the delegation from Fiji. Following the presentation we hosted lunch for our visitors. After lunch they rested for about two hours; then we went sightseeing while dinner was prepared. The Tonga Fijians came in that night to visit their chiefs with some cooked food and were invited to join us for dinner. On Tuesday morning suckling pig (puaka tunu) was roasted for their breakfast--for the Tongans say if you come to Tonga and have not eaten puaka tunu you have not been to Tonga. The chiefs left for the funeral at 9am while lunch was being prepared. They came back to have a quick lunch and off to the airport for their return flight to Fiji.

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