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Archived News: March 2008

From Yarra Theological Union, Victoria Australia (31 March 2008)

On Saturday 8 March, Hiagi Motofaga was ordained to the Catholic diaconate and made his Perpetual Profession of Vows with the Society of the Divine Word Missionaries (SVDs). Hiagi is at Dorish Maru College, the seminary for the order of SVDs and a student at Yarra Theological Union.

From Suva, Fiji (12 March 2008)

Gagaj Kauturaf
Gagaj Kauturaf in 1998

Gagaj Kauturaf died in Suva on 1 March at the age of ninety-four. The eldest son of Gagaj Auri Taito Kauturaf from Lopta, and Semantafa from Malhaha, Aisake Viliama (his birth name) was born in Davuilevu on 15 May 1913.  He married Kauata Pasepa of Oinafa in February 1939 and they had six childeren, Emeli Kafoa, Marieta, Alfereti Semesi, Tua Misau, Fuata Kafoa, and Rita Unaisi.

He attended Davuilevu Teacher Training Institute and became a teacher. Retired since 1973, he remained a pillar of the Rotuman community until the end. Active in the Methodist Church and a leader within Rotuman organizations in Fiji, he also did his utmost to promote Rotuman participation in competitive sports. He was one of the founders of the Sarafui Sports Club, which in the 1950s and 1960s attracted many Rotuman youths into netball, rugby and cricket. 

As Fatiaki Misau said in his eulogy at the funeral, Gagaj Kauturaf was a father figure to many who knew him. His passing is a great loss to the Rotuman community. However, his spirit lives on in his children, his students, and all those he influenced with the example of a life well lived.

From Alan and Jan in Honolulu (9 March 2008)

We would like to sincerely thank all the kind people who hosted us during our recent visit to Australia and New Zealand. We went to Australia to attend a conference of the Association for Social Anthropology in Oceania (ASAO), which was held in Canberra from 12-16 February, but took time to visit with Rotumans in Sydney, Brisbane, and Wellington, New Zealand.

On 1 February we arrived in Sydney, where we stayed with Steve and Meseini Walker. They graciously hosted a gathering of many of our dear friends in the Sydney area on Saturday, 2 February, and took us to the Rotuman service at Drummoyne Church on Sunday to meet others. (photos)

On Monday, 4 February we flew to Wellington, New Zealand, where we stayed with Arthur and Ravai Shaw, and our sigoa, Hatamara. It is always such a pleasure for us to spend time with "our family in Wellington" and especially to see our sigoa growing into a beautiful and exceptionally bright child (not that we're biased, of course). The Shaws hosted a gathering of Rotumans in the Wellington area and, as always at Rotuman gatherings, the food was both plentiful and exceptionally delicious. (photos)

On Friday, 8 February, we left Wellington for Brisbane, where we were hosted by Marie Howard. Martoa Dickinson, one of our dear friends from Sydney, flew up to Brisbane and stayed with us. On Saturday, we were honoured at a gathering at which several of our old friends were present, but since this was our first visit to Brisbane, we met quite a few new folks and made new friends. One of the highlights of our visit was meeting Sylvia Joe, who took Alan to her club for a round of golf. Sylvia is not only a fabulous golfer, but she had us in stitches laughing at her hilarious stories. (photos)

We left for Canberra on Tuesday, 12 February, to attend the conference, but while there we were invited to dinner with the Fatiaki family at the home of Violet and Steve Bray, with Violet's brothers Seforana and Sakimi and their families. (photos)

From Fiji Times Online (5 March 2008)

Workboats Fiji to remove vessel

Bulou Ni Ceva
The Bulou Ni Ceva at Oinafa jetty in Rotuma

Workboats Fiji has been contracted to remove the vessel Bulou Ni Ceva from Onafia Jetty in Rotuma, says director Workboats Fiji, Shubnum Bibi.

In a statement yesterday, Workboats Fiji denied claims that little was being done about the state of the vessel.

"There has been speculation that little is being done about it. We deny this and can provide details of our actions," said Mr Bibi.

He said Workboats Fiji was approved by the Ministry of Transport to remove the vessel for sinking on December 20 last year.

Workboats Fiji was supposed to start work on the derelict ship on January 8 but departed for Rotuma two days later because of Cyclone Gene.

"Workboats crew evaluated the status of the vessel, took pictures, conducted under water survey for holes and further damage to the hull structure," he said.

Crew discovered that the vessel listed on the starboard side, that the Ground Deck was full of water, the cargo hold half full of sand, there were further holes at the water line, making salvage more difficult and that the hull had sunk in about two meters of sand.

Workboats Fiji would also prepare the necessary "Risk Assessment Form" and "Potential Hazard Materials Form" required by the Department of Environments before sinking.

He said the crew would travel to Rotuma on March 14-18 to complete patching and pumping the vessel before towing it for disposal by sinking it in an environmentally safe place. "Lifting and pumping the vessel in this condition will take time, It is a hazardous operation and the safety of the crew and other workers is paramount.

"We have to work within a budget and complete the work within the parameters set by the ministry," he said.

In early reports it said there were 51 derelict vessels in the Suva harbour that needed to be removed including the Bulou Ni Ceva.

It said to tow and sink one fishing boat in the deep sea costs between $40,000 and $50,000 and to dispose of all 51 vessels will cost $2.5million and that money is unavailable under the current economic climate.

It also said shipping operators remove all derelicts left at routes they service such as the Bulou ni Ceva in Rotuma.

Failure to do so within a grace period should automatically incur a fine.

The Bulou Ni Ceva has been stuck in Rotuma since 2006.

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