News Page

News Archives

Website Contents

Archived News: April 2008

From Fiji Times Online (23 April 2008)

Airline subsidy on island routes

THE interim Government will subsidise Air Fiji Limited for the provision of services to the uneconomical routes of Cicia, Gau, Koro, Lakeba, Moala, Ono-i-Lau, Rotuma, and Vanuabalavu.

In a statement, it said the subsidy will be from June 1, 2007 to May 31, 2008.

Interim Minister for Foreign Affairs, International Co-operation and Civil Aviation Ratu Epeli Nailatikau said the 2003 Domestic Aviation Strategy Study report had recommended that an incentive be given to compensate air operators providing regular air services to remote islands in the form of a subsidy and on the basis of an open tender to all licensed air operators in Fiji.

"The subsidy was to be given to the successful applicant for periods of 12 months and which were reviewed annually."

He said the Air Transport Licensing Board awarded the tender to Air Fiji to provide air services to Vanuabalavu, Lakeba, Cicia, Rotuma, Moala, Koro, Ono-i-Lau and Gau, given the importance of air services in generating and promoting economic activities in outlying islands, especially on trade and eco-tourism.

From Akata Mose in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia (19 April 2008)

Hanisi and Terani Tan
Hanisi & Terani with their birthday cakes

My name is Akata Mose from Tuakoi village in Rotuma. My parents are Sakarie Mose from Pepjei and Marie Rogsehegu from Tuakoi. There's eight of us in the family, six sisters and two brothers. I have two sisters Julie & Maggie who are living in Brisbane, Australia and the rest are back in Fiji.

I've being living in Malaysia for the last 12 years. My husband is a Malaysian. His name is Cliff Tan and we have two children, named Hanisi Tan and Terani Tan.

On Saturday, 5 April 2008 we celebrated my children's bithday at my home in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia with friends from the Fiji Embassy and Malaysia. The Acting High Commissioner to Malaysia, Mrs Vani Samuwai attended the party.

Any Rotumans who would like to visit Malaysia sometime, please contact me at

Akata Mose and friends
Ellen (friend from Holland), Akata Mose & Acting High Commisioner to Malaysia Mrs Vani Samuwai
Major Vosacaike, Joe Waqa & Robert (friend from
Papaua New Guinea) enjoying kava

From Fiji Times Online (17 April 2008)

Confidence makes Maxine Inia

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

From Fiji Times Online (10 April 2008)

Oinafa is now a port of entry

THE Oinafa Wharf in Rotuma has been declared the international port of entry, following the interim Cabinet's approval this week.

This came as news to the Fiji Ports Corporation Limited chairman Semi Koroilavesau yesterday who said the last update over the matter at a board meeting was when Oinafa and demarcated areas would be declared a port of entry.

He said FPCL a commercial entity of the Government would have to weigh options over how they would generate income from Oinafa.

"It's an expensive exercise for FPCL especially a port with no income. One possibility is for Government to subsidise it. We will then show Government how we lose out every year and by how much to qualify this," Mr Koroilavesau said.

He said the initiative to open up Oinafa was a positive move to spread income generating activities from the main centres to the rural islands.

He said the idea behind opening Oinafa for export trade was not only to help Rotuma financially but also cater to islands like Tuvalu.

"Rotuma is abundant with root crops and fruits and it can maximise on this by exporting to Tuvalu which doesn't plan anything," Mr Koroilavesau said.

The question of fruit flies which Rotuma is known for is best answered by the need to have on-hand quarantine and customs officials stationed in Rotuma to address the matter before food is exported, he said.

From Fijilive (9 April 2008)

Oinafa, an international port of entry

The Oinafa Wharf on Rotuma has been declared an International Port of Entry.

Relevant government ministries and departments are now working to effect this declaration.

Cabinet based this decision on a submission by Interim Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama, who said the Rotuma Island Council requested the Government to declare a port in Rotuma to be a Port of Entry to enable the export of agricultural produce.

A task force has been set up to undertake consultations and a site visit to Rotuma to identify regulatory, policy and operational requirements in relation to the Port of Entry issue.

The Prime Minister said the Task Force recommended that the Oinafa Wharf and the demarcated areas will be declared a Port of Entry under the Seaports Management Act after the determination and clear demarcation of the Port boundaries.

Oinafa Wharf and demarcated areas will also be declared a Port of Entry under the Customs Act to facilitate the movement of goods and people in and out of Rotuma.

The Fiji Port Corporation Limited (FPCL) will be the operator of the Port as required under the Seaports Management Act.

The Civil Aviation Authority of the Fiji Islands (CAAFI) will issue the required licence to Airports Fiji Limited (AFL) to allow the Airport in Rotuma to operate as an international airport once the upgrading works have been completed.

Cabinet will soon consider the viability of declaring the port in Malau, Vanualevu, as an additional port of entry for the Northern Division.

From Fiji Times Online (9 April 2008)

Rotuma wharf declared a port of entry

The main wharf in Rotuma at Oinafa has been declared an International Port of Entry by Cabinet yesterday.

Relevant ministries and departments will now undertake the necessary work to effect this declaration.

Cabinet based this decision on a submission by interim Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama, who said the Rotuma Island Council had last year asked the interim Government to declare Oinafa a port of entry to enable the export of agricultural produce.

A task force constituting all relevant stakeholders was set up to undertake wide consultations and a site visit to Rotuma to identify all regulatory, policy and operational requirements in relation to the Port of Entry issue and agreed to focus on the broader perspective of establishing an enabling environment to facilitate trade.

From Fiji Times Online (5 April 2008)

Raise your voices, youths urged

THE National Youth Advisory Board hopes to work with policy makers in the near future concerning decision making for young people in the country.

The three-day consultation for the NYAB this week has offered many avenues for improvement for members of the consultation group.

Newly-elected vice-chairperson Emily Erasito said the group would also be counting on more youth participation in addressing issues they face.

Ms Erasito is the youth representative for Rotuman youths on the island.

"We would like to hear more of youths' voices because this is the only way we can be informed about issues of importance to them," Ms Erasito said.

In the same NYAB consultation, director for Youth and Sports Josefa Matau said young people's participation in decision making and the need for their continued development was seen by all stakeholders including international community as a critical means to addressing youth issues.

"On the domestic front the ministry had sought cabinet's approval in 2005 for a National Youth Advisory Policy that laid the foundation for the establishment of the National Youth Advisory Board. An instrument that I believe has a great potential to influence decision-making processes," Mr Matau said.

He said similar consultative mechanisms such as the NYAB were prevalent in countries around the world.

Mr Matau said young people were the best qualified to talk about problems that affect themselves.

"Young people can provide effective solutions to problems."

From Shirley Claire O`Grady in Brisbane, Queensland (3 April 2008)

Maori installation ceremony reveals Rotuman history

At a recent haakari (Maori feast) held in Redcliffe city near Brisbane, Australia, an interesting historical incident involving the island of Rotuma was revealed. At the event, a 75 year-old Suva-born great-grandfather of Rotuman descent, Vaivao John Elcombe Antonio (better known as John Antonio), was inducted a Maori elder (kaumatua) of the Ngati Kuta and Ngati Uru subtribes of the Ngapuhi, one of New Zealand`s largest and best-known North Island Maori tribes.

Speaking in Maori during the ceremony, Mr. Antonio greeted the guests traditionally and introduced himself, paying tribute to his indigenous New Zealand ancestors and explaining his roots.

"My great-grandfather on my mother`s side, Hamone Peter (Simon Peter), whose real name was Haehae, and his wife, Maramakoe, were both Christians who originally hailed from Kaeo (the birthplace of New Zealand Methodism). They were the first Polynesians to introduce Wesleyan/Methodist Christianity to Rotuma, in about 1827.

They were amongst a group of Maori who were rescued from a drifting fishing canoe by the whaler, Caroline, off the west coast of Hokianga on New Zealand`s North Island. The Maori pleaded with the captain of the ship to be taken ashore but without success. Instead, the vessel headed north with her passengers. During the voyage a conflict occurred aboard between the crew and the Maori men due to jealousy and anger as the crew flirted with the Maori women. For this reason, the captain had no alternative but to disembark the Maori on the nearest land, which was Rotuma."

Mr Antonio is also an elder of one of Rotuma`s largest clans of Noa`tau, the Pavau tribe. He is well-known to the Rotumans as the  'stamp man', nicknamed because of his determination, passion and success in pursuing the British Government, and the then Fiji colonial administration, to issue Fijian postage stamps of Rotuman design. The first stamp, issued in 1966,  commemorated the 175th Anniversary of the European discovery of Rotuma, and in 1991 a stamp was issued to celebrate the island`s bicentenary of its discovery by Captain Edwards of HMS Pandora.

A well-known Australian-Fijian in Redcliffe city, last year John Antonio was included in the Who`s Who in Queensland inaugural edition alongside 4000 other notable Queenslanders whose endeavours have significantly shaped the community.

He is a recipient of the Queensland State Government ethnic community service award (ECS, in 1996) and medal of the order of Australia (OAM, in 1998) for his service in multiculturalism. He was presented the Quest Business Achievers Award in 2005 for his long and successful service as a civil marriage celebrant to his community and beyond.

Addendum by Shirley O'Grady

Hamone Pita (Simon Peter), real name Haehae and spouse Maramakoe were not John Antonio's great grandparents but his great-great-grandparents. His great-grandparents were Marangarangi (a daughter of Haehae and Maramakoe) and a Frenchman, capitaine Marcieu D`Trémelin of the ship Bayannaise who visited Rotuma in 1828. The couple had a love child named Rarafu Fonomanu who married Makereta Ruatangaire. One of their children was Ane or Anehana Rejeli (John`s mother).

The first European missionaries on Rotuma, New Zealanders Rev.William and Elizabeth Fletcher started the research on the Maori and Christianity in Rotuma (1865-74). It was later carried out by Maori Anthropologist Sir Peter Buck of Hawai'i's Bishop Museum, specifically concentrating on the Maori people, their offsprings and tribes on Rotuma. In 1927 he traced Ane Rejeli who was at the time living in Nukunuku village, Kadavu.

Although, it was recorded that the Maori were the first to introduce Christianity to Rotuma, their attempt to convert the Rotumans was unsuccessful, until the arrival in 1845, of a Fijian, two Tongans and a Rotuman who were trained Wesleyan lay preachers from Tonga.

Reference: A verbal family genealogy; extracts from early European missionaries and writers; verbal & non-verbal traditional Maori & Rotuman songs & sayings; family, place & tribal names; results of research conducted at local and overseas archives, libraries, museums & Catholic and Methodist historic societies; A Short History of Rotuma by W.J.E. Eason, and Family Affair by G.G. Carter.

News Page

News Archives

Website Contents