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Archived News: September 2009

From John Bennett in Suva (30 September 2009)

The tsunami had little effect on the islands in Fiji. Cikobia Island witnessed the effect of the earthquake when waves arrived on their shores less than two hours after the quake. Vanuabalavu in northern Lau also reported that while there was no damage or loss of life on the Island there was a wave surge which cast a multitude of fish onto the east facing shores.

Yesterday morning residents on Rotuma were instructed to seek higher land for their own safety. Villagers in Itu'muta transplanted themselves to a knoll behind Maftoa known as Fua, near Laglulu Me'mea, just above the village. As of this evening they were instructed to remain there until further notice. They have pitched a tent there for shelter and the men are cooking for everyone at the site. Elderly members of the district remain at the community hall.

Last night the moon shown over Maka Bay and the silence was ominous. Before long waves could be heard collapsing onto the reef along the coast from Faguta. Things should return to normal by tomorrow.

From TVNZ (30 September 2009)

Tsunami Report

A report from the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said waves [from the tsunami that caused so much damage and loss of life in Samoa] had reached the Lau Group, Rotuma, Vanua Levu and Taveuni islands in Fiji, but that no damage had been reported.

From Fiji Times Online (28 September 2009)

Act submissions

THE collection of submissions for amendment to the Rotuma Act and Rotuma Lands Act has been positive, says the chairman of the review team, Fatiaki Misau. About 30 written submissions and a number of oral submissions have been received by the review team. Mr Misau said they expect to receive more written submissions in the coming weeks. He said they are now working on analysing the submissions to see if there was a need to return to some divisions for more consultation. The committee has been given until December to conduct a review of the two legislations.

From Monifa Fiu in Suva (18 September 2009)

With support from the Council of Rotuma, LäjeRotuma Initiative (LRI) plans to conduct the first ever elders' stakeholder biovisioning exercise in Rotuma, bringing together a wide range of community group representatives with the specific task of sharing and learning about our island home, which we see as one part of a global village! It has always been a common sentiment that even though the sea isolates Rotuma from mainland Fiji and the rest of the world, we must embrace changes brought on by development opportunities yet remain grounded in knowledge of our natural heritage and cultural identity.

Since its inception in 2002, LäjeRotuma has evolved from a single focus on environmental education to a vision of maximizing sustainable development options for Rotuma and her people as the island becomes an international port of entry.

The necessary first step in developing a biovision for Rotuma in the throes of such development is to define learning goals and objectives which will guide LäjeRotuma in designing its next five-year Strategic Action Plan (2010-2015) and will:

  • Strengthen natural resource management of the Rotuma community living on the island, for the benefit of current and future generation;
  • Provide access to information for the island community and provide innovative activities and programs that encourage community and school participation on Rotuma;
  • Encourage the creation of sustainable livelihood options for the improvement of standards of living be education and awareness in matters of self-help;
  • Further the development of youth, women, and all communities on Rotuma;
  • Encourage the full participation of Rotuman individuals and communities living away from the home island in the Initiative’s plans and actions

A draft of the biovisioning programme and copies of the LRI Factsheet are available for downloading in PDF format.

From Akesa Penjueli in Suva (17 September 2009)

‘Ạus noa’ia ‘e mạuri  ko gagaj.

A Rotuman Language Workshop for Rotuman Primary teachers (Suva) was coordinated and facilitated by the Education Officer Rotuman from Curriculum Development Unit, Suva.

The workshop was launched by Apao Solomone (Head of the Professional Development Unit–Fiji Ministry of Education).
We were informed that this government has made it a compulsory policy that all vernaculars are to be taught in all schools in Fiji, even if there is only one Rotuman or part-Rotuman student. It is now compulsory that schools provide class time or that a Rotuman teacher be available to teach the vernacular. Where there is no Rotuman teacher but the interest is there, then the Ministry of Education must be informed or the Curriculum Development Unit Education Officer Rotuman. We are so glad and excited about it.
There were ten participants and we had two days of fun and work. The Rotuman teachers reviewed the Class 3 (Rotuma 3) Pupils Book. More enriching activities were added with some songs/poems and drama.
We had the Vice-Principal from Rotuma, Mrs Fesaitu Isimeli, Losa (stranded from Rotuma). She updated us with regard to Rotuma’s current affairs and even taught/made us sing a tipa from Jone Tanu’s retirement kato‘aga.  I thank Gagaj Tamanao of Itu‘muta for the excellent manatu.

The teachers from this workshop also wished to acknowledge Jone Tanu and his leadership as a principal of Rotuma High School. We commend him for all those years of excellent academic results, etc.
We also thank God for these two days.  

From Radio Fiji (12 September 2009)

Island community thanks members

The Rotuman Methodist community in Suva held a thanksgiving service today at their Chapel in Flagstaff.

Church Treasurer Alfred Tuatoko says that this function has been prepared to thank all its church members for their kindly donation and support for the building of their church fences.

Tuatoko says the total amount used for the fence was $43,863 which covers about two acres of land.

He says they had started collecting money for the fence in May.

Tuatoko says there was no paid employment for this project, only church members helping and the ladies preparing meals every day.

He adds this was all made possible through God.

From Fijilive (12 September 2009)

Brawl claims life in Rotuma

In a case of trouble in paradise, police in Rotuma are on full alert after a drinking party gone wrong claimed the life of a 25-year-old man.

The deceased was part of a group of men consuming alcohol on Thursday night when he was brutally assaulted.

Police spokesman Sergeant Suliano Tevita confirmed that a group of youths were drinking at a house when an argument developed between them.

The argument then developed into a brawl and the victim was allegedly assaulted.

He was taken to the Rotuma hospital but was pronounced dead on arrival.

Tevita said police are now questioning all those involved in the incident and if the need arises, police chiefs will consider deploying more officers to Rotuma.


From Fort McMurray Today (4 September 2009)

College’s multicultural day serves up global cuisine, dances

by Ashley Crewe

It was a lunch hour of boerewors, belly dancing and Pakistani pop music at Keyano Community College [in Fort McMurray, Canada] yesterday as part of Orientation Week 2009.

Outside in the Doug MacRae Park, students and staff were fed a South African spread cooked up by local resident and caterer Vilia Tosio. For $5 a plate, the meal included boerewors or traditional sausage, koeksister, which is deep-fried twisted dough dipped in syrup and Hertzog koekies, which are jam and coconut tartlets.

Inside, Keyano’s study lounge was filled with onlookers and passersby while the Rotuma Pua Mana dance troupe performed traditional Hawaiian and Tahitian dances, girls from the Pakistan Canada Association shared a famous Pakistani pop song and Keyano staff member Reinalie Jorolan showcased a tribal belly dance.

“Over the past few years, the diversity of students has grown as it has in the city, and it’s time to start celebrating that,” said Natasha John-Hurford, co-chairwoman of the 2009 orientation committee.