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Archived News: April 2010

From Mark Vaurasi in Auckland (26 April 2010)

ANZAC Day is a special one on the Kiwi/Rotuma calendar. It is a day when we reflect on our deep connections to our nation and what it means to be 'Kiwi' and Rotuman, and we join the public in remembering the sacrifice made by those who have, and those who continue to serve our countries NEW ZEALAND and ROTUMA. Kautane and I and some members of the new Auckland Rotuman Methodist Kingsland Congregation attended various ANZAC Day Services at Dawn, followed by our normal Sunday Church service on 25 April, in Kingsland, at 11:30 am. This service was conducted by Mrs Olivia Vea.

Our new Church Committee was elected recently and they are:

  • Chairperson - Susau Strickland
  • Secretary - Patricia Strickland
  • Assistant Secretary - Mark Vaurasi
  • Treasurer – Patrick (Moto) Penjueli
  • Assistant Treasurer - Terotume Muaror
  • Recorder/Banker - Susau Strickland
  • Assistant – Kautane Vaurasi
  • Women’s Fellowship - Tina Khan
  • Tuirara - Sopapelu Samisoni
  • Sunday School and Youth - Te Rito Peyroux
  • Assistant Sunday school - Kiti Emberson
  • South Group Leader and Assistant Tuirara - Hiagi Samisoni
  • Church ‘caretakers’ - Grace and Konrote Tonu

A working bee was organised by Grace and Kon on Saturday morning 24 April where families got together and gave the church a much needed clean up, inside and outside, followed by morning tea (brunch). It was great to see our church elders in attendance and helping out with the cleaning up, with special mention of ö'hönta Susau Strickland, Susana Makrava (late Visanti’s wife), Jioje Fatiaki, Tina Khan ma ö’fata Freddy Fatiaki. Thanks also to friends/families; Visoni, Lusia & Jane Samisoni, Kava, Thomas, John, Tina, Kautane, Te Rito and all the children.

Our Church Congregation will be celebrating 21 years of its Fellowship inception in New Zealand, thanks mainly to the early Missionary work, visions and foresight of the late Doctor Reverend Jione Lagi (also General Secretary of Methodist Church in Fiji and Rotuma). His influence has been profound and he was able to establish a bridge between all Rotuman people, various churches, NZ culture, Rotuman and Fijian cultures, that formed what was then known in Aotearoa as Rotumaness.

Guests, friends and families are invited to celebrate this memorable occasion on Sunday, 27 July 2010. Prior to that, we will be celebrating Mothers Day on Sunday 9 May 2010 in Kingsland at 11:30 am. Should you require further information, please do not hesitate to contact our friendly new committee.

The photo below is of our congregation; I would like to acknowledge that there are other church families and friends who are not in the photo, like: Freddy and Kiti Emberson's family, which includes Veragtire Suliana (Kiti’s dad); Grace and Kon Tonu; Kautane Vaurasi; Terotume Muaror; Jieni and the Homa Family; Fuata and the Tivaknoa family; Fiu Muaror and Tipo (Tippy) and her family. My apologies if I have missed some names.

Trinity congregation

News from Queensland, Australia (25 April 2010)

Noritta Morseu-Diop

Congratulations to Noritta Morseu-Diop, who submitted her doctoral dissertation on 13 April 2010 at the University of Queensland, which celebrated its 100th birthday on the 16 April 2010. Noritta is a descendant of George Morseu, who was born in 1863 in Rotuma and died on 4 September 1912 in the Torres Strait, where he was also known as Sweeney Morseu, Rocky Rotumah or George Rotumah. He
married a Murray Islands woman named Wazan, and had six children by her. Noritta is his great-granddaughter.

Noritta will be the first Indigenous Australian to graduate from the School of Social Work and Human Services with a PhD and the first Torres Strait Islander woman, if not the first Torres Strait Islander, to graduate from the University of Queensland with a PhD in its 100 years of operation. Her brother, Danny Morseu, was a two-time olympian for the Australia national basketball team and is currently married to Seforosa Croker, daughter of Ian and Flora Croker of Juju, Rotuma.

News from Rotuma (16 April 2010)

Gagaj Kausiriaf, the gagaj 'es itu'u of Oinafa, died after a long illness on Thursday, 8 April. He was born Jione Fereti and succeeded Gagaj Tokaniua in the 1960s. His wife, Makereta Nine, survives him.

Gagaj Kausiriaf and Makereta

A young subchief from Lopta has been chosen to succeed him and will be installed as the next chief of Oinafa. His name is Gagaj Taipo (Visanti) Susau, the younger brother of Fred Susau, a former district officer of Rotuma and a first cousin to Marieta Rigamoto, a former MP.

From Alan Howard in Honolulu (14 April 2010)

On Saturday, 3 April, family and close friends of Elisapeti Kafonika Fiu Inia marked the first anniversary of her passing with a höt`ak hafu ceremony in Suva. Kainaga from Australia and New Zealand attended and celebrated the life of this remarkable woman. See photos

Elizabeth Kafonika was born to Karisto Vai and Kijiana Surkafa Fiu from the village of Savlei. She was the 5th of 6 children. She attended Davuilevu Teacher's Training Institution, where her future husband, Wilson Inia was teaching. After two years at the Teacher’s Training Institution, she enrolled at Lelean Memorial School in Davuilevu and passed the Senior Cambridge Exam in 1945. She was the first Rotuman woman to become a certified teacher.

She and Wilson were married in Savlei on March 18, 1947, on her 22nd birthday. After five years teaching at Richmond Methodist High School in Kadavu, Elisapeti and Wilson returned to Rotuma in 1953 where they started Rotuma High School in Malhaha. In 1968, Wilson retired as Headmaster of Rotuma High School and they moved to Savlei, Elizabeth's home village, where she lived until the end of 2008 when illness necessitated a move to Suva where she was looked after by her children and grandchildren.

Elisapeti was active in women's affairs in Rotuma and respresented Rotuma at a number of national and international conferences. She was a lay preacher in the Methodist Church, a justice of the peace, and was generally was recognized as a leading authority on Rotuman language and culture. She developed Rotuman language materials for the schools in Fiji and Rotuma, and authored two books concerning Rotuman culture—Fäeag ‘es Fūaga: Rotuman Proverbs and Kato‘aga: Rotuman Ceremonies. She was also a co-author of A New Rotuman Dictionary. These are works that will be treasured by future generations of Rotumans as a link to their roots. She also composed many songs and poems in the Rotuman language.

Elisapeti was elected as a representative from the district of Itu‘ti‘u to the Rotuman Council; she was the only woman ever to have served in that capacity.

She is survived by daughters Betty and Susana; son Savea; grandchildren Sukafa, Kafoa, Tifare, Marina, Elizabeth, Lisa, Rani, Harina; and great-grandchild Richard.

Slideshow of photos honoring Elisapeti

From Mojito Mua in Rotuma (13 April 2010)

Rotuma High School held an induction ceremony for prefects on Monday, 22 February, 2010.

Chief guests were Fekau Emotama Pene and District Officer Rotuma, Mr William Ting. Other invited guests were parents of the prefects who were privileged to pin on the prefect badge for their child. Photos

I hope this will open up a separate section for the school where past and present scholars can contribute. I believe plans are in place to have the school connected to internet services.

Note: As webmaster, I would be happy to create a section on this website devoted to Rotuma High School. I therefore invite submissions from current students and alumni.

Alan Howard

From Fiji Times Online (13 April 2010)

Weatherman keeps tab on abnormal low tide

by Mereseini Marau

THE Fiji Meteorological Service has noted an abnormally low sea level in Rotuma.

Meteorology director Rajendra Prasad said the department had come up with two observations which included the negative sea level anomaly and the low astronomical tide.

He said that there was a negative sea level anomaly with a negative 30-centimetre present in the Rotuma area.

And he believed that it was because of the El Nino phenomena.

"This is most likely due to the El Nino phenomena and the associate recent South Pacific Convergence Zone and tropical cyclone activity," he said.

Mr Prasad said that El Nino itself caused piling of water which is positive sea-level anomaly in the eastern equatorial Pacific and lowering of sea level - negative anomaly- in the western equatorial Pacific.

"This is because of westerly wind burst that is characteristic of moderate to strong El Nino," he said.

Mr Prasad said that winds associated with weather systems such as tropical cyclones and depressions could further influence the sea level by driving the surface waters in certain directions. "The effect is only temporary," he said.

Mr Prasad said that Fiji was going through a period of rather low astronomical tide level.

The lowest for Lautoka was 0.27m on March 31.

Emerging Pacific Leaders' Dialogue 2010 [EPLD 2010] (5 April 2010)

From 8 through 24 March 2010, 120 plus participants from 19 countries attended the second Emerging Pacific Leaders' Dialogue 2010. Edwin Aisake was selected alongside 13 other representatives from Fiji to attend this conference. The EPLD 2010 is an event of national and regional significance. The conference is intended to strengthen the capacity of the region's future leaders to manage challenges collaboratively, positively and creatively. EPLD 2010 was staged by the Pacific Leadership Foundation (PLF) through Commonwealth Study Conferences (Australia) Inc. Along with the EPLD theme “Navigating our Future Together” elements from EPLD objectives are to:

  • Develop participants leadership skills and broaden their horizons;
  • Expose participants to diverse cultures and increase their awareness of emerging challenges facing the region;
  • Enhance communication, collaborative problem solving and decision-making amongst future leaders;
  • Build enduring relationships across communities, sectors and nations by creatingan active and influential alumni network; and
  • Promote a culture of leadership in the Pacific that is aligned with democratic values and good governance.

Following the opening sessions in Samoa, ten study groups departed to their host country for a week-long exercise to explore and understand further the issues and challenges relating to: Sustainable Economic Growth and Business in the Pacific, Environment and Climate Change, Governance and Regional Cooperation, Health and Education and Security and Stability.

Attending as Liaison Officer for the Fiji study group, Edwin Aisake accompanied a group of eleven other regional participants for this week-long study tour before heading to Tonga for the closing plenary sessions. The culmination of the conference was the report-back presentations with the Director of USP's Institute of Education, Dr. 'Ana Maui Taufe'ulungaki as Conference Chair and HRH The Princess Royal, Princess Anne providing expert commentary.

The conference was indeed a rewarding learning experience with the EPLD 2010 alumni fostering long-term relationships through a resourceful network.

Edwin Aisake (2nd from the right) and fellow representatives from Fiji
Edwin Aisake and members of the Fiji Study Tour Group debrief with the Tongan Prime Minister Hon Dr Feleti Sevele during the closing held in Tonga

From Sanimeli Maraf in Rotuma (March 12, posted 4 April 2010)

In February the "Westerland" brought our new superintendent for Rotuma Division, the Reverend Emotoma Pene and his wife Akanisi. She's from Oinafa. We're so blessed to have such a true ambassador of Christ whom we believe was sent by God to rescue so many of us from our burden of sin. This minister works so hard. From Ash Wednesday through 40 days Lent until Easter time, we have an Easter camp at Faioa (Saione Church). We have Bible study 6 days a week; from 5am to 6am prayer meetings and again from 7pm to 8 pm.

Now the hanua ma Rotuma garue 'agesea. Everyone is filled with the Holy Spirit and enjoys attending these meetings, which we have never done before. Gagaj Maraf and I are so happy for the people who enjoy working together because of this minister. Work has been started on the Fletcher Bible School building in Faioa. Hopefully soon we can have a library and study rooms for everyone.

On January 25th we celebrated Gagaj Maraf's 81st birthday here at Makila, Noatau. He in good health for which we thank our almighty God. He attends the evening Bible study sessions and enjoys them very much.

So far, the lamp posts for electricity go from Ahau to the airport and as far as Malhaha High School. Eventually they will reach around the island. Thanks to the PWD men from Suva who have worked so hard digging those posts and doing the wiring; it's not an easy job. The districts have turns in supplying food to help them out. The wharf has its lights working and it's beautiful at night time.

Work on the airport will start soon and hopefully it will be ready by the end of this year. On this Sunday (14th of March) the "Sullivan" boat, a big comfortable boat, arrives bringing cargo and materials for the new building in Ahau. There will be a double story building for different department offices under one roof.

Addendum (5 May) We are in the second week of art classes, painting watercolours and and doing all kinds of creative work for those interested in that line. Materials are provided by the arts teacher, Michael Penamena, an ex-Malhaha High School student. There will be carving, ladies handicrafts and many other activities for those interested.