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Archived News: June 2011

From Rowena Semesi, Vafo'ou 'Isimeli and Vanessa Kennedy in England (13 June 2011)

Rotuma Day Celebration in the UK

On Saturday, 28 May 2011, the UK Rotuman community gathered to celebrate Rotuma Day; a first for us and exceptionally special as we commemorated the 130th anniversary of Rotuma's cession to her Majesty Queen Victoria on 13 May 1881.

Everyone travelled far and wide from all over the UK to Corpus Christi Hall in Cleethorpes, North Eastern Coast of England. The event was hosted by the Elaisa, Mamao & Fesa'itu famillies.

The day started off grey, but we were blessed and thankful for the late afternoon sunshine for our kato'aga.

Vanessa Kennedy and Fereti Fesa'itu were masters of ceremonies for the evening which was enjoyed in true Rotuman style of fellowship—meeting long lost neighbours, families and friends; feasting on koua food; live performances; fara; and tefui to adorn the guests, skillfully made by Nina Campbell.

Highlights of the evening were many. To mention a few: singing of "Atumotu Helava la Kele" to open and close our kato'aga; the cutting of the cake by ö'hon ta Loraine Tizard-Varcoe; delicious fekei mara ma 'a'ana & fakakai made specially by ö'fa ta Fauoro Elaisa; a very entertaining combined male/female performance by our hensasiag ne South; a very moving performance by ö'fa ta Fereti and two daughters Brenda & Moana Fesa'itu in memory of their late wife, mother and grandmother to thank the community for their support; a lovely female performance by the hensasiag ne North; not forgetting the thank you speeches.

Many of us had only heard of each other through conversation, elders explaining kainaga or through other communication mediums but had not met, so this was a momentous opportunity to meet one another. Also to hear Rotuman conversations of laughter and reminiscences all over the floor was a brilliant opening for us all!

It is fair to say that a memorable evening was had by all, with all expectations exceeded! Thank you to everyone for making this celebration possible, especially to our non-Rotuman families and guests for your presence, support and generosity.

It was an encouraging beginning with great enthusiasm for the many Rotuma Day celebrations to follow.

Gagaj 'Aitu noa'ia 'e af'ak ne 'os maur tutu 'atakoa ma 'is po ma haipoag 'e 'ofa ma rirife. 'Ua'ua'ak se te' ne 'os o'o', hensasiag ma lariri' ne haisapoag si' 'e garue'akiag ma taria fatogie ne os kato'ag ta ma te' ne te po ma a'sok a'lelei. 'Ua'ua'aki leuof tape' ma se: hensasiag ne 'inos salam se 'isa, 'aus noa'ia 'e hanis uanmafu; ma se 'os o'o' mamfua ne fa'fa'ua 'amis, 'omus hanisi te pumue. "Hugag'esea, haihanisiga ma teag'esea la 'ut'akia 'os kainag Rotuam 'e hanue te' se rere". Noa'ia, alalum ma fu'uomus.


From Fiji Times Online (11 June 2011)

Community champion dies

by Mary Rauto

TO have 19 priests celebrate a resurrection mass is extraordinary for a lay person.

That's exactly what happened at the mass for Kitty Zinck, the late wife of unionist and former parliamentarian Kenneth Zinck. Friends, relatives and people whose lives were touched by Mrs Zinck, packed St Joseph the Worker parish in Tamavua on Thursday to celebrate her life.

"To have 19 priests shows her involvement in the Catholic Church and the appreciation of the priests."

Mrs Zinck began her 36-year banking career with City Bank before working for the Bank of New Zealand, which later merged with ANZ.

"She was a social worker with the parish of Tamavua. "She was involved in St Giles and prisons, helping out in the ministries there."

A staunch Catholic, she began school at Marist Convent and completed her secondary education at St John's College in Cawaci, where she was head girl. She played an active role in the Rotuman community.

From Sanimeli Maraf in Rotuma (8 June 2011)

It was a great year for the Rotuma Day celebration enjoyed by everyone. It made a big difference to have His Excellency, President Ratu Epeli Nailatikau here to celebrate with us. He is a down-to-earth Ratu and I am sure that he enjoyed himself as much as we enjoyed having him with us. He sang with the jazz band, danced, and mingled with the people. Itu'ti'u carried him and sang the ki from the wharf to the vao niu where a huge Rotuman hut was built especially for His Excellency to rest a while before going to Ahau. Light refreshments were served. That was on Thursday, 12 May.

Gagaj Maraf welcomed His Excellency and guests in his opening address. The mamasa/mamiag forau osiag ne päeag ta he'atiag ne koueta ceremony was performed by Itu'muta district, who also nicely did the ate fakgagaj ta. Oinafa district performed a traditional hafa that was nicely done. That afternoon His Excellency opened the police station's new office wing. The jazz band played and dinner was hosted by the police station people.

The Tuvalu boat arrived on Tuesday, 10 May and a mamasa was performed by the people from Lopta for the MV Nivaga delegation. There were 55 of them altogether. Some of them stayed with Ella and her husband, Tausia, in Paptea. We hosted two men, Kaitu Nokisi and Suka Taupale. They performed their dances during the Rotuma Day celebration. It was good to see them—teenagers as well elders—enjoying themselves. They cooked a type of fekei out of hara and made a sweet drink out of very young coconuts. I believe they can also make wine out of the tote. They go back next week on their boat.

They invited us to participate in their holiday on 23 April, 2012.Chief Taupale will formally extend the invitation when they return home and discuss the matter with the government of Tuvalu. To invite the president of Fiji will have to be government to government, but Rotuma has already been invited to send representatives. We need a passport to go there.

On Friday, 13 May the theme was "Haihanisiag Rotuma." At Lihava, first the chief guest, His Excellency the President, arrived. The flag raising ceremony was conducted by the police. The singing of the national anthem was led by the Motusa circuit choir. The emcee, Master Marseu Manueli, read the Deed of Cession and the opening prayer was said by Rev. Mario Rigamoto. The chorus then sang Atumotu Helava.

At Ahau, the guests were seated at the pavillion awaiting the arrival of the chief guest. A guard of honour composed of primary school students from all over Rotuma escorted the president from the post office to the pavillion. When he arrived it was garlanding time. The spiritual devotion was led by Rev. Emotama Misau Pene and the welcoming address was by the chairman of the Council of Rotuma. The president gave a keynote address officially opening the Rotuma Day celebration. High school students reenacted the Cession of Rotuma ceremony. The chief guest then commissioned and opened the new biofuel facility. The AOG Sam Motufaga blessed and dedicated the building and facility to God.

There  followed an inspection of the women's art craft show, which included a basket weaving competition, and the farmer's agricultural show (display of crops). Juju district performed a traditional hafa and Pepjei district performed island dances. After lunch there was a traditional de-husking, scraping, and milk extraction competition among the women. Then the Tuvalu delegation performed a traditional Tuvalu dance, and Noa'tau and Itu'ti'u performed island-style dances. Malhaha did a traditional dance.

At the end of the day gifts were presented to the chief guest. The closing address was giving by Dr John Fatiaki, Sineva's husband. They came on the Iloilovatu boat and went back to Suva with the Suva crowd. The President also stayed on the boat with his body guards and some of the government delegation. The day ended with a closing prayer of thanksgiving by Pastor T. Albert of the Seventh Day Adventist Church, followed by the retreating of the flag by the police.

On Saturday, the 14th, there was an inspection of projects. The President, government officials and provincial representatives visited the project sites: The High Temperature Forced Air (HTFA) facility, the Rotuma Export and Marketing Packing Shed, Rotuma Biofuel, the Airport, Rotuma High School, Oinafa Wharf, Paptea Primary School playground, etc. Lunch and dinner were hosted by Noa'tau District. The jazz band and Tuvalu people played music and everyone enjoyed themselves. The Tuvalu group were taken on a sight-seeing tour around the island and the other party went on the feeder road and visited the plantations, water supply and tei tei.

On Sunday, the 15th, a thanksgiving service was held at Ahau Pavilion by Rev. Emotama Pene, assisted by the Oinafa and Tuvalu choirs (all denominations were invited). Dinner was hosted by members of the Rotuma Council.

On Monday, the 16th, there was a farewell picnic lunch at Oinafa beach, including dancing. The band played everywhere they went, including Pepjei Hall and "Viti Kei Rotuma Hall" in Itu'muta. The boat left our shore at 6pm for Suva.

Ni Sa Moce "Vinaka Vaka Levu" Fiji. Faiak se'ea Fatiaki Misau ma aus atakoa ne leu e Fiti ma Tuvalu. Fa'afe tai.

Improving and development news next time. The Tuvalu delegation will be here for three weeks.

From the Southgate Amateur Radio Club (10 June 2011)

DXpedition to Rotuma as 3D2R

After many months of careful planning, we are pleased to announce our DXpedition to Rotuma-3D2R with a large multi-national DXpedition Team.

Rotuma is located in the South Pacific Ocean and is #32 on Club Log's most wanted DXCC list.

Hrane Milosevic-YT1AD has recently visited Fiji and has obtained the license of 3D2R and a landing permit. We have received the Rotuma Island Council's official approval as well as from the Prime Minister's Office.

The team of 19 operators will meet in Fiji on September 24th and sail to Rotuma with an arrival slated for September 27th. We will be active on all bands and modes from September 27th to October 7th, 2011.

We will focus on the low bands at this time of the year and will make every effort to satisfy the needs of EU operators.

At this time, we are seeking Foundation, Club and Individual Sponsors to help us defray the costs of carrying out this DXpedition.

Our official website:

From Fiji Times Online (7 June 2011)

Lisa helps the poor

by Avinesh Gopal

Lisa Faktaufon in her office at AAPI Design at Nasese. Picture: ADI BULI NACOLA

Lisa Faktaufon in her office at AAPI Design at Nasese

Picture by: Adi Buli Nacola

LISA Faktaufon does not help lazy people - only those who are poor in the community.

She feels blessed when working for children and the poor people and seeing a smile on their faces gives her great joy.

Ms Faktaufon is the project manager at AAPi Design and a volunteer with Foundation for the Education of Needy Children in Fiji.

She has been a volunteer since February.

She started volunteering as a member of the group Team Jewel and has learnt a lot about the underprivileged in the community since starting her volunteer work.

After learning about the plight of a family living at the Manoca squatter settlement in Nausori in early March, she went out of her way to seek assistance for the family.

Deo Ram, his wife and four children of Manoca live in appalling conditions in a lean-to house that is falling apart. It is literally on the verge of collapsing.

The family has to seek shelter with neighbours during heavy rainfall and strong winds, and anyone visiting the place will be greeted by a filthy stench.

"Poverty is a reality but people are not aware how bad it is in our community," said Ms Faktaufon.

"I am so blessed to be working for the children and poor people of Fiji.

"My visits have been an eye-opener and learning experience for me.

"My problems compared to those who are less fortunate is nothing compared to theirs.

"I made it my personal project to help the Ram family out."

Ms Faktaufon said the living conditions of the family were such that no one should be subjected to.

She visited the family with her husband after learning about them and was surprised to see a smile on their faces despite what they were going through.

"I thank my friends for helping me in my project to build a more hygienic house for the family and I have people willing to donate building materials.

"Putting a smile on a child's face is rewarding.

"I do not help the lazy people, only the poor."

Ms Faktaufon said the construction of a new house for the Ram family would start by the middle of this month.

From Rejieli Flexman in Sydney  (6 June 2011)

While in Fiji last weekend, we visited Deaconess Olovie on Saturday at her new home in Nasinu, Suva. She looked much better than I had expected and I can only thank God and her carers for nursing her back to good health. To be able to hear her talking and seeing her walking and eating at the table was a real joy to us. My parents (Dr Panapasa and Saverina) who now live in Rotuma, returned to Fiji a week ago. We took lunch to share with Deaconess and her family. Lie and her sister Silivie from Levuka and their cousin Sarote helped to serve the lunch. Also present, were some of the children from Dilkusha Home. The children often visit Deaconess to keep in touch with her and maintain their link with each other. It was obvious that the presence of the children was very uplifting to Deaconess. We had a lovely time together.

Personally, I'd like to express my gratitude to Lie and to so many people who have helped and supported Deaconess Olovie during that difficult period of time in her ministry at Dilkusha. Thank you for your love for Deaconess and pray God grant her full recovery from her illness to good health again.

Dr Panapasa and Deaconess Olovie
Luncheon Party
Dr Panapasa & Deaconess Olovie
Luncheon Party

From Alan and Jan in Honolulu (1 June 2011)

Google Books has made available online significant portions of books published by the Institute of Pacific Studies at University of the South Pacific, including a number of books on Rotuman topics. Among them are: Fäeag 'Es Fuaga; A New Rotuman Dictionary; Tales of a Lonely Island; Kato'aga; Seksek 'e Hatana; Rotuma Hanua Pumue; Woven Gods; and Haf Ran Ta.