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Archived News: November 2012

From FijiTimes Online (25 November 2012)

Cancelled flight 'ruins' holiday plan

by Dawn Gibson

A LONDON resident visiting Fiji has experienced a "ruined holiday" after what he describes as "completely unacceptable treatment" by domestic airline Pacific Sun.

The visitor David Larkin, 39, arrived last week expecting to get onto a flight to Rotuma on November 23, but the flight was cancelled because of adverse weather.

The flight to Rotuma leaves from Nadi once a week.

"Me and several other people who were on the flight were notified that the flight was cancelled but then we had to find people to stay with and luckily I happened to have a friend living in the Nadi area," Mr Larkin said.

He had hopes of spending a week in Rotuma and returning to Suva to celebrate his 40th birthday.

"This is really not what I had expected, I have been sitting at this airport since 6am this morning (yesterday) and I haven't even changed my clothes since yesterday (Friday)," he said.

Air Pacific communications manager Shane Hussein said the airline could not help the fact that the weather forecast was not a positive one.

"Pacific Sun's Nadi-Rotuma-Nadi flight yesterday (Friday) was cancelled due to adverse weather conditions en route. As is standard in the airline industry, Pacific Sun is unable to provide accommodation for customers for weather-related disruptions to their flights, since it's beyond the airline's control," Mr Hussein said.

"The problem is that Rotuma is a two-and-a-half-hour flight one-way and the airport in Rotuma doesn't have lights. So if a flight is to go there, it would have to leave Nadi and be back before it gets dark.

"We informed all the passengers on that flight to find some accommodation and that we'd be in touch.

"He (Mr Larkin) came back to the airport at 6am on his own, he wasn't asked to come back.

"It was more than just adverse weather to content — we had a tropical depression warning."

Mr Larkin said: "We were only given meal vouchers late this (yesterday) afternoon.

"This is unacceptable and it's meant that my 40th birthday will be ruined."

Mr Larkin was later informed that a flight would go to Rotuma next Wednesday.

He is scheduled to return to London next week.

From Gina Pene in Canberra (13 November 2012)

Last Friday evening the Rotuman youth in Canberra participated in the Pasifika Youth Showcase at Albert Hall. The showcase was part of the 2012 Oceania Talanoa Conference which was hosted by the ACT over the weekend.

Young people from various Pacific Island communities performed their cultural dances and there was no shortage of creativity, passion and pride. The Rotuman group performed four items (mak rue rue) including a "Hi'i" with a slightly modern touch and finished with a men's only chant. Despite the short notice, our talented and creative Matthew Bray put together the items to ensure the Rotumans were represented at this event.

We are a small community in the ACT but our involvement in various events including the annual National Multicultural Festival has certainly raised our profile as Rotumans. Many people do not know where Rotuma is and such events raise their interest in us as a people. It is wonderful to see our youth, despite growing up in a foreign country so far away from their homeland, take such great interest in promoting their culture and identity. Pacific islanders are generally renowned for their love of music and it is definitely a great way of keeping not only the culture but language alive.

On Saturday, Matthew presented at the Conference where he talked about the Rotuman language lessons and dance that he is currently teaching in Melbourne. Matthew is currently the President of the Rotuman Association in Victoria and is actively involved in promoting and maintaining language and culture within the community.

Pasifica Showcase