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Archived News: May 2013

From Sanimeli Maraf (1 May 2013)

The chief guest at this year's Rotuma Day celebration will be Lt. Col. Pio Tikoduadua from the Prime Minister's office. On cession day (13 May) the programme will begin with the hoisting of the flag at Lihava, the very spot that Rotuma was ceded to Great Britain in 1881. Pastor Albert will conduct a prayer. Then we will go to Atapisi ta for the launching of a one million tree programme that was mentioned in Fiji. After that we go to the pavilion at Ahau for the raising of the flag, etc. After the garlanding and a welcoming speech by the chairman, and a thanksgiving prayer by Rev. Jioje Taito (he's at Mạiro with his wife, Mua), the chief guest Lt. Col. Pio Tikoduadua will give a speech and open the show.

They will inspect the ri hapa of each district where handicrafts will be displayed. Noatau will display anything that can be made from tapioca. The Tapioca Ladies make tapioca bread, scone biscuits, cakes, herehere, tupai tapiko, chips, fekei, and many other things. We will be selling virgin oil, mats & fans, sulus printed to commemorate the day and much more.

After the tour of ri hapas Oinafa will be hosting the mamasa for the guests. Father Paul Waabu will say grace for lunch. Tautoga ta mou se It‘'muta; we are really looking forward to watching that meke and its people. "Kistou heua" causes laughter. Acting D.O. Etika Taukave of Motusa will say words of thanks and Pastor Sam of AOG will say the closing prayer. Each district will provide 10 bundles of taro and 2 bags of coconuts, etc. for the oso that day.

Commissioner Eastern, Lt. Col. Netani Rika will meet with our development committee on Friday, May 10th, and on Tuesday the 14th representatives of the different branches of government will meet at Oinafa hall for a talanoa session with Hiagi Forete, executive chairman of Rotuma Export and Marketing Company Limited (REMCOL).

The Iloilo Vatu government boat is scheduled to return to Suva on the afternoon of May 15th.

14 May 2013

There were some changes in the programme. Yesterday, after the futiag matini at Lihava, the chief guest arrived at 7am by the Fiji naval ship and was met by the Council Chairman, the District Commission Eastern Lt. Col. Netani Rika, Fatiaki Misau, and the police, who escorted him to Lihava. The master of ceremonies was Gagaj Taimanau of Itumuta; he is also a teacher at Rotuma High School. After Lihava we went to Atapis ta for the planting of coconut trees. Each district chief planted a tree (Gagaj Maraf surprised me when he asked me to plant his tree). The chief guest opened the show first.

Half of the people were missing from the ceremonies at Ahau because they went to the wharf at Oinafa to receive their cargo from the Iloilo Vatu which arrived on Sunday morning and began unloading cargo on Monday. Most families had run out of stock and couldn't make fekei or bake, but Oinafa performed the mamasa perfectly. I enjoyed the ripe pȧr mea. We also had fekei, pineapple & sugar cane, yams, beef & corned beef, and chicken. The kava ceremony, fakpej ma he'ȧk ne kaueta, and the serving of it was very well done. The hafa by Itu'muta was very good, as was the tipa and the wording of them; few kistonu, but not over the limit. The Rotuma High School band entertained all day.

A medical team is here with some specialists from overseas, along with an education team, social welfare and agricultural officers, solar experts and water personnel who are checking meters, etc. T & L and Digicel are here selling their phones.

Hanisiof wherever you may be. God bless us all.

From Fiji Times Online (29 May 2013)

Plan for satellite towns

by Ana Madigibuli

GOVERNMENT will develop satellite towns in the Eastern Division to assist villagers in remote islands with fast and easy service delivery.

Plans to set up satellite towns in maritime islands have been in the pipeline for sometime, but government hopes to follow through and provide the services to the people soon.

Commissioner Eastern Lieutenant Colonel Netani Rika said talks on setting up satellite towns were continuing because demand for services from villagers in remote islands was high.

He said this was especially true for communication services.

"People living in bigger islands in the Eastern Division need satellite towns which can cater for service demand in the island," Lt-Col Rika said.

Satellite towns are being considered for Gau, Koro and Rotuma.

Rotuma Export and Marketing Company Limited (REMCOL) executive chairman Hiagi Foraete said a proposed satellite town for Rotuma was a long-term project.

Mr Foraete said a satellite town would provide the island people with the social and economic services and opportunities they needed.

"As well, the satellite town will stop young people from leaving Rotuma to go to Fiji," Mr Foraete said.

"Rotuma needs the younger generation to stay on the island and participate in the development of Rotuma."

© Fiji Times Limited

From Fiji Times Online (29 May 2013)

Shipping affects export potential

by Ana Madigibuli

IRREGULAR shipping service between Viti Levu and Rotuma and high freight costs is affecting Rotuma's ability to access the export and domestic markets in Suva and Lautoka.

Rotuma Export and Marketing Company Limited executive chairman Hiagi Foraete said irregular shipping affected travel, and the import and export of goods and services to and from the island.

Commissioner Eastern Lieutenant Colonel Netani Rika admitted that a major issue for the Eastern Division, which included Rotuma — during the past three months was shipping.

Lt-Col Rika said shipping had always been a major issue for maritime islands for many years.

"We have noticed and people inform us that shops are always empty and food supplies are in short supply because of the problem," Lt-Col Rika said.

"As well, people not being able to be transported to the urban areas on time was always an issue raised during the meeting or it was the other way around, people being stranded in Suva not being able to return to the islands."

He said it was important for members of the provincial development boards to discuss the matter further because of its importance, adding that it was not easy trying to solve the shipping issue in the maritime areas.

© Fiji Times Limited

From Fiji Broadcasting Corporation (24 May 2013)

The people of Rotuma are calling for more consultations on revisions of the Rotuma Act and the Rotuma Lands Act. Rotuma Island Council member Antonio Muaera announced during a recent council meeting on the island that "If there are some provisions in the amendment act that needs to be addressed, we are going to raise that before it is promulgated and becomes law."

Muaera expressed his concern that "The definition of Rotuman is a Rotuman person or a person that has a Rotuman descent; they never specify the amount of Rotuman blood you have and its very risky, because if they do not place a criterion for the entitlement to be registered in the Vola ni Kawa Bula sooner or later our land will be alienated from indigenous Rotumans."

Commissioner Eastern Lt. Col. Netani Rika replied that "They were given the opportunity for that, it was brought to the island, it was discussed, because people were not serious about it, they are raising the issue now."

The revised Rotuma Act and the Rotuma Lands Act 2013 is undergoing final touches at the office of the Attorney General and the Solicitor General.

Commentary by Henry Enasio

From Fiji Times Online (24 May 2013)

State to look into concerns

by Ana Madigibuli

GOVERNMENT and the community of Rotuma have invested a lot in infrastructure where new industrial and residential buildings have been constructed.

In order to maintain proper infrastructure, issues needed to be addressed such as having a proper fire station on the island, said Rotuma Export and Marketing Company Limited (REMCOL) executive chairman Hiagi Foraete.

Mr Foraete said without a fire station on the island, having newly-constructed residential and industrial buildings would be a waste.

Mr Foraete said the risk of losing those buildings was high.

"Fire safety is an international requirement for any international port of entry," Mr Foraete said.

He said another issue was on communication, in particular now that Rotuma was trading with Tuvalu.

"There is no proper access to internet and Telecom Fiji Limited landlines are hardly working, which leaves the company and the island community isolated from the outside world most of the time.

"Another issue we would like to address is on banking. Fees for banking through Post Fiji is quite high and the company has to do all its banking and trade transactions in Suva."

Commissioner Eastern Lieutenant Colonel Netani Rika said the government would look into the issues.

"The issues will go through the divisional development board meeting and from there projects selected will go through the steering committeewho will finally choose the projects for next year," Lt-Col Rika said.

© Fiji Times Limited

From Fiji Times Online (24 May 2013)

Poor road access

by Ana Madigibuli

COLLECTION and transportation of produce from farms in Rotuma is difficult and challenging.

This is attributed to the poor road conditions on the island.

Road inaccessibility was among concerns highlighted during the Rotuma Development Board meeting held in Suva on Tuesday. Commissioner Eastern Lieutenant Colonel Netani Rika said poor road conditions were always an issue people living in remote islands raised at development meetings.

He said Rotuma was not the only island facing road inaccessibility issues.

"Other provinces within the Eastern Division such as Lomaiviti, Kadavu and Lau face similar problems," Lt-Col Rika said.

Rotuma Export and Marketing Company Limited executive chairman Hiagi Foraete said road access was a critical component in increasing production because it opened up more land for cultivation.

"Certain parts of the farm access in the island are currently not accessible, therefore production in these areas cannot be marketed," Mr Foraete said.

"Another issue we are concerned about is water supply, water is a necessity and the frequent water cuts for 12 hours daily on the island is a failure."

He says Rotuma's spring water is a potential export commodity for the company.

"The need to carry out a feasibility study on the quality and quantity available is more urgent than before," Mr Foraete said.

© Fiji Times Limited

From Fiji Broadcasting Corporation (23 May 2013)

According to Rotuma police station officer Inspector Semi Waqavonovono the island is now free of  orange wine, or homebrew. He considered this a major achievement and reported that this year's Rotuma Day celebration was the first one that was free of homebrew. He said that the locally brewed drink had caused a lot of problems on the island, including assaults, criminal intimidation, criminal tresspassing, annoying people, being a common nuisance, burglary, indecent assault, arson, theft and other miscellaneous offences.

From Fiji Times Online (22 May 2013)

Vessels to ship livestock

by Ana Madigibuli

Shipping livestock to Rotuma is a concern for the Ministry of Agriculture, particularly when there are no proper shipping vessels available to ship livestock such as cattle to remote islands.

This issue was highlighted after the ministry had shipped 48 head of cattle to Rotuma last month.

Director Animal Health and Production Tomasi Tunabuna said they encountered problems when trying to ship the cattle to Rotuma last month because of the capacity of the ship.

"Ships that transport livestock had to have specific designs especially looking at space which will cater for the livestock during the duration of the trip," Mr Tunabuna said.

"Forty-eight was a huge number and we had to make sure that the livestock were not injured during the two-day trip by sea to Rotuma."

He said they had to make sure they had enough space and food supply for the cattle during the trip.

"We need to have registered vessels that can carry livestock, so we do not have any problems in transporting in the future.

"We are now going to train our officers on how to handle shipping livestock to remote islands such as Rotuma."

© Fiji Times Limited

From Fiji Times Online (22 May 2013)

Rotuma strikes export deal for frozen produce

by Ana Madigibuli

ROTUMA Export and Marketing Company Limited (REMCOL) is entering into an agreement with the Fiji Agro Marketing Authority to supply frozen dalo, cassava and fruits to the Suva market.

This was highlighted by the REMCOL executive chairman Hiagi Foraete during the Rotuma Development board meeting in Suva yesterday.

REMCOL is a subsidiary of Rotuma Investment Limited which is the business arm of the Council of Rotuma.

Mr Foraete said the agreement was reached with Produce International to supply fresh tausala ni Samoa dalo during the monthly voyages of the MV Lady Sandy.

"The export and domestic markets in Viti Levu have potential to grow and become a lucrative market for Rotuma," Mr Foraete said.

"The strength of Rotuma's trade lies with its capacity and capability to sustainably develop and harvest the natural resources available and to successfully market its resources."

He said the company had other development programs such as the organic program which would see Rotuma become a certified organic island.

He added other development programs for the company included the diversification program which looked into wholesaling, distribution and retailing of essential goods and services on the island and to Tuvalu that would supplement the trade of fresh and frozen produce.

© Fiji Times Limited

From Fiji Times Online (22 May 2013)

Poor wharf condition hinders island trade

by Ana Madigibuli

THE poor standard of the Rotuma Wharf was the major topic of discussion during the Rotuma Development board meeting in Suva yesterday with revelations that it's a barrier for Rotuma in terms of trade.

Commissioner Eastern Lieutenant Colonel Netani Rika said while returning from Rotuma last week, they highlighted that one of the major priorities was the port facility in Rotuma.

Lt-Col Rika said they had discussed the need to focus on the port upgrade with the permanent secretary to the Prime Minister's Office Colonel Pio Tikoduadua.

He said the government needed to improve the facility to international standard but that would require a lot of funding.

Rotuma Export and Marketing Company Limited executive chairman Hiagi Foraete said issues affecting trade with Tuvalu was mainly the standard of infrastructure, facilities, security and service at the Rotuma wharf.

Mr Foraete said to grow and sustain trade with Tuvalu they had to look at the logistics, infrastructure development at the port of entry and the support services that were required.

"We also need to talk about the benefits and the impacts of trade on the lives of the community, the environment and the economy of the island," Mr Foraete said.

"The sand silting around the wharf area has made the wharf unsafe for vessels to berth alongside it." He said the shallow depth resulted in the MV Nivaga II having to anchor out at sea.

Major General Jioji Konrote, left, chats with Lomaiviti provincial administrator Kelepi Kubunameca and Commissioner Eastern Lt-Col Netani Rika during the Rotuma Provincial Development board meeting at Studio 6 Apartments in Suva yesterday. Picture: Jonaca

© Fiji Times Limited

From Fiji Broadcasting Corporation (21 May 2013)

Rotumans told of election commitment

During the Rotuma Day celebration, the people of Rotuma were assured by a representative from the Prime Minister's office that elections will be held by September 2014. They were told that preparations are underway to hand over powers to a civil government. The intention is to have a constitution in place at least one year before elections are held.

From Fiji Government Source (20 May 2013)

After a thrre-year absence, a team of medical officials from CWM hospital, led by General Manager Ned Taito, have completed a tour of Rotuma. The team treated dental, eye and heart disease cases. They also conducted medical checkups of students at Rotuma High School and Malhaha Primary where they checked for rheumatic heart diseases in children between the ages of 5 to 15 years old.

From Fiji Broadcasting Corporation (20 May 2013)

The people of Rotuma have been told that government wants their island to be developed.

The Permanent Secretary to the Prime Minister's Office Lt. Col. Pio Tikoduadua says there are still some things that need to be worked on, for the benefit of the people.

"You will understand of the efforts by your government today in particular the Prime Minister to develop as much as he can within his capacity the potentials that are here in Rotuma, you have seen it and you have experienced it".

Tikoduadua says government assistance to the island is always on a catch up basis due to its location.

"Rotuma is a difficult island to reach, it is a difficult island to support".

Tikoduadua says the development of Rotuma will only be a success if the island has consistent shipping service.

He was chief guest at the Rotuma Day celebrations on the island last week.

From Fiji Times Online (19 May 2013)

Advice for young at yearly crop show

by Ana Madigibuli

THE Rotuman community in Nausori say they see their annual root crop show as an event that will give each farmer a chance to showcase their root crops while also giving farmers a chance to impart farming advice to younger people.

The Nausori Rotuman Farmers Association has been running the show for the last three years and progress has always been the outcome.

Association spokesman Mesulame Tiu said many Rotuman farmers look forward to the annual event as they hoped to win the year's overall prize.

Mr Tiu said during the root crop show, the farmers always hoped to break the Rotuma Island Day celebration overall points record.

"The show is all about giving the younger generation a feel of what Rotuman culture is all about, particularly through how we use our farming skills to farm yam, dalo, banana and sugar cane," he said.

"Now young people are taking part and we appreciate the efforts they have made in farming their own root crops."

He said a lot of people tend to forget the importance of growing their own food and relied on ready-made food items.

"This show not only stresses the importance of Rotumans growing their own produce but also feeding their family with what they have produced in the year," Mr Tiu said.

"We intend to share as much knowledge and skills with the younger generation, so this annual event can be maintained."

© Fiji Times Limited

From Fiji Broadcasting Corporation (19 May 2013)

Rotuma calls for constant shipping services

by Apisalome Coka

The people of Rotuma are calling on government to look into shipping services to the island. They told FBC News, this is an urgent request as they're facing problems with their supplies of processed food.

No‘atau villager Kava Memaufa says, the most important item on the island is fuel, and without adequate shipping service, services on the island collapse.

"The fuel is something that is really needed because the first priority is the hospital, if the fuel run short the hospital can't work because there's no power, the second is the school children, if the fuel runs short the children will have to walk to school and the third is water, people really need the water, if there's no power then no water".

Commissioner Eastern Lt. Col. Netani Rika says the government is aware of the problem.

"I won't deny the fact that this is the problem issue in Rotuma, it's not only in Rotuma but the whole Eastern Division, we need vessels."

The government is working on getting another boat to help with shipping services to outer islands.

Meanwhile, the MV Sandy leaves for Rotuma tomorrow.

From Fiji Broadcasting Corporation (15 May 2013)

Trade and shipping services in Rotuma to be improved

Trade and Shipping services topped discussions during the Rotuma Council meeting yesterday.

Damage to the Oinafa jetty has also been identified as a major hinderance to trade faced by people on the island.

Apisalome Coka is in Rotuma and files this report:

The Rotuma Export and Marketing Limited is working towards expanding its services. Executive Chaiman hiang Yee Foarete says they are now holding trades with Tuvalu on a quarterly basis and have also signed an agreement wityh the Agro marketoing authority providing them with dalo and cassava.

Foarete while speaking during the council meeting says they are undergoing business with five other private importers. He says one of the main issues that is affecting the Rotuma-Tuvalu trade is the shipping servivces.

Another issue raised is the Oinafa jetty. It should at least meet the minimum international standard as it is now a port of entry.

Meanwhile the government delegation needs to complete their task today by mid-day before departing Rotuma onboard MV Iloilovatu at 4pm this afternnon and expected to arrive in Suva on Friday.

From Fiji Broadcasting Corporation (15 May 2013)

Rotuma shipping services to top meeting agenda

Shipping services to the island of Rotuma is one of the main issues that will be discussed during the Provincial Development Board meeting next week.

The people of Rotuma have raised concerns that the lack of shipping services is affecting all aspects of their livelihood.

Another issue that will be discussed in the meeting is the call from the people for the Rotuma Decree and the Rotuma Lands Decree 2013 to be taken back to them for consultations before it is promulgated.

I-taukei Desk Editor Apisalome Coka is in Rotuma and files this report:

The Provincial Development Board will meet in Suva next week to discuss issues that were brought up during the Rotuma Council Meeting yesterday. The Commissioner Eastern Lieutenant Colonel Netani Rika says all concerns raised by the council and the people here will be discussed during the provincial development board meeting. Speaking to FBC News he says government is already working to improve shipping services to the Eastern division including Rotuma.

He admits this has been an ongoing problem not only in Rotuma but also throughout the maritime zone.

Meanwhile, health officials work to complete all their surgeries before the government delegation depart for Suva onboard the MV Iloilovatu at 4 this afternoon.

The government delegation is expected to be in Suva on Friday.

From Fern Fapiano Secretary, Seven Stars Rotuma Association (15 May 2013)

Aitu Lelei ‘e te‘ ne ava Gagaj Aitu noa‘ia

Noa'ia 'e mauri,

‘E fạ‘ ne President ta Mereana Emose-Gibson ma members ne Seven Stars of Rotuma Association, gou fạ‘iof puk te‘is la ‘uạ‘uạ‘ạkia te‘ ne ‘ạus Gagaj Jaujiạ ne ‘ạmis ‘ih, ma te‘ ne ö‘ö‘, hensạsiạg, kainag tutu ne leum ma teag‘esea 'e laloag ne teran ta ne a‘sokoa katoag Rotuam ta – May 11th, 2013‘'e Santa Rosa, California. Noa‘ia ‘e tȧr ne ‘ih te te‘, noa‘ia ‘e hanisit se Aitu ma ‘ạus po ma leum ma na hạiasoag.

Te‘is as on iris Jaujiạ ne ‘ih ma po ma leum se katoag ta:

  • Moeava Osotonu (Paptea)​​-US​Army
  • John Osotonu (Paptea)​​-US​Marine Corps
  • Tom Tolo (Lopta/Motusa)​​​-US​Marine Corps
  • Margaret Asuega (Tuakoi)​​-US​Air Force
  • Jonathan Murphy (Oinafa/Noatau/Hapmak)​-US​Air Force
  • Sarai Pearl Alataua (Paptea)​​-US​Marine Corps

Gagaj Aitu la ạlạlum‘ȧk te‘ ne ‘ạus tutu atakoa.

Greetings. On behalf of the Seven Stars of Rotuma Association, I would like to extend my heartfelt gratitude to our distinguished guests, beloved families, and dear friends, who joined us in celebrating Rotuma Day on 11th May, 2013, at the Finley Community Center, on West College Avenue, in Santa Rosa, California.

This year's occasion marked the 21st birthday of the Seven Stars of Rotuma Association, and acknowledged our dedicated Rotuman men and women (active/honorably discharged/retired) for distinguished service in the United States military.

Noa‘ia ‘e garue:

  • Moeava Osotonu (Paptea), U.S. Army Ranger Airborne
  • John Osotonu (Paptea), U.S. Marine Chaser
  • Tom Tolo (Lopta/Motusa), U.S. Marine Staff Sergeant
  • Margaret Asuega (Tuakoi), U.S. Air Force Staff Sergeant
  • Jonathan Murphy (Hapmak), U.S. Air Force Captain
  • Sarai Pearl Alataua (Paptea), U.S. Marine Corporal

We are proud of your achievements! Thank you for gracing the occasion with your presence.

To the First Samoan Congregational Christian Church, Santa Rosa - Faafetai Lava for your love and support to the Rotuman Community.

  • To the Fijian Community in Santa Rosa, vinaka vakalevu for your support!
  • To our families who travelled from near and as far as Fiji, noa'ia 'e hanisi!
  • To the band, Island Fusion, thank you for the groovy tunes and for keeping the floor occupied.

Indeed, it was a glorious day of blessed fellowship, great fun, and hearty feasting as we reminisced and remembered our beautiful and beloved Rotuma in dance, song, and food. We were truly 'home'!

May God bless you and keep you safe always. (Photos)


From Fiji Broadcasting Corporation (13 May 2013)

Rotuma Day celebrations today

Report by: Apisalome Coka

Rotuma Day will be celebrated on the island today with a strong government delegation expected to attend the ceremony.

Permanent Secretary in the Prime Minister's Office Colonel Pio Tikoduadua will be the chief guest.

Apisalome Coka reports from Rotuma.

"On May 13, 1831, the island of Rotuma was ceded to Great Britain. Today, 132 years later, the people here still celebrate the historical moment with Rotuma Day celebrations.

The Permanent Secretary in the Prime Minister's office Colonel Pio Tikoduadua in a short while will arrive on board the Naval boat 'MV Kiro' to be chief guest at today's celebrations.

The Rotuma Police led by Inspector Semi Waqavonovono and representatives of the Rotuma Islands Council will escort Colonel Pio from the Oinafa Jetty to the deed of cession site at Lea'hava where celebrations will begin.

The "Plant a Million Trees Campaign" will be launched at Atapisi.

He will then make his way to the Ahau Government Station accompanied by 2000 people on the island including government officials in celebrating the 132nd Rotuma Day.

Meanwhile the various government ministries and departments that are part of the delegation will be carrying out their various tasks.

The 30 member medical team led by CWM hospital Manager Ned Taito will be carrying out free service program for the people of Rotuma."

From Fiji Government Ministry of Education (7 May 2013)

Government Team to Be Part of Rotuma Day Celebrations

The Prime Minister's Office permanent secretary, Lt. Col Pio Tikoduadua will be chief guest at this year's Rotuma Day celebration on the remote island.

Rotuma Day is celebrated on May 13 by Rotumans everywhere, especially back home.

It is always a wonderful time for Rotumans to get together and celebrate in style the island cession to the United Kingdom in 1881.

Government recognises the importance of this remote island as a dependant of Fiji.  Every year a Government delegation from various ministries take the opportunity to visit the island and update themselves with the various works their government departments are doing on the island.

On Wednesday morning an advance party of government officials will be departing Suva for Rotuma to attend this unique celebration.

This year, for the first time, the chief guest will visit the original site of the deed of cession at Lihava where the Gagaj Maraf will read the deed of session in Rotuman.

On the same day the chief guest will then launch the one million tree planting program at Atapisi.

Lt. Col Tikoduadua and government officials will be accorded the traditional welcoming ceremony and feast called "mamasa".

The chief guest will also take time to visit the various stalls of the seven districts with their display of cultural items and root crops, especially yams.

Lt. Col Tikoduadua will also host a talanoa session with the people of Rotuma at Oinafa Village hall.

Officers from Fiji Development Bank, and the Fiji National Provident Fund will also be part of the team for Rotuma.

Education officers from the Ministry of Education are part of the advance team doing external school review inspection on all island schools.

Education permanent secretary, Dr Brij Lal will be going to Rotuma to open the new Form Seven for Rotuma High School.

From The Jet Newspaper (7 May 2013)

Government Team to be part of Rotuma Day Celebrations - The Prime Minister's Office permanent secretary, Lt. Col Pio Tikoduadua will be chief guest at this year's Rotuma Day celebration on the remote island. Rotuma Day is celebrated on May 13 by Rotumans everywhere, especially back home.

From Radio New Zealand International (7 May 2013

Rotuma poised to help Tuvalu over food security

Fiji's furthest flung island Rotuma is poised to start exporting food and water to Tuvalu and other countries in the northern Pacific.

Rotuma is closer to Tuvalu than to Suva and those behind the initiative say Rotuma's wide range of produce could take the place of more expensive imports from Australia and New Zealand.

The Executive Chairman of the Rotuma Export and Marketing Company, Hiagi Foraete, says Rotuma produces root crops, fruit and other vegetables as well as spring water.

He says the eighteen hour boat ride would ensure fresh produce to the low-lying atoll which has limited food-producing potential and suffers in times of drought.

"I think we have the advantage of closeness which we can sell to them, not only at a lower price, but the freshness and the quality of the produce that Tuvalu will get from Rotuma."

Hiagi Foraete says Rotuma is also looking at exporting to Nauru, Kiribati and the Federated States of Micronesia.

News Content © Radio New Zealand International PO Box 123, Wellington, New Zealand

From Fiji Broadcasting Corporation (5 May 2013)

Rotumans showcase their planting talent

Report by: Epeli Tukaiwasa

Rotuman yams
Taken from/By: FBC

The Rotuman community in Suva held their annual Yam and Taro competition yesterday.

The display was held at Raiwaqa in Suva and the turnout was impressive by any standards.

Event organisor's spokesperson Paserio Samisoni says while this is a fun event, it also helps pass down skills used for generations and keeps traditions alive.

"Its just something to encourage the Rotuman to plant, you will be suprise to see that all the yams are from Laucala Beach, Namadi, Vatuwaqa and a couple from Raiwaqa and Raiwai".

Some of the yams will be shared amongst the competitors while the rest will be donated to the needy.

From Fiji Times Online (5 May 2013)

Ravai steals the show with 138kg yam

by Mere Naleba

Ravai's Winning yam
John Ravai poses with his 138kg yam during the Fiji Rotuman Association yam and taro show in Raiwaqa, Suva yesterday.
Picture: Jonacani Lalakobau

REAL men live by the sweat of their brow.

These were the words of John Ravai, a Rotuman farmer whose yam weighing 138kg won first place in the yam and taro show organised by the Fiji-Rotuman Association yesterday.

The 57-year-old retired Telecommunications worker said after his retirement three years ago, he decided to toil the land and was able to support his family with the produce from his farm.

Mr Ravai said he started preparing for the annual agriculture show last year, carefully selecting a nice shady place at his Laucala Beach home to plant his winning yam.

"I am asking all people from Rotuma living in Fiji, to come forward and be part of this show. It's a nice way to learn and share farming techniques and advice," he said.

The seven districts in Rotuma were represented by Rotumans staying on the mainland. Pepjei District, where Mr Ravai hails from, has set a new record in the yams category this year.

"My message to all my fellow kinsmen is let's go back to farming. And to youths, life will continue to be a struggle so let's use the land."

He said the giant yam took about nine months to grow.

"Part of the discussion is to sell the yams with the prices up to the owner. But I will not sell this yam. This is for Mother's Sunday," he said with a smile.

© Fiji Times Limited