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Archived News: July 2013

From Sanimeli Maraf in Rotuma (23 June 2013, posted 21 July)

Last week a surprise helicopter landed at Ahau to take a young girl to Fiji. She is about three years old and swallowed a 20¢ piece that got stuck in her throat. Her grandparents are Fuata and Kofogo from Malha‘a. A doctor came from Fiji. The little girl went with her mother and two pregnant women.You can imagine the people coming out to see the helicopter; they took lots of photos and after refueling the chopper took off. I believe the young lass didn't have to be operated on and is recovering well in Suva.

Our problem here is still no regular flights and still no boat. The last flight was on the 3rd of June. The people who came from Australia and stayed with us went back on that flight after a week and a half overstaying, so they were late for work. They are from my father's side of the Gibson family: Joyce Daly with 2 sons, David from Darwin, John from Sydney, Joyce and Peter Hawthorn from Brisbane. Joyce's mother Winnie was the only survivor in her family during the whooping cough epidemic in 1914

At this very moment no mail means no news, except we have 2 small ATM machines on the post office counter on which we can use our ATM cards to withdraw money. The machines belong to the Bank of the South Pacific. Thank you BSP; it's about time we had something like that in Rotuma so we can improve ourselves.

Today we had bread delivered from" PUROTU" in Lopta. It is from Fuata and Emili's bakery. Fuata's father is Titaut, married to Nonu from Lopta. They just started, but will expand as it goes. The lovely bread reminds me of Kafoa Olsen, who is gone now and the business is no longer operating. Fuata told me tha he just cannot cope with the orders. He still works for the water authority in Rotuma.

I notice that the Liaphiap tree in the front of the D.O.'s office has been chopped down. It's a shame, because it was a colourful tree and provided shade for people who were waiting to see the D.O., especially on Fridays -- court days. By the way, our new acting District Officer is Etika Taukave. I was told that the tree fell down one morning, that the inside had all gone rotten. It was a landmark here at Ahau. Things do get old and are gone, the same as we people who come and go because of old age.

From The (16 July 2013)

RAKO Dancers Added to Boomerang Festival 3

A handful of international artists have been added to the inaugural Boomerang Festival bill plus a few more local acts as well.

The global acts that have been announced include New Zealand's Moana & The Tribe, Quique Neira from Chile and the Rako Dancers from Rotuman/Fiji. Locals The Chooky Dancers, Busby Marou, Casey Donovan, Briggs, Jack Charles in Bastardy and Dr. Djiniyini Gondarra will also appear on the program.

Rako Pasefika is a collective of artists of indigenous Rotuman, Fijian and Pacific Island heritage whose work is part of their quest to retain traditional knowledge and skills and to gain more insight, depth and understanding of their heritage, but with a focus on creative freedom. Many of the projects initiated by the collective aims to recapture and revive ancient art forms and stories, and with this strong foundation, enable them to create innovative works with cultural integrity.

Rako provides a space, a home and a community for the collectives' artists to feel supported and connected and to explore their Pacific heritage. Through our shared stories, chants and dances we retrace the voyages and heritage links between Rotuma, Fiji, Tahiti, Cooks Islands, Samoa and other Pacific Islands. As navigators Rotuman and Pacific Islands were always connected to other islands and it is through our dance and music that we remember this connection.

…We represent balance. …With our feet firmly planted on our land.. But our minds and souls free to navigate and explore the unknown…

Rako literally translated means to learn, or as a noun it means school. Rako is symbolic of the organic process of Pacific learning - listening, experiencing, collaboration, exchange and expressing this knowledge through movement, spoken word, imagery and music.

As we create we learn….
As we merge we discover…
As we know…we move…

Boomerang Festival takes place at Tyagarah Tea Tree Farm, NSW from Friday 4 to Sunday 6 October. The RAKO dancers perform at boomerang on Friday 4th, Saturday 5th and Sunday 6th of October .

Rako Dancers

The RAKO Dancers

You Tube (7 July 2013)

Nations Business travels to the island of Rotuma to highlight how Government is strengthening Rotuma's island economy by ensuring that its people are provided access to government's servicies. (View on You Tube)

From Fiji Sun Letters to the Editor (2 July 2013)

I think it is time a 737 plane is introduced to service Rotuma from Nausori and Nadi. The mechanics of how often it will travel can be discussed. The people of Rotuma have been subjected to some unworthy service in that passengers are often turned away even after being called to go to the airport and are disappointed when they get there and are told the flight is full because of cargo and essential supplies. People are also important, without people supplies are useless. If the Rotuma runway is small then let's upgrade it to suit a 747, this will be for future use. Rotuma is already a port of call. Let's invest in a runway where planes can come directly to Rotuma from overseas. Boat and air fares are so high that people pay through their noses to travel. And a boat trip can last a few days, and if the weather is bad the travel will be uncomfortable. Let's lift the standard of travel to Rotuma and in the process encourage farmers to plant more and export directly to New Zealand, Australia and other Pacific island countries. I know we can do it.

Allen Lockington, Lautoka