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Archived News: January 2014

From Sanimeli Maraf in Rotuma (6 January 2014, posted 29 January)

Rotuma this Christmas time was a real enjoyable holiday season for all our visitors from overseas as well as for locals. They came from Canada, the UK, US, Holland, Australia and New Zealand. There have been faras coming about every week. Oh, not forgetting Mrs. Marieta Becham from Hawai‘i and her two assistants. The Rotuma Council made a luncheon to thank her for her generosity to the Rotuman people. Each district was given 5 cows to own and look after for their future use. That was a great help for us here and I am sure that she and her friends enjoyed the day. Gagaj Maraf gave a welcome, thank you speech to Mrs. Becham who built a nice home at Malha‘a next to her brother, Taio, married to Pautu.

At Faioa, just before Christmas, we had a Methodist youth camp for a week. The division bought a cow for 1500 Fijian dollars. Our electricity was extended longer, so we all benefitted from that. There was a dance on boxing day up at the hall trying to raise money for our district generator. We also had our yearly Noatau Day celebration after the agricultural show, so people, especially our visitors all had a good time. The holiday season will be over soon and we will be back to the normal life of eating and sleeping -back to the "grindstone."

The government has made it easier for parents by providing free education, so now it is up to the children to make their own lives better; otherwise stay home and cultivate the land.

On 25 January we are celebrating Gagaj Maraf’s 85th birthday up at the community hall. Gagaj Tamanav of Itu‘muta is our MC and Manạtu is bringing his band for the day. The principal of the high school, Perry Gabriel, and his wife, Siteri, are organizing the show and it will be a change in our normal style. Dr. John Fatiaki’s wife, Sineva, is baking Maraf’s birthday cake. I am lucky to have all these friends helping out. After dinner the Malha‘a High School Band will take over for three hours for those who want to rock & roll. Because it will be a Saturday we will have to finish early, at 10pm.

Love to all our kainaga overseas wherever you are. Rotuma is calling you to come one day. Nothing changes much in the hanua.

From Fiji Sun (27 January 2014)

Former Commander of the Republic of Fiji Military Forces (RFMF) Colonel (ret.) Paul Manueli celebrated his 80th birthday in style at Queen Elizabeth Barracks on Saturday. He was joined by former Commanders, President Ratu Epeli Nailatikau (left), Ratu Epeli Ganilau (third from left) and Prime Minister and current RFMF Commander Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama. The function was held at the QEB Officers Mess.


Colonel Manueli served as Commander of the RFMF from 1974-1979 and subsequently became a successful businessman and politician.

From (24 January 2014)

$10M renewable energy project to be launched soon

A $10 million renewable energy project to benefit those living in Kadavu, Rotuma and Lakeba in the Lau Group will be launched soon.

This follows the signing of an agreement between Fiji and the United Arab Emirates this week.

Fiji's Minister for Works, Transport and Public Utilities Timoci Natuva said while improving the living standards of those on these islands, the project will also reduce our import bill which currently averages $1.3B annually.

The introduction of the project will also address key challenges currently faced by those on the island like the irregular transportation of fuel, mechanical problems and inconsistent supply of electricity. 

The project areas are also considered strategic due to the facilities located on them like Government services, Schools and health centers.

The successful implementation of renewable energy will also allow for the provision of reliable and efficient services 24 hours rather than ad hoc and inconsistent.

Natuva added that the savings from these projects will go a long way in government's efforts to improve other necessary infrastructure to support sustainable development and reduce poverty.
The project will be implemented by the prestigious UAE Company, Masdar, which worked on the all solar-powered Masdar City Project, the world's first ever city that is sustainable, have zero-carbon and zero-waste ecology. 

Meanwhile the agreement was signed between the Government of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) which was represented by the State Minister for Foreign Affairs and CEO of Masdar, HE Dr. Sultan Al Jaber, while Fiji's Minister for Works, Transport and Public Utilities (Water & Energy), Timoci Natuva officiated on behalf of the Fijian Government. 

Story by: Gwen Mc Goon

From Fiji Times Online (22 January 2014)

Lawyer requests admission for client

by Shalveen Chand

DEFENCE counsel for a young man who was convicted yesterday by the Magistrates Court in Suva has asked if her client could be committed to the St Giles Hospital for his own betterment.

Sema Semisi, 18, pleaded guilty to burglary and theft.

He admitted entering a house in Rotuma and stealing a bowl of doughnut and also admitted to stealing a cane knife, with which he slaughtered a pig.

The court proceedings had to be conveyed to the accused in the Rotuman language.

Semisi has been in remand for more than three months.

His lawyer Barbara Malimali told the court that Semisi committed crime because he was hungry.

She said a psychological analysis was done on the young man and it was found that his cognitive development was lacking.

Ms Malimali told the court because of the language barrier, there was a need for Semisi to spend more time at the psychiatric hospital.

She added that Semisi had similar incidents in the past where he would just walk into anybody's compound and take fruit if he was hungry.

She said the accused came from a village lifestyle where he spent time between his parents' and grandparents' place.

According to Ms Malimali if Semisi was sent to prison he would grow into a hardened criminal.

She said there was a Rotuman nurse at St Giles who could help the doctors communicate with Semisi and then the doctors could work towards his rehabilitation.

Chief Magistrate Usaia Ratuvili will sentence Semisi this Friday.

© Fiji Times Ltd.

From Rejieli Flexman in Sydney (15 January 2013)

Mato Celebrates in Sydney

Mato Fesaitu is the daughter of Tuilakepa and Peta Fesaitu of Lopta, granddaughter of Nofaga and Manava of Oinafa and the late Tukagsau and Sikuri of Lopta, Rotuma. In 2012, she won a return ticket to Sydney for being the best all round student in Form 6 of Rotuma High School. Last year she won the Flexman family gift for being Dux of the school. She also topped Form 7 RHS in the Fiji external exams winning the Elizabeth Inia Award. Mato arrived in Sydney on 20 December in time to celebrate her 18th birthday the next day. We celebrated at the Guildford Leagues Club joined by her Aunty Avaiki and daughter Tieri. It was quite an achievement for this young girl and coming to Sydney is a just reward. She has been shown many of Sydney’s famous landmarks and which she regarded as absolutely breathtaking. Our families celebrated Christmas with Semesi David and Ursula at their villa at Raffertys Resort near Newcastle. Mato spent New Years Day with Akanisi and Aisake Konrote and their family after watching the midnight fireworks from the steps of the Opera House—an event she’ll never forget. She loved sightseeing and shopping. We laughed when she remarked that everything seems so new and different. Mato summed up her stay in Sydney as a wonderful experience and that she would love to come again. She has applied to study dental nursing at the Fiji School of Medicine and with the hope of doing dentistry in the future.

Mato is a fine example of a well-groomed Rotuman girl and a role model to other Rotuman girls that if you work hard and stay focussed, you can achieve your goal. Being educated in Rotuma is a huge advantage, living with her family and a supportive community in Lopta. Rotuma High School can be very proud of their former student, whose visit has brought much joy and blessings to our families. We wish Mato all the best and God’s blessings in her future endeavours. She returns to Fiji at the end of this week.

Mato Fesaitu in Sydney