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Archived News: September 2016

From Fiji Consulate General, Sydney, Australia (30 September 2016)

Rotuman Language Curricular Material Presentation

The Ministry of Education Heritage and Arts have printed a series of Rotuman Language Material which was presented to Rotuman Language Principal Mrs. Gina Pene by Fiji High Commissioner H.E. Mr. Yogesh Punja and Consul General/ Trade Commissioner Mr. Zarak Khan.
The presentation was held at the Fiji Consulate General's Office, North Sydney, Wednesday 28 September 2016. See video of presentation.

From Fiji Times Online (20 September 2016)

52 for seasonal work

By Losalini Bolatagici

FIFTY-TWO people from Rotuma who will be selected to work overseas under Government's Seasonal Workers Scheme carry the hopes of the people on the island for future similar opportunities.

At least this was the view of Lernatt Suliano from Juju district, who said they (selected) needed to behave to give others the opportunity to also work abroad to improve the livelihoods of their families, as well as to assist in the development on the island.

Last week, the assessment carried out by a visiting team from the Ministry of Labour and Employment attracted a huge turnout at Ahau Government Station as people were keen to be selected for an opportunity to work in New Zealand and Australia.

"There was a huge turnout. This is something everyone is looking forward to. People who will get the chance to go on this program know they are the key to other opportunities like this in the future," Mr Suliano said.

"If they are going to behave, others will get the chance to go in the future and improve the livelihoods of their families and bring about development on the island."

Margaret Joachim of the Rotuma Island Council said people from all the seven districts were at the Rotuma Hospital by 6am last week to register, have their medical assessments carried out to take part in the fitness test.

She said people who were eligible for this should be 17 years and older.

Robin Henry from Malhaha said the response from the people to this initiative was tremendous.

"There's a lot of interest shown because it will improve the lives of many people on the island," Mr Henry said.

From Fiji Times Online (18 September 2016)

Bid to revive old Rotuman songs

By Siteri Sauvakacolo

The band which will soon release classic Rotuman songs. Picture: Supplied

THERE is a need to revive old and classic Rotuman songs so youths nowadays would understand they have a unique culture.

This is the view of Dr Aisea Rafai, 83, who is one of the elders, probably survivors of the Roupure clan in the Itutiu district of Rotuma.

This unique Rotuman culture is hidden in many of these songs, which a few members of the Roupure clan are trying to revive so youths would better understand the songs that were once the pride of their ancestors. The new album to be released soon is named Takmatarua — the battleground of the Roupure clan.

"It is important to revive old Rotuman songs because it gives our youths a better understanding of their culture and tradition many of which are highlighted in these songs," Dr Rafai said.

"The songs hold significant importance to the Rotuman people and many youths nowadays listen to English and the latest Fijian songs without knowing that the original Rotuman songs are more interesting and meanigful.

"They tell tales and stories about what Rotuma is known for and the strong ties we have among each other."

Wit hthe help of veteran Fiji jazz legend Tom Mawi and other: Sami Mawi, Faga Joseph, Nataniela Kamilo, Freddy and Dan Rafai, the band is ready to provide entertainment to not only the Rotuman community but others who are interested in learning about the Rotuman culture.

Dr Rafai said there were also many Rotumans living abroad who were interested in such initiatives and they couldn't wait to know more about the classic Rotuman songs and at least learn more about their origin as told in some of these songs. Most of the songs were written way back in the early 1800s and the band members would also like to acknowledge the original composers of the songs.

The uniqueness of this album's that the songs would be kept in their original form as band members did not want to take away the real meaning of the songs.

"I would like to urge every Rotuman out there to keep a lookout as the band's ready to provide you with the best entertainment which we could all learn from especially in recognising many of our unique cultures which many of us are not aware of nowadays," Dr Rafai said.

From Fiji Times Online (6 September 2016)

Concerns over poor boat service

By Losalini Bolatagici

INCONSISTENCY in boat service is one of the main challenges affecting the agricultural trade between Rotuma and Tuvalu.

This was revealed by Rotuma District officer, Niumaia Masere who said Tuvalu was not honouring part of the deal in providing transportation for the trade. The deal sees Rotuma exporting agricultural products such as root crops to Tuvalu.

"As part of the agreement, Rotuma was to provide for the facilities like generators and large coolers to cater for commercial exports at Ahau and this has already been provided by the Fijian Government," Mr Masere said.

"Boat service from Tuvalu is inconsistent. They were supposed to come to Rotuma once a month as they return from visiting Suva but sometimes they do not make it here."

As a result, farmers on the island tend to lose interest in the trade. However, Mr Masere said they were lucky to be selling their products to Fiji Agro Marketing to avoid loss for farmers.

The idea of the Government to bring the trading post to Rotuma was signed between the two countries in 2008 and the shift from Fiji's exporting business to Rotuma was based on the closeness of the island to Tuvalu.

It takes 12 hours by boat to reach Tuvalu and the exported goods are still well intact.

From Fiji Times Online (6 September 2016)

Job opening

By Losalini Bolatagici

THE seasonal workers scheme has now been extended to Rotuma where about 78 men from the 2008 people on the island will be recruited to be part of the six-month program.

Rotuma district officer Niumaia Masere yesterday revealed that this has been confirmed by the Minister for Labour Semi Koroilavesau after his visit to the island last week. With an assessment team from Suva expected to arrive on the island next week to begin with the process, a call has also been made by the Fiji Rotuma Association for careful selection in the recruitment process as this initiative could have social implications on the island's livelihood.

Rotuma has a population of 2008 people and Mr Masere had revealed that only about 21 per cent of the population or about 421 were very energetic, engaging in farming and fishing activities on the island. According to Bureau of Statistics estimates at the end of last year, Rotuma had 367 males between the ages of 20 and 54.

"Fruit picking, as we were told is only suitable for men based on the assessment carried out by the minister on his visit to New Zealand. While the pilot program for Rotuma is only for men, women will also be identified by the assessment team for opportunities to work in processing units abroad probably for the next lift."

This initiative, which was initially identified for people in urban areas, has now been changed to be known as the rural and isolated communities (RIC) scheme by Mr Koroilavesau.

"Three men from each of the 26 clans on the island will be identified for further assessment. The minister had informed us that from the three, only two will go abroad while the third one will be on the reserve list in case one of the contenders does not meet the requirements," Mr Masere said.

He believes the scheme would not have an adverse social impact as it was only on a short-term basis.

Fiji Rotuma Association chairman Paserio Furivai said the program would definitely bring more money for the islanders who mostly depended on money from their relatives overseas. He said a similar scheme was also introduced to the people after the devastation caused by Cyclone Bebe in 1972 where people were able to bring in more money for their families while working in New Zealand.

However, considering the decreasing male population on the island today, careful consideration must be made so that this initiative had no social impacts for the people back home.

"We have the school age population and the elderly on the island and there's a gap in between created by those who have left to further their studies and to work overseas. I hope they will consider life on the island in terms of food security, the manpower needs to carry out social activities when carrying out the assessment," Mr Furivai said.

Mr Masere also revealed they have been assured that there were also opportunities for women to work in factories.

From Fiji Times Online (3 September 2016)

Rotumans happy with seasonal work opportunity

By Avinesh Gopal

ROTUMANS are delighted to be considered for seasonal work opportunities in Australia and New Zealand.

Employment Minister Semi Koroilavesau visited various places on Rotuma and told people about changes in criteria for recruitment and selection for the seasonal worker scheme.

Rotuma Island Council chairman Gagaj Tokaniua said they were blessed and delighted to be considered since there was no form of employment in Rotuma.

From Fiji Times Online (3 September 2016)

Women encouraged

By Charlene Lanyon

WOMEN on the island of Rotuma have been encouraged to venture into entrepreneurship as an alternative source of income.

Minister for Youth and Sports Laisenia Tuitubou highlighted this during the display of material sewn by the Rotuma Young Women in Business at Ahau government station on Rotuma earlier this week.

"A lot of people nowadays aim for white collar jobs and to work in offices in urban areas but what I want to encourage you to do is to take up entrepreneurship and to run your own business," Mr Tuitubou said.

"From the looks of your display today, it is evident that you can earn reasonable income if you pursue your sewing further and I hope that you will one day be contenders for the Ministry of Youth and Sports-sponsored 'Young Entrepreneurs Award' at the annual Prime Minister's Exporter of the Year Awards."

Mr Tuitubou said the women could also work with the youth administrator on the island to develop their creative skills and boost productivity.

Rotuma Young Women in Business president Julie Tigarea thanked the ministry for bringing the multi-skills training program to the island.

"The clothes displayed today were our first attempt at sewing and we were a bit surprised that most of the clothes were bought as we had only come to showcase what we had learnt during the training program," Ms Tigarea said.

"To be thought of by the government, in upskilling our women, is an advantage for us young women here on the island."

From (2 September 2016)

Youth clubs in Rotuma receive assistance from Ministry of Youth and Sports

By Rusiate Baleilevuka

sports club
Minister for Youth and Sports, Laisenia Tuitubou handing out diving equipment to a youth in Rotuma.

Three youth clubs on the island of Rotuma have received assistance from the Ministry of Youth and Sports to boost their income generating projects.

Pepjei and Losa Youth Clubs each received fishing gear while Juju Youth Club was handed virgin coconut oil manufacturing equipment.

While handing over the assistance, Minister for Youth and Sports, Laisenia Tuitubou called on the youth clubs to make full use of the equipment.

Sports clus
Minister for Youth and Sports, Laisenia Tuitubou hands out free equipment to a youth in Rotuma.