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Archived News: July 2017

From Fiji Sun Online (27 July 2017)

Minister Opens New Rotuma Fisheries Station

By Ashna Kumar

Minister for Forests, Osea Naiqamu opened the new $1.7 million Rotuma Fisheries Station last Saturday in Motusa, Rotuma.

The new station includes the ice plant shed housing one metric tonne ice machine; with the administration building housing an office and a conference room.

The new Fisheries Station also has a three-bedroom house and a 23 footer half cabin fibreglass boat fitted with a 60 horsepower outboard engine.

This is part of Government's initiative to develop both the fishery and forestry resources on the island to bring prosperity to its communities.

"We would like to express our sincere gratitude to the people of Rotuma, the island council and the chiefs of the seven districts," Mr Naiqamu said.

"The surrounding ocean and its resources offer millions of dollars in fisheries products and the Ministry intends to develop the offshore fishery that will benefit the communities," he said.

"The trials on seaweed planting around the bay of Motusa looks promising and this commodity will be further developed on the island with value adding the dried seaweed. Dried seaweed are converted into health products like facial and skin lotion to target the lucrative rich tourist markets in the urban areas in Viti Levu.

He said the ministry will also work hand in hand with the youths and women in fisheries to ensure that they play an important role in developing the fishery and targeting the niche market.

"The Ministry of Forests plans to carry out inventory survey of both the sandalwood and the native hardwood species. This is to determine their economic value in terms of protecting the vegetation and shore line from wave action and wave surges.

"The ministry also intends to carry out nursery trainings on the planting of sandalwood seedlings and setting up sandalwood nursery farms."

Opening of Fisheries Station

Edited by Karalaini Waqanidrola

From Fiji Times Online (24 July 2017)

Progressive Plans

By Litia Cava

THE Ministry of Fisheries is working on securing offshore funding to aid further fisheries projects and to purchase seven boats with outboard engines for the seven districts of Rotuma, says minister Osea Naiqamu.

While opening the $1.7 million ice plant, office and quarters for the ministry last Saturday, the minister said inshore fisheries for food security at the island looked promising.

He said the trials on seaweed planting around the bay of Motusa in Rotuma looked promising as the commodity would be further developed on the island with value adding the dried seaweed and converting it into health products such as facial and skin lotion targeting the lucrative rich tourist markets in the urban areas on Viti Levu.

"We plan to deploy submerged fish aggregating device (FADs) around the island and carry out trainings such as the post-harvest and fish handling techniques, hands on training on deep-water and FAD fishing techniques to capitalise on the abundance of the fisheries and bring economic development to the people and island of Rotuma," Mr Naiqamu said.

The construction of the ice plant shed with a 1 metric ton ice machine, office building consisting of an office and a conference room and a three bedroom quarters together with a 23 footer half cabin fibreglass boat fitted with a 60 HP outboard engine.

Mr Naiqamu said this was part of Government's initiative to develop both the fishery and forestry resources and bring prosperity to the island communities.

From Fiji Times Online (20 July 2017)

Pest bugs trade effort

By Felix Chaudhary

FIJI is looking to unlock trade potential with Rotuma by addressing biosecurity issues hindering the import of fruit and vegetables into the country.

Biosecurity Authority of Fiji acting CEO Hillary Kumwenda said one of the biggest hindrances to the movement of goods from Rotuma to Fiji was the existence of pests such as fruit flies, which were prevalent on the island.

During an interview at a fruit fly workshop at the Tanoa International Hotel in Nadi on Tuesday, Mr Kumwenda said one-way trade could be facilitated by eradicating fruit flies through the use of nuclear controls.

"We do, within Fiji, have certain areas of economic potential like Rotuma," he said.

"In Rotuma, most products find great difficulty to come to the main island because they have a lot of fruit flies there and it is of great concern.

"And we don't want to let those pests of concern spread to other islands."

Mr Kumwenda said nuclear pest control techniques for Rotuma were being discussed with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

"So through this collaborative approach with IAEA and other partners, we are trying to see how we can eradicate fruit flies," he said.

"And there are other means we are discussing, some of them involve introducing nuclear technology.

"All those things will be part of the five-year project or partnership we have with IAEA."

From Fiji Sun Online (19 July 2017)

Fruit Fly Species A Threat: Biosecurity Authority of Fiji

by Waisea Nasokia

A species of the fruit fly has been a threat to the status of fresh produce  The Biosecurity Authority of Fiji (BAF) is working around the clock to eradicate them in Fiji and Rotuma.

BAF chief executive Hillary Kumwendamade said a project was underway to suppress and eradicate the fly which was affecting the quality of fresh produce.

“The project aims to address the fruit fly issue in Fiji and adding to that for Rotuma, the project aims to suppress the levels of B. Kirki to very low levels and possibly eradicate it using nuclear techniques,” Mr Kumwendamade said.

Mr Kumwendamade was speaking yesterday while opening the four-day workshop for Fruit Fly training at the Tanoa International Hotel in Nadi.

He said Fiji (including Rotuma) had seven species of fruit flies of which three species Bactoceraxanthodes, Bactocerapassiflorae and Bactocerakirki had economic significance.

He said the reduction or eradication of the three species could be achieved through integration pest management methods such as trapping, baiting and also using nuclear based Sterile Insect Technique (STI).

He said there was an enhanced co-operation between BAF and International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

“We have a stringent monitoring and surveillance programme on B. kirki restricting its entry into Fiji as the current export of fresh produce to overseas market would be jeopardized,” MrKumwenda said.

“This is why it is extremely important to manage and eradicate B kirkii n Rotuma.

“The suppression and possibly eradication of B kirki population in Rotuma would also have overall benefit as it would reduce damages of fruits in Rotuma and benefit the subsistence, semi-commercial and commercial growers.”

Edited by Rusiate Mataika

From (13 July 2017)

By Lena Reece and Iva Danford

The Minister for Economy and Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum has called out Opposition MP Mosese Bulitavu to stop trying to score cheap political points while clarifying the operation matters with regards to the upgrade and extension of Rotuma Hospital.

Bulitavu questioned the progress of the works of the upgrade and extension of the Rotuma Hospital with the same allocation of $2m from last year.

In response, Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum says that no construction company was willing to go to Rotuma to work on the upgrade and extension of the Rotuma Hospital.

He says the RFMF is working on the Rotuma Hospital.

From Alan and Jan in Honolulu (6 July 2017)

Last Sunday, 2 July, we returned from spending two weeks in Suva, where we were privileged to spend time with many of our Rotuman kau mane‘aga and kainaga, including our adopted son, Walter Aitu and his family, President Jioji Konrote, Paul & Lydia Manueli, Monifa Fiu, Sister Leotina, Agatha Ferei and Pasirio Furivai, Sue and John Tevita, Betty and Isimeli Cokanasiga, Savea Inia, Randolph Bentley, Perry Gabriel & his wife Siteri and daughter Margaret. We were fortunate to be hosted by Dr. John Fatiaki, his wife Sineva, and their adult children, JohnJohn, Juleen, Sefo, Gracie, Marie and Fereti with whom we spent hours talking about everything imaginable.

We had tickets on Fiji Link to fly to Rotuma on 23 June, but the flight was cancelled because the boat that was supposed resupply airplane fuel to the island did not go. (It is our understanding that although the planes that fly to Rotuma carry enough fuel to make the return trip, safety regulations require that fuel be available on the island in case it is needed.) We were told no flights were scheduled to go to Rotuma before August 1st, although that may change.

We also spent some time with Antoine N‘Yeurt, who had returned from Rotuma in May. He kindly shared with us photos he took of the work currently being done to expand and tar seal the airport runway. Here are a couple of photos he showed us:

Chinese workers' quarters
Chinese workers quarters
Chinese workers
Expansion of runway under construction

From Fiji Sun Online (6 July 2017)

Ma‘ana Treasures The Art Of Weaving

Meet Ma'ana Vamarasi. She was taught by her mother to weave at the age of 12.

Ms Vamarasi was born and brought up in Rotuma. She fondly recalls how young girls of her village were taught to sew and weave from a very young age with close supervision from older ladies in their families.

Young girls had to adhere to a set of strict traditions which were a norm in their cultures.

At the age of 16, she says she started to sew her own clothes and began to develop those skills to a better standard.

She settled down in 1989, but decided to venture out into more businesses aside from sewing. Her family left Rotuma in 1993 to settle in Fiji for better opportunities.

Ms Vamarasi says she continued to sew as an occupation when the family settled in Suva. At the same time she kept her traditional craft as something to bless her family with.

"Weaving was something treasured in my heart and as time passed; people began to admire my work," she said.

"This had given me the enthusiasm and the courage to focus on my weaving and rejuvenate those skills to pursue my dreams.

"I had that desire to become a better and perfect weaver and having that greatest satisfaction for the tremendous response from those interested buyers."

Member of the Fiji Arts Council

She joined the Fiji Arts Council in 2000 and began to participate in various craft competitions organised annually by the Council in the various divisions.

Attending workshops, participating in regional festivals and craft seminars gave her opportunities to be more recognised in the uniqueness and the creativity of her outstanding work.

Her works ranged from all types of baskets of different shapes and sizes, purses, fans, and mats.

Ms Vamarasi won many prizes from 2003 to 2008 through competitions organised by the Fiji Arts Council.

She was awarded the Contemporary Crafts Person of the Year in 2008. This award has given her a sense of pride, being a representative of Rotuman arts.

In using local traditional materials, she has also ventured out to contemporary art, adapting her crafts that showcase appreciation and satisfaction of her creativities to meet national, regional and international standards.

Ma'ana weavings