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Archived News: March 2020

From Agatha Ferei Furivai, Chairperson of Suva Juju Assn. (20 March 2020)

Noa'ia 'e mauri, I hope that this circular finds you all in the best of health and will be of
assistance to you as you continue to prepare yourselves and your families in this time of

Yesterday, Fiji confirmed its first Coronavirus case and the city of Lautoka is now on lock down. This sent a wave of panic among some of our citizens across the nation. There is no need for any anxiety to rush and shop. We can still do this calmly over the weekend and in the new week. The country has at least three tissue paper factories, flour, milk and biscuits to name a few. We have a lot of good land and soil areas for planting in our backyards and home gardens. There is a good supply of clean drinking water and so forth.

In light of the state message and restrictions in association and movement, yesterday, it is
important that we minimize all gatherings of people. Thus, effective today, 20 th March, 2020, all SJA meetings and gatherings are cancelled until the 8th of April. Learning from the stories of Italy, who has the highest number of victims at the time of this message and who is ahead of us in this Coronavirus epidemic. It is in our best interest to remain restricted to our own homes and private spaces for now. Take heed of the firm measures of movement.

This virus is transmitted by human contact or coming into contact with the body fluids of
someone who has the virus and thus, is very easy to spread where there is large gatherings of persons. There is a need for this restricted movement to prevent the virus from spreading.

A second way in which we can also assist our loved ones on this global threat, is to manage good hygiene. The coronavirus is very infectious and can spread even with our best containment measures. It can survive 3 days on smooth surfaces and be spread by people who do not have signs of being infected. The disease is said to have about an 8 weeks escalation. But it can deteriorate when managed with sound public health strategies. Let us help one another to be proactive and follow the guidance provided by our national and health ministry leaders. Develop a habit of washing our hands regularly. Use water and soap and where there is no water, hand sanitizers.

I hope that this message is helpful to you our members and that we continue to assist and help one another to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus.

To our Roman Catholic Members, the Archbishop Peter Loy Chong has issued two statements regarding the changes during Mass and now the Association and Movement of members. Please await the instructions issued by your parish priests. The Caritas Fiji team in partnership with CANDO of the Adventist Church and its other member Christian churches are on alert to assist communities during this time of disaster natural or man-made. Let me know if you need any of their updates or communication contacts.

Stay blessed and in prayers!

Noa'ia e garue ma alalum se is atakoa.
Agatha Ferei Furivai

Update 25 March from Paserio Furivai, Chair of Fiji Rotuman Association

From Facebook (14 March 2020)

Coronavirus alert in Rotuman language

Update alert in Rotuman

From Fiji Times Online (11 March 2020)

Ban on fruits from Rotuma

By Anish Chand

GOVERNMENT has slapped a ban on all fruits from Rotuma.

Attorney-GeneralAiyaz Sayed- Khaiyum gazetted a declaration that the whole ofRotuma be
regarded as a biosecurity emergency area for the fruit fly species bactrocera kirki and
bactrocera obscura.

The declaration enforced for a period of six months began on March 5 this year.

The A-G gazetted the declaration on the advice of the Biosecurity Authority of Fiji and in
consultation with the National Disaster Management Council.

"Any movement of all stages of the fruit fly species, including eggs, laIVae and pupa, or of any material hosting the fruit fly species out of the declared biosecurity emergency area is strictly prohibited," said the gazette.

"Host material includes all fruits found on Rotuma."

BAF said the two types of fruit flies were likely to pose significant threats to Fiji's fruits and vegetables and also affect Fiji's fresh produce exports.

"Fiji has a Bilateral Quarantine Agreement (BQA) with New Zealand and Australia for export of fresh produce to these countries," said HAF in an advisory.

The HQA ensures that a structured s)'lltem is put in place to minimise the risk of injurious
pests and diseases particularly fruit flies entering into these countries.

"BAF would like to advise people travelling to and from Rotuma that it is prohibited to bring any fruits from Rotuma into Fiji."

From Pacific Cooperation Foundation (9 March 2020)

Rotuma and Kiribati joins Pacific language week celebrations in NZ

The Pacific Language Weeks, an initiative spearheaded by New Zealand's Ministry for Pacific Peoples is entering its 11th year with Rotuma and Kiribati Language Week set to make its official debut. 

Minister for Pacific Peoples Hon. Aupito William Sio says the Pacific languages enriches New Zealand's cultural capital.

Aupito Sio
Minister for Pacific Peoples Hon. Aupito William Sio attending Rotuma language week celebrations last year. Source: Mairani Rotuman Group Auckland

"Last year's celebrations of the 2019 United Nations International Year of Indigenous Languages, not only illuminated the value of the languages and the cultures of indigenous peoples all around the world, but it also boosted the confidence of Pacific youth, who proudly stood as a beacon of light to show the world that they too treasure their legacy of diverse Pacific languages in Aotearoa." Minister Sio says. 

Minister Sio also said the New Zealand government Wellbeing Budget works in partnership with the Pacific communities and the minister to maintain Pacific language programmes and other related initiatives for the next generation. 

"Pacific peoples must lead this work with confidence, and also use our cultural values such as collective action to also promote our languages, not just amongst Pacific communities, but nationwide and in partnership with all New Zealanders."

"Our languages need to be recognised and valued in our schools, community halls, our workplaces and in all areas of our lives." 

"That relationship between heritage and language is critical for our voice, the voice of Pacific Aotearoa, to thrive and survive."

"For this reason, our languages are a vital bridge between our place in Aotearoa New Zealand and our heritage as peoples of the vast Blue Pacific continent. They are key part of our individual and community wellbein."

The Pacific Language Week series started in 2010 with Samoan Language Week and have since grown year after year, promoting and raising awareness of the diversity of Pacific languages and cultures within New Zealand. 

The 2020 Language Weeks line-up begins with Rotuma Language Week in May and ends with Tokelau Language Week in October. 

NZ Pacific Language Week Dates:

  • Rotuma Language Week: Sunday 10 May – Saturday 16 May 2020
  • Samoa Language Week: Sunday 24 May – Saturday 30 May 2020
  • Kiribati Language Week: Sunday 12 July – Saturday 18 July 2020
  • Cook Islands Language Week: Sunday 2 August – Saturday 8 August 2020
  • Tonga Language Week: Sunday 6 September – Saturday 12 September 2020
  • Tuvalu Language Week: Sunday 27 September – Saturday 3 October 2020
  • Fijian Language Week: Sunday 4 October – Saturday 10 October 2020
  • Niue Language Week: Sunday 18 October – Saturday 24 October 2020
  • Tokelau Language Week: Sunday 25 October – Saturday 31 October 2020

From the Fiji Sun (9 March 2020)

By Wati Talebula

Villagers in Maritime Zone Will Soon Have Decent and Affordable Homes

Communities within our provinces of the Maritime Zone including Rotuma will soon
have an opportunity to own simple, decent and affordable housing.

This is thanks to the New Zealand government and generosity from Habitat
for Humanity NZ, through its Fijian counterpart.

Habitat Fiji's national director Masi Latianara said: "There is another project
called 'Stand Strong' that is funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade from the New Zealand Government.

"It embodies a new strategic approach by Habitat for Humanity to focus on increasing the access to technical expertise to disaster threatened Fijian communities through shelter specific training in disaster risk reduction."

The Stand Strong project is a five-year project (2018-2022), which came to conception after the 2016 Category Five TC Winston caused significant loss of life and destruction of houses near and in the path of the cyclone in Fiji.

"It will be focused on rural communities through Kadavu, Lomaiviti, Lau, and Yasawas and all the way to Rotuma."

Habitat for Humanity's activities in Fiji range from new house construction to helping families rebuild after cyclones and other disasters to improving water and sanitation access in various communities.

Habitat homes are typically built with a combination of locally supplied timber, concrete, and metal roofing. Families who partner with Habitat also contribute their own labour to build their new homes.

"The project for Kadavu, Yasawa, Lau Group, Lomaiviti Province and Rotuma is about building resilience to natural disasters and it has a number of components and one ofthem is called Participatory Approach to Safe Shelter Awareness." Mr Latianara said.

"It is a training programme that is delivered in eight (8) days."

Mr Latianara said it was now about facilitating discussions within the community and for them to identify threats within their environment if there was a disaster looming.

"To identify the threat and issues that come out of that and then come up with a solution that they can get somebody to fund or fund it themselves," he said.

The second component is "Built Back Safer Training".

He said this was basically construction training and that would be to build a house as part of the training and the house remained in the community so villagers could see how it was built.

"We cover eight key areas and it starts from the foundation going up to the roof and also covers how you should site your house. Like where you should have it," Mr Latianara.


He has released their schedule to the provinces and Yasawa islands.Habitat for Humanity International is a non-profit Christian organisation that brings families, volunteers and resources together to build simple, decent, and affordable housing in low-income areas.

Houses are sold at no profit and owners provide hard work, a down payment, and ongoing interest-free payments.