From John and Emily Fatiaki in Suva (22 November 1999)
Malhaha Day will be held at Churchward Chapel on December 4th, Saturday. All fellow Malhahans are welcome to attend. The occassion is to last from 8 am to 2 pm in the afternoon.
From Elisapeti Inia in Rotuma (1 November 1999, posted 17 November)
The new Methodist Church in Savlei opened on 30 October at 9 a.m. Rev Jione Langi gave the name Shalom (Peace) for our new church. Gagaj Ferei and Gagaj Marasia of Tuakoi were invited along with Rev Langi, Rev Aiveni Fatiaki, Rev Samuela Isimeli and Fr Leone Low of Sumi. Our koua for the day was mainly to thank all who worked hard in building the church, Gagaj Irao and the Catholics, and those who donated money to the church and are living on the island. It was a fine day and everything went well. The koua was one hata, two cows, one carton of corned beef, baskets of food, watermelons, bananas, sugar cane, and a kava plant. The koua was announced just outside the church in the porch and then taken to the hall where lunch was served at 12 noon. Gagaj Tivao and Gagaj Irao gave speeches. Gagaj Tivao said that the new church is better than the old one and everybody agreed. We are so grateful for all your donations which made it possible to build a new church in place of the old one. The carpentry and the labour was free, all working for the glory of God. Everything inside the church was presented by the Savlei people from Fiji or overseas. Faiaksea 'e hanis ti'u.
The district chief of Itu'ti'u, Gagaj Kautarfon, passed away after a long illness on 3 November. His legs were the main trouble; he could not walk and his eyes were dim. He was confined to his home this whole year, so now he is in peace. Fagmanu mosega is coming next, but I have not heard of the candidates yet.
Sunday, the 31st of October, was the first Holy Communion for Catholic children. At Savlei there was only Joseph, Matlena Dumas' nephew, so all of us had meals together on Friday, October 29th; Saturday, October 30th; Sunday, October 31st; and Monday, November 1st, which was All Saints Day.
Savlei village now has $5400 in hand for electricity money; $5000 is one-tenth of the cost of a generator. When Kautarfon died $400 had to be used for the village la'o because most people in Savlei are from the chief's mosega of Farsau. I hope there are no more chiefly funerals in the near future.
Visanti Makrava is the Mata for Oinafa district for the next three years. Apparently the results of the election were not well received by all the chiefs, two of whom went to Suva to protest. I thought chiefs don't have a say in choosing the Mata, who is the people's representative on the Council.
Last Thursday (28 October) was the süf hani of Filipe Makrava, Visanti's and Susana's son, who was taken to Lopta. The girl is Makaha's and Manava's daughter, Rigamoto. The wedding will be on 10 December. There are three weddings scheduled in Oinafa for December. Filipe and Rigamoto on the 10th, Sautiak and Vamarasi's daughter Rosalind's wedding on the 17th, and Rev Aiveni's& Jioje's son Viliama marrying Rosarie of Noa'tau (the teacher) on the 29th.
There's a kato'aga planned for Jioje Konrote in a fortnight's time (16 November). The dance (hafa) will be by Hapmafau and Malhaha combined. Jioje will spend a seek in Rotuma so his kainaga are holding the kato'aga and also dancing for him to show our gratitude.
Janice and Tafo'ou sent the following article, by Alison Barclay, which appeared in the Arts & Entertainment section of the Herald Sun on 6 October 1999).
Rejieli Paulo has come a long way in a short time in the world of song, writes Alison Barclay
The voice was grand, glorious. But what startled a certain Melbourne music teacher was not the size of the sound, but the size of its maker.
It emanated from a tiny eight-year-old girl.
It was no contest. Young Rejieli Paulo won a place in the Berwick Children's Choir on the spot.
Now, 16 years later, Paulo,24, is a finalist in her first attempt at the Herald Sun Aria, one of Australia's richest prizes for young opera singers.
And she credits the keen ear of her first teacher, Jean Herriott, for propelling her into the melodious hyper-reality of opera.
Debutante aims high
"Ever since grade three she has believed in my talent and helped me to read and to understand music," says Paulo, who sang with the choir until she was 21.
"I had always loved music but she was the one who helped me appreciate it. She said, 'You have something very special'."
Paulo held on to those warm words and in her mid-teens began singing lessons with Lynette Casey-Brereton, who is still her teacher.
Now completing her Bachelor of Music at Melba Conservatorium, Paulo--whose melifluous name comes from her Polynesian father--will make her professional debut next month with Opera Australia in the chorus of The Magic Flute.
But the finest talents often have ordinary, even humble alter-egos.
Paulo can often be found polyester-clad and silent, toiling at the Coles supermarket checkout in Prahran.
It buys her time to study roles she one day hopes to sing, as well as learn Italian, French and German.
"I like to do a lot of historical research," she says.
"For something like Don Carlos, which I'm singing at the final, I researched the Spanish and French war.
"I'll translate the aria into English so that I can convey the meaning of the words as best as possible to the audience who perhaps don't understand the language I'm singing in. I like to learn the song back to front.
"I prefer not to listen to recordings because I don't like to take the risk of taking on things other people have done. I'd rather it came from me."
A dramatic soprano, Paulo's ambition lies with opera versimo.
"I have a very rich tone and many different colors that people are always picking up and saying it's a very rare quality to have," she says.
"I hope one day to have roles in Verdi's operas. He's the greatest composer.
But she dare not plot out her life yet. A Herald Sun Aria win? "I'm not even expecting it!"
One thing Paulo can count on is a bouyant cheer squad tomorrow night.
"I owe everything to my mum and my family," she says. "Now that my voice has developed so much they are all up there with me and supporting me."
Note: Rejieli did not get a place in the finals of the Herald Sun Aria contest, but her career remains on track nevertheless.
From Fiji Broadcasting Corporation (2 November 1999)
Konrote to head FIS successor
It's likely former UNFIL commander, Major General Jioji Konrote will head the successor organisation to the Fiji Intelligence Service. Major General Konrote - who has completed his appointed in Lebanon - has returned home.
Sources say the government's reconstituted F-I-S will be part of the Ministry of Home Affairs and will be responsible for policy analysis.
The office will report directly to the Minister for Home Affairs unlike the FIS which reports directly to the National Security Council.
Like the current Director of the Fiji Intelligence Service Colonel Metusela Mua , Konrote's vast military experience will be an asset to the job.
From Ravai Shaw in Wellington (1 November 1999)
Annual Gathering of Rotumans in New Zealand
The Wellington Group of the New Zealand Rotuman Fellowship Inc Society hosted about 80 Rotumans including children who gathered in the capital city on the recent holiday (Labour) weekend. They came from different parts of the North Island from as far north as Auckland, which is about an 8 hour drive to Wellington.
The three Groups (Auckland, Waikato and Wellington) shared the catering. On Sunday we had a koua and the menu included, roasted pork, taro, fekei mara ma 'a'ana, marinated chicken, fupagmasi, chow mein, and fish.
The Programme included sports (volleyball and netball) and a scenic tour of Wellington's attractions (Te Papa National Museum, Parliament Buildings, Botanical Gardens, Mt Victoria Lookout, and the wind power generator). Almost everyone took part in the games -- from young to our elders. Pasa games were continuous throughout the weekend -- and as a result there were many bags of rice !!!!! A disco was organised for the young in age and heart on Saturday. A little bird reported on Sunday morning that from 11 pm to midnight Saturday some of our energetic and enthusiastic ladies were doing aerobics!
On Sunday afternoon we held our annual general meeting. The following persons have been elected office bearers 1999-2000:
The annual gathering for the year 2000 will be hosted by Waikato group members and we are all looking forward to this.
One of our primary objectives is to promote unity and foster our Rotumaness. This was evident by the immense hanisi contributed by all through the magnificent meals and invaluable participation. All in all it was a very successful and positive weekend.
'Amis naaf 'otomis hea'hea' lelei ma hanisi se te' ne kainag ma kautauna'iag Rotuam 'atakoa.