From Vamarasi Hereniko in Lautoka, Fiji (15 December 1999, posted 29 December)
On 4 December the Nadi Rotuman Women Association held a show at the Latter Day Saints Hall. The programme started at 7 a.m. All items on display were set up in sections on one side of the hall, chairs for the audience were set up on the other. The hall was nicely decorated with flowers. Liebling Marlow was invited to do the judging, helped by Aliti Viliame. No names were written on the items. After judging the items Liebling had to leave because of other commitments. We gave her food ('afa tela'a) including: 'a'an, fekei, puaka, moa ma puat kau, meren, ponap ma keke tape'ma. Ka 'on te fakhanis ta la na fakmür se ia.
At 10:35 the president of the club, Ma'ana Ravai gave a warm welcoming speech to the community. Ö'hön ne Rotu, Kafoa Vaivao, said the prayers. After prayers visitors were free to look around to see which items won first, second, and third prizes. Also, during this time morning tea was served. There were plenty of cakes, pies, fruits, tea, milo, juice, etc. on the table. After morning tea it was prize-giving time.
Only six of the fourteen members entered the competition. They were: Ma'ana Ravai (Motusa), Finau Motofaga (Juju), Sarote Antonio (Motusa), Vamarasi Kaitu'u (Hafea, Hapmak), Akata Aisea (Mea, Hapmak), and Vamarasi Hereniko (Mea, Hapmak). There were sixteen categories for which prizes were given, as follows:
Te ne garue fak Rotuam ne fa' sio, hanit kop la ös la po se kel'ak te ta.
Garue Fak Fifisi
Embroidery Ha' takagat ma tag ne kuruan he rua Ma'ana Hereniko Finau Embroidery Ha'ne tepelit ma ha' mea'mea' 'a sor
he 6 Hereniko Ma'ana Finau Crochet Ha' ne tepel mea'mea het ma kusin he 6 Hereniko Akata Sarote Crochet Set het, ha' ne 'ai tiro he fol (3)
ma ha' het la faua tior ta Ma'ana Akata Hereniko Ha' Pani Ha' ne tepeli Ma'ana Vamarasi Akata Ha' Pani Ha' fali Akata Ma'ana Hereniko Ha' Mon Mono Ha' takaga Akata Ma'ana Vamarasi Ha' Mon Mono Set funuag te: Akata Hereniko Finau Sus Ha'u Teet ma ne le'et po la susu Hereniko Ma'ana Finau Fun Te Ösös ne Icing 'e ta kek het Sarote Akata Hereniko Garue Fo'ou Het Ma'ana Akata Finau
Ha' takagat ma tag ne kuruan he rua
Ha'ne tepelit ma ha' mea'mea' 'a sor he 6
Ha' ne tepel mea'mea het ma kusin he 6
Set het, ha' ne 'ai tiro he fol (3) ma ha' het la faua tior ta
Ha' ne tepeli
Ha' Mon Mono
Ha' Mon Mono
Set funuag te:
Teet ma ne le'et po la susu
Ösös ne Icing 'e ta kek het
Garue Fo'ou Het
A small amount of money was give by the club for prizes: 1st prize = $20, 2nd prize = $15, 3rd prize = $10.
Ö'hön ta Seini Kitione (Malhaha) ta na'ia togi se haian ne po raro 'e garue fak Rotuma. Ka ö'hön ta Aliti Wiliame ta na'ia togi se haian ne po maro 'e garue fakfifisi. 'E teran ta'a haina ririaf pau, ka 'oaf'oaf, ma te makmak 'e. Manea' ta sor pau, 'ereko iris kat re te ra la sur'ak se kel'ak te ta. 'Ereko ti' ne 'oaf'oaf 'on haina, ma iris pa 'es la re ta pasa ne kaus ta maro, ma haina hugag'esea la re 'e vahiag ne 'ate ianina.
Lunch was at 1 p.m. The food included: kaua rarraut--tela'a ma unrauraut--'a'an, puaka, moa, palusami, kokunda, fish, poatkau, fupagmas, curry, rice, salad, fekei, fruits & desserts, etc. It was a good day, full of fun and plenty of food. From 2:15 to 3:15 p.m. we played cards and danced. After one hour the dancing (clown) prize was given to Savike Sosefo of the Fiji Pine Commission, Nabou Station. The winners of the pasa were: 1st prize = Maria & Tipo, 2nd prize = Aliti & Seine, 3rd prize = Finau (rua) & her sigoa. After these games, we had our annual general meeting (tauna' hil te). The following were elected officers:
The club planned for a bigger, better show at the end of next year if we have enough money. Akata closed the meeting by a short prayer. The meeting ended at 5:30 p.m. and all members went back home with a basketful of food and cakes.
What a busy time I have had since my last email to you!!! I left Sydney for Fiji on 10 December and was picked up at Nausori Airport by John and Emily Fatiaki; I stayed at Toorak with them and Uncle Kauturaf. The next day, Saturday the 11th, was Rosmond Pene and Frank's wedding. Frank is the son of Rigamoto (Malhaha) and Apao (Ahau). The ceremony was held at the Churchward Chapel, and the Lalavi Band from Sydney entertained the guests, What a great impression they made with relatives and friends!The following Saturday, the 18th, was Melissa's wedding. I had a wonderful time catching up with kainaga from Malhaha etc. The groom, Tevite Fiu, is the son of Epeli (Elsio-Malhaha) and Tausie (Else'e-Malhaha), so it was a real Malhaha get together. Aunty Isapeti, Betty, Susanna and the children came to Raukafono's (Melissa's mum) a few days before the wedding so we could have some quality catching up time. Susanna had just returned from her daughter Kafoa's graduation in NZ. Susana and John Tevite invited me to their girls' thanksgiving party but I unfortunately missed it as I had left Suva; I heard that Ravai and Arthur Shaw arrived in Suva but I had already left for Nadi.
On Sunday the 19th I was honored to be asked to take part in the morning service at Churchward Chapel with Emily Fatiaki and Fekau Emotama Pene. A lot of folks were surprised that my Rotuman is not forgotten. I was glad Aunty Elisapeti was at the service. On Boxing Day I believe Aunty Kava Fonmoa (from Sydney) preached at Churchward Chapel with Fred Pene (also from Sydney) leading the service.
This trip was a time of catching up with relatives and friends and fellowship with one another- What a joyful festive season, though perhaps a little short. To all my kainaga ma kaumaneaga who hosted me and took me out for dinners in their homes and restaurants, aus faiaksea 'e hanisi! Special thanks to Tua'a (Ex Viliane) and George Faktaufono for the use of your house at Nadi. Last but not least my driver Dr Tukaha Mua and Metusela Konrote (Isimeli) who made sure I got on the plane back to Sydney. Thank you guys soo very much! My children and I wish you all a peaceful and blessed new millennium!
Two weddings will take place on New Years Day. The two happy couples are Palinda (Lily and Vilsoni Erasito's daughter) and a Malhaha man (who was best man at Rosemonds wedding). Their wedding to be in Suva. The second couple, whose wedding will be in Nadi, is Lawrence Eliesa (Son of Etika and Margaret) and the bride to be is Gagaj Poar and Fanifau's daughter. The things that goes on in Suva are enough to tire oneself out. On the Saturday of Melissa's wedding there were three höt'ak hafu and another wedding.
On Wednesday the 29th the Lalavi Band will be playing at the Barnes NightClub for over 40s in Suva. Tukaha Mua and Robin Mitchell took me to the club last Tuesday but when Tukaha and I arrived it was packed--a band from Nadi was playing. I am sure Lalavi will fill the club as well.
From Major-General Jioje Konrote in Suva (21 December 1999)
To the Global Rotuman Community
Noa'ia 'e mauri ko Gagaj.
It is with great reverence and humility that I write this short note during this Festive Season to greet each and everyone of you wherever you are in our global community, but more importantly to thank you most sincerely for your prayers, good wishes and moral support during my tenure as Force Commander of the United Nations Interim Force In Lebanon (UNIFIL) for the past two years. I relinquished the appointment in October and Sarote and I had since returned to the peace and serenity of home.
Commanding UNIFIL which was then the biggest (and in my humble opinion the most difficult UN peacekeeping operation worldwide) has been a great honour and privilege and I am most grateful for your prayers.
As we indulge in merriment during this av mane'a, let us continue to remember our fellow Rotumans and those peacekeepers who are still deployed in the war zones of Iraq / Kuwait / Lebanon / Sinai / West Africa / Kosovo / East Timor and Bouganville in our prayers and thoughts. Let us pray and ask the Good Lord to protect their lives from the evils of conflict as they endeavour to establish and maintain peace...and not forgetting of course their families and loved ones who are left at home on their own.
May I wish each and everyone of you a very Merry Christmas and a Bright, Prosperous and Peaceful New Millennium.
Gagaj Aitu la a'hanis ma kal se 'os mauri 'e 'on hanisi ma kolori 'e av 'oaf'oaf te'is. Fu'amus ma ne'ne' ne 'os Gagaj Aitu ma hanis ne 'on le' sau ta Jisu Karisto.
Jioje, Sarote ma kaunohoagta.
Noa'ia 'e Mauri. On Sat Dec 18th, the Seven Stars of Rotuma celebrated our Christmas and break-up party at the home of Pedro and Makereta Rigamoto in Fremont.
Pedro our club chairman prepared a koua and we all enjoyed a variety of delicious dishes compliments of members in attendance. Music was provided by our band Fatumanava led by Supa Susau. We all enjoyed ourselves and plan for a fara this Christmas day.
On behalf of our Chairman for the Seven Stars of Rotuma he would like to wish each and everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year 2000.
'Oaf 'oaf ne kesmas ta ma alalum ne fau fo'ou ta 2000 la ma te' ne 'aus 'atakoa.
From Emily Fatiaki in Suva (12 December 1999)
Greetings in the Name of Our Lord Jesus Christ to the Global Rotuman Community
On behalf of the Bible Committee, I would like to present to you and your friends the Biggest Christmas present a Rotuman can have before 2000 A.D. Our new Rotuman Bible which is now being used by our Rotuman people in different parts of Fiji, Rotuma, Australia and New Zealand.
The arrival of the 7000 copies of the Rotuman bible in Suva on Wednesday the 8th of September was the fulfillment of a long awaited dream of the Rotuman people and as for me as Chairperson, it had always been my secret dream to see the complete Bible before the year 2000 A.D. because no other gift will surpass and for this we say "Glory Be to God in the Highest."
It has been indeed a very long wait of 129 years for the Rotumans to receive the complete Bible in our own language. Twenty-seven books of the New Testament and 8 of the 39 Old Testament books were printed in 1876, but it was not until 1999 that the last 31 books were printed.
The Committee is indebted to the Bible Society for their assisstance in ensuring that the printing of the Bible was completed before the new millenium. Different committee members have worked tirelessly throughout the years and their invaluable contributions will be treasured in the hearts of all Rotumans.
The launching of the Bible took place on Saturday the 16th of October at the Churchward Chapel at 10a.m. Our guest of honour was Mr. Solomone Duru, the General Secretary of The Bible Society in the South Pacific. After the launching, the General Secretary of the Methodist Church in Fiji And Rotuma, Dr. Elaitia Tuwere blessed the Bibles that were placed on the Holy Communion table and knelt around the table together with representitives of the Methodist Church, Assemblies Of God, Seventh Day Adventists, Salvation Army, Roman Catholic Church and delegations from the Methodist Church Of Rotuma, including Reverend Jone Langi, Gagaj Maraf, Gagaj Titofag (Chairman of the Rotuma Island Council), Gagaj Tuipeua, and Gagaj Kausiriaf. After the service, everyone was escorted to the hall for a luncheon which was followed by traditional dancing performed by the Churchward Chapel Youth Group. Before the end of the ceremony, the Committee managed to sell approximately 900 copies of the new Rotuman Bible.
It is anticipated that before the year 2000 A.D., each family would have bought a copy of the Bible. Due to financial constraints, it maybe impossible for each family to purchase a copy of the Bible and therefore I am appealing to anyone (Rotuman or not) who would like to donate a bible to people or family in Rotuma to contact me at the following address;
All cheques are to be made payable to the Rotuman Bible Fund/Account. Prices are $36.00 for the luxury edition (with a zipper) and $19.00 for the common edition (Hard cover).
There are 300 Bibles at Mairo ( Rotuma ) where Rev. Jone Langi resides.
I wish to thank Dr Alan Howard and Ms Martoa Dickinson of Sydney for allowing me, as the Chairperson of the Committee, to use this medium as a means to facilitate the sale of the Rotuman "Puk Ha'a."
I would also like to take this opportunity to thank all members of the global Rotuman community and wish each and everyone of you all the best for the festive season and for the new millenium.
Merry Christmas And Happy New Year To All.
Haleluyah And Praise Be To God.
During November some of us joined the priests, brothers, and students of the Divine Mission at Epping to celebrate Hiagi and Perao's 19th birthday and the 18th birthday of Aleki Munivai. Aleki's parents, Faga and Inoke Munivai, and Uncle Sakaria, provided a wonderful birthday cake.
November 28th we had a baptism at the Rotuman Weekly Mission Service of Elocin Smith, whose parents are Tieriki and Marseu, and grandparents Frank and Malagrani Smith. It was great to see Sefeti and Betty and their beautiful daughter at the service,as well as Jeffrey Carroll and his wife. The service was also a farewell to Vilsoni and Tarauhifu Inoke who were doing an advanced Diploma of Applied Science. We congratulate Vilsoni on his good result. They are now back in Suva and Tarauhifu leaves for Rotuma on 11 December to visit her mother and family in Malhaha. While they were in Sydney (one year) they stayed with with Tarauhifu's sister Rejieli Mani and family.
Leaving for Rotuma as well on 11 December are Tinalei and Neville Phillips from Sydney. Tinalei and Neville will be in Rotuma until the end of January to celebrate Tinalei's mother, Puragou's 80th birthday. My children and I wish Puragou a very happy birthday!! And God bless you always.
The Lalavi Band left Sydney for Suva on Monday, 6 December; they will be playing at Rosmond Pene's wedding on Saturday the 11th. Devuki Atalifo and I leave for Suva today to attend Rosmond's wedding and Melissa William's wedding on the 18th.
A kato'aga was held at Faumurtia, Pephaua, for Major General Jioje Konrote and Mrs Konrote last month, November 16th. The kato'aga was given by his sister, Maggie, and relatives from Hapmafau. It was well organised. The Council of Rotuma joined in and it was nice to see how much everyone enjoyed it. The tautoga and tiap hai was real good; we all enjoyed watching the maka and most of the people love to watch Konrote dance 'marmar pau'.
I was very sad to lose my mother, Vamarasi Tamalesi Elaisa, who died on 28 November of old age. She was born in February 1904 and was buried in her parents' grave at Else'e cemetery. Both of them (Isapeti and Tarsau) died in April 1911 during the measles epidemic.
Congratulations to Frank & Maree Stace of Gisborn South, Melbourne on the arrival of their daughter Tahlia, born 20 November 1999, sister to Luke.
There are three flights a week to Rotuma now--Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to All.
From Elisapeti Inia (29 November 1999, posted 6 December)
The funeral feast for Gagaj Kautärfon of Itu'ti'u was held on the teran lima, Monday, November 8th. The Fagmanu mosega met on Tuesday the 9th and chose Vaurasi of Tuakoi to be the district chief, and the koua ne jöl niu was on Wednesday the 10th. The installing of the new chief, Gagaj Marekau was performed by our faufisi, Gagaj Irao. The koua consisted of 4 kau, 10 pigs, 5 cartons of corned beef, taro, papai, etc. It was a big feast and the day was very fine. Gagaj Väenuk was present and he told us that Hapmak is back again and will support the new chief.
On 12 November Itu'ti'u district had its first meeting with its new chief, all the subchiefs, and the people. Major General Jioje Konrote was present at the meeting and he thanked the people of Itu'ti'u for their good work and prayers. He is also from the Fagmanu mosega, which is ruling now. I also mentioned the good news that the Itu'ti'u District's investment in the National Bank of Fiji, originally $2100 which I invested in May 1978, has increased to $9,651.41. I lost my seat as mata in 1986 and no one remembered the investment. The books were not well kept and the receipt of certificate was lost. I went to the bank in July and inquired about the investment and they found the record and issued a receipt. My announcement was a welcome surprise, because the district has no other money at this time. It was fortunate that I kept the old cash book at home with the number of the investment written on it, which the bank accepted.
On Sunday, 14 November, the first service was held at the new church in Savlei, with Rev Samuela Isimeli as preacher. Deaconess Olovia Nataniela surprised us all when she came that morning to attend the service. The Holy Communion was given to the congregation by the minister and Deaconess Olovia. She gave the church $50, which added to the $195 already on hand, raised the capital to $245 for our new church.
The Savlei Community, which is fundraising for a new generator for electricity in year 2000, has reached the goal of $5146, one-tenth of the amount needed. The rest of the money will be supplied by Government grant.
A kato'aga was held for Jioje Konrote on 16 November at Malhaha. The entertainment was by a hafa Rotuman dance by the young people of Tuakoi, Savlei, Feavai, and Malhaha. It was a very big hafa and very good. The leader was Gagaj Marasia, a cousin of Jioje Konrote. The purotu was Sarote Fonmanu, Principal of Malhaha District School, who is another cousin of Jioje's. The Itu'muta string band composed very nice songs about Jioje which they sang during the day. There were 4 kau, 10 hata, 8 cartons of corned beef, and the koua, which made a really big feast.
So many cows have been slaughtered in less than a month: 2 at the opening of our church, 2 at the funeral feast for Kautarfon, 4 at the jöl niu of Marekau, 4 at the kato'aga for Jioje Konrote, not counting all the pigs and cartons of corned beef bought.
Our Savlei breakup day or show of mats, etc. and inspection of gardens will take place on 15 December.