From Fiji Times Website (28 May 2004)
Julien enjoys time in office
By Lusiana Speight
COMING from the furthest destination to attend the Youth Parliament sitting in Suva does not stand as a deterrent for young Julien Rafaele.
The Rotuma High School prefect came to Suva last week to represent the Rotuman Open constituency at the Youth Parliament.
The entire experience is very exciting for me and I have enjoyed making new friends with the other youth parliamentarians, he said.
A big surprise for me during our dinner yesterday (Tuesday) was when I was selected as the Minister of Home Affairs.
This was the second trip to Suva for the Rotuman lad and was even more exciting as it was the first time for him to set foot at Parliament.
The last time I came was in 1998 to visit some relatives, he said.
But this is my first time at Parliament.
Julien said he did not know what to expect when he was chosen to represent Rotuma as he was not familiar with Parliament proceedings.
We had to be interviewed by teachers back in Rotuma to be chosen for this trip, he said.
I did not expect to be chosen because I had very little knowledge of parliamentary affairs.
But this did not discourage him from doing well at the Youth Parliament sittings and he plans to learn as much as he can during the two days.
I plan to learn as much as I can and share my experience with my school-mates back at home, he said.
The outspoken 19-year-old said he plans to become an English teacher when he leaves school and might even be a parliamentarian one day.
I want to be a school teacher and if I also get a chance to be a parliamentarian, then I would work hard in serving the people, he said.
Julien said Parliament House was very big and interesting and everything was organised and professional.
At first I was very careful on how I behaved in Parliament since it is the highest office in the land, but later on I got used to it, he said.
He said the best thing about being a youth parliamentarian was learning about many national issues and also making new and interesting friends.
Many things I am learning now is very interesting like writing speeches and I have made a lot of new friends as well, he said.
Julien said it would be sad to farewell the other youth parliamentarians at the end of the week because of the experience they had at Parliament.
He added that he was honoured to represent Rotuma to the youth parliamentary sitting.
Since I am the only one from Rotuma, I must prove myself to my peers during these two days, he said.
Also, I would educate my juniors back in Rotuma about things I have learned during the two days at Parliament.
Julien is constantly disturbed by two of his newly found friends, who jokingly tease him during the interview.
However, he seems unperturbed by this and continues to chat with me consistently.
He informed me that the two boys are his room-mates at the Tradewinds Hotel where the young parliamentarians are staying for the two-day event.
As the youths slowly make their way back to the Lower House from the cafeteria, Julien politely asked to be excused.
With one last friendly handshake, young Julien runs back to his waiting friends, carrying the hopes of Rotuman youths with him.
From Angela Allen in Laie, Hawai'i (25 May 2004)
On April 23, 2004, Vamarasi Manue Wilson Ieli was married to Angela Allen in the Laie Hawaii Temple. Vamarasi Ieli is from Elsee, Malhaha, and was a secondary school teacher from 1996-1998 in Rotuma. He then worked in several secondary schools around Fiji until 2000 when he began teaching at the LDS Church College. He is currently attending Brigham Young University Hawaii where he has been schooling since 2003. Angela is from Texas, USA. She has lived in Hawaii since 1996 where she received her bachelors degree in art education from Brigham Young University Hawaii, and her masters in Library and Information Science from the University of Hawaii. She works as a Librarian at Brigham Young University Hawaii, where the two met and began dating. Hawaii is where they plan to stay until Vamarasi graduates. Their wedding reception was at the Polynesian Cultural Center and was attended by many good friends and family. Vamarasi's mother, Ledua Ieli, was able to attend the wedding and is now visiting family in California.
From Captain Fuata Jione in Brisbane, Austrailia (21 May 2004)
Congratulations to Marie Sarote
Jione, pictured here with Professor Glenice Hancock,
the Vice Chancellor and President for Central
Queensland University in Brisbane. Marie received
the award for Bachelor of Business (Accounting)
at a ceremony held in Brisbane at the Queensland
Performing Arts centre on 11 May 2004.
From Mika Taito in Santa Barbara, California (21 May 2004)
Noa'ia 'e mauri!
Our Rotuma Day 2004 in California was held last Saturday (15 May) with great success. 'Otomis Chairman 'Eliesa Osotonu ka tape' ma se members ne Seven Stars a'hae la naaf 'otomis faeag ne 'ua'ua'aki ma alalum'aki se te' ne hensasiag 'atakoa ne po ma na 'omus ava ma 'omus koroa ma leum ma 'is teag'esea se San Mateo California. Noa'ia 'e hanis airet.
'Os temamfua 'ea moa ta pulou ka 'uaf ta pulou tape'ma; this was in comparison to the celebration last Saturday.
'Ua'ua'aki leuof se te' ne Gagaj Rotuam 'atakoa ne po ma teag'esea 'e kato'ag ta:
Also we would like to thank other Pacific Island Communities in California--Samoans, Tongans, Fijians, Fiji Indians--and anyone else present but not mentioned.
'Ua'ua'aki leuof tape' ma se members ne Seven Stars ne po ma haisoagan kato'ag ta. We also extend our thanks to Mareta & Pene Samisoni 'e a'potsusun ne maka; not forgetting our Master of Ceremonies for the Rotuma Day, Dr. Bruce Richmond. Well Done!
Se te' me hensasiag ne kat po ra la leum se Rotuma Day 2004 in California, 'amis 'airot'ak ne 'is la haipoag se faut la no'om 2005 se San Mateo California.
Just a reminder: The Lopta Village fundraising will be held at Sopapelu & Margret Susau's residence in San Francisco on Saturday, 26 June. Also the next Seven Stars of Rotuma meeting will be held on Saturday, 5 Junese ri 'on chairman ta.
Faiaksia ma fu'uomus
From Fiji Times Website (13 May 2004)
FIJI has a lot of talent in the Arts industry and Letila Mitchell can vouch for that.
The 28-year-old Rotuman lass is the Art Director for the Fiji contingent that will participate at the Ninth Pacific Festival of Arts in Palau.
The arts festival will comprise 27 countries including Australia and New Zealand and is held every four years, she said.
This year the Arts Festival will be held over two weeks and is rotated around the Pacific, she said.
Letila was educated at Suva Grammar School before completing her secondary studies in Australia.
She attended the University of the South Pacific where she attained her Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and Psychology.
But my real passion is art and I love arts written, oral or dance, she said.
Her love for art inspired her to further her passion and attained a Masters from City University in London, England.
She is also a former Hibiscus Queen winning the pageant in 1997.
The eldest of Four children, Letila has a huge load on her hands in promoting Fijis cultural heritage as well as its multi-ethnic diversity.
While most people would argue that modernisation has started to erode our cultural heritage not only for indigenous Fijians and Rotumans but also another races. Letila believes it should be accepted and adapt to these changes.
We will be having a contemporary dance conducted by a cross section of youths from our society, Letila said.
Youths nowadays are influenced by modernisation, we have television and radio coming out with western music and there is no stopping that.
This is why we have a contemporary dance group going with us.
The contemporary dance group will express various cultural dances depicting the countrys diverse culture.
Two other dance groups will showcase traditional dances including the Kadavu Choir and a Rotuman group.
We also have five visual artists going, fashion designers and troupe that will perform a play written by Larry Thomas, Letila said.
We will also showcase a movie made by Vilsoni Hereniko from Hawaii.
The group will also include musicians Black Rose, Talei Burns and Sailasa Tora.
So there will be about 75 people representing Fiji to the Arts Festival, which starts on July 22, she said.
This will be my first trip to the Arts Festival and I hope to make the most of it for the development of future arts and crafts in the country, Letila said.
She said for the artists going to the festival, it would be an experience and an opportunity to develop their talents more.
The tour to Palau will serve as a catalyst for a core group that will be developed and utilised to represent Fiji at other international festivals, Letila said.
It is sort of like the Olympics where in between the fours years they have small competitions which is exactly what happens here.
She said the arts festival would provide an educational and learning process, which will be brought back to Fiji and shared through workshops and development programmes through until the next delegation is selected for the festival in 2008.
When we come back I will submit a report and draw up plans which we will hope to carry on until the next Arts Festival, she said.
The Fiji delegation theme is Nurture, Regenerate and Celebrate.
The Festival of Arts is a grand celebration wherein 27 countries are invited to unite and celebrate in the Pacific spirit through expression of arts, Letila said.
The Festival of Arts is not about the performance and exhibition of our skills, but it is also the protection of our indigenous people with one common vision, which is to survive in this world with our indigenous and unique identities intact, she said.
From Donna Hoerder in Suva (17 May 2004)
Valda Hoerder will be part of Fiji's delegation going to the Festival of Pacific Arts in Palau, July 22-31.
Valda attended the last festival, which was held in Noumea, New Caledonia. She was the first non-Cook islander to particpate in the competition, and was awarded fourth place.
She has been a professional dancer since 1992 and is currently studying Management and Tourism at the University of the South Pacific.