From Antoine N'Yeurt in Suva (31 March 2012)
Sustainable Amateur Radio in Rotuma
In this age of climate change and emphasis on sustainable development of the capacity of isolated Pacific island communities to be mainstreamed in their awareness of natural disaster response, as well as having access to early warning systems for extreme events such as tsunamis and cyclones, amateur-radio can provide an elegant and 'green' solution to the communication barrier. Using renewable energy from the sun, relatively simple transmitters and antennas and with a minimum of basic training, even the most remote communities can keep in touch with disaster management nodes and other Government agencies, as well as with other radio-amateurs worldwide in case of natural disasters or medical emergencies.
In this context, we setup a demonstration solar-powered radio amateur station in Rotuma during the months of December 2011 and January 2012 to coincide with the launch of the International Year of Sustainable Energy For All 2012. The station is entirely run on renewable energy solar panels and batteries sponsored by the Total Oil Company, with special commemorative cards (QSL-cards) being printed on recycled paper to confirm the contacts with Rotuma with amateur radio operators worldwide.
For full report with photos (download pdf)
From FijiVillage (28 March 2012)
Inter Island Airways applies for domestic licence
Inter Island Airways Fiji Limited is now going through the regulatory process to try to get a licence from Civil Aviation to provide scheduled domestic flights in Fiji.
The company which provides air services in American Samoa, Samoa and Tonga have applied to provide scheduled domestic services to Suva, Nadi, Labasa, Savusavu, Tavueni, Kadavu, Rotuma, Koro and Gau.
The representation or objection period regarding Inter Island Airways Fiji Limited's application comes to an end next week.
Fijivillage today questioned Civil Aviation Minister, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum on Inter Island Airways Fiji Limited intending to service the domestic routes.
Sayed-Khaiyum said they have to go through the process but he believes that additional domestic air services will be good for Fiji.
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Pacific Sun is the only carrier providing scheduled domestic flights in Fiji at the moment.
by Vijay Narayan
From Fiji Times Online (26 March 2012)
by Serafina Silaitoga
THE presence of fruit flies on Rotuma has no extensive effect on farms, says an island chief.
Gagaj Raivai Onisimo said farmers continued farming and were selling in the local markets.
Although they know about the presence of the Bactrocera kirki on the island, which can cause significant economic loss, Mr Onisimo said the situation was not bad as perceived.
Speaking from his home in Paptea in the district of Oinafa, Mr Onisimo said the farmers stopped sending rootcrops and fruits to relatives in Viti Levu and Vanua Levu following a directive from the Biosecurity Authority of Fiji.
Last December, the BAF declared Rotuma as an infested bio security controlled area after discovering the presence of two fruit flies, Bactrocera kirki and Bactrocera obscura.
Mr Onisimo said the declaration by BAF did not affect farmers.
"In fact we are working with the BAF in completing a special structure made to store our fruits inside and protect it from fruit flies.
From Fiji Times Online (26 March 2012)
Rotuman Taro Again Readied for Export to Tuvalu
Biosecurity restrictions kept taro in country till now
By Serafina Silaitoga
Plans are in the pipeline to resume the export of dalo (taro) from Rotuma to Tuvalu this year.
A chief from the district of Oinafa, Gagaj Raivai Onisimo said the matter was being discussed by the island council.
Last year, the island started exporting dalo to Tuvalu. Gagaj Raivai said following restrictions by Biosecurity Authority of Fiji on the transportation of root crops and fruits out of the island, the dalo export had stopped.
"We also have movement restrictions on fruits and crops because of the fruit fly problem and the Biosecurity Authority of Fiji has put these restrictions.
"So we are planning to continue with the export of dalo to Tuvalu," he said.
"The export was a success for the people of the island as it brought in good income," Mr. Raivai said.
He said export opportunities of crops and fruits out of Rotuma were in abundance.
"There is great potential on the island and we are blessed to have the help of the government which has brought to us a lot of developments.
"Having a new machinery to clean fruits for export purposes and a warehouse to keep our fruits is a big step forward for the farmers.
"The development projects by the government have certainly brought improvement to living standards on the island of Rotuma."
From Fiji Times Online (22 March 2012)
Fruit flies infest crops
by Serafina Silaitoga
The fruit flies species Bactrocera kirki and Bactrocera obscura are only present on Rotuma.
The declaration means Rotuman islanders and visitors are not allowed to transport any fruits out of the island.
Biosecurity Authority CEO Elvis Silvestrini confirmed the island was declared an infested bio security-controlled area last December.
"The presence of economically significant fruit fly such as Bactrocera kirki, which is only found in Rotuma and not in other parts of Fiji, can restrict our exports of fruits and vegetables to New Zealand and Australia.
"Under this declaration, the island of Rotuma has been declared as an infested biosecurity controlled area.
"Movements of any life stage of Bactrocera kirki and its hosts (mango, citrus, kavika, breadfruit, papaya, vutu) and any other fruits out of Rotuma without the permission of a biosecurity officer is strictly prohibited," Mr Silvestrini said.
He said the restriction of movement included transporting and carriage of any of the fruits from Rotuma to any ship, boat, or aircraft.
The authority also warned of a maximum fine of $40,000 and or 12 months imprisonment or an alternative fixed penalty of $800.
Mr Silvestrini said fruit flies attacked fruits and crops such as oranges, pawpaw, eggplants, mangoes, breadfruits, kavika, ripe pineapples and wi.
The Agriculture Department on Rotuma said they were working with farmers in raising awareness on the fruit flies.
Fiji Rotuman Association News Release (22 March 2012)
Fiji Rotuman Assoication Calls For Sustainability of Rotuman Cultural Heritage Through Sharing and Nurturing
The Secretariat of the Fiji Rotuman Association (FRA) urges Rotuman parents and community leaders in Fiji and the world over to be appreciative with ones identity and cultural heritage and adopt ways in which this can be passed on to our children. Rotumans are a minority race and must be ruthless in their passion to keep their cultural practices, oral traditions, chants & songs, language, artifacts and history alive.
Consequently, more and more of our Rotuman children are caught up with the tides of change, cultural fusion and globalisation. Parents need to take back their roles as first teachers and assist them with Rotuman language knowledge, skills and cultural norms to help children and youths of today to appreciate their identity as Rotumans.
Similarly, like any other minority race in a multicultural society, there are challenges. The challenge for Rotuman parents, community leaders and educators is how to keep our Rotuman Culture alive for ourselves now and for our children in time to come. One of the main events for the Fiji Rotuman Association is the annual celebration of Rotuma Day in May. This year the Fiji Rotuman Association will host the celebrations around the 11–13 of May here in Suva. Furthermore, the theme of the three day celebrations is Ȧf‘ạkia Ma Garue‘ạkia La Se Mao‘ạkia [making reference to the] Sustainability of Rotuman Cultural Heritage Through Sharing and Nurturing. The May programme will be launched on 14 April with discussions around the year’s theme. The culmination of the events will be the two day showcasing of each of the seven districts’ traditional dance (mak fak hanua), women’s artifact show (menea‘ ‘on 2 hai‘ina) and the farmers’ competition (menea‘ tela‘a ‘on fa). The programme ends with a Thanksgiving service on Sunday.
The Secretariat of the Fiji Rotuman Association wishes to thank all FRA partners, supporters and members of each of the seven districts of Rotuma Island namely Noa‘tau, Oinafa, Itu‘ti‘u, Malha‘a, Juju, Pepjei and Itu‘muta for the support and preparation towards the event and call upon those who have yet to be affiliated to any of the districts to do so. We need to work collectively towards our cultural sustainability here in Fiji and abroad. For further questions and clarifications, please contact the undersigned on Tel: (679) 7751 204 or Email: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
From Fiji Times Online (13 March 2012)
Fruit fly surveillance
by Serafina Silaitoga
The two species, Bactrocera kirki and Bactrocera obscura are only present on Rotuma and not in Fiji.
The declaration means Rotuman islanders or visitors to the island are not allowed to transport any fruit out of the island to other parts of the country.
Biosecurity Authority of Fiji (BAF) chief executive Elvis Silvestrini confirmed the island was declared an infested bio-security controlled area last December.
"The presence of economically significant fruit fly such as Bactrocera kirki, which is only found in Rotuma and not in other parts of Fiji can restrict our exports of fruits and vegetables to New Zealand and Australia," he said.
"Under this declaration, the island has been declared an infested bio-security controlled area.
"Movements of any life stage (adult, pupa, larva, egg) of Bactrocera kirki and its hosts (mango, citrus, kavika, breadfruit, papaya, vutu) and any other fruit out of Rotuma without the permission of a biosecurity officer is strictly prohibited."
Mr Silvestrini said the restriction included transportation and carriage of any of the fruits from Rotuma to any ship, boat, or aircraft that arrived or departed Rotuma.
The authority has also warned that there is a maximum fine of $40,000 and or 12 months imprisonment or an alternative fixed penalty of $800 for those who breach the regulation.
Mr Silvestrini said fruit flies attacked fruits and crops such as oranges, pawpaws, eggplants, mangoes, breadfruits, kavika, ripe pineapples and wi.
The Department of Agriculture on the island of Rotuma has stated that it had started working with farmers in raising awareness about the fruit flies.
"They have also attended training and we have worked with the BAF to help farmers with this issue," Mr Silvestrini said.
"Under the Bilateral Quarantine Agreement (BQA) with New Zealand for the export of breadfruit, pawpaws, eggplant and mangoes, it requires the installation of a detection system to monitor local population and detect exotic fruit flies minimising the risk of injurious pests and diseases. The same applies with Australia when Fiji exports pawpaws.
"The BQA requires Fiji to treat the export fruits through the high temperature forced air facility (HTFA) to eliminate fruit fly eggs and larvae and BAF to certify the treated fruits for export," Mr Silvestrini said.
From Floracopeia Blog (8 March, 2012)
Rotuma Oil - The Fruit of Women's Collective Labor in Fiji
by Taya Malakian
All the flowers, nuts and seeds needed to create Rotuma oil are wildcrafted and processed on the Island of its namesake. Being a high volcanic island chain, Fiji is a pristinelocation to harvest the plant material for this ancient preparation. Women collect the Hefau kernels (Calophyllum inophyllum), Siursi kernels (Aleurites molucanna), Pipi nuts (Atuna racemosa) and coconuts (cocos nucifera), from their individual and communal properties. This could include a remote, long white sandy beach where driftnuts aggregate with tides.
From Sanimeli Maraf in Suva (30 January 2012, posted 4 March)
On 25 January we celebrated Gagaj Maraf's 83rd birthday at the Vineyard Palace, a Chinese restaurant that used to be the Suva Town Hall. It was just a family affair apart from some close friends, including Sarote Crocker of Rimea, Noatau; Fatiaki and Fesaitu Misau, Lionel Gibson and his wife Fanny Morris, and Reverend Emotama Pene, who is returning to Rotuma.
We're having a new Rotuma representative in the Prime Minister's office after Tomasi Tuibua's retirement. He is Col. Ieli Filipe Alfereti, who just returned from a Hong Kong posting. We met him today for lunch together with the Rotuma Council Chairman, Tarterani Rigamoto.
Comment by Henry Enasio