From Sanimeli Maraf in Rotuma (9 January 2013, posted 30 January)
Happy New Year to all of you and greetings from Rotuma. We have had a busy time in Noa‘tau and all over the island. The holiday draws to a close this Saturday, 12 January. The Lady Sandy is leaving Suva for Rotuma. I am sure there are lots of visitors who are looking forward to return home to The States, Australia, New Zealand, and Europe, not to mention Fiji.
There is a shortage of fuel so we didn't have as many faras as usual, but I was told that Fuli‘u and Joro were full most of the time. We had the wedding of Tuilakeba, the handsome son of Molly Panapasa and Fuata Fakraufon of Hafnoa, Lopta, to Saverina, daughter of Gagaj Kausiriaf and Amoe Fonorito, also of Lopta. It was a lovely wedding—you can imagine the crowd! The Rotuma High School Band played. The Peteli Church was nicely decorated, and the new pews made a big difference. It was a fine day; the previous day it had rained most of the time. The hȧn mane‘ȧk su ta, Montatau, or Isapeti, of Itu‘muta, had her hands on her hips when the kau fā ta leum ma sū ta soko (combined). She ordered a new pair of earrings to change hers, and she got it. They changed her shoes, too. And she asked for a gift of mats and she got an apei and several regular mats. She makes people laugh all the time. I think the name Montatau is a cute, pretty name if you know its meaning.
Sadly, after a few days had passed, the bride's grandfather, Mr. Fonorito, died. Also, Gagaj Mora‘a of Pepjei died in Fiji and his body was brought over and buried in Rotuma on its fifth day, so every koua teran lima a‘vah agesea. Pepjei now has a new chief, Gagaj Mou. His other name is Semesi, married to Louisa, hȧn leav mia‘ of Pepjei. They have a son who is a policeman at Ahau. Pepjei's fara came to our hall in Noa‘tau so we have met Gagaj Mou; he's a middle-aged person, so it is good.
We also had Hapmak and Lopta faras call in and met Makereta Fakraufon from San Francisco. They will be back next year. A little birdie just told me that Gagaj Varomua of Malha‘a sok fȧeag their daughter and she accepted it. He is an Olsen; his mother is Penerope who married le‘fā ne Etueti Olson from Malha‘a.
It seems that höt‘ȧk hạfu time always happens in December. There was Taki from Malha‘a höt‘ȧk hạfu. He was Ramisese and Henry's son. Taki died young. In Noa‘tau there was a höt‘ȧk hạfu for Samuela, who was married to Kao of Kamalele. After that was a sui putu because one of the twin boys was married now. Amoe and Sefeti are the twins.
Sad to mention that Sarote Olsen, who was married to Makrava from Malha‘a, passed away the day after G/Mora‘a's funeral. Their son, Rev. Vilsoni from Churchward Chapel in Suva, was overseas at the time.
Gagaj Maraf Solomone will be 84 years old on 25 January. I think we have to lie low this years as we have to finish building our home, Makila, in Noa‘tau.
Take care and be kind to one another. God bless all of you.
From Anmaria Uafta Gukisuva (20 January 2013)
Just published, A Remarkable Rotuman Woman, by Jacinta Zita Tonga. The book is a memoir of Jacinta's late grandmother, the indomitable Petera Veu. According to the author, "the main reason behind this book is not to make money but to have her stories passed on to her grandchildren, great grandchildren and to whoever is interested in her story." The book is available from Amazon.com.
Jacinta is Faga and Peteros' eldest daughter; she is married to Siaosi from Tonga.