From Fiji Times Online (16 December 2008)

Parishioners welcome their priest

Hiagi Motofaga Tavo after he conducted the mass in Nadera at the weekend

THE Catholic Parish in Nadera welcomed its newly-ordained priest on Sunday.

Father Hiagi Motofaga Pasirio Tavo was born in Rotuma but unfortunate circumstances brought him to live with his father's sister at Kinoya, Nasinu.

Father Tavo, 29, recalled his years in Rotuma and said his childhood circumstances were not what some people would call ideal.

He is the third Rotuman ordained a Catholic priest.

"At the age of about six or seven, my dad passed away unexpectedly. He was believed to have drowned during a fishing trip," he said.

Father Tavo said although his father's body was never recovered, his family believed him to be dead.

"As in the practice in many islands around the South Pacific, in unfortunate circumstances like these, relatives often reach out to lend a helping hand," he said.

He was the fourth child out of four sisters and two brothers and while a few of his brothers and sisters were adopted by his father's brothers he was adopted by his father's sister.

"In 1989 I found myself in Suva. This was a new chapter in my life. I was adopted by my dad's sister and given a new chance at life."

"As far as I was concerned, she is not my Aunty; she is mum to me," said Fr Tavo.

He grew up in Kinoya and left to join the seminary in Australia in 1998 to start his journey as the member of the Divine Word Missionaries.