From Fijitimes Online (15 June 2008)

Mamatuki Wong: Home is where the heart is

Mamatuki Samson Wong has lived most of his life on the island of Rotuma.

Like his cousin Michael Penjueli, he is part of a diminishing group of young men who have opted to churn out a living on the island.

Mamatuki, 24, is part of a disappearing breed on this island, which at the last census, had a population of about 2000 people.

He's visited Fiji, enjoyed himself, learnt heaps, he says, but preferred to return home.

Mamatuki who is not married, arrived from Fiji last month, in time for Rotuma Day celebrations at Ahau and says he has no plans to return to Fiji in the near future. He lives a few minutes walk away from Michael's home.

He prefers the laid back lifestyle on the island.

He's typical of the young people who have remained on Rotuma.

Farming provides a way out of the boredom that envelopes them.

Mamatuki reckons the education system prepares young Rotumans well for life as adults.

The system, however, fails youths, he reckons. It has not unveiled ways for them to utilise their talents, skills and knowledge to the brim.

Mamatuki divides his time between his farm and his family's lorry business, picking and dropping passengers throughout the week.

The council's bus service runs once a week, every Friday around the island enabling people like Mamatuki to earn some money on the side.

Hope remains a major player in Mamatuki's life these days.

He remains hopeful of a better future at home.

For him, Rotuma is home.