Prizes by Category 2004
Prizes by Category 2005
Alan ma Jan
Literary Competition 2005
THE FURY OF FULI‘U
For the last few years, our family have been regular visitors to that
small island Paradise we call Rotuma, for Christmas holidays. The kids
enjoyed every moment of it and so do we parents. On two or three occasions,
mom took the children alone so they continue to learn the language
Christmas time in Rotuma was always special. There were lots of fun,
laughter and merry making. There were also plenty of “fara” to
join in the village, and food and fruits in abundance. The children
loved singing and dancing and learned the lyrics very early on. Oh,
and who could forget our popular swimming spots around the island.
Their favourite seemed to be “Fuli`u” for they go back
to it again and again.
They rarely complain about the numerous flies of the day, and the annoying
mosquitoes of the night, or even the heat for that matter. They adapted
to such conditions very well. Everything would be Heavenly blissful
if it could be fun and more fun forever. But unfortunately, it could
not be so as it defeats the very purpose of our existance here on earth.
On a particular visit in Christmas of 1995, when the children were
older, Lisa at ten years old, Kamoe nine and Mere seven, disaster almost
One morning as they finished their assigned chores, including sweeping “hifau” and “fava” leaves,
they jumped onto the back of the ute for our daily swimming trip to “Fuli`u.” Our
neighbours happily joined us too for the bumpy ride. And as we sang
along the way, potholes, small ones and big ones did`nt seem to bother
us any more. The weather was fine and not a cloud in sight, and not
even a breeze. We knew we were in for a long swim at the swimming holes
On arrival, we decided the kids were better off inside the “fuli`
mea`mea` ta,” for safety precautions. There was objection at
first, but soon the children were enjoying themselves, with laughter
and singing and screaming oblivious to what was about to happen next.
Suddenly, a thundering, roaring noise and a gigantic wave crashed over
rocks and filled up the swimming hole in no time at all. There was
no time, and no warning to gather the little ones. Debris were everywhere,
froth and an eerie, scary feeling hung over the waterhole. Heads were
bobbing up everywhere as the children struggled for breath. We pulled
them on to rocks and accounted for all, except for a nephew who seemed
to take forever to surface. He was unconscious when dragged out of
there, so I turned him to his side to clear his throat and he just
cried and coughed and cried some more.
Our fun swim was short lived as we decided to head home and settle the kids who
were shaken but thank God unhurt.
After about a week or so, we decided to visit other swimming spots such as “Ana
te Fapufa” and “Joro.” It was rather late when we left for
the long ride home. As we passed “Fuli`u,” the kids begged to stop
just for a little while. A couple of us adults went down with the children to
the waterhole to keep watch.
As the kids settled and began to enjoy themselves, a freak wave roared and rumbled
over rocks quickly filling the “fuli` mea`mea` ta” like before. And
worse still another wave followed bringing with it all flotsam and debri it could
collect along the way causing havoc and panic amongst the children. And not like
before, these waves seemed to come with purpose and vengence. We all managed
to scramble on to rocks amid screaming and hysteria among the kids.
Thankfullly, all the children were accounted for this time, but there was no
fun anymore as the children refused to swim. I was reminded that perhaps we should
have asked permission from the caretakers first. In any case,we made several
promises to ourselves that in future, we would seek permission first before taking
to the water,as a third visit without doing so might be fatal.
I thank my Heavenly Father for his love and protection on those two separate
incidents. To this day, whenever we return to that small Paradise we call Rotuma,
for Christmas holidays, we made sure to ask permission first so as to apeace
the caretakers, both the living and the dead.
THE LONELY SEA
Hannah Marie Bennett
It was a beautiful Saturday morning with the sun peaking
over the horizon. I felt compelled to begin singing, “Oh what
a beautiful morning, oh what a beautiful day…”. It was
the perfect day to explore the lonely waters of Rotuma.
There were only three of us, my friend Marie, my Dad, and myself aboard
our launch. Wet out on our journey and found ourselves soon following
a flock of seabirds flying over the deep blue ocean. I knew from father’s
experience this a sign of tuna below. We headed toward the outlying
island of Uea where we were sure we would be lucky enough to find fish
feeding early. As we got closer there was an eerie feeling in us as
we rode in silence over the calm waters which were as smooth as glass.
Suddenly the silence was broken as my friend stood up and shouted as
she saw an enormous school of dogtooth tuna beneath us. Immediately
the trolling line sang out as one of the fish below struck our Rotuman
red chicken feather lure. My Dad began reeling in the line. He struggled
as it seemed to be of great size. Just as he began pulling it alongside
of our boat to our surprise a huge shark swam up from underneath us
and attempted to eat the large dogtooth which then broke free from
the lure and headed directly down into the deep blue water. With mouths
ajar and eyes full of fear my friend and I couldn’t say or do
anything as we contemplated the ferocity of this sea creature below
us. But this wasn’t the end of our adventure. As my Dad steered
the boat closer to the adjacent island, Hatana, we were shocked to
witness a cluster of sharks very close together with their fins glistening
from the morning sun’s rays. The glare of the sun made it difficult
to identify what kind of sharks they were. Suddenly the sun hid itself
behind a puffy grey cloud and it was when we could clearly see they
appeared to be a cluster of five bronze whalers with their heads out
of the water and their eyes giving us a piercing, menacing look. It
was then that my Dad instinctively revved the motor so we could put
these terrifying creatures behind us. As my friend and I sat there
looking astonished by what we had just seen, not a word was passed
With still enough determination left in us to catch something we headed
further out around the eastern, turbulent end of Hatana. Not having
any luck there we shot back around the windward side of this island
and headed back toward Hof’haviunglolo Rock and Uea. As we approached
we decided to stop the boat, take a deep breath, and try hand lining
for emperor fish, which we call Rona in Rotuma. It was incredible as
instantly, as though the gods had cast us a blessing, we began catching
fish. We caught one fish after the other. It wasn’t long before
we had a boatload at which time we decided to head for home and have
a long awaited breakfast.
As the sun rose high in the sky we realized we were exhausted and
hungry. It had been such an adventurous fishing trip I knew I would
never forget every little detail of what had happened that morning.
After that experience I gained more courage and now I often go out
with my Dad on his voyages of discover and adventure on the lonely
seas surrounding our island of Rotuma.