Monday, May 02, 2016

Catholic community celebrate in Labasa

Naleba Church Marks 110 Years

Naleba Church Marks 110 Years
Naleba Red Cross Catholic church in Labasa. PHOTO:PENI DRAUNA
May 02

The Naleba Holy Cross Catholic church in Labasa celebrated its 110-year anniversary with a special mass.
The first mass at the church was conducted by a French priest, Father Favier, at Naleba back in 1906.
Celebration co-ordinator Vincent Sahayam said the event was to look back on the struggles of the Catholic congregation in Naleba.
Mr Sahayam said they had put in a lot of hard work for the church and thanked all those involved in the Sector 11 branch of the Labasa Parish. He also thanked visitors from Suva and those living overseas for their involvement in the celebration.
“The first magazine for Naleba Holy Cross Church was launched with a new hymn book. The congregation praised all pioneers of the church and those who have passed as well,” Mr Sahayam said.
The church was built in 1906.
He was also pleased with the good turnout.
Edited by Naisa Koroi

Sunday, May 01, 2016

A permanent evacuation centre planned for Labasa

So they expect more floods and cyclones... The Rotary Club in Labasa plan to build a permanent place for every time there's a flood, fire or cyclone. Good luck to them. I hope it is high up on the other side of the river or in the hills behind Tuatua because the current town area is very low - was once a swamp so it was pot-luck to develop where it is now located.  Need to build it on stilts!  Over the other side of the Labasa River is much better.

Evac centre for town

Serafina Silaitoga
Monday, May 02, 2016
A $0.5 million evacuation centre is being planned for Labasa Town.
Initiated by the Rotary Club of Labasa, president Ami Kohli said they had identified an area in town for the construction of the centre.
And it will not only serve victims of cyclones but also victims of flooding and fire.
"Hopefully we will work with Red Cross and should they wish to have a space to store their equipment, we will be happy to offer them space," Mr Kohli said.
"The funding for the project will come partially from Rotary and partly from fundraising."
Mr Kohli said they would also seek assistance from the Festival of the Friendly North as the committee had done tremendous work for the people.
Last week, the Rotarians met Rotary District Governor Jennie Herring from Auckland, New Zealand.
They discussed ways of setting up this evacuation centre, which Mr Kohli described as a successful meeting.
"She wanted to see how our fellow Rotarians in NZ and around the world could assist us if need be," he said.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Jasper and Marist the winners

Jasper, Marist win Coca Cola Games titles

Saturday, April 30, 2016
Update: 3:59PM JASPER Williams High School has retained the Coca Cola Games girls division title while Marist Brothers High School won the boys title.
Marist won 17 gold, seven silver and 10 bronze medals while Natabua won 12 gold, 12 silver and four bronze medals in the boys division.
In the girl's division, Jasper won 15 gold, 19 silver and eight bronze medals while Adi Cakobau School won 15 gold, eight silver and six bronze medals.
There was tough competition between the top two schools in the boys and girls division.
* Full results and coverage in The Sunday Times tomorrow.

Fiji's javelin throwers

Copeland did well in the Australian Nationals, coming third.  He can almost qualify for the Olympics.
And the athletes are doing well in Suva for the Cocacola Games especially the throwers, who are breaking records.  For some pictues of the current games go to  And even in
Australia our family have won medals  - especially Andrew who used to be in the Fiji squad but now is in the Masters.  A few years ago even Rev Peceli had a go at javelin.

BY: syagi
16:05, April 5, 2016
SUVA: Fiji's javelin rep Leslie Copeland finished third in the Australian Athletics Championship on Sunday and set a new national record.
Copeland recorded a throw of 81.76m and is on the verge of qualifying for the Olympic Games in Rio, Brazil. 
To qualify automatically, the 27-year-old must record a throw of 83m in the next qualifying event scheduled to be held in Fiji, in July. 
"I firmly believe that Leslie will qualify for the Olympic Games," Copeland's coach James Goulding said in an email. 
"Leslie competed yesterday (Sunday) and threw 81.76m. It was short by 1.24m of the Olympic qualifications. 
"Leslie and I would like to thank our sponsor Shop N Save, Athletics Fiji, FASANOC, International Olympic Committee and the Fiji National Sports Commission for all the support that was rendered towards our training stint in Australia," Goulding said. 
Kiwi Stuart Farquhar won the AAC javelin final after recording a throw of 83.93m. Australian Hamish Peacock was second with a record of 82.84m. 
"Leslie is a great testament to the success of lengthy blocks of intensive training and competition. It really works," said Bob Snow of Oceania Athletics. 
"A great result for Leslie." 
Pacific's sprint king Banuve Tabakaucoro competed in the AAC as well. 
He finished 6th in the 100m final with a time of 10.5secs. In the semi-final, Tabakaucoro clocked 10.35secs. The Olympics qualifying time is 10.16secs. 

Government being mean

It's obvious that 'democracy' is hardly the style in Fiji's Parliament. Read on.... in a letter to the Editor of the Fiji Times.


Amenatave Yaconisau,Delainavesi, Lami | Thursday, April 28, 2016
I refer to your headline article by Nasik Swami (FT 27/4/16) where the Opposition party's time to discuss and respond of five minutes was discussed.
This is worrying because it goes against the very essence of democracy i.e of uniting and stabilising the political process. It should not divide but bring together sectional interest of voters and their voices to be heard and discussed well. They should provide coherence not a divided environment.
This brings about stability in the country and is a safety valve because diverse voices are well discussed and harmonised and ways of reconciliation are sought.
It seems that competition is allowed but one party overshadows the other by sheer numerical supremacy and this time around the five minutes responsive time. I know that others freely compete but they lose out when it comes to voting.

I believe this can distort the decision making process if it gives little time to demands of voters. Competitive parties are characteristics of liberal democracies like ours. Let's keep it that way.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Help for reconstruction in Vuna village, Taveuni

from the Fiji Times:

Home restoration help for Taveuni villagers

Luke Rawalai
Tuesday, April 26, 2016
AFTER living on Taveuni for the past few years, their love for the island has led a group of expatriate hotel owners and locals to raise $60,000 for the restoration of homes on Navakawau and Vuna villages.
Located on the south end of the island, the two villages are among one of the worst-hit areas in Taveuni.
Nakia Resort owner and head of the volunteer group of relief workers, Julie Kelly, said the $60,000 they raised earlier with the help of kind donors would assist families rebuild and restore their homes.
"Apart from this, we have given families eight tonnes of roofing tin, strapping and nails to Navakawau Village," Ms Kelly said.
"Villagers were able to make use of the local trees that were damaged at the height of the cyclone and mine their own timbers from chainsaws that we also delivered them.
"They have been able to cut 2x4 mahogany timbers from trees readily available in their ownbackyards."
They delivered seven tonnes of building materials and two Husqavarna chainsaws to Vuna Village to assist its population of 641 villagers.
"The second shipment of materials has been delivered to Navakawau which has a population of 652 villagers and these building materials will provide new roofs for 68 families."
Navakawau Village headman Iosefo Matailima said the building materials and chainsawsgiven to villagers would help those who lost their homes in the wake of Severe TC Winston.
Mr Matailima said villagers were thankful to the team of volunteers for thinking of villagers during a time when they had nowhere to turn.
Vuna Village traditional leader Ratu Emosi Tolevu thanked the volunteers for giving selflessly.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Kia island west of Vorovoro and Mali

from the Fiji Times last year:  The Kia people are traditional fishermen and related to the people of Mali Island. We can see Kia from Nukutatava Beach.  The photos below are from a different website - a blog from visitors to Kia to explore the reef.


Chef Lance Seeto
Sunday, November 08, 2015
At the turn of the 19th century, sandalwood was one of the most valuable and sought-after timbers in the old world.
When the tree was accidentally discovered in Fiji's northern islands, a bloody, decade-long timber boom began. Spanish, British and American ships descended upon Vanua Levu - the Sandalwood islands. We're in Ligau Village, Kia, an island in the Macuata province that was once an outpost in this wild west shootout for sandalwood. Welcome to a Taste of Paradise.
Much of Fiji's pre-colonial history can be read in the journals and diaries of the sailors, clergymen and missionaries.
They may be a one sided account of the old days, but it is the only written record Fijians have of their pre-colonial history. One that caught my interest was of English sandalwood trader, William Lockerby.
He had arrived to Fiji in 1808, a few months earlier than the first Chinese onboard the Eliza. It was the peak of the sandalwood boom and every businessman, conman and pirate was attracted by the tales of undiscovered riches. Fiji was yet to be discovered by the European explorers. Lockerby kept detailed accounts of his observations.
The early 1800s were like the California gold rush of the old wild west. The good, the bad and the ugliest examples of the papalagi, the white man, was about to descend on the unsuspecting native civilisation.
The light brown timber of old sandalwood and butt of the tree contains an aromatic oil; long prized in Polynesia for scenting coconut oil.
Whilst the Tongans prized the fragrant timber, high prices on the Chinese market made it one of the most valuable timbers in the world, as it still is today. In Asian countries, sandalwood carvings are used in religious ceremony whilst the sawdust is turned into joss sticks and incense for prayer.
For the native Fijian of this period, the sandalwood trade brought regular exchanges of goods with the Europeans, and the bartering for anything made of iron; a new commodity to the Fijians. But the decade long sandalwood boom was also the bloodiest in their dealings with the pale skinned papalagi.
So precious was this timber that many European traders would raid villages or other ships - and sometimes even murder for it. Unfortunately for the Fijians, their first contact with the white man was with some of the worse band of misfits, conmen and pirates to sail the high seas.
The wariness and mistrust of the strangers would set the tone for the next century, as Fiji was no longer an undiscovered country.
Lockerby's journals recount an island outpost on the northern side of Vanua Levu called Kia, and lucky for me that the Reef Endevour was pulling into anchor off its shores.
It was once known as Brown's Island, supposedly named after an American ship's mate who had stumbled upon a treasure of untouched sandalwood plantations. Along with other Americans and Englishmen, Mr Brown had essentially taken over the island with his motley crew.
Several ship's iron cannons had been placed high on the hills to ward off any invaders. Lockerby recounts they had been there a "dozen years ago" - placing their installment around 1795 - something the local villagers I spoke to, did not know.
The village is at the base of a hard mountain rocky range with sheer cliff faces. The village women at Ligau tell an amusing story of when their forefathers and brothers trekked up the steep hill to mount the cannon for Brown.
More than a dozen men lifted the 2 tonne iron cannon up the treacherous mountain. As they reached about halfway up the peak the men collapsed from exhaustion and sent message for the women to take it to the top for them; and they did. The women laughed, "We're stronger than the men!" I was dying to see the old cannon documented in the sandalwood trader's journal.
The village elders said it was still there but expressed doubt we would make it. I don't blame him! Lucky we have a remote controlled drone camera, it was a long way up and over the peak.
Watching the drone's monitor, we all waited in anticipation, it was like finding a needle in a haystack, but finally…there it was. We'd discovered the cannon that William Lockerby had written about more than 200 years ago.
* Lance Seeto is the award winning chef based on Mana Island, and is Fiji Airways' Culinary Ambassador and host of Fiji TV's Taste of Paradise. Sunday 7.30pm only on Fiji One and online at

An other story at this website:

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Vinaka Seona for sticking up for Professor Wadan Narsey

from Fiji Times today:

He's usually right

Seona Smiles
Sunday, April 24, 2016
DON'T go, Professor Wadan Narsey.
It was too sad to read his final column (The Fiji Times 16/4) in which he described the distressing apathy and silent censorship in our society that has driven him to leave Fiji.
He's right, of course. He usually is, that's one of the most annoying things about him and why he, specifically, gets so severely unpublished and dis-invited.
It's dreadfully discouraging and even I fall into self censorship in a self-centred desire to be published and read.
Some of the most anguishing days of my life were when soldiers with guns but without any understanding or belief in legitimate rights to information sat at our newsroom and removed any items the regime didn't want you people to read.
When someone yells at me in the street, or speaks to me in a shop or at the park to say they enjoyed something I wrote and I say "thanks so much for telling me", I really mean it. It's great to know people are reading my stuff and I hope it encourages some to stand up for good things, such as saving our public trees and being able to comment freely on the state of the nation.
I know many, many people appreciated Prof Narsey's writing, a lot more than those who got around to telling him.
Also lot of people wanted to punch him on the nose and I dare say there are people who want to yell at me in the street to say "what rubbish you write, can't stand it". But fortunately they don't — either out of apathy or as I like to think, because Fiji people are too nice.
Just recently, a book by Prof Narsey that will confirm his reputation as a stellar scholar was published by Palgrave Macmillan. Titled British Imperialism and the Making of Colonial Currency Systems, it is based on the research and theories developed for his Doctor of Philosophy thesis.
Lots of his mates — and he does have them, some in the most surprising places eg the cop shop and up at the barracks — spent years telling him to get on with the book and stop messing about with "pop" articles for the press and talking on panels to people who neither knew nor cared for the things he was passionate about.
But that's the measure of the man. He really wanted ordinary people to know matters important to our lives, about our national finances, how our money is being spent, how our society is being run, about injustices, evasions and downright fibs by officials.
He is harsh on people whom he sees should be saying and doing something about such things and on organisations that work on such matters; not always seeing that different approaches doesn't always mean apathy or inaction.
I too am appalled at the sad self-censorship of journalists who have spent their careers so far learning to be incredibly careful of punitive legal action or to believe that "development journalism" means saying lovely, supportive things about people in power and writing anything critical is wrong.
The façade of democracy that allows undemocratic decrees and serious injustice needs to gain the confidence and maturity to understand that debate, dissent and comment are signs of a healthy society. Next time around I might even vote for a government that sees that.
Long before the spurious exercise to award the government's exclusive advertising contract to the newspaper that most supported the development of the nation etc, no government-funded organisation was permitted to advertise with The Fiji Times.
No use complaining to the Media Industry Development Authority because such things appear not to have come within the concern of "development".
The top chap there has now been made head of the Human Rights Commission in Fiji, something I would have thought was a conflict of interest, but whatever.
I see also that the Human Rights Commission has given $10,000 to the Attorney-General for the Prime Minister's Natural Disaster Relief and Rehabilitation Fund, accepted as a contribution that "is a gesture of solidarity with the Fijian Government as it rebuilds Fiji".
I remember, as I am sure Prof Narsey does, the A-G as a great supporter of democracy, back in the day when he was among our number who opposed coups and ch­a­llenged the seriously bad constitution of the Qarase government.
We now have a new Constitution, but not, alas, the one the people who had earlier stood with the Attorney-General had worked for, nor one that is free of overriding decrees.
So Prof Narsey is leaving "the 'home' that Fiji has been and will always be in my heart".
The home which he knew as a Toorak boy in hard colonial times, when his father worked a laundry and young Wadan did the deliveries after school — being told at the door of our then editor and publisher, Sir Len Usher, to use the tradesmen's entrance.
The home of guitar strumming and long nights of song from the 1960s; of being stranded overnight on Sandbank with the non-swimming love of his life, watching the tide rise; ofbarbecues on the beach with his boys and the time he stood on the buried lovo and squashed the yam; of being almost arrested for lurking on Suva sea wall with a pair of binoculars when only trying to spot Halley's comet; of running arguments about the perfect design of a barbecue and how to cook Chinese food; of much beer and more debate.
And he must remember the night the party drifted down to the sea wall, when the police came along to try and stop the dancing and listened patiently to denials of drinking and finally, in exasperation, said to him and even older mates: "Professor, look at your grey hairs, aren't you ashamed of yourselves — go home."
He is going to miss this home and if he really won't write any more critical, complaining, controversial columns, even from abroad, who then is going to inform and encourage us and publicly prod us out of apathy.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Museum now digital

Good idea.

Just a click of mouse to see historical exhibits

Tevita Vuibau
Saturday, April 23, 2016
MORE than 1300 items on display at the Fiji Museum have been digitised to give students in rural areas the chance to view exhibits with just a click of the mouse.
Through the Virtual Museum, more than 1300 individual photographs of exhibits have been placed online with accompanying descriptions.
The Virtual Museum was launched by Education Minister Dr Mahendra Reddy yesterday at Naitasiri Secondary School.
He said he wanted students in rural and maritime areas to know the Virtual Museum was compiled with them in mind.
To put the Virtual Museum together ­— local audio visual company First Fighter Video and Audio Production — professionally photographed 609 artefacts in 23 photography sessions while the other 246 images were scanned and provided by the Fiji Museum.
"We have to find a way to take institutions like the Fiji Museum with the stock of knowledge that they have, to the people who cannot make it to the physical museum," Dr Reddy said.
"Now the geographical layout of Fiji is very challenging. Here we have people all over the maritime area inhabiting 150 islands.
"So we have to ensure the education we provide to urban schools is also provided to the rural and interior.
"We have students in Suva Grammar and Marist Brothers' High School who could walk to the Fiji Museum on any given day and enjoy the exhibits there.
"That's not the same situation for students in Udu Point, Cicia, in the Yasawa Islands or Kadavu. We are now thinking of how we can take this stock of knowledge to not only the students but teachers and civil servants — that is why we came up with this project.
"Many schools from the interior and outer islands have to take special field trips to visit the museum and this visit is only for a short duration. Now, everyone, including you all can visit the Fiji Museum online from where ever you are. You can access all the things kept in the museum while sitting at home."
The Virtual Museum scales to screen size so it can be viewed on PCs, laptops, tablets and phones.
Added to this, all work was done in Fiji by Fiji-owned businesses and locally-based staff, working closely with staff from the Fiji Museum.
The Virtual Museum can be viewed on