Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Copying Pacific designs

It is inevitable that people from overseas who like the tapa designs etc. from the islands copy these designs to make money. But how to you monitor this breach of copyright"  Article from the Fiji Times.
Alisi Vucago
Thursday, May 25, 2017
PACIFIC Islanders need to prevent the exploitation of the cultural designs their countries are known for, says Papua New Guinea fashion designer Sarah Haaod Todd.
Ms Todd made this comment at the Fiji Fashion Week press conference yesterday.
She is representing PNG with her label PNGianKala and will join the event with her unique PNG flag inspired collection.
She claimed foreigners had come into her country and remade their traditional shoulder bags known as bilums and sold it to people of PNG at a higher price.
"Each province has a different style to make a bilums and its actually very diverse," she said.
"Traditional belums are woven from the barks of trees and hand-made, however, this has been exploited."
She also stated tattoo designs, which are unique to her culture, had also been used by foreigners without the permission of the traditional owners.
"Amongst us, I call upon governments to penalise any foreigner that comes in and exploits our culture and heritage for monetary gains," she said.
"It is happening right now and it is going to wipe out and commercialise our culture as there is no love, no respect and it doesn't come from within them."
"They're just doing that to make money from us and it has been going on for far too long and getting worse."
Ms Todd encouraged designers to think about lobbying the issue to their governments to ensure there was some kind of protection in place for their heritage which was unique and stood out anywhere in the world.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Fiji Times or Fiji Sun


Vijay Maharaj, Sydney Australia | Wednesday, May 17, 2017
This Sawakasa II village road sign is tilting on its side in Tailevu North. Picture: JONA KONATACI.
This Sawakasa II village road sign is tilting on its side in Tailevu North. Picture: JONA KONATACI.
I wish to thank the Attorney-General and Economy Minister, Aiyaz Saiyed-Khaiyum, for moving around the country trying to educate the people on the system of budget preparation. He is also inviting suggestions and ideas that could be incorporated in the next budget.
While I appreciate the motives behind such campaigns, I am at a loss to understand why our A-G keeps on attacking The Fiji Times. I am a keen reader of newspapers and I closely follow the news section of radio stations and TV channels.
I believe The Fiji Times has given enough coverage and publicity to his meetings. Whatever transpires in such meetings are reported by well trained and experienced reporters. In fact, I believe I have seen more of Honourable Sayed-Khaiyum's pictures in The Fiji Times than any other current politician, for which he should be really thankful.
Some time ago in one of his meetings in Vanua Levu, I believe Hon. Sayed-Khaiyum even asked the people not to buy The Fiji Times, and now he is telling people not to believe what is reported in The Fiji Times. Such comments and actions I believe will do more damage for our A-G politically.
Finally I strongly believe that The Fiji Times is still the "people's" newspaper.
Look at the volume of its circulation and one can easily gauge its popularity. Whatever we read in this open column is entirely the views of the writers and the newspaper should never be blamed if it hurts any politician or a member of Parliament.
I believe in true democracy and according to our Constitution we have the freedom of expression and therefore any politician should always be prepared to face a bit of criticism and also accept praise if offered for good work.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Mothers' Day and a barbecue

The boys suggested we go to the You Yangs for a barbecue for Mother's Day so nine of us prepared and drove out past Lara but there were over a thousand people with the same idea! Anyway I did some sketches near a rock and the others climbed up Flinders Peak and took some photos which I will sort out later. Then it was time to cook - BUT all the gas had gone out in the public barbecues near us! So we drove back to Geelong to Eastern Park and hoorah - there was a spare barbecue at the shelter up top of the hill. Salads, sausages, chops, hamburgers, eggs cooked heart shape in bread, etc. etc. Now we are enjoying mudcake and coffee. (Have to drink my coffee at least two hours after eating red meat for the iron to work!) So we had a mountain and the sea today for our fresh air outing. 16 degrees, sunny at first so it was okay. Also, I received some lovely flowers and chocolates - the latter to share of course.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Marijuana as a commercial crop?

I don't think so. We don't want the youth of Fiji stoned and aimless with drug-taking. There is a difference though if the speaker in Parliament is talking about medical uses for marijuana but he didn't say that. It can be used for serious pain such as cancer but the farming of medical marijuana would have to be well organised.
From Fiji Times:

Mixed views over pot bid

Aqela Susu
Thursday, April 27, 2017
The Minister for Defence and National Security, Ratu Inoke Kubuabola, told Parliament yesterday he would not recommend to Government the legalisation of marijuana in Fiji.
He made this comment in response to a supplementary question by Social Democratic Liberal Party (SODELPA) Member of Parliament Niko Nawaikula who asked the minister if he would at any time recommend to Government the commercial planting of marijuana in Fiji.
Mr Nawaikula said this was because people were planting marijuana as a source of income.
"I don't think I'd like to recommend to Government the legalisation of marijuana in Fiji," Ratu Inoke said.
Mr Nawaikula's comment, however, drew mixed reactions.
Last night Opposition Leader Ro Teimumu Kepa differed from Mr Nawaikula's call, saying it was his "own opinion".
"I haven't heard him mention anything like that before. I think he took everyone by surprise and to me, it is his own personal opinion which he is entitled to," Ro Teimumu said.
She also clarified that Mr Nawaikula's call was not part of SODELPA's policy.
Former SODELPA youth leader Pita Waqavonovono spoke out strongly about what Mr Nawaikula said, saying there were other agricultural products that could be cultivated and marketed.
"Marijuana is actually a dying market and an unpopular one also," Mr Waqavonovono said.
"We are trying to build a society that is not dependent on hard drugs, making it legal is a cop-out. And young people want Parliament to come up with more substantive measures to employment creation, and legalising marijuana won't help."
Two frequent letter writers to The Fiji Times Letters to the Editor column agreed with Mr Nawaikula's call for the legalisation of marijuana for commercial purposes.
Simon Hazelman of Savusavu said as with alcohol and tobacco, marijuana needed to be legalised for control and taxes.
"Ratu Inoke Kubuabola's reply simply confirms the ruling party's tunnel vision regarding the issue. The least Government can do for now is to initiate an investigation of the benefits of commercial marijuana farming," Mr Hazelman said. "The simple fact that the variety used to produce products is of no use to stoners is enough for Government to remove the blinkers and seriously look into the matter."
Nadi lawyer Dorsami Naidu said Government should look at it as a crop that could earn this country a lot of foreign exchange.
Meanwhile, attempts to get comments from Agriculture Minister Inia Seruiratu and Trade Minister Faiyaz Koya remained unsuccessful when this edition went to press last night.

Plan for a hostel for Labasa

This sounds like an excellent idea.  Is St Mary's Hostel still going?  For many, many years the Anglican Church in Labasa had a hostel for girls in Labasa.  No, it was closed two years ago.

Group to build hostel

Luke Rawalai
Thursday, April 27, 2017
THE women's wing of the Macuata Methodist Church circuit plans to construct a girl's hostel that will house female students schooling in Labasa Town soon.
Women's wing president Kelera Tuiwanikai said the hostel would host students within the circuit from Cikobia Island extending to Dreketi in Vanua Levu.
Ms Tuiwainikai said most times, female students from these interior areas had to live with their relatives.
"The women's wing has already managed to collect $24,000 from our soli and we are to decide on other issues regarding the plan," she said.
"In line with Government's focus of developing the North, we found it ideal to construct a hostel for our female students in the circuit.
"We understand that the Fiji National University and other tertiary institutions, including colleges will be brought to Labasa soon and the hostel will complement such developments, providing students with a place to stay in."
Ms Tuiwainikai said they were yet to identify a suitable piece of land for the planned home.
"We had earlier selected one but it was under an agricultural lease so we are looking around again," she said.
"The project is for a worthy cause and the fact that we would be opening doorways for children within the circuit in future is something that we are proud of.
"There are 19 circuits within the Macuata circuit and each circuit raises $200 annually for the cause and the general administration of the women's wing."
St Mary's Hostel in Labasa was closed two years ago.

Church closes hostel

Serafina Silaitoga
Monday, December 14, 2015
THE Anglican church has closed its St Mary's hostel in Labasa as deteriorating condition poses risks to the safety of boarders.
The closure means that girls from rural areas who depend on the hostel for accommodation will have to look elsewhere come the new school term.
Church parish priest Father Gerald Billings said they made the toughest decision but was best for all.
"With pressing realities and demands that have now emerged, the Anglican Church of the Diocese of Polynesia had to make an urgent and hard pressing decision on the future of St Mary's hostel," he said.
"The church cannot guarantee the safety of all those under our care and thus the sensible need to take precautionary approach.
"This is a big factor in the closure of the hostel and another reality is the escalating cost of running St Mary's hostel which is now beyond our means."
Mr Billings said the Diocese through special funds had helped keep the hostel afloat.
"However, after two years, the sheer amount needed has brought realisation that the church cannot afford to sustain it any longer," he said.
"There is also a clear decline in the number of girls coming forward to the hostel."
Over the past years, the Ministry of Labour had also issued OHS notices to the hostel board even notices of closure. Mr Billings said the board met last month and decided to close the hostel.
"The first reality is the difficulty in ensuring a safe place to take care of young women. There are possible fire hazards within an aged building and we cannot risk fire from faulty electrical wiring or any other means," he said.
"We used to have 100 boarders and the number dropped to around 30.
"Parents in rural areas have also been buying affordable houses in the outskirts of Labasa and their children have also moved there instead."

Friday, April 21, 2017

The American iguana pest

We don't want this American iguana pest in Vanua Levu!  But apparently one (or more) have swum over to Vanua Levu. Some silly tourist brought some American iguana to Qamea Island and now they have spread to parts of Taveuni and even swum to Koro Island!  Not happy at all!

American iguana culled

Luke Rawalai
Saturday, April 22, 2017
AN American Iguana commonly known as the Giant Invasive Iguana (GII) discovered in Savusavu has been culled and returned to Qamea by the Biosecurity Authority of Fiji (BAF).
The authority confirmed this after the iguana was first sighted in Qamea in 2000 and the neighbouring Laucala, Matagi and Taveuni islands by 2009.
A statement from the authority yesterday said this was the first time GII had been found anywhere on Vanua Levu.
"It is unclear at this stage how the GII made its way to Natewa Bay, Savusavu," the statement said.
"There is a possibility that GIIs were involuntarily assisted across the sea during tropical cyclone Winston.
"Although GII is an arboreal lizard, it has the ability to dive into the sea to escape predators and swim long distances."
The authority said it was alerted of the new GII sighting by local fishermen at a beach situated at the base of Natewa Bay approximately 20 kilometres from Savusavu Town.
"BAF responded swiftly and deployed its GII surveillance and awareness team for identification of the iguana and confirmed it as GII," the statement said
"The team then conducted a thorough survey of the area and visited local villages to conduct awareness. No further GIIs have been sighted in the area or areas nearby."
In 2011, the then permanent secretary for the agriculture minister, Colonel Mason Smith said there were possibilities of the reptile swimming to Buca Bay following a sighting in Koro Island.
Col Smith said then that if it could get to Koro, it could certainly get across to Buca Bay adding they were closely monitoring the situation.
However, the latest statement from the authority requested members of the public not to be alarmed, adding that the GII was primarily a herbivore.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Cane harvesters for Labasa

Something different from the cane gangs who cut cane in Fiji and are paid a pittance.  Will this be the way to go in the future - to use mechanical harvesters though I don't think they'd be very safe on the hills.
Fiji Times story:

New harvesters to benefit farmers

Luke Rawalai
Thursday, April 20, 2017
AN estimated 20,000 tonnes of sugar cane is expected to be harvested from the two new harvesters recently purchased by the Labasa Cane Producers Association.
The association's president Mohammed Rafiq said the two mechanical harvesters were purchased from India at a cost of $720,000.
Mr Rafiq said the two harvesters were estimated to generate an income of $330,000 for the association.
"This year the board and management proceeded towards buying the harvester and decided to buy Shaktiman brand from Gujrat, India," he said.
"The harvesters are in Labasa, assembled and ready to harvest cane in Waiqele and the Seaqaqa area.
"Last year the association's general assembly approved the purchase of the two mechanical harvesters." Mr Rafiq said proceedings from the harvesters' operations would benefit all sugarcane growers in the Labasa mill area.
"During the 2017 annual general meeting the gang representatives of LCPA had approved the following benefits to farmers — pre-harvest assistance with the provision of knives and files, weedicide subsidy, death benefit of $500 per farmer," he said.
However, during the association's annual general meeting last month farmers raised their concerns on whether farmers in hilly areas where harvesters could not harvest cane farms would be assisted in any way.
Responding to these concerns, Mr Rafiq said they could not find a harvester that could work on farms in hilly areas.
He said with the two harvesters now harvesting cane in the flat areas, labourers would now be spread out to the hilly areas.

Korowiri school

A school in Labasa will have a teacher's quarters built and one of the purposes is for the teacher to guard the school out of hours!
Go to
The photo is of children from the Korowiri/Tovata school when they received schoolbags.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Thanks Akuila

A letter to the Editor of the Fiji Times:
Honestly speaking I believe honestly speaking Pio Tikoduadua hit the nail on the head (The Sunday Times 16.04.17) that Fiji's biggest problem at the moment is that nobody's opinion matters, except those of the Prime Minister and the Attorney-General. It's a matter of deep and worrying concern. There seems to be a dearth of such display of costly courage in Fijian society at the moment. This does present a challenge though to leaders and especially politicians, civil servants and civil society organisations. All should take up responsibilities to uphold freedom in relation to restrictions, especially imposed by decrees on the part of state power.

 Rev. Akuila Yabaki Suva