Thursday, January 19, 2017

When donating goods to Fiji

Something to think about when there's a crisis in Fiji and people in Australia want to help by donating goods.

In response to a link from a facebook friend about donations to the Pacific when disaster strikes, Red Cross has given some good advice via some articles and explanations. For example:
What are UBDs?
UBDs, also called Gifts in Kind (GIK) and unsolicited material
donations are goods that are spontaneously donated after a
disaster. They are often characterised by:
• They arrive unannounced or with very short notice
• Have incomplete or faulty paperwork
• Lack clearly defined consignee
• Are non-standard items
• Have incorrect packaging.
They are also items that may not have been requested by
responding organisations and usually (or frequently) do not
meet the needs of the affected populations.
While often donated by well-meaning people wishing to
assist in the response, UBDs create considerable issues for
governments and response agencies and put additional
pressure on an already stretched humanitarian supply
chain system. The costs of processing, transporting, sorting
and storing UBDs can place a significant financial burden
on receiving governments and response agencies, costing
much more than the donated goods,
Sorting and labelling is essential and to have a specific person at the other end for good quality items to get through to the needy. Fiji govt. has a list of items that still have customs duty even when second-hand. It's very tough to donate these days. It's best to go through a reliable, experienced group such as Donation in Kind (Rotary) or Red Cross.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Cockles and mussels

Cockles and Mussels alive alive O
. • As children I don’t remember us eating mussels and cockles except one year while holidaying in the Mornington Peninsular we used to dig up cockles in the sand at low tide, hidden amongst seaweed then Mum would cook them. 
• In Fiji we ate river mussels at Davuilevu and the theological students and Lelean students often dived for them in the Rewa River nearby to get protein for their meals. These were rounded mussels. We bought them also from Nausori market.
• Various cockles, mussels, spider shellfish, were sold in the Suva and other markets so we often bought a handful for a meal, to serve with chillies and lemon, or in coconut cream. Not expensive, but very tasty.
• When we lived at Nukutatava Beach I used to pick mangrove oysters with a knife with my sister-in-law Evia. We also had a trochus shell (sici) project with the young men diving for the shellfish, then we'd boil them up, and pack and send the shells on to Suva to on-sell them to Japan to make buttons, jewellry etc. but when we realised we were being ripped off we discontinued the project and also we got sick of eating sici.
• These days in Geelong we buy mussels from a little boat moored near one of the restaurants on the Waterfront or from a fish shop.
• I have never bought oysters or similar in a restaurant but they are served – one by one – at a degustation meal at Igni - $150 a meal apparently.
• Here is a website about harvesting oysters in Vanua Balavu, Lau, Fiji.…/

Sunday, January 15, 2017

The Tongan nose flute

Tongan nose flute - from the archives

A rare instrument in the South Pacific these days is the nose-flute. But once it was more common in several islands, especially Tonga, where it was played to awaken a member of the royal family. Some lullabies have similar melodies to that played on the Tongan nose-flute.
(from my old research papers) W.


Pandabonium said...
Very interesting.
Vakaivosavosa said...
Apparently the nose flute is also played in Fiji - now only old men in the hills of Ra and Navosa know how to make and play them though. Our culture department is undertaking a cultural mapping and inventory survey of the traditional knowledge of the different parts of Fiji and their unique or special cultural heritage, handicraft artifacts -

see 1.

Peceli and Wendy's Blog said...
Thank you Panda and thank you Vakaivosavosa for the two links which are very interesting. I heard they were going to do this. I wonder how many ethnomusicologists are involved. Of course the real experts are already there, some elderly men and women in the villages. A daunivucu I met at Nubunikavula village was a charming elderly man over ninety and he gave me some logging chants.
About the nose flute - I have never seen one in Fiji, but Chris Saumaiwai wrote something about it one time.
My MA thesis about the music of Labasa in in the Pacific Collection at USP - but as an 'outsider' I'm still a stranger to much of the cultural information.
Vakaivosavosa said...
Hi W. I heard about the nose flutes in the interior of Viti Levu about five years ago, but haven't seen one so far. I heard that it was part of an exhibition on a vucu and meke exhibition/competition held at the Dome two years ago, but it didn't make the papers.

Its early days on the cultural inventory project - I doubt there's any ethnomusicolo.. whatumacallits involved as the dept is very small and under-resourced. So far, the focus of the mapping is traditional mats which are specialised by different women in different provinces, not so much music and traditional instruments. Hopefully the old men who do play the nose flute in the hills are passing on the tradition to younger people and will not be dead by the time the mapping project gets to them!

Theres a few bands from Macuata doing well on the local scene - the harmonies are nice and the dialect is practically another language!

The roads in Fiji

And this says it all....

Saturday, January 14, 2017

The Fijian nose-flute

When I was researching Fijian music I could never find even one person who played the nose-flute in Fiji though Chris Saumaiwai did. Now there's an article about one man who plays it.  It is more commonly played in Tonga, though even there it is uncommon.
from the Fiji Times:

Echoes from the past, an art almost lost

Matilda Simmons
Sunday, January 15, 2017
In the village of Nananu on the coast in the north of Tailevu, about one and a half hours drive from Suva, lives a man who has a special gift for playing the nose flute.
Kaveni Tamani of the Nabati clan is the only person who has kept alive the skill which dates back to the legendary days of an ancestral god.
The indigenous Fijian musical instrument called the nose flute is known in the iTaukei language as dulali or bitu ceguvi.
This form of music has disappeared altogether from Fiji except for Nananu. Nananu is made up of three clans — Korolevu, Sawatini and Nabati.
According to village records, Nananu had a different setup in the old days. Each clan dwelt on its hill fort during the tribal warring days before Christianity.
Kaveni's story has since been recorded by the iTaukei Institute of Language & Culture under the Ministry of iTaukei Affairs. Acting prinicipal administrative officer, Simione Sevudredre said this was made possible after a funding under UNESCO's Intangible Cultural Heritage Centre for the Asia Pacific (ICHCAP) in 2011 was provided.
The award was secured after two officers from the ministry, Kelera Adikakua and Mereoni Dikula, underwent training on Intangible Cultural Heritage documentary in Korea, and at the same time satisfied funding criteria for participants who wished make a documentary as part of their practical work back in their own country.
The funding was also in recognition of the institute's active role in safeguarding, and promoting iTaukei traditional knowledge and expressions of culture.
Mr Sevudredre said with the production of such documentaries, they hoped to revitalise and promote iTaukei culture.
"We'd also like readers to know that the documentaries can be viewed and downloaded on the youtube section of our website," he said.
Back to Kaveni.
The gift of playing the nose flute was practised by Kaveni's father, Laisiasa Tauba but where he received the gift from or where he learnt it is lost to the mists of time as Kaveni liked to say.
When visited at his village, Kaveni was busy cutting bamboos on the shore. He said he wanted to make a bamboo raft so his family members could use it for fishing.
For a 78-year-old, he looked quite fit and had the gait of much younger man.
How it began
Jovial in nature and a bit of a ladies man, the nose flutist was quite open to sharing his story which was incidently passed down to him by accident, or so he says.
"I have been playing this instrument since my father passed away. None of us his children ever thought of learning it while he was still alive. When he died, I went to my parent's house and brought the bamboo flute home and kept it with me," he said as he stroked the bamboo which had light carvings on it.
To learn playing the nose flute surprisingly had never dawned on Kaveni. Growing up, he said, he only helped carve the bamboo head rest on which his father would lie on to play the flute.
"My father would play early in the morning from where he lay close to the hearth," he told this newspaper.
"In fact I only learnt how to play after a visit by the then Tailevu provincial administrator in 1973, Ratu Kitione Vesikula . He had wanted my father to go with a Fiji delegation overseas to perform overseas.
"We were gathered at the village headman's house and the provincial administrator asked: "Kaveni have you ever played this flute before your father died?
"I said 'not once ever sir'."
The PA said: "Alas, how shall this be done then?
"He then implored me to start learning it and if I was succesful, I would be be part of the country's delegation."
Kaveni said he started playing the flute like his breath depended on it.
"My upper lips had bruises as a result of pracitising every day," said the Nananu villager.
"To play the nose flute, I have only a cup of tea in the morning and I don't eat anything three hours before performing so I can sustain my breathing. It's a challenging art to learn."
Challenging yet rewarding. The traditional art has since brought Kaveni, regional and international recognition and accolades for his traditional performance.
In 1973, he was invited to perform at the opening of the Sydney Opera House. He was only 34 years old. He also performed at the 2006 Melanesian Arts Festival in Suva.
"I was sitting just across from Queen Elizabeth II who was a guest at the opening!" he said proudly.
"I have been asked whether the flute has aspects of charm to it, or whether I practise black magic but it's ridiculous to hear such sentiments from some people," Kaveni said with a touch of indignation.
Legends of old
While it's not known where the art of nose flute began or how Kaveni's father acquired the skill, traditional knowledge points to Fiji's pre-history era, to the time of Ramacake, Fiji's equivalent to Pan in Greek mythology (Pan was the god of the wild, shepherds and flocks, nature of mountain wilds and rustic music and is often associated with sexuality).
According to the head of the yavusa or clan of Sawatini — Filimoni Donu — in a documentary produced by the Ministry of iTaukei Affairs; Ramacake, a shape shifter hailed from Nanukuloa in Ra Province and was adept on the pan flute. The flute's melodious strains was an irresistible charm to maidens. However the elders were not amused and so they banished him.
"Ramacake left his home for Lovoni on another island and it was here the pan flute temporarily stayed. From Lovoni he then relocated to an island called Makodraga jutting out from Makogai. It was here he dwelt and played his pan flute," said Mr Donu in the iTaukei language.
"The lilting notes of the pipes had a bewitching effect on young maidens who were drawn to the seas around Makogai in the hope of finding a handsome prince, only to turn away upon meeting Ramacake who often disguised himself in the form of a leper."
According to the legend, Ramacake's flute roused and lulled the Ratu mai Verata every day.
The ancient Verata kingdom once spanned most of the northern Tailevu Province including islands such as Qoma, Naigani, Ovalau, Wakaya and Makogai, he said.
Ramacake would play his flute every morning and the echoes would go across the sea right to the Ratu mai Verata. Choreographers and maidens came from all over Fiji in search of the famed flutist but to no avail because Ramacake would spy their approaching canoes and direct the echo to another island. He would make the sound emanate from Koro Island, Wakaya or Ovalau.
This was why Makogai Island was always bypassed.
Myth or fact
Some legends may seem incredible to believe due to its fictious elements, however there is some underlying truth to it.
According to the Ministry of iTaukei Affairs, which has recorded oral traditions from villages around the country, how the art moved from Lovoni to Nananu points to an ancient link between the people of the two tribes.
Ancient traditions tell of Rakavono, ancestral founder of the Lovoni tribe, having once dwelt at Nananu before settling at Lovoni.
"It may be perplexing to realise that the art was introduced to this village. If some people may doubt this gift and how it was introduced to this village, we must not be surprised," said Pio Manoa an iTaukei Fijian literature and culturalist in the documentary.
"Legends for that reason embed multi-layered analysis.
"One such analysis is to do with relationship. Legends have a significant role in our existence. There are numerous legends and they are human heritage. Not only legends, but dances, chants, poems, lullabies and the like.
"If we closely examine these genres, at one level they may be fictious or not entirely factual but they underpin truths between relationship or factual historical events.
"There is an element of truth that is mirrored as to how people are related etc. It is in this respect certain truths are coded in legends."
As to how it specifically came to the Nabati clan, some say the reason is because of their totem tree being the bamboo called bitu cebailagi as can be seen growing on their ancient village site, Korosomo
According to Kaveni, the bamboo grows atop of the hill fort belonging to the Nabati clan where their totem bamboo grows and was once the fame and pride of the Nabati clan in Nananu.
Keeping the tradition alive
For now Kaveni ekes out a simple living. Now and then he said a tourism company in Pacific Harbour engaged him for various cultural performances there. He makes about $40 for performing on a given day.
His other roles in the village involve tasks for the church, and traditional obligations. He also tends to his small farm for his subsistent existance. He has three daughters. As a sibling he has only one brother and three sisters.
"I want only my grandson to learn this craft," he said with a sense of possesiveness. "He has shown keeness in learning it and I hope when I pass on, he would pass it on. This skill must never die in Fiji.
"Ratu Vesikula (Tailevu provincial administrator) told me back in 1973 to look after my health and to learn the art, and one day it would serve me well and bring good fortune.
"It has served me well these past 40 years." He said with finality.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Vinaka Rob. Excellent idea.

What a pleasure to read that someone in Australia with Bua connections thinks of home as more than just a brief holiday. Rob Cromb has donated an ambulance to a hospital in Bua.  Lovely family and we remember his mother with great affection.
In the Fiji Times today:

Gift eases hardship faced by rural public

Luisa Qiolevu
Saturday, January 14, 2017
HAVING grown up in Bua and lived through the hardships faced by his relatives, Rob Cromb's Katalyst Foundation this week donated a new ambulance to the Nabouwalu Hospital.
Mr Cromb, whose mother hails from Nawaido Village in Solevu, Bua, has been a pillar of positive changes in giving back to the province.
The gift from his charitable organisation has been well received by the chiefs, who have labelled it a blessing.
Speaking on behalf of the bose vanua ko Bua, Tui Wainunu Ratu Orisi Baleitavea said the gift would mean a positive change for the people of Bua.
"It's very welcome news because the Nabouwalu Hospital is not fully equipped with vehicles to transport patients from one centre to another," he said.
Ratu Orisi said the health staff would find a huge improvement with their services in rural areas.
"The health staff will no longer find it hard to provide proper medical services to the rural areas now that they have a new ambulance."
The ambulance, worth $89,502.55 ($A57,000), has been labelled a way forward for the province in the health sector.
Ministry of Health and Medical Services national manager ambulance services Josefa Bolaqace said the new ambulance would develop the ambulance service in the province.
"For many decades, ambulance service has been a great issue and a major concern to our health and medical services in regards to the retrieval and transfer of patients from one health facility to the other and this new ambulance would help improve those issues," he said.
"The beginning of this year starts off with a tremendous step for Nabouwalu through the help of our donor partner — The Katalyst Foundation."
Mr Bolaqace said the ministry would remain firmly committed to saving lives.
He said the gift would allow the ministry to provide a quality standard of service to the community at large.

Propping up the sugar industry

Why is Fiji's government spending $9 million propping up the sugar industry with grants to farmers?  Surely a successful farmer can do his own work. Seems to me that they continually want the sugarcane farmers to keep on going even though their rewards are minimal in this kind of industry. You could make five times the profit just by planting watermelons I reckon.  One other thing I discovered by discussing the topic of cane farming is that if you have a cane lease you can get a loan, so that means some farmers just take advantage of this, and then they are continually indebted to the lender, and each year just get another loan etc. etc.  Not good business at all.
Here's the article in the Fiji Sun.
And in the Fiji Times - which adds the bit about farmers effected by flooding etc.

$9m in new cane grant

Shayal Devi
Saturday, January 14, 2017
ABOUT $9 million has been made available to help farmers through a cane grant.
Ministry of Sugar permanent secretary Yogesh Karan said they were putting through an expression of interest for the assistance, which farmers could apply for. The grant is expected to primarily assist farmers who were affected by flooding last month.
Mr Karan said a report on the damage sustained had been completed.
"We'll be relooking at the farms which have been affected and they can apply for that, so that is the immediate assistance that will be given to them."
He said the criteria required for the grant would be highlighted through advertisements in the newspapers today.
"Next week, we will be using the radio so we are able to talk to farmers so that we have given enough information for them to be able to access and make use of that."

Thirty years ago at St Vincent's Hospital

It's Wendy Junior's 30th birthday today so here are some old photos:
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Wendy Ratawa Isa, little Wendy was born in the heart ward of St Vincent's Hospital, Melbourne as her mother prepared for heart valve surgery. A little prem baby and she did very well and grew to be a lovely girl and woman.
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Ratawa Sarah Happy birthday wendy
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Wendy Ratawa Watimeli’s Baby

I am enjoying cotton-wool lazy days as my Fijian husband is overseas. Our three teenage sons are surfing at Torquay. It's 1987. The phone buzzes: a reverse charge call, international. ‘I’m coming back Tuesday. I’m bringing visitors.’
This isn’t unusual. Extras in the household are common; in the Shenton manse in Ryrie Street, Geelong, where we live, there is always room for the extended family or homeless people. The house which is a cheerful mess will have to be cleaned up.
On the Tuesday evening there is a call from Melbourne. ‘We’ve arrived safely. We’ve taken a sick girl to St. Vincents. I’m bringing her father, Bameti, home. He's from Wailevu. Dr. Schramm asked me to help this family. The sick girl had to be brought to Labasa hospital by boat in the middle of the cyclone. Heart surgery in Australia is the only way to save the girl’s life, the doctor said.'
Three nights later, a phone call at 1 a.m. comes from the hospital. Watimeli has gone into labour.
I am amazed. ‘I didn’t know she was pregnant!’
Peceli wakes Bameti to dress up immediately. They drive to Melbourne to comfort Watimeli during the birth process. The premature baby girl – born three months early- and in the Heart Ward of St Vincents is shunted immediately to the Mercy Hospital.
When I meet the patient, gaunt like a long distance runner drained after a marathon, I ask if the baby has been named yet
‘Yes,’ says the girl, who is about twenty years. ‘She’s named after you. Wendy!’
The naming gives a sense of alarm of an on-going relationship. I walk to the Mercy hospital a few blocks away. Though the nurse encourages me to touch the baby's arms and legs, I cannot.
A week later Watimeli comes down to Geelong to gain strength before the operation for a heart valve replacement. Now 100 K separate her from little Wendy. In visits to Melbourne, both Watimeli and I feel uncomfortable with the prem. baby attached to tubes.
A month later the baby is transferred to the Geelong Hospital. Her limbs are strong and she is going well. She is nearly five pounds in weight so soon is allowed to go ‘home’. Baby paraphernalia is given to me from friends or bought in op. Shops. Our sons complain about the crying - until they start to talk and play with the newcomer. The church folk make a tremendous fuss over the tiny brown baby with the strong dark eyes, lying happily in a basket.

The operation for heart valve replacement proceeds and Watimeli becomes well enough to join the household. Now bonded with the infant, I am unwilling to give the baby up but I obtain a birth certificate, a passport photo, then a Fijian passport from the Fiji Embassy in Canberra. The baby is not allowed to be an Australian citizen as the mother had come on an emergency medical visa. When Wendy Junior is twenty-one, maybe then she can.
Several hospital bills come our way even though we had been promised free treatment. Some are waived, some we have to pay.
Watimeli tells us about her boyfriend, a Part-European youth who lives in Nadi. Her parents would not allow them marry. She already has a son to him, staying with Bameti's family. I wonder what her future will be as a single mother, but with the Fijian extended family there will always be someone to help.
At Tullamarine airport, Watimeli looks so well and little Wendy, now strong but still small, is swaddled in a blanket. There’s a massive amount of overweight luggage and there are no concessions and no allowance for the baby paraphernalia. We have to pay up heaps.
I let them go, return to Geelong to my routine of easy-going family care but I miss little Wendy very much and cannot concentrate when I go back to Deakin studies. I am still soft, and floppy and maternal-minded, not in the mood for academic study at all.

Eight months later there’s a phone call from Labasa, Fiji. ‘Watimeli’s very ill. She’s bleeding and in Labasa hospital.’
‘What happened?’
‘She was playing volleyball. Something in her chest just fell down.’
I feel breathless but can only say, ‘Keep in touch.’
Next day there is another phone call. Watimeli has died at the Labasa hospital. There is no sophicated heart machines there. This is terrible news.
‘Who’ll look after her baby?’
‘Her grandparents. Bameti and his wife in Mataniwai village.’

A year later Peceli and I are in Fiji: partly for an assessment of the situation after the 1987 coups. We visit Mataniwai village during a drenching dowpour and present a whale’s tooth to Bameti in respect of Watimeli’s death. I want to meet the little girl. As the family push the little girl forward, her dark eyes fill with tears when confronted with me, the beige-coloured Australian woman who is now a stranger to her. Tentatively she sits on my knee, just for a minute. She has sores on her arms but she is surviving.
I walk alone in the rain to visit Watimeli’s grave near a stand of mango trees. The mound is covered by a colourless tapa cloth. I am distraught by the waste of a young life.
A week later we are back on the Ratawa sugar-cane farm. Bameti’s family arrive with the little girl and boxes of her clothes. They want to give her to the Ratawa family for an informal adoption. I whisper to Peceli, ‘We can’t take her to Australia – the trauma would be too much. She’s had too many care-givers and mothers.’
He suggests, ‘My sister Suliana can take her.’ In her household there are already four informally adopted children including a little girl of one. Evia, my other sister-in-law has had eight children so far so gives a little girl, Pinky, to Suliana.
Suliana agrees and Ateca will help care for the little girl.

That was a long time ago.
Small Wendy knows she has an Australian family though I was not courageous enough to take that child on full-time again. Suliana became her grandmother and Ateca her new mother. So that makes her our grand-daughter.
I email Wendy Junior these days. She has left the Friendly North sugar-cane community to study and now works in tourism in Nadi and has a delightful little girl. Mili. Wendy is a beautiful young woman, tall, smart and her eyes are bright and black like the eyes of her mother, Watimeli.

When I see young mothers today fussing over their babies, putting them on their backs to sleep - because of SIDS, I think of Wendy when she was a baby, and how she slept on her tummy, and looked like a turtle, and the song Peceli sang to her. Wedi na yalewa re, na yalewa duadua e vale. It was about a baby girl who lay down like a turtle.
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Thursday, January 12, 2017

Photos from 1860

Terry Hulme posted these photos on facebook and they are certainly of interest to students of Fiji history. The pictures include Ritova, Ritova's son, some women of Macuata and some Fijian warriors of that time. The photos are from a collection in Australia in NSW. In 1860/61, HMS Pelorus, stationed in Australia did a Pacific tour, visiting Fiji and someone had one of those new fangled devices, a camera and took some very historic photos.. These are all from the NSW States archives..One photo - Conference Fijian and Tonguese chiefs on board Pelorus, Mathuata, Vanua Levu Fiji.  Note, Ritova with turban (he was famed for his hair) and British consol Mr. Pritchard..

Daryl Tarte's new book

My daughter-in-law returned from Fiji last night and brought me a lovely gift - the new book 'Once upon a time in Fiji' which is a collection of fine short stories by Daryl Tarte, a fourth generation planter from Taveuni. I've dipped into it and see that some stories are certainly autobiographical or recognizable as being based on real people. Good on you Daryl. Great job.  Article from Fiji Times.

'Interesting' collection of life's stories

Afshana Anzeg
Saturday, December 24, 2016

DARYL Tarte's Once Upon A Time in Fiji is an interesting collection of short stories looking at Fijian mythology, land issues, political upheavals and the national drink, yaqona.
Characters range from the son of a chief to a wheelbarrow boy.
Through his work of fiction Tarte narrates the everyday Fijian life of the busy streets of Suva or the village life of the highlands through the tales of a wheelbarrow boy, a criminal, an educated Fijian who becomes an atheist, an impotent man after the yaqona aphrodisiac, a Fijian chief and a kaivalagi investor, making the reader wonder whether it's an imagined work of fiction or a lived experience of everyday life in Fiji.
Interwoven with Fijian myths and legends of Dakuwaqa, the great shark god, to the ideal Fijian dream, Tarte weaves in stories of friendship, respect, deceit, greed, religion and science. The plots range from ancient myths to a tussle between science and religion in the Fijian society.
Tarte starts off with the typical Pacific Island style of telling stories through a storyteller. An interesting narrative style is adopted to relate the significant historical events of Fijian History.
Very aptly keeping the features of short stories in mind, Tarte covers the history of a more than a century through the "The Story Teller".
Our islands have been hit by seven mighty ocean waves and many people have suffered.
The first was when we were killing and eating each other. The second, when we gave our Islands away to the British. The third, when the Indians came here and slaved for the big sugar company. The fourth when we got measles. Fifth, when Rabuka brought his soldiers out of the camp. Six was George. Then the army chief." (Tarte 2016).
Fiji is a unique island nation with a diversity of people.
Born in 1934, on the island of Taveuni, Tarte has worked and lived among many of the Fijian, Indian, Chinese, European, Pacific Islanders and many people of mixed races.
As a fourth generation copra planter, sugar industry executive, civil society activist and now a writer, Tarte had the foresight to record many of these events and has blended the many incidents and characters into this collection of nineteen short stories.
He has so far published Fiji Fiji Coffee table book; Fiji, an historical novel; Island of the Frigate Birds; Stalker on the beach; Turaga, a biography of Ratu Penaia Ganilau and co-authored 20th Century Fiji.
In August 2015, he published Fiji — a Place called home with ANU and USP Press with over 300 copies sold.
Published by the USP Press, Once Upon a Time in Fiji is a light and enjoyable read where Tarte gives glimpses of Fijian life, culture and history.

Vinesh Maharaj, left, of the USP Book Centre with the author, Daryl Tarte. Picture: SUPPLIED
Published by the USP Press of the The University of the South Pacific, the 191-page Once Upon a Time in Fiji is available at the USP Book Centre for $18.95. Those with queries can email Vinesh Maharaj on

Sunday, January 01, 2017

Will the young adults go back home?

I don't know if anyone in Fiji has made a study of it , but I wonder what happens when the children of a village or island are sent off to high school and terriary studies, do they ever come back to the village or island?  To hope that scholarships will educate the youngsters with the aim of them building up their home area is fine and they probably will come back - but only on occasion. You hope they will remember to give back to the village, but really you give them a good education to send them on their journey of life wherever that takes them. Most will get jobs elsewhere. What do you think?  Kia Island is in Macuata, an island west of Mali and the people are traditional fishermen.
(from an article in the Fiji Times about other areas of Fiji... Urban Drift is real In a study done in the province of Ba, it was found that youths who leave the village to take up high school studies in urban areas often choose not to return.
"Why would they?" asked Peniasi Evo.
Mr Evo is part of the Yakete Development Committee which is now trying to slowly change the mind-set of the young generation and cut down the rural to urban drift.
"For most who finish their school, the village has nothing to offer them. There is no way in which they will be able to enjoy the luxuries of urban life in the village.
"The opportunities for them are limited.
"That is why we are trying new things in the villages. With the United Nations Development Program we are trying to ensure that we make village life viable so we are able to attract the youth back to the villages in Yakete."
The project Mr Evo spoke of has just started and it will be some time until results are realised.
In the province of Serua, Nabukelevu Village, which has a population of about 1000 has one primary school and similarly for higher education the children have to go to urban areas or to the coast.
Mosese Batirua from Nabukelevu said the urban drift was a problem for them as well.
"We live in a place where there is no easy access to transportation, the hospitals are far away, the shops even further and if we do make a trip to the urban centres then it means spending more than half the money we have on transportation," he said.
"That is the biggest deterrence for the youths. They feel that the village has nothing to offer.
"Although the traditional ties are maintained, but that is not the same thing."
This is the same for almost all villages in Fiji. The villages are deprived of their youths and the potential earning power of the village as a collective unit decreases immensely.
There is a fear among the villagers that in the near future, there would be fewer young people left in the village as they head out to greener pastures.

Kia islanders launch scholarship program

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Children of Kia Island at the scholarship program launch. Picture: SERAFINA SILAITOGA
Update: 8:14PM VILLAGERS of Kia Island in Macuata have gathered to raise funds for their children's future.
The Kia Island Scholarship Program has been officially launched for the first time after villagers of Kia working and living overseas decided to give back to their people.

Program coordinator Jim Masiniqa said the program was aimed at educating the children of Kia so they could develop their island home.
-------------------------  And also another story saying the money will be invested, so I hope something is used for the students of 2017!  

Villagers invest scholarship funds

Wednesday, January 04, 2017
Update: 3:51PM THE $20,000 raised from the scholarship program held on Kia Island in Macuata after Christmas has been invested.
Program coordinator Jim Masiniqa said this was imperative so the funds could grow and be better utilised for the program in the long run.
"The $20,000 is too little for the program because we have long term plans for our children and their successful future," Mr Masiniqa said.
"So $15,000 has been invested and $5000 has been used for our yaqona farm."