Friday, November 23, 2007
A Fiji/Cook Island wedding
Mac and Irene's wedding. The new pacific generation in Australia.
Mac, the bridegroom came from the Cook Islands and the bride Irene came from a Fiji family, her father Australian and her mother, Sylvia from Nairai in Lomaiviti the centre of Fiji and they are part of the Fiji community in Melbourne. We have known the two sisters, Irene and Natalie for many years and Irene stayed with us in Geelong for half a year when she was a teenager.
The formal church ceremony was held at Williamstown in a large Anglican Holy Spirit Church. This grey stone church had beautiful coloured stained glass windows. It was full of people in the pews and a group of young people sang during the service. Irene had seven bridesmaids dressed in blue and seven grooms dressed in formal black suits. Her little daughter was dressed up also. Irene looked confident, beautiful and relaxed. She was all smiles as the wedding ceremony concluded with prayers and the bridal party walked out to the wedding march.
Williamstown is the oldest suburb of Melbourne and the church was across the road from waterfront and many boats. The priest was a woman who lived in an old two-storey house next door with an enormous Moreton Bay fig tree in the compound. We talked with several people we already knew but there were many others who were new to us especially many Cook Islanders.
The venue of the reception was a large Catholic Church Hall in Yarraville often used by the Fijian community for functions. About seven hundred people were there and the Island food was spread out on long tables and guests sat around smaller round tables. We sat with some Fijians we knew who were talkative even over the sound of the band.
The Master of ceremony, father of the groom, with a roving microphone was the Cook Islander Dad of the bridegroom and he spoke in English. He tried hard to control the very large crowd which included a hundred or more children. There were about fifteen speeches and many songs and dance performances. The most interesting speech was from a passionate Cook Island woman who was the groom's mother and the speeches by Mac and Irene.
We enjoyed the lovo food and found some new delicacies that were new to us. The wedding cake which was dark chocolate was made by Raijieli Loganimasi and was enjoyed by all.
This young couple are part of this new generation of Australian people of Pacific Islander background. May God bless them on their new journey. We witnessed not only the big wedding of Irene and Mac as a couple but also the binding together of two families together. A young Cook Island dancing girl led the bride and groom into the hall as a song in their language was performed on stage by a Cook Island singing group.
We witnessed the second and third generation of a new kind of Pacific Australians whose parents or grandparents came from the Pacific and are now taking their place in the new home of Australia. We have to encourage young people to look for new ways to settle in Australia. May Blessing be upon you both for now and for your future.
Photos: Rai from Nairai made the chocolate mud cake for the wedding.
There were seven bridesmaids and seven grooms and the celebrant was an Anglican woman priest.
Irene and Mac after the ceremony.