Monday, May 31, 2010

Kitchens or chapels

from w
Last week there was a to-do about the state of the kitchen at Ratu Kadavulevu School and the school was closed for a week so that the stoves etc. would meet the Health and Safety Regulations. Why wasn't it done earlier? Anyway, now we read that the new $1 million chapel has been opened, no doubt funded by the numerous Old Boys Associations in different parts of the world. It does seem to be huge and will be very good for large gatherings. What is most important though - a chapel or a good kitchen? Obviously RKS needs both. Here's how one Fiji media outlet saw the photo from Fiji media, the other from Matavuvale which has many other pictures of the occasion. Putting God first at school 5/31/2010
The Ratu Kadavulevu School chapel was opened and blessed in a dedication service with an emphasis on God and education. The opening was a family day for the school community. Parents, teachers, students, well wishers and old scholars from all over the world made the trip back to Delanakaikai to witness the event.

The chief guest was Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama. He pledged to the community the importance of education for Fiji. “It’s good to see a lot of familiar faces. We have come along way and I believe that the chapel will bring the best out of the school,” Mr Bainimarama said. “I thank the parents, teachers and old scholars for all their support and contribution. I am happy to be part of the celebrations and thank the Almighty God for giving us life to see this day.”

Old scholars’ association president of the Nadroga branch, Aisea Waka, said the event was anticipated by everyone linked to RKS. “I was in the class of 1972 and in those days we used the dining hall next to our kitchen for church service and social nights,” Mr Waqa said. “I remember that ever since I started attending school here we had been fundraising for the chapel. We had been conducting and collected $5000 and also bought two benches for the church. “To come here and see the church full of students and friends made all the preparations worthwhile.” Mr Waka said they were happy God came first for the school. “We are happy that it is a big chapel and the church comes first instead of rugby. The school is leading by example with the new chapel because if we put God first in our lives, education and sports will bear the fruits. This is our advice to students and future students of this school. We are speaking on behalf of our friends who have passed on and did not live to see this day.”

Jese Dola, a student, said he was happy to be part of the event. “I am happy because now we can look forward to having our Sunday service in the chapel. I envy the future students who will come and use this new chapel.”

Former president of the Methodist Church of Fiji, Reverend Manasa Lasaro, led the thanksgiving and dedication service.

Nawanawa Methodist Church circuit Sunday school teacher, Sitiveni Waleilakeba, also attended the celebrations. “We came in two bus loads to help revive the students here with the Sunday school choir to sing at the new chapel,” he said. The Nawanawa Sunday School choir sang the “Halleluiah chorus” at the new chapel.

The chapel, which began construction in 1992, cost over a million.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Faith in a sad world

from w,
Different people lately have been saying to me 'What is wrong with the world today?' I lament about the bad news, of ecological mishaps, civil disturbances, - the news is full of sensational stories. Then I read some fine words in a Bible reading resource we use called Love to the World, and I have just re-lined it a bit to make it slow down, more like a poem to read aloud. And the picture above I made by using two images - one is the word 'Eternity' that a shabby old man once wrote on the pavements around Sydney over many years.

Faithfulness beyond failure

The ancient brothers and sisters in faith
lived amidst the rubble
of the once-beautiful Jerusalem temple,
so we Earthlings now live
amidst the growing ecological ruin
of a once-beautiful world.
We live amidst economic woes
wrought by inequity,
the spiritual abyss
of materialism gone mad.
the never-ending chain of violence,
destruction and death.
heritage of prejudice.
selfish exploitation.

But our planet wide failures
are not the end of the story.
We, too, must take our consequences on the chin,
prosper amidst our catastrophes,
work together in unimaginable hope
for the future to which God calls us
-one renewed humanity
dancing in tune
with its Creator.

Adapted from Rev Dr Tim Bose’s piece in Love to the World Pentecost edition

Nasea children

from w
It's nice tht some children in Labasa were remembering Ratu Sukuna day even though there wasn't any holiday for them on Friday. Children from the town Methodist Church, Nasea, dressed up for the occasion. It shows that the lotu (church) and vanua (Fijian culture) as still closely linked.

from Fiji Sun Sunday
Nasea circuit hails statesman
The children of Nasea Methodist Church in Labasa dressed up in colourful Bula wear gathered at Saint Mary’s Primary school ground to commemorate Ratu Sir Lala Sukuna day in Labasa yesterday. More than 83 children from three different sectors of Nasea Methodist Church attended the whole day programme.

The children presented Fijian traditional dances, sang chores (? I presume the writer meant 'choruses' but spell-checker decided otherwise!) and had a big feast during the day.

Nasea Methodist Church head of Sunday school in Labasa, Josevata Ratuvou said the theme of the celebration was ‘ligatawa' in Fijian language which means responsibility.

“We intended to observe this day to teach and inspire the children to instill important virtues that Ratu Sukuna had,” Mr Ratuvou said. He said Ratu Sukuna was a man of respect and up held great responsibilities. “The children need to know who they are in context to knowing their responsibilities for the church, people and the government,” Mr Ratuvou said. He said Ratu Sukuna is the best role model of moral virtue such as respect and responsibility that the children need to be educated on.

The chief guest at the celebration, Ministry of Education senior education officer Macuata and Bua, Peni Saune encouraged the children through his speech to be driven by vision. “It is important to have a vision in life so you can know what you have to do or otherwise life would have no meaning,” Mr Saune said. “Like Ratu Sukuna who worked hard at every step of his life to fulfill his vision for the country of Fiji, you should also do your best for the nation as a whole,” he said.

During the celebration, the children from each sector also delivered a speech on the topic ‘responsibility’.
and there's more:
Keep traditional dressing alive’
Children of the Nasea Methodist Church Sunday School dressed up in traditional Fijian attire to showcase various cultural costumes at the Saint Mary’s Primary School grounds in Labasa over the weekend. The children represented three different sectors of the church. On the stage they explained what specific occasions the dressing was to be worn. It was part of an effort to mantain culture and Fijian ways of life.

Nasea Methodist Church Sunday School teacher and a mother of two, Akosita Ratuvou said that it was very important for children to know their culture including their traditional way of dressing. “It is all parents’ role to educate their children about their traditional way of dressing. They should continue with the teaching and pass it to the next generation,” said Mrs Ratuvou. She said it was noticeable that members of the younger generation were not interested in taking part in traditional ceremonies because they did not know of traditional dress codes.

Maria Curuki, a mother of three children residing in Tuatua, Labasa, said she encouraged her daughter to take part in the event to teach her the importance of keeping traditional dressing alive. “While traditional and semi-traditional forms of dressing are very much in use among indigenous Fijian culture, there is a greater influence for Asian and western fashion influence in urban areas,” said Mrs Curuki. She said dressing is part tradition and culture which was a trademark for Fijian people. “It is our cultural identity and children must be encouraged to maintain that,” she said.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Weather tower in Babasiga land

from w
The small piece of land at Vatudamu in the area of Nukutatava is cleared ready to built the new weather tower. A member of our family took this photo about three weeks ago. It's good to know that they are going to fix the road because at present it is very hard on vehicles though people have used feeder roads in this area for over forty years. Vinaka. The location is in the midst of sugarcane farms and the area closer to the road is generally known as Vatuadova. The land is typical babasiga land, low hills, not many trees, often dry, but it can be productive also. I presume the following information from Fiji Sun is mainly a handout from the government.

New weather radar ready by October
Government intends to complete the construction of the new radar station at Vatudamu hill in Labasa before the next cyclone season, Ministry for Works, Transport and Public Utilities spokeswoman Sainiana Waqainabete says. Ms Waqainabete said the weather system project was significant because it would help in early detection of tropical cyclones affecting Fiji.

Minister for Works, Transport and Public Utilities Colonel Timoci Natuva was in Labasa to see progress of the project. The radar project is expected to be completed by October. The new DWSR-8500S worth $2.5 million will be installed in the district of Wailevu, outside Labasa town.

Ms Waqainabete said the construction of the radar station was intended to improve the standard of the Fiji Meteorological Services and Regional Specialized Meteorological Centre in Nadi. “The construction for the new radar station is expected to complete before the new cyclone season starts in October this year. “The aim of this construction is to bring into place a system that is able to detect and monitor severe weather especially tropical cyclones threatening Fiji from the north,” Ms Waqainabete said. She said the Northern community was fortunate to have the new radar station because it would ensure the community was well informed of weather situations.

Infrastructural construction of the station will cost Government a little over $1 million with the establishment of the road access to the site closing in at $30,000. Ms Waqainabete said a special building with amenities would be constructed at an estimated cost of about $70,000. She said with the assistance of the Fiji Water Authority a borehole would be installed at the site to supply water to the station.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

This and that

from Peceli
As I prepare to go to Fiji at the weekend, Wendy has been helping by ironing many shirts, mainly to give away. She would rather be doing her artwork such as one picture of Eternity. Meanwhile nearly every day visitors come to tell stories and sometimes drink kava.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Happy birthday Ema

from w
Last night we were invited to a lovely birthday party for our friend Ema (from the Bua Vakalala family) and two sisters were there, Esiteri from Fiji and Losana from Sydney, Joe, and we took a new friend Tanoa (from Gau). Joe is a Uniting Church talatala in the snow country of New South Wales. It was beaut to catch up on news from the visitors and to honour Ema's birthday. Thank you hosts David and Ema for a lovely evening.

What's in a name?

from w
Here's a funny one, from a Labasa journalist in the Fiji Times. What were they thinking when they named this new soporific drink to be marketed in Fiji. Mary Jane is an euphemism for marijuana isn't it?
Mary Jane kava soda set for tourist market
Theresa Ralogaivau
Tuesday, May 25, 2010

MARY Jane's relaxing soda, an American drink that reportedly has a calming effect on stressed minds, is expected to penetrate the tourist market soon with an agreement sealed with Windward Apparel in Savusavu to be sole distributors.

Company owner Sean Cody confirmed he recently signed a deal with drink makers Relaxing Sales and Distributions Inc to be the sole distributor in the South Pacific.

"We have a five-year agreement that is open to extension," he said.

About 15 new jobs will be created for distribution purposes.

Matt Moody of Relaxing Sales and Distributions Inc said the deal with Windward covered all territories of the South Pacific.

"That excludes Hawaii with an option on Australia and New Zealand upon success in the rest of the territory," he said.

"Our plan is to first distribute in Fiji, and then expand after the base is established."

Mary Jane's, a syrupy concoction of herbal extracts of kava, passionflower and cane sugar, is advertised by the creator company's website as "an all-natural soft drink that delivers euphoric relaxation and focus to a stress filled life within minutes".

The website further touted Mary Jane's as the perfect drink for stressful situations for people who need to relax but also need to function like first dates, job interviews, long trips and public speaking.

The kava used in the drink is sourced out of Vanuatu.

Mr Cody said two 40-foot containers of Mary Jane's, each container containing 28,800 bottles, were expected to arrive in the country by next Tuesday.

"My main target markets are the resorts because this is a trial," he said.

"Once we are able to grasp the tourist market then we will move to the mainstream local markets like supermarkets and so forth.

"We are anticipating a big market in New Zealand."

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Sobosobo so what about the workers?

from w
Lots of our friends and relatives work at Fiji Forest Industries at Malau, out of Labasa so how can they feed their families if they are out of work? Not a good sign for Labasa's development. We had an educational experience with Fiji Forests many years ago when we thought a mataqali project of logging timber on the hills at the back of Wailevu would be a goer, but it didn't work out as expected.

from Fiji Times recently.
Timber mill still closed
Thursday, May 13, 2010

THE future of 347 mill workers at one of the largest timber mills in the country remains in a limbo as several potential buyers denied interest in the plant. The Fiji Forest Industries' mill in Malau came to a standstill last Saturday as the mill was poised for new management control.

But Tropik Woods chairman Lieutenant Colonel Roko Tevita Uluilakeba denied interest in purchasing FFI. He further stated that a media report regarding plans by the Government to buy FFI were also false.

"It's not the core responsibility of government to make such moves," he said. "There is no talk whatsoever of Government buying FFI."

Fijian Holdings deputy chairman Brigadier Mohammed Aziz also cleared the air on any interest by Fijian Holdings. "Fijian Holdings is not party to any deal being made on FFI," he said.

However Roko Ului said a statement regarding FFI would be released soon.

FFI managing director Abigail Chang said the Chang family was still in control but was uncertain about when it would open. "The mill is closed at the moment we don't know how long it will be closed," she said.
And another piece:
This time from Fijilive:
FICAC prepares for FFI probe
May 24, 2010 10:07:09 AMA+ A-| || The Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption (FICAC) says it will begin investigations as soon as possible into the allegedly dubious sale of Fiji Pine subsidiary Fiji Forests Industries Ltd (FFI).

FICAC spokeswoman Erica Lee told FijiLive that the commission is doing its best to begin with the investigations at the earliest.

“I can confirm we have received a complaint from Tropic Wood Ltd (TWL) and investigations will begin soon,” said Lee. She would not comment on the details of the investigations.

The investigation follows a complaint from Tropik Wood on the sale of FFI in what it said was a $2.11 million loss making deal to a former board member.

TWL chairman Ratu Tevita Uluilakeba Mara in a statement last week said the previous TWL board had sold the entire shares of FFI for $340,000 without proper diligence.

It is alleged that the transaction took place at a time when the company had total assets of more than $7.4 million and TWL continued to provide a bank guarantee of $3 million to the Fiji Development Bank (FDB) of behalf of FFI following the transaction.

Mara said the sale of FFI had led to a consolidated loss of $1.71 million at TWL and the current board had asked government to suspend FFI’s logging, milling and export licence until the matter is resolved because TWL’s ultimate holding company is the Fiji government.

When our hearts are strangely warmed

from w
Today is Pentecost and a special day to recall the day of the coming of the Holy Spirit (in a new and spectacular way). That warmth of course does happen time and time again - hence John Wesley's diary comments about his becoming strangely warmed during a prayer/Bible study meeting in Aldersgate, London, the time when we are confronted with a confidence, a euphoria, when everything seems to fit into place. This morning our Australian minister at East Geelong spoke of a youth camp (at which our boys attended a long time ago) when the youth felt uplifted to something higher and better than the ordinary. For me, it's mainly in times of performing or listening to music but then there are the ordinary times when I play and it seems the singers are plodding along. Just sometimes they catch the spirit of the music and there's a warmth, but not quite yet 'a Church on Fire' as one song goes that we used as a video today.

Later in the day Peceli and I went up to Melbourne to Altona Meadows/Laverton Uniting Church and I have a few photos from there. It was a lovely time together as there was a dedication of the newly elected leaders of this Fijian congregation, Peceli's preaching was spot-on, and I organised a little play with seven people, the same play we had used in East Geelong earlier in the day. After worship we had a delicious lunch of mainly curried chicken, and then adjourned to Sailosi's house for talanoa and kava and playing with the young baby who is now crawling and doing all sorts of tricks.

Friday, May 21, 2010

When John Wesley rode a horse

from w
Hey, journos in Fiji probably spend twenty seconds googling to get informed but they certainly can write startling sentences. John Wesley rode a horse and started the church in England. Good one! I don't think John even intended to start the Methodist church at all, his followers did that however. Riding a horse was a factor in his outreach work, that sentence is comical as it is such an over-simplication.
from some Kansas website:
An illustration by Lynd Ward, found in Endless Line of Splendor, Copyright, 1975, by the Joint Committee on Communications of The United Methodist Church and used by permission.

John Wesley, founder of Methodism, spent most of his life on a horse. He started the "Circuit Riding" tradition for Methodist Preachers. His affection for his mount and his advice to his preachers was expressed in this rule: "Be merciful to your beast. Not only ride moderately, but see with your own eyes, that your horse be rubbed, fed, and bedded." In over 50 years he travelled, mostly on horseback, more than 225,000 miles and preached 40,000 sermons. Many days he covered 70 or 80 miles, once doing 90 miles in 20 hours. This illustration captures well his demeanor on horseback. Notice the Bible in his hand. The Circuit Riders used their riding time to read their Bibles and study Greek, Hebrew and Classic Philosophies. Some were even able to write while riding!
As for the directive from the boso, well, that figures.
from Fiji Times today:

No John Wesley DayRiteshni Singh
Saturday, May 22, 2010
METHODIST schools in Fiji will not have a holiday on Monday to observe John Wesley Day after a directive from the Ministry of Education. The schools have been observing, May 24 as a holiday since 2001.

The Methodist Church's Indian division head, Reverend William Lucas, said they had already informed parents about the holiday. Mr Lucas said he was informed by the ministry on Wednesday that all religious holidays had been scrapped. Mr Lucas said the church was only informed of the decision when it wrote to the ministry informing it about the holiday. He said if it was a new policy then the church was satisfied but other religious holidays were allowed earlier in the year. Methodists observe the day in remembrance of the founder of the Methodist Church, John Wesley. Mr Lucas said schools would have had celebrations yesterday if the holiday was allowed on Monday.

May 24 is generally regarded as the day Mr Wesley rode on a horse to start the church in England.

It has become his spiritual birthday because it was the day he experienced a strange warm feeling at a prayer meeting in Aldersgate Street, London. Methodists commemorate the life of John Wesley, who significantly made an impact in Christian history by reviving the Christian faith and relating them to society.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

How you gonna keep 'em down on the farm

from w
Is this a surprising piece of exaggerated journalism, or some kind of list of rules made up by elderly men? This is from today's Fiji Times news. No way would teenagers want to be told what to wear. And guys no hats - in the sun? Rules from the top down instead of a negotiation of what constitutes order and decency in a Fijian village between the members of that community? Unbelievable! Of course, living in a community does require some protocols about respect and good behaviour, but the 'rules' and expectations have to be appropriate to living in the year 2010, not 1950.

Village laws to punish criminals
Ifereimi Nadore
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
VILLAGERS who break the law will be flogged in public under proposed village bylaws.
But flogging will only be used as a form of punishment if the accused refuses to have his or her case referred to the criminal court. Other penalties will require offenders to work on a farming quota or clean the village.

Traditional reconciliation is strongly suggested before the penalties are handed down.

The proposed bylaws similar to those used in the colonial period have been handed out to provincial, district and village councils for review.
Under the proposed system, the Bose Vakoro (village meeting) will have the power to transfer cases to a criminal court if the offender fails to adhere to the penalities provided under the by-laws. The move to reintroduce village laws followed reports of increasing lawlessness in the rural areas.

Military head Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama told the Tailevu Provincial Council last week that the villagers' concerns would be noted before the laws were implemented.
The new bylaws will not cover serious crimes. These will be handled by police. Trespass, drug use, drunk and disorderly behaviour and larceny are some of the common offences which will be dealt with at village level.

Under the proposed system, a villager found to have harboured a prisoner or someone who committed a crime in another village will be with dealt accordingly.

Also included in the bylaws are dress codes which will stop women from wearing long and short pants or short dresses.Men will not be allowed to wear headgear unless this is approved by the turaga ni koro.
The proposed laws call on men who plan to marry to first build a house and maintain a plantation to stop reliance on relatives.
Students will be required to be home by 6pm and parents will be given the sole responsibility of supervising studies at 7pm-8pm.

The village headman will enforce the laws and have powers to appoint assistants to monitor criminal activities. Offenders will answer to the Bose Vakoro (village meeting) which will be chaired by respected elders. The new bylaws will come under the umbrella of the Constitution. It is anticipated that the bylaws will come into effect after June 25 following the deliberations by the provincial councils.
(Later:) As I expected, that piece of journalism was questionable. Fiji Village later have given us another version.

Caning is erased from proposed village by-laws
Publish date/time: 19/05/2010 [17:12]
The Indigenous Affairs Ministry has today stressed that it never had flogging or public whipping of villagers as a form of punishment in the proposed village by-laws.

Deputy Permanent Secretary, Colonel Apakuki Kurusiga said the ministry is concerned about the misinformation that has been publicised by one of the dailies, which also headlined the village by-laws as Jungle Laws. Colonel Kurusiga reveals that the by-laws had proposed caning for offences covered under the proposed village system.

However he stresses that this has already been removed.

Consultations are underway on the village by-laws.

The main focus is to ensure that the respect for those that look after the village remains and to deal with those that have committed minor offences under the village by-laws. Colonel Kurusiga however stresses that the police will still be allowed to go into any village and conduct their investigations.

A favourite Fiji food

from w
Our youngest son arrived at Melbourne airport and apart from many stories, he said something about liking a special kind of vegetable, duruka. Yes! It's only really in the markets around April and May but it's the season for this delicious food when cooked in coconut cream. It doesn't grow in Australia at all I think as I've never seen it here. It's related perhaps to sugar-cane even though it's called Fiji asparagus. One of the photos here is from yesterday's Fiji Times (the paper one this time)about some girls selling it on the road near Seaqaqa in Macuata and another from Bhaskarroo on flickr. It does grow in many parts of Fiji though and it's even put into cans by one or more companies in Fiji. But nothing can beat the taste of freshly cooked duruka.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Saying sorry - veivutuni

from w
Veivutuni – means to repent, to say sorry, and is probably one of the most important words - to put the past behind by acknowledging fault, to make the possiblities of the future more hopeful. Resentment, regret, memories of failures need to be dealt with - even if it is communal and not personal.

This topic would make a good thesis for someone interested in Fiji – looking at the old customs of saying sorry, ‘soro’, and ‘veivutuni’ to apologize, and the more recent events when a whole village says ‘sorry’ such as to the Thomas Baker descendents at a ceremony in Navosa, Viti Levu, or in Bua this week to the present day Tongans after remembering the wars in Bua over 150 years ago. It’s a way of hoping to restore order - to put right with the vanua (land/culture) in order to start again. It's good for the speaker and for the recipients.

Certainly in Australia it was a pivotal moment when Kevin Rudd made a wonderful speech saying ‘sorry’ to the indigenious community for the hurts over many years. Not done by Kevin Rudd but by the European settlers since their occupation.

One man in Fiji has a habit of wanting to say ‘Sorry’ which is probably a good thing but then you sometimes wonder about the motive for planning such a special event. One time Rabuka said sorry to family of deposed Dr Bavadra
from Radio Australia - Updated April 16, 2010 16:46:06
The man who overthrew the Fiji government in 1987 has admitted to the relative of the man he deposed as prime minister that he had wronged them. Retired Major-General Sitiveni Rabuka went to Viseisei village to visit the late Doctor Timoci Bavadra's family and the traditional leader of the area, the Tui Vuda, Ratu Josefa Iloilo. He presented them with a tabua, a whales tooth, a traditional Fijian custom of reconciliation and forgiveness. General Rabuka says he made his statement to the Bavadra family almost 23 years to the day since he staged the original coup because there were things he felt needed to be said.

Presenter: Bruce Hill
Speaker: Retired Major-General Sitiveni Rabuka

RABUKA: I went there to tell them that I had wronged them and in fact the actual words I used is that I'm not here to apologise, I'm here to tell you that what I had done was wrong. The forgiveness came from them. In fact they said: 'ok, we thank you for coming here.'

HILL: Obviously you would have been fairly sorry that Dr Bavadra himself wasn't alive to receive your apology.

RABUKA: Right it would have been better that way. We went to the same school, a few years apart, and in fact the man who facilitated the meeting was a follower of his in '87, and was my senior at school. So I used that network to ask him to make arrangements for that meeting.

HILL: You've more or less said that you're sorry about staging the coups in 1987 many times in the past. What was different about this particular kind of apology though?

RABUKA: Well I had apologised to the people of Fiji, the Indo-Fijians during a celebration, that is the celebration that marks the first landing of the Indo-Fijians in Fijian land indentured labour system. But this one I just wanted them to know that I acknowledge that what I did was wrong.
Some quotes:
“Never ruin an apology with an excuse.” ~Kimberly Johnson
“An apology is the superglue of life. It can repair just about anything.” ~Lynn Johnston
“The thief is sorry he is to be hanged, not that he is a thief” This is a saying/proverb on being sorry.
“Let us endeavor to live so that when we die even the undertaker will be sorry “~ Mark Twain
“It’s easier to ask forgiveness than it is to get permission.” ~Grace Hopper
“Correct means always having to say you’re sorry.” ~Charles Osgood
“It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.” ~e.e. cummings
A bend in the road is not the end of the road… unless you fail to make the turn.
Doomed are the hotheads! Unhappy are they who lose their cool and are too proud to say, ”I’m sorry.”
More men are sorry for speaking, than keeping silence.
In today’s Fiji Times there’s a story of a community in Bua province of Vanua Levu saying ‘sorry’.
Village apologises to Tonga for killings
by Serafina Silaitoga
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
Please forgive our ancestors ... Tui Vuya Ratu Amenatave Rabona reconciles with Tongan princess Suilikutapu at Navave Village for a wrong done by their ancestors in killing Tongan missionaries. Picture: SERAFINA SILAITOGA
FOR the villagers of Navave in Bua, being forgiven for a murderous act committed by their ancestors is a major relief. And they believe the apology will bring success to them and their descendants. Their apology was accepted by a member of the Tongan royal family, Princess Suilikutapu, at the village last Friday.

About 159 years ago, the villagers of Navave killed a group of Tongan missionaries who had visited the village to spread the message of Christianity. It is believed the Tongan delegation had travelled to Bua to escort the chiefly families of Tui Vuya and Buli Raviravi back to their homes. The two chiefly families have Tongan links. When the Tongans arrived, they were not allowed to return. Instead they were killed by the villagers, who believed their acts would protect their chiefs.

Princess Suilikutapu praised the villagers for their efforts at reconciliation, adding that it was the best way to unite humanity. "For me, it's simply following the paths of Jesus Christ who started reconciliation between God and mankind," she said. "I believe such a move is the only way forward for us to remain united and in one." Princess Suilikutapu is the daughter of the late Prince Tuipelehake, Tonga's former prime minister of 25 years from 1965 to 1990.

The reconciliation program, led by Christian Mission Fellowship president Pastor Suliasi Kurulo, who hails from Navave Village, saw villagers rejoicing as they had atoned for the wrong of their forefathers. Pastor Kurulo said he experienced hardship and struggles as a young village boy. "I used to get sick all the time and I wrote to my dad and told him to pray for me because everyday I felt sick in school," he said. "I couldn't study well but after my father prayed for me, I felt a breakthrough because I didn't get sick anymore and my studies went well and because I totally turned to Jesus." Pastor Kurulo said the forgiveness would now open doors of opportunity for the villagers of Navave as God had sealed a bond that had been broken between the people of Tonga and those from Navave. "I asked for forgiveness when I travelled to Tonga once but we needed to organise one for the village so we have done that and God has blessed us with an opportunity of reconciliation," he said. "So our generation will prosper from today and we believe that."

Sunday, May 16, 2010

About migrating to Australia

from w
At present numerous international students in Australian colleges are hoping their course will lead them to later permanent residence in Australia - doing hospitality, etc. but there is a tightening up on categories of work now. Certain skills are in demand, but others (often taken by international students in barely competent courses) are no longer a step in the direction of staying on in Australia. So could Mr Qoliqoli Ghosh a dance instructor get in? Not likely! The new list can be found on this website: Weblink:

I read this in today's Age newspaper:

Canberra slashes occupations on migration list
PETER MARTIN May 17, 2010

AUSTRALIA is about to become a harder place to get into if you are a dance instructor, piano tuner, hairdresser or chef.

Immigration Minister Chris Evans has slashed by half the list of 400 occupations given an easy ride into Australia in the independent skilled migration program, replacing them with 180 ''highly valued occupations''. Still on the list are medical professionals including dentists, surgeons and nurses, as well as engineers, teachers, IT professionals and welders. But off the list from July will be dance instructors, piano tuners and - significantly - hairdressers and cooks.

''In 2007-08 … of the 41,000 general skilled visas granted, more than 5000 went to hairdressers and cooks,'' Senator Evans said. ''And three-quarters of them had studied in Australia. Our migration program should not be determined by the courses studied by our international students.''

Senator Evans said the new list, developed by the independent body Skills Australia, would ensure the skilled migration program was demand-driven rather than supply-driven.

''We value the international education sector. Its students will still be able to apply for permanent migration or be nominated by employers, but we will no longer almost automatically accept the thousands of cooks and hairdressers who applied under the guidelines established by the Howard government,'' he said.

Senator Evans flagged the change in February, saying far more people applied for skilled migration than the 108,000 places available.

''The old system served everyone in order, just like pulling a ticket number from the dispenser at the supermarket deli counter,'' he said. ''Our reforms will shift skilled migration from the supply-driven system we inherited to a demand-driven system. We need the skills that are actually in demand in the economy, not just those applicants present with.

''If hospitals are crying out for nurses, they should have priority over the 12,000 unsponsored cooks who have applied and who, if all were granted visas, would flood the market.''

Skills Australia was set up in 2008 with the express purpose of identifying skills shortages. Its eight-person board includes Australian Industry Group chief Heather Ridout, ACTU president Sharan Burrow and a former head of the Prime Minister's Department, Michael Keating.

It will update the pared-down skills list annually.

Senator Evans said students already in Australia intending to apply for permanent residence could take advantage of transition provisions announced in February.

A separate report released today by economic consultancy BIS Shrapnel finds that population growth is set to slow sharply in response to lower foreign student numbers and a drop in the number of sponsored applicants for short-term work visas.

Net overseas migration is expected to be down to 175,000 people in 2010-11, and 145,000 people in 2011-12, BIS Shrapnel senior economist Jason Anderson says. As a result, national population growth is expected to slow to about 1.5 per cent in 2010-11 and 1.3 per cent in 2011-12, the report finds.

The change is because the rise in net overseas migration over the past three years came mostly from long-term visitors - such as skilled workers on 457 visas and foreign students - not permanent migrants.

An Australian Industry Group survey also released today finds 75 per cent of employers are dissatisfied with the skills of their Australian-trained workers, with 45 per cent believing their labourers have worryingly low literacy and numeracy skills.

With AAP

Saturday, May 15, 2010

from Fiji Times classified

from w,
Sadness but good remembrances of Dr Dass and the wonderful ministry he achieved in Fiji over many years. From Fiji Times classified:-



The Indian Division of the Methodist Church in Fiji and Rotuma announces with deep sadness the passing away of Rev. Dr. Christopher Dass, noted evangelist and cross-cultural missionary on Sunday 9th May in Sydney, Australia.

A memorial service for the late Rev. Dr. Dass will be held on Monday 17th May at Dudley Memorial Church in Toorak, Suva, beginning at 1pm. This will coincide with Rev. Dr. Dass' funeral in Sydney.

For more details contact Rev. William Lucas on 3302231

Friday, May 14, 2010

Nubunikavula and Vunicuicui

from w
Two good stories come from up over the hills back of Labasa, one about recycling and the other about bus services. I had a wonderful visit to the inland village of Nubunikavula one time, almost to the border of Cakaudrove. Our family had gone there to collect planting material, and me to tape-record songs and chants from the wise music master there - daunivucu, an elderly man. We arrived the day the whole village - almost - was up the hillsides clearing ready for planting and the lunch was delicious kai in a makeshift shelter. It was fun yarning and taping stories and songs from the elderly man in my broken Fijian language and a bit of English. Some of the old hauling chants sounded a bit cheeky actually. Afterwards I'd walked back to the village and spent time with a young mother and her baby as she sang lullabies. Then I swam in the cool deep river. What a day to remember. Far from the life of a village closer to Labasa.
The stories in the Fiji papers - one from the Fiji Sun, the other Fiji Times.
No more long walks
Walking close to eight kilometres to the nearest bus stop is now a thing of the past for villagers of Nubunikavula, outside Labasa town. After seven years, buses have resumed services to the villagers. The villagers, especially the school children, are now relieved of the burden of having to walk eight kilometres daily to catch the bus.

Bus services to the area came to a stand still in 2003 after cyclone Ami destroyed the road linking the village. Requests made to past authorities by the villagers to have the road fixed never eventuated. The village, with a population of over 100 people, resorted to paying $30 to hire carriers to travel to Labasa Town.

Village headman, Timoci Kalouvou, said villagers and other people living close by were happy to receive bus services three times a day. Mr Kalouvou thanked the Government for fixing the roads to the area. “We had been crying over the past years for our roads to be fixed, but no one came to our rescue,” Mr Kalouvou said. “This Government has responded and now we have buses servicing the area again.” He said students were the most affected because they had to walk to the nearest bus stop to catch the bus. The worst experience, he said, was during the daylight saving period when they had to leave home at 4am with torches to get to the main road.

Bus fare from the village to Labasa town is $1.90 which is affordable to the villagers. Mr Kalouvou said people can now travel to work, market and school with ease.
The second story is about 'green' issues, such as against plastic. (It is interesting that there might soon be a decree passed banning plastic bags because they are an awful blot on the environment especially when they get into the sea.)
Maternal influence
Theresa Ralogaivau
Monday, March 01, 2010Members of the Vunicuicui Multicultural Women's Group with their shooping bags
AS mothers they know they have quite the influence with their little ones. Now they are trendsetters using recyclable shopping bags and banning plastic from their dairy shop. Recently this group of women from Nasoni, Tadravula, Waikisi, Korowiri and Nubunikavula within the greater Vunicuicui cane belt area outside Labasa turned champions for the environment and want their green attitude to rub off on their children and immediate community.

They don't boast a glorious academic background most having reached only as far as Class Eight but caring for the environment is less about qualification and more about attitude.

The change came about for the Vunicuicui Multiracial Women's Club when they invited a Peace Corps volunteer to shed some light on environmental issues. He made sense, they said because he dwelled on things familiar like disposing household rubbish.
"He showed us how to separate the different types of rubbish, the food ones that could be turned into garden manure and those that could be burnt or those that needed to be buried," the group president Julia Adivuvutaki said.

From that workshop, the women eagerly set about putting lesson into action and often met to share further ideas about protecting the environment.
That's how the recyclable shopping bag came into being. It's not a new idea, it's already employed by scores of individuals and even supermarkets but for these rural women, far from urban centres the desire to use recyclable shopping bags from their dairy shop is a giant step for the environment. "Many didn't realise just how bad plastic bags are for the environment and anyway in Labasa all shopping centres use plastic for packing goods," Mrs Adivuvutaki said. "That'll make our dairy shop the first shop in Macuata to use recyclable shopping bags because plastic is banned from our shop."

The club recently opened a dairy shop within their community. When time came to buy plastic bags to pack customers shopping in, they instead settled on cane fertiliser bags. "We all are cane farmers wives and have a lot of empty fertiliser bags lying around so decided to use that and turn it into shopping bags," Mrs Adivuvutaki said.
"We cut up the fertiliser bags and sewed it into shopping bags which were later splashed with coloured dye to make it attractive. The bags will be used to pack our customers shopping and while we do that we will advise them about the nastiness of plastic bags and request them to use the bag whenever they go shopping, wherever that might be," she said. "So in this way we are carrying out our business responsibly. We want the bags to be in the possession of every family in the community and though it may cost $2 that's a little price to pay for safeguarding the environment."

Aside from the bags, that they proudly held out for the camera, the women have also agreed not to cut down trees. "Before we used to chop big vaivai trees beside our homes but now we are just trimming branches," she said. "We believe if our environment is sustainable then our nation can prosper so we are doing our little bit here."

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Lady Nakalou returns to Macuata

Fun and frolic ... children of Nakalou Village, Macuata, with Lady Nakalou
from w,
Amid the dross of stories of hard luck, damage, heartbreak in our world, here's one good story. Lady Nakalou, the turtle has swum all the way back to her home ground of Nakalou in Macuata. Fortunately she made it without mishap. It's good these days that there is publicity about turtles, putting forward the hope that they will survive. Of course having a grand ball to celebrate is rather surprising. Why not a grand picnic in the fresh air?

From Fiji Times today:
Ball for Turtle by Theresa Ralogaivau on Thursday, May 13, 2010

TRUE as a homing beacon, Lady Nakalou has returned to her breeding grounds at Nakalou in Macuata, completing several months of sea travel.

The third turtle to be satellite tagged in the country, Lady Nakalou left Wailoaloa Beach in Nadi where she was tagged around March.

World Wide Fund for Nature Marine Species Co-ordinator Penina Solomona said the revelation that Lady Nakalou had returned home was exciting. "We are quite excited because we've only seen this happen in other parts of the world," he said. Considered an environmental icon in Macuata, Ms Solomon said Lady Nakalou was guided by the clues from the environment like temperature, lighting, chemicals to return to where she was born.

The green turtle is also the toast of a cocktail function that has been named after her. The Lady Nakalou cocktail will be the pre-function proper at the Turtle Benefit ball to be hosted by WWF on June 4. "The fundraiser is in its third year," Ms Solomona said. "We missed out last year because of the floods. The main purpose of charging about $100 a head is to raise funds that are used for the daunivonu or turtle monitors project." The ball raised $10,000 in 2007 and $20,000 in 2008.
I wondered how when the conservationists satellite tagged this large turtle in Nadi how did they know it was from Nakalou in Macuata? So I did some google searching and found that there was a turtle workshop in the village of Nakalou and that this large turtle was taken over land and sea to Nadi for the special satellite tagging. Okay. There's a good description of the WWF workshop in Nakalou here:

MAINTAINING GAIA » Blog Archive » WWF Nakalou Turtle Workshop2 Feb 2010 ... Children in Nakalou village, Fiji play in the sea. The language barrier, however, ... Two Green Turtles in Nakalou village, Vanua Levu, Fiji ... - Cached

One thing also is that you must not interfere with the baby turtles going down to the sea because this is the crucial stage for the female turtles to orient themselves to their natal ground to come back to later on. There was talk in some websites about magnetic references to finding their way home, the remembrance of smells, maybe even the moon. It's not conclusive though, but it is amazing.

Tap water or bottled water

from w
Channel Seven, Melbourne, ran a program one evening this week after the news that made a comparison between bottled water and tap water. This was interesting as Channel Seven had been promoting Fiji a bit lately, but... hey, they come up with a point that Fiji water has a little more sodium in it than others! And the conclusion - according to these guys, is, that tap water is fine after all.Bottled water is about perception - the romantic notion of pureness, of springs of underground water, untainted and so on. Anyway I reckon it's good to walk about Fiji with a bottle of local bottled water. Many of the suburbs in Suva seem to take turns in having their tap water switched off and kids line up in the streets with their large bottles, buckets, etc. for the water truck to come by.Not a good way to get clean water... though years ago I always regarded Suva water as excellent. In Vatuadova - near Labasa- we used to drink water from the running creek but lately the village has water from underground brought to the surface by pump which goes into tanks. Here in Geelong we mainly drink tap water though it sometimes tastes funny and they do add fluoride - it's best put into bottles in the fridge which somehow settles it.

The article from Channel Seven website.
From Channel Seven this week:
Lifting the lid on bottled water
Australians drink 600 million litres a year of bottled water at a cost of $500 million - but what are we really drinking? Today Tonight reveals the results of the most comprehensive lab tests yet, uncovering exactly what's in bottled and tap water and which is better for you. MGT Environmental Laboratories analysed six bottled water samples, as well as one sample of Melbourne tap water.

Dr Vyt Garnys examined the results. "We looked for the mineral content - sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium and associated with those sodium chloride, phosphate the sulphate and the fluoride," he said.

A second set of samples was sent to Neil Bartlett from Food Labs Australia. "We're looking for the total number of bacteria in the water, also for indicator tests for contamination," he said.

Geoff Parker, CEO of the Australasian Bottled Water Institute advises that the National Health and Medical Research Council guidelines lists upwards of 35 chemicals that can be added to town water. "Bottled water can only have about 3 or 4 and they're around things like chlorine, ozone for example, just to purify it a little bit more," said Geoff. "Pure water would be sourced from municipal water supplies and undergo more extensive filtering than what town water would," he added.

Our experts who undertook the water analysis disagreed with Geoff, "The seven samples were all very similar in terms of their salt content and their mineral level in the sense of being at the low end. Tap water was medium - in between those," said Vyt. Compared to tap water, some of the samples had higher mineral levels - others less - but overall there wasn't much difference. Sodium levels were much higher in the brands Fiji Water and Cool Ridge than in the tap water. But the tap water had higher calcium levels than four of the bottled water samples. "The big difference is that tap water is collected on a large scale and it's not economic to further purify that tap water. Fluoride is added. We haven't seen fluoride in the bottled waters," said Vyt.

According to the Dental Association of Australia there's been an escalation in childhood dental decay. Whether it's a coincidence that this rise follows the increase in bottled water sales is yet to be proven. "If you're only giving your children bottled water, living only on bottled water, you're not getting that valuable flouride that we know is vital for dental health," says dietician Emma Stirling. "When you're looking at the nutrients, water is water. It's zero kilojules. Yes it contains different amounts of trace minerals, but that's not going to make a huge impact on your dietary intake," Emma added.

"The quality of the tap water was as good if not better than the quality of the spring waters," said Neil Bartlett from Food Labs Australia. While all our samples passed the serious bacteria test, there was considerable variation. "In tap water we found counts of less than 10, which is well below the recommended limit of 100. But for spring waters, levels of less than 10 to 28,000 organisms per ml," Neil reported.

So why do we pay more than petrol for something we can get for free from the tap?
It's a business worth its weight in gold according to marketing expert, Simon Hammond. "We're happy to get a story like it has come down the trickling rocks of a beautiful mountain hillside straight to you or it has come out of the ground in a bubbling brook. I buy that story, I can imagine where the waters come from and I enjoy the water more," Simon said. It seems convenience is also what bottled water has over the humble tap."It has a simple manufacturing process, big money. There's no accident that Coca Cola have gone into bottled water in a major way and they've got multiple brands," Simon said.

Dietician Emma Stirling won't be dragged into the hype."I think you're much better off to save the money and go for tap water because there's no significant difference," she advises.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

About Lelean

from w
I googled Lelean and found some history on the Old scholars website, plus a photo of the gentleman the school is named after.
From Facebook
Topic: A Brief History of Lelean Memorial School
Displaying all 3 posts.

The Name Davuilevu and its Symbolical Importance

Davuilevu,the name of the site upon which Lelean and other Methodist institutions are built, literally means the Large Conch Shell; the largest Sea Shell found in Fiji. The use of the adjective 'large' in this context implies huge or giant although the literal definition of the Fijian 'levu' is directly translated as big. The conch shell is customarily used as a horn by native Fijians (as well as other South Pacific peoples) to herald important events or to call people together. The Methodist Church of Fiji uses the symbology of this traditional tool of gathering people for the conveyance of the Good News thus becoming the most important Davui or conch of all; the Conveyor of the GOOD NEWS of JESUS CHRIST. The Giant Conch Shell (Charonia tritonis) is the logo adopted by Lelean Memorial School along that same vein of thought.

Towards the end of 1942, at the height of Pacific Campaign of the Second World War, the Colonial Authority was issued a command to close all urban schools and surrender their compounds to the Military, to be used as military camps for the war campaign against the Japanese threat. At that time, a notable Missionary Teacher by the name of Mr William Earnest Donnelly, was serving as principal of Toorak Boys' School. While other overseas teachers immediately left Fiji to await the end of the war, the determined missionary principal, Mr Donnelly sent a circular to all members of the senior classes of Classes Six, Seven and Eight of Toorak Boys School, inviting volunteers to come away with him, to continue their education. After consultation with the Heads of the Methodist Church, he was given permission to use the Principal's residence at the Davuilevu Technical School. As a result, he and 50 volunteers from Toorak Boys School in Suva met at the Principal's residence on the 3rd of March, 1943. Their first classrooms were the two Master Bedrooms in the house and the long verandah on the Eastern side as their library. There were only two classes and two teachers; the late Mssrs W.E Donnelly and Semesa Sikivou. This is the house that is presently occupied by Mr Serevi on one side and the School Matron on the other. In the 1943 Methodist Church Annual Conference, Mr Donnelly was given permission to expand his classes along the same ridge and as a result, the boys themselves, with his guidance, built three large bures, where the Teachers' residences presently stand. He was also directed to name the new school, Lelean Memorial School, in memory of the longest serving Missionary in Fiji, the Rev Charles Oswald Lelean, an Australian missionary who served in Fiji for 36 years. Twenty of those years were spent by Rev Lelean as Senior Superintendent of the Davuilevu Mission and Principal of the Methodist Theological College from 1914 to 1934. The school founder, William Earnest Donnelly was a New Zealander, who became a teacher and General Secretary of the Students' Christian Movement in the early 1930s. He volunteered to come as a missionary to Fiji and took over and built up Toorak Boy's School in the late 1930s and early 40s. He remained as Principal of Lelean from 1943 to 1945 when he returned to New Zealand. Mr Donnelly returned to Fiji to establish Ratu Sir Lala Sukuna Memorial School in Suva where he served for three years. He then served at the Levuka Public School, on Ovalau, for a few years before returning to Lelean in 1971 after the Ms Furnival tragedy. He also formulated the Lelean Memorial School motto which is "Seek Wisdom and Spiritual Understanding"
February 2 at 4:31am

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Fiji missionaries Allan Hatcher, Marj Hodge

from w
There's a finely written chapter in a book entitled 'High Tide: Australians doing business in Asia' that came out of South Australia. It's not about Asia but about Fiji and is based on interviews with two missionaries who went to Fiji from Australia. Rev Allan Hatcher and his wife of course, and Marj Hodge. I can't copy it here but you can find it to read on-line at High tide: Australians doing business in Asia - Google Books ResultDavid Harris - 1997 - Business & Economics - 165 pages. It's Chapter Five. Go to this website and click on the picture of the book cover. Or google the title of the book.

A change of pace for Mothers Day

from w
Instead of the usual drive up to Melbourne for the Fijian church service - or even English language worship at Altona Meadows/Laverton, Peceli decided to stay home in Geelong and spend Mothers Day with me. A quiet day. I only had to play music at East Geelong first, then we had a free day, so bought whopper meals at Hungry Jacks and drove down to Eastern Park overlooking Corio Bay and the Youyang hills which look like Vorovoro and Mali Islands. A flock of cockatoos fed near us and when i went to take a close-up they flew up into the air and away and reminded me of the Ascension which is surely a very difficult concept for theologians this week.It was a nice afternoon anyway. With children and grandchildren in Fiji, Mothers Day is quiet for us. Next weekend though will be all activity here as we are having a grand sale - a Garage Sale in our compound - to help with getting to a special wedding in Fiji. Friends are giving us furniture, and we have plenty of pot-plants and junk as well. And what's leftover can go to Donation in Kind - or - the tip! Anyway I can spend the week tidying the house and garden.

Friday, May 07, 2010

Advertising Fiji

from w
Fiji Village (and I presume it is a handout) may put a spin on this but honestly the Fiji background to weather forecasts on Australia's Channel Seven TV in the mornings is barely worth it. Just a guy standing in water, or trying to get tourist children to say 'Bula'. He doesn't seem to able to talk to people. Channel Seven isn't the brightest kind of TV anyway. Okay, that's my grouch for today, but I hope Fiji wasn't paying for his bed and board.

Fortunately however, the advertisement for Fiji on the TV, again Channel 7, is very good, showing people this time.

Tourism Fiji launches initiative with channel 7 tv
Publish date/time: 08/05/2010 [13:03]
Millions of Australians have been waking to scenes of sun and sand and the world class resorts in Fiji on the most popular morning television news and current affairs programs on Channel Seven's " Sunrise".

Tourism Fiji and Australian Airline Jetstar have teamed up to launch the TV initiative this week providing Channel Seven's "Sunrise" programe with an opportunity to broadcast its Australian weather reports live via satellite from Fiji for five days. Locations for the broadcast include hotels and resorts on Viti Levu and in the Mamanuca Islands.

The programme kicked off last Monday with the Intercontinental Golf Resort & Spa at Natadola providing the perfect backdrop for the first series of live crosses back to the show's Sydney headquarters.

Tourism Fiji CEO Josefa Tuamoto said they have also teamed up with hotel and resort operators to advertise in the Australian dailies to ensure interest visitors can book their holidays easily. Tuamoto said the campaign is drawing very positive results. Fiji hotelier partners joining the exercise also include Shangri La's The Fijian Resort, the Westin Denarau Island Resort & Spa, Plantation Island Resort and Musket Cove Island Resort.

Mothers' Day

from w,
We think of Mothers' Day this weekend and the cards in the shops are mostly about softness, pretty colours, sentiment, but I don't think mothering is just about that. Like a tigress, a mother is strong and protective as she nurtures her young, fiercely protective in fact, and sometimes does it all alone, the male tiger long gone. So let us think of the variety of mothering for this special day, some women adopt children, some are carers in an orphanage, some are grandmothers when the young mother is absent. It's the most beautiful task in the world to be a mother, but it can be tiring, hard work, heart-breaking, exacting, and thankless. A prayer for the mothers in Fiji to keep strong.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Care of the land and the sea

from w
There's an article in today's Fiji Sun about the people of Mali Island aiming to take more care of their land and resources. There's only one thing missing though - what about the sand dredging? I'd like to hear something about that problem in this area. Okay?

Province adopts land care idea
Mali Island in Macuata is now proud to call itself the first island to pioneer the land care committee concept, facilitated by the World Wildlife Fund.
Restoring the natural landscape on Mali Island, through community land care is a project by WWF, aimed to restore the island’s landscape.

The initiative by Mali islanders is an added notch to the conservation management practices of the province’s Qoliqoli Cokovata roles.

Sixteen young men and women were selected to champion safe agricultural practices in their village that was sustainable, and in harmony with its surrounding waters.

WWF sustainable land use officer, Opeti Vateitei, said the land care committee would act as community watchdogs and provide advice to their fellow villagers on how best to address land use issues. WWF, in partnership with the Ministry of Agriculture, provided the technical and agricultural know how to the members as a part of the committee’s induction process. Mr Vateitei said community land use workshops were conducted in each of the four villages in the Mali district, to raise awareness of better land use practices and management. They also developed village delineated land use action plans, including those of islands and mainlands (district wide).

Community representatives were also trained on water management, water harvesting, water quality testing and improving water storage facilities on the island. As a result of this project, islands that has a high percentage of native flora will be able to improve its land quality and soil condition for long-term sustainable agriculture. A similar committee concept will also be adopted by the Dreketi and Sawaieke sites on Vanua Levu.

Mr Vateitei said the community representatives were also told that, 70 per cent of the health of their marine life depended on their activities on land, which emphasises the need for a carefully planned agricultural activity.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Visitors in Geelong

from w
It has been lovely to have a visitor from the Sigatoka area to our home for nearly a week. Ratu Tevita has been a blessing to our home with his enthusiasm and stories about aspects of church life in Fiji that are moving well. We are particularly interested in the concern of those in the Department of Evangelism for the people of Fiji. Last night we had an informal gathering, with unexpected extra guests as usual, and Ratu's friend Rajen came all the way from Broadmeadows in Melbourne to make a delicious curry fish dinner. Today we all went up to Altona Meadows/Laverton Uniting Church for the Fijian service, then adjourned to a house in Wyndam Vale for kava and story-telling. I took a photo there of my bonny friend, a six month old baby, sitting with our senior member of our church, Leba.