Friday, October 28, 2011

Care of the ocean

from w
It's good to see a young person committed to something so important as keeping the ocean safe and clean. Duncan is such a person and showing us the way to care for more than just putting bread and butter on the table for a family.
from the Fiji Times today:
Duncan fights for the Pacific
Geraldine Panapasa
Thursday, October 27, 2011

Greenpeace activist Duncan Williams inspects sharks fins onboard Taiwanese longliner, Yi Feng no 816, on October 14. Picture: PAUL HILTON/ GREENPEACE
DUNCAN Williams continues to fight alongside his Greenpeace colleague Apisalome Waqanisau on the Esperanza to prevent the plunder of Pacific tuna during the Defending our Pacific expedition.

Out at sea for the past two months, Duncan says their journey started in Tahiti and he has since visited the waters of 10 Pacific island countries. The 30-year-old Greenpeace Australia Pacific Oceans campaigner says his passion for marine conservation is driven by his fondness of the ocean.

"Not the abstract sense of ocean, but the very ocean itself. There's nothing quite as powerful nor as humbling. When you spend enough time in the water, you develop a sense of connection," he said from the environmental organisation's largest ship.

"You are literally able to feel the ocean as a living, breathing entity. Full of life.

"I was born in Suva and have lived here for the better part of my life. I attended Marist Brothers' High School and later studied at the University of the South Pacific where I majored in marine affairs and geography/land management. I went on to complete graduate studies in marine affairs and development studies before completing a Masters in Governance. I've also undertaken a fair bit of diplomacy and marine policy training at Dalhousie University in Canada and the ANU in Canberra. I later worked at USP and Fiji National University before joining Greenpeace."

The sports addict says he has a natural affinity for anything that involves water. And when he's not trying to save our oceans, he usually found playing in it; either surfing the waves at the Suva harbour entrance or outrigger paddling around the islands and reefs of Laucala Bay. Duncan also represented Fiji in outrigger paddling (Va'a) at the 2007 South Pacific Games in Samoa.

"It was during my years in tertiary studies that I discovered the oceans were in a bad way," he said.

"I was always of the assumption that if anything, our seas, in all its immensity and power, is unyielding. I would never have believed the sea to be inexhaustible or that fish were being pushed beyond the brink of extinction in various parts of the world. Who would have thought? After all, we've always held firm to the belief of our oceans and seas as never ending and always giving. But in a changing and developing world, there are a myriad of threats and issues facing all our oceans. It is amazing to see the number of foreign vessels encountered out in the high seas. Most of these vessels do not have licences to fish in the waters of Pacific island countries. They are thousands of miles from home taking tuna from Pacific waters and adding to the destruction of overfishing. It raises a lot of emotions when faced with a long-liner for example and seeing fishermen pulling up sharks, marlin and a handful of tuna."

Equipped with an unwavering passion for the ocean, newfound knowledge and some good old fashion luck, Duncan decided to take up a career in marine conservation.

He joined Greenpeace a few years ago as an oceans campaigner. His main role is keeping abreast of oceans policy issues particularly on (tuna) fisheries in the Pacific and engaging with fisheries specific political forums (international/regional), countries and various international agencies toward sustainable fishing practices.

"It also means being involved in large-scale projects such as the current defending our Pacific tour, which involves several international Greenpeace offices and personnel from all over the world," he said.

"It's quite hectic and involves a lot of travel to meetings that takes me away from home, my wife and family for extended periods of time, but I guess these are the small sacrifices that are needed to ensure a sustainable future for all. It's also quite an adventure. There's never a dull day in Greenpeace. At a personal level, I've been changing my lifestyle ever since I realised that environmental destruction is the sum of our actions and behaviours. I try my best to leave a small environmental footprint each day. I walk or ride a bike to work every day. I try to use recycled bags and bottles instead of plastics, and I eat sustainably caught fish."

So what does he miss about being on land?

"Curry. Vegetable curry!" he exclaimed.

The soon-to-be father who's expecting his first child later in the year says his experiences so far have been part and parcel of life as a member of Greenpeace.

"In terms of our actions to prevent illegal anglers and overfishing we have removed by-catch from lines; protested against several fishing vessels on the high seas and documented fishing activities and vessels. We pass on any information on illegal fishing to the authorities to handle. In 2009, we found a Japanese long-line vessel fishing in the high seas near Cook Islands that had laid its line into the Cook Islands waters. Based on the information supplied to authorities by Greenpeace, the Cook Islands government received a settlement of $NZ1million ($F1.42m)."

He said the ship expedition aims to always ensure the fight continues to help Pacific Island countries from illegal fishing particularly in the high seas pockets.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Volunteer nurse at Wasavulu

from w
Here's an unusual story from Labasa about a 'volunteer nurse' at Wasavula, the place where the ancient stones stand or fall, a reminder of Fijian history. Though he has not done the formal training of a nurse, this man helps people who live nearby with their ailments. I do hope that the medical people in Labasa give him some fine first aid books and equipment and that he knows to send on serious cases to the hospital which is actually not far away! St Johns Ambulance, Red Cross and others can train interested people to do first aid, but still need to recognize which sicknesses they cannot treat. Every village needs to have at least one first-aider on hand. However, Laisiasa should not be called a nurse but a first-aider.
from Fiji Times today:
Laisiasa follows his dreams
Salaseini Vosamana
Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The photo is labelled - Village nurse at work. Laisiasa Maduanavanua, offers medical treatment to a child in Wasavulu Village. Picture: SALASEINI VOSAMANA

BEING a volunteer health worker for more than five years in a village is not an easy task, considering the amount of extra effort and time spent without receiving proper wages.

For Laisiasa Maduanavanua, 47, of Naduri Village in Macuata, working as a village nurse without good earnings is a profession he dreamt of when he was young.

The second youngest of seven siblings, Laisiasa grew up in the village with a lot of financial constraints.

At that time, having $2 in his pocket meant everything to him.

In an interview with The Fiji Times last week, Mr Maduanavanua said he did not complete his education because his parents could not afford to pay his school fees. He was one of the brightest students in class but unfortunately, he only reached Form Four level.

"After completing Form Four, I joined Nasoso Lay Training Centre ù a Methodist mission school near my village where I learnt about God and His kingdom," Laisiasa said. "Life was hard during my school days because there were seven of us in the family and my parents found it hard to cater for our education. Enduring the hardships and the pain my parents went through, I decided to leave my family for Vatukoula to work at the Emperor Gold Mine," he said.

While it was difficult for him to leave his family behind, Laisiasa said he had no other option but to look for other means of survival to financially support his family.

"After working in Vatukoula for more than three years, I decided to join the Denarau Resort as a bartender.

"My family's livelihood was at a stable point because I was able to support them financially. All those years, something always triggered my mind telling me that my line of work did not lie in the tourism industry or the goldmine. The idea came about when I remembered that I had always wanted to become a village nurse ù to save rural dwellers especially the children in villages."

In 2005, Laisiasa started his volunteer work in his village. He said a lot of the villagers criticised his work when he first started because they did not have faith in him. He said most injured villagers did not trust him to treat their wounds because they knew he did not have any understanding of being a health worker.

"At times I felt like running away from the village because of the pressure from the villagers but my dreams of becoming a village nurse assured me on the job," he said. "I attended a health workshop in 2006 where I was taught all the necessary steps of becoming a village nurse. I was grateful because I knew the villagers would stop their criticisms of me. It did stop but there was a big problem I continuously encountered when I was empowered as a volunteer village nurse. My first aid kit supply was always short because the villagers kept coming for treatment. I thought that was a very good sign because it meant they recognised my work. I had liaised with health officials and they were able to assist me with my supply. Even though I was not paid for my service, I enjoyed my work because I was able to help the villagers. The hospitals are far from the village and some villagers find it easier to visit me for treatment because I'm always there to help them out. Earlier this year, I moved to Wasavulu Village in Labasa where I was appointed to be the village nurse. The geographical condition has changed a lot but it does not really affect my service. I am enjoying my work every day."

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

gift to Vatuadova

from w
Ateca has told us about two wonderful gifts from friends from New Zealand to the village of Vatuadova. A stove and a cement water tank. Ateca says, 'They are our Prayer friends and they funded the 2 Vatudova projects, the cement water tank and home made oven. Ateca told us that the young people are from Youth with a Mission who she had met a year ago at a prayer meeting in Labasa. This time our relatives at Vatuadova gave them lunch and teas while they did their project for two weeks. YWAM is a great organisation for young Christians to travel, take children's programs, and put a generous spirit into today's Christian outreach. The picture taken at Wakanilato(uncle Dakai's house). Dakai is the turaga ni mataqali. A big vina'a va'alevu to our NZ friends.'

Labasa children

from w
Good to read about the children of Labasa being involved in an inter-school competition. But of course IQ tests are usually culturally geared or a memory test rather than intelligence per se.

Holy Family wins quiz


Holy Family Primary School (HFPS) in Labasa is the champion of the Macuata/Bua Head Teachers Association Primary School Zone Four Quiz competition. HFPS, Saint Mary’s Primary School, Bethel Primary School, Muslim Primary School and Shree Gurunanak Primary School competed in the competition.

Shree Gurunanak Khalsa Primary was the first runner-up.

Quiz co-ordinator Sushil Narayan said this was the first time they organised the competition. “This new initiative was implemented by the Ministry of Education,” Mr Narayan said. He said such new plan by the ministry had opened doors of opportunity for students from Classes One to Eight to develop their Intelligent Quotient (IQ). “Such competition will also create awareness among children and encourage them to prepare for the national IQ Active competition when they are in secondary school,” Mr Narayan said. He said such development would help students gain exposure and confidence. “There are eight zones in Macuata participating in this competition,” Mr Narayan said. Holy Family and Saint Mary’s will compete with other zonal winners to decide the Macuata champion.

Five students from each school participated in the competition and they were tested on school curriculum, general knowledge, current affairs, sports, music and arts.

Copyright in Fiji

from w
An interesting point has been raised about the use of certain Fijian words that are used for marketing purposes - clothing, tourism projects, etc. Should permission be sought to use a certain name that has particular meaning to the Fijian people. Okay, there's Mana Island for a start. The word 'mana' is full of implications - religious connotations for Pacific Islanders so what's that got to do with a tourist resort eh! I really wonder though if you need a decree (law) about it as there seems to be far too many trivialities in decrees. Maybe a polite request is all that is needed and an explanation to the designers of clothes of the meaning of the new label. It's also an opportunity for Fiji actually to promote Fijian values - perhaps. The reference to the next Bose Vanua - is interesting. I wonder when?

From the Fiji Sun today:


The use of iTaukei words and names by merchandisers for branding of their products will be protected under a new law on traditional knowledge and expressions of culture.

The iTaukei Institute of Language and Culture under the Ministry of iTaukei Affairs is waiting Cabinet’s decision on the model law.

This draft legislation is to safeguard traditional knowledge and expressions of culture from abuse and commercialisation without consent from traditional owners.

When enacted, the new legislation will ensure that owners and custodians are recognised and that their rights and interests are safeguarded.

Speaking during the Macuata Provincial Council meeting in Labasa yesterday, iTaukei Institute of Language and Culture officer, Keasi Vatanitawake said the objective of the new law was to preserve iTaukei protocol, culture, language and identity.

Ms Vatanitawake said businesses were making money by selling branded items and products that provinces were known for, or identified with.

She said some of the names used and iTaukei words were of traditional values to the iTaukeis.

However, majority cases, the traditional owners have not been consulted or compensated for the use of their rightful identity.

They include the sale of iTaukei-branded clothes and cultural artifacts that are marketed daily and exposed to copyright.

And example relayed to the council members was the sales of bula-shirts with brand name, Aisokula. Ai Sokula is the clan to which the current Tui Cakau, Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu belongs to. Ratu Naiqama, the paramount chief of Cakaudrove is a member of the Ai Sokula clan.

Ms Vatanitawake said the objective of the new law was to safeguard and oversee that owners and custodians are recognised and were not exploited for commercial gain. She said some form of compensation should be given accordingly for the use of their identity.

Council member, Samuela Nakete applauded the initiative saying that it was an issue that needed to be discussed by their chiefs during the next Bose Vanua meeting.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

From little things big things grow

Human rights activists sing the national anthem at Princess Road in Suva to mark Fiji day. Picture: IVAMERE ROKOVESA
from w
I'm not interested in the hype of most speeches about Fiji Day but here is one small story about a group of activists with a love of Fiji and hope for the future. The journalist says they were singing the Fiji National Anthem, but of course if you really notice the English words of the anthem, there is a great deal of hypocracy/irony/fantasy in the words!

Love and honour our country, activists say

Serelisoni Moceica
Tuesday, October 11, 2011

LOVE and honour our beloved country, Fiji.

The comment was made yesterday by a group of human rights activists who celebrated Independence Day holiday in Tamavua, Suva.

"Fiji Day is a good time to start and as citizens of Fiji we must move forward on a common platform that embraces human rights, democratic principles and the rule of law," said host, Shamima Ali, the executive director of the Fiji Women's Crisis Centre.

Ms Ali said the resilience of the people of Fiji through these hard times was to be celebrated including individuals who were genuine in their efforts to move the country forward.

Youth advocate, Tura Lewai said the day was about remembering the tireless work of the people who have Fiji at heart and said youths were starting to take action.

"You don't need big rallies, a march or even a big crown, you just need to start by changing your mindset, and that in itself, is great and will make a difference as change comes from people and change starts from citizens"," said Hibiscus king, Peter Waqavonovono.

The advocates held up banners with lyrics of the national anthem and also sang the anthem as part of the party.
And here are the words of the Fiji National Anthem, as from wikipedia. Note the Fijian words were written many years ago as a sere ni vanua (national song) and the English words were those of the winner of a competition in 1970 where people were asked to write verses to a set tune which was an old hymn tune called 'Beulah Land'.

English lyrics

Blessing grant oh God of nations on the isles of Fiji
As we stand united under noble banner blue
And we honour and defend the cause of freedom ever
Onward march together
God bless Fiji

For Fiji, ever Fiji, let our voices ring with pride
For Fiji, ever Fiji, her name hail far and wide,
A land of freedom, hope and glory, to endure what ever befall
May God bless Fiji
Forever more!

Blessing grant, oh God of nations, on the isles of Fiji
Shores of golden sand and sunshine, happiness and song
Stand united, we of Fiji, fame and glory ever
Onward march together
God bless Fiji.

[edit] Fijian lyrics

Meda dau doka ka vinakata na vanua
E ra sa dau tiko kina na savasava
Rawa tu na gauna ni sautu na veilomani
Biu na i tovo tawa savasava

Me bula ga ko Viti
Ka me toro ga ki liu
Me ra turaga vinaka ko ira na i liuliu
Me ra liutaki na tamata
E na veika vinaka
Me oti kina na i tovo ca

Me da dau doka ka vinakata na vanua
E ra sa dau tiko kina na savasava
Rawa tu na gauna ni sautu na veilomani
Me sa biu na i tovo tawa yaga

Bale ga vei kemuni na cauravou e Viti
Ni yavala me savasava na vanua
Ni kakua ni vosota na dukadukali
Ka me da sa qai biuta vakadua
[edit] Fijian lyrics- Translated

Let us show pride and honour our nation
Where righteous people reside
Where prosperity and fellowship may persevere
Abandon deeds that are immoral

Let Fiji live on
And progress onwards
May our leaders be honourable men
Let them lead our people
To great things
And bring an end to all things immoral
Let us show pride and honour our nation
Where righteous people reside
Where prosperity and fellowship may persevere
Abandon deeds that are immoral

The burden of change lie on your shoulders youth of Fiji
Be the strength to cleanse our nation
Be wary and not harbour malice
For we must abandon such sentiments forever
[edit] Hindi Lyrics

आशीर्वाद फिजी
के द्वीपों पर ओह राष्ट्रों के भगवान अनुदान जैसा कि हम महान बैनर तले नीले
एकजुट और हम सम्मान और स्वतंत्रता के कारण बचाव कभी
आगे एक साथ
मार्च भगवान भला करे फिजी

फिजी के लिए, कभी फिजी, चलो हमारी आवाज गर्व
साथ अंगूठी फिजी के लिए, कभी फिजी, उसका नाम जय दूर और चौड़े,
स्वतंत्रता आशा है, और महिमा, का एक भूमि सहना करने के लिए क्या कभी
बीतना भगवान भला करे फिजी
हमेशा के लिए और अधिक!

आशीर्वाद अनुदान, फिजी
के द्वीपों पर राष्ट्रों के भगवान, ओह सुनहरी रेत और धूप, खुशी और गीत
की किनारे एकजुट खड़े हो जाओ, फिजी, प्रसिद्धि और महिमा से हम कभी
आगे एक साथ
मार्च भगवान फिजी भला करे.
[edit] Transliteration

Āśīrvāda phijī
Kē dvīpōṁ para ōha rāṣṭrōṁ kē bhagavāna anudāna jaisā ki hama mahāna bainara talē nīlē
Ēkajuṭa aura hama sam'māna aura svatantratā kē kāraṇa bacāva kabhī
Āgē ēka sātha
Mārca bhagavāna bhalā karē phijī

Phijī kē li'ē, kabhī phijī, calō hamārī āvāja garva
Sātha aṅgūṭhī phijī kē li'ē, kabhī phijī, usakā nāma jaya dūra aura cauṛē,
Svatantratā āśā hai, aura mahimā, kā ēka bhūmi sahanā karanē kē li'ē kyā kabhī
Bītanā bhagavāna bhalā karē phijī
Hamēśā kē li'ē aura adhika!

Āśīrvāda anudāna, phijī
Kē dvīpōṁ para rāṣṭrōṁ kē bhagavāna, ōha sunaharī rēta aura dhūpa, khuśī aura gīta
Kī kinārē ēkajuṭa khaṛē hō jā'ō, phijī, prasid'dhi aura mahimā sē hama kabhī
Āgē ēka sātha
Mārca bhagavāna phijī bhalā karē.
[edit] Proposed change

In August 2008, the draft version of the People's Charter for Change, Peace and Progress, a government document intended to supplement the Constitution, recommended a change in the national anthem. It suggested that the national anthem should be in the country's three main languages: Fijian, Hindi and English.[1]

Mali island project

from w
A few years ago when you say Mali Island is where Nau Levu (Peceli's mother) came from, they say, 'What, where is that?' But since Vorovoro got moving with the Tribewanted eco-tourism project, Mali Island has been in the news occasionally. Of course if you 'google' Mali you might get a country in Africa! Anyway here's a project in Mali that's been noticed and there's an item in the Fiji Times today about it.

First land care project

Salaseini Vosamana
Tuesday, October 11, 2011

THE first-ever land care group in Fiji was officially launched in Mali Island, Macuata on Friday. The 12-member group was formed after a week-long workshop on land care organised by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and the Department of Forestry in the Northern Division.

Secretariat of the Pacific Community's acting director land resources Inoke Ratukalou, who was chief guest, said the group was responsible to monitor the new breed of plant species to maintain a greener environment site.

"We aim to develop our idle land into a resourceful place to generate sources of income for our individual families," Mr Ratukalou said.

"This is the first group to be formed in Fiji and we thank the people of Mali for embarking on this initiative. We know it will surely help them in future.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Va's photos from Fiji Day

from w
Va posted many photos on her facebook page of the Saturday program for Melbourne's Fiji Day so I have reposted them here. Okay? Our special guest, Ro Kepa, the chiefly lady from Rewa, is in some of the photos. Vinaka Va.

Two Aussies, dressed in matching costumes were sitting with the official guests and I thought they could be the sponsors - from Air Pacific or a bank or something. No, Peceli said they were just two people who go to Fiji occasionally as tourists but they give a lot of help to the villages they visit. Okay, that's democracy at work, ordinary people doing good things.

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Fiji Day in Melbourne

from w
Yesterday was Fiji Day celebration in Melbourne at a rugby ground so despite the dark clouds in the sky we did have good weather and it was a nice time for greeting old friends, some going back twenty years or more! From various tents came the aroma of lovo food, roti and curry, vakalolo and other delicacies. Young men played sevens rugby and kids jumped on a castle of some sort. The main event was of course the traditional welcome to Ro Teimumu from Fiji, an intelligent and compassionate lady of high rank. The presentation of tabua, yaqona, magiti yards of colourful cloth and formal speeches were done very well and our guest's speech was in both Fijian and English and full of wisdom. Our Geelong Fiji group hired a minibus to go up to Melbourne for the day and it was really worthwhile as we remember Fiji today with all the difficulties for our friends over there. I took a few photos of the formal part of the day including one dance.