Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Wedding Anniversary - remembering Lautoka

from w
December 31 1966 - 48 years ago at Lautoka - Wesley Church, then Jasper Williams School for a reception for about 350 people. A long time ago and not so world-weary then. Tonight we are quietly celebrating at home with the rest of the family and visitors from Melbourne down at Geelong's Eastern Beach with a tent, a large tanoa of kava and a barbecue with crowds of people and fireworks. We decided we couldn't walk up that huge hill easily. Just spuds and seafood, custard and pears, and a chocolate Santa for Grandpa and Grandma and watching 'Inspector Linley' on the TV! Anyway, a happy New Year to you all!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Are Fiji people really the happiest in the world?

from w
I just wonder where they get their statistics from. Of course people in Fiji would answer - Yes - most of the time, not to offend, so it's hardly a convincing kind of survey.  And Nigeria - come on, come on!
from Radio Australia.  A result from December 2014, and then a result from 2012. The photo below is of Naukisi and Talei of Vatuadova village, Labasa.

Global happiness survey shows Fijians are the world's most content

A study surveying people in 65 countries has found happiness is on the rise globally, with Fiji leading the way.
The research by polling organisation WIN/Gallupfound 70 per cent of the 64,000 respondents were content with their life, a 10 per cent increase from last year.
The group's annual global End of Year survey explores the outlook, expectations, views and beliefs of people across the globe.
This year, researchers asked a sample of people from each country to rate their happiness, and whether the coming year would be better or worse than the last.
Respondents were also asked about their country's economic prosperity, and whether they would go to war for their country.
Fiji was by far the happiest country in the world: 93 per cent of respondents said that they were either happy or very happy.
The Pacific nation was followed, at some distance, by Finland, where 80 per cent said they were content.

Fijians happiest people in the world - survey

Updated 29 February 2012, 5:25 AEDT
It's official people in Fiji say they are the happiest in the world.
The global poll, by Gallup International and the Worldwide Independent network of Market Research, found 89 per cent of Fijians see themselves as happy.
Second place in the poll went to Nigeria, and third place went to Netherlands. Australia ranked 32nd.
The Fiji portion of the poll was conducted by Tebbutt Research, who surveyed 1000 people living in urban areas on the main island Viti Leveu.
Presenter:Melanie Arnost
Speaker:Caz Tebbutt, managing director, Tebbutt Research
TEBBUTT: There are 58 countries included in this survey. They cover all parts of the world, the Americas, Asia and Europe, the UK, Australia and, of course, Fiji in the Pacific and so it's fantastic to see that Fiji people rate themselves as the happiest in the world.
ARNOST: Why do you think that is?
TEBBUTT: There are a lot of indicators in the data globally that suggest that there are various elements that contribute to happiness, one of the findings is that material wealth does not necessarily equate with happiness. So in fact in many of the poorest countries in the world people rate themselves the happiest and belief in religion is also related with self rated happiness and there are a number of other factors which I think Fiji probably falls very highly on which helps explain the result. But I think also there is a cultural idea of happiness in many countries and in fact, Fiji's renowned to have a very happy, friendly relaxed people and it's interesting that we're always are constantly hearing about what other people think of the people of Fiji and this is a survey which has actually asked the people of Fiji themselves how happy they rate themselves.
The poll asks the question, how happy you personally are? If you're happy, unhappy or neither happy nor unhappy. So this is not an objective assessed by an external group. This is actually the opinions of the people of Fiji themselves.
ARNOST: The current political situation of Fiji doesn't seem to have any implications in the results of this survey?
TEBBUTT: Well, we didn't take any measures in that area, so that would be really just sufficing. But certainly if you look at countries in the top ten there are countries that have special issues at the moment, Nigeria, Ghana, but there are also some of the world's leading countries in terms of per capita income and you know, advancement like Switzerland, for example, and the Netherlands. I think that finding probably does lend itself to the fact that there is a very strong cultural component in happiness and there are peoples of the world who just tend to be happier than others.
ARNOST: But Australia didn't seem to do as well?
TEBBUTT: I think Australia found itself in if I recall 32nd place, so around about the mid point in the rankings.
ARNOST: And why do you think that is?
TEBBUTT: Oh, I think you'll have to ask these people that did the Australian survey, but in Australia's place, in terms of the actual result for Australia, I think it was about 55% said they were happy and 17% said they were unhappy, but a large percentage of people surveyed in Australia actually said they felt neither unhappy nor happy, so they were basically sitting on the fence.
ARNOST: With this result of Fiji being the happiest, do you think that would give politicians in Fiji an idea or a belief that the people of their country were happy with the job they were doing?
TEBBUTT: No, I don't think you draw any link between those two. We didn't assess anything political and we have done previous work on approval ratings and so forth in Fiji but that was not included in this survey. I think this is a simple measure of the cultural situation in terms of happiness and I don't think currently we can read any more into that. And we don't have any measures to tell us how happy or otherwise people were before the current events and so it's not meaningful to that discussion. But we can certainly track it moving forward.
And also a letter to the Fiji Times:
Error in methodology
I WAS indeed surprised to find out Fiji was rated the happiest nation on earth with more than 93 per cent of those polled responding positively.
Indeed marvellous for our beloved nation. What intrigued me, however, was that Nigeria came second and Africa was rated as the happiest region. This stirred me to do some research on how WIN/Gallup conducts its surveys.
1002 out of the total 850,000 population of Fiji were interviewed as part of this poll, of which 559 were between the ages of 25 and 34. 474 out of 1002 were working full-time with the remainder working part time, unemployed, students or retired.
The sample size, therefore, in Fiji's cases was approximately 0.1 per cent.
Nigeria, which came second, had 800 people sampled out of their total population of approximately 170 million.
That is a 0.0005 per cent sample size. 316 out of the number surveyed were full-time workers, a distinct possibility that these people are located in the major cities and far from the atrocities of Boko Haram.
In China's case, the most populous nation on earth, 1150 out of a possible 1.3 billion people were surveyed. That's a negligible sample size.
Norway, which is generally viewed as the happiest nation in the world, was not even part of this poll. Surprise!
I hope you are getting the picture here. This poll is heavily skewed.
The sample size was plucked mostly from the working class, who would anyway be generally content with their standard of life. There was no consideration given to the relative proportion of those surveyed.
It should have been uniform across the globe.
If Africa is indeed the happiest region, we should see no reason asylum seekers from Africa trying to find refuge in the West, the not-so-happy region, according to this survey.
Please, do not take this letter as my discontent with the survey results.
I am proud that my nation has been recognised at a global scale.
I am merely pointing out the error in the methodology of the survey.

Some tips for Labasa

from w
A letter to the Editor of the Fiji Times spells out a few tips to the people of Labasa and a warning for visitors to take care.

Memorable holiday
FOR a memorable holiday in the friendly northern town of Labasa, I wish to offer you a few exciting tips. Please note that we don't have enough parking space so you can look for spaces on nearby cane field (don't forget to pray for its safety). While driving, watch out for kangaroo crossing, that is, when pedestrians suddenly run across the road. If you don't hit them they will hit you.
Do not run when you hear the tooting of horn from cars even when the red light facing them is on.
Locating our temporary bus stand, you need to locate the Westpac Bank first since that is only the point where you can take direction from. As for pollution, yes, you may bring your respirators with you.
The stench from Qawa river will be horrible for a few days only, once you get used to it, then problem solved. Do not waste your time waiting for the 6.30pm bus, you better start walking as the next bus will arrive 6.30 am the next day.
These are some of the excitement and experience of the North that will make your stay a striking one. After all, any home is your home.
A warm new year to all of you.
Usaia Tagi, Labasa

Labasa is 75 years old

from w
Peceli was a little kid the year that Labasa officially started.  From a low-lying swampy area with two or three shops, it has developed and now boasts a population of about 10,000 depending upon where you draw the boundaries. Peceli lived then with his family in the place where St Mary's hostel now stands and later his father's land was given away to the Anglicans.  Those days they used to fish in the Labasa River and small creeks.  It is still low-lying land that periodically floods through the town!  Anyway they had a cake and a party to remember that 75 years have passed since Labasa 'started'.  Of course before that the action was mainly at Vuo as the sugar mill and the cane industry developed.

Pioneers celebrate

Josaia Ralago
Wednesday, December 31, 2014
IT was a trip down memory lane for some pioneers who contributed to the development of Labasa Town when they all met at the Civic Centre to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the northern municipality.
They mingled, shared jokes and reminisced about the town's humble beginnings since 1939.
Former town mayor Robert Keith Yee told this newspaper that a lot had changed over the years.
"Back then, we struggled to bring in developments to Labasa. But now, seeing all the major changes just makes us happy knowing that our contributions were not in vain," Mr Yee said.
"However, there is still more room for improvement. I believe developments shouldn't be confined to one area instead, it should spread.
"I know that Labasa will bloom and will be a town we all want it to be in the near future."
For Labasa Town Council's librarian for 21 years Subhag Nadan, changes have really made headway.
"As for the council library, resources have improved now compared with before. We now have internet, new documentary books and other learning materials, something we didn't have before," Ms Nadan said.
"I am really happy to be part of the development of the town and to be given a medal for my service is something I will forever treasure."
Minister for Local Government Parveen Kumar Bala, in his official address, said it was about time the effort of those people be recognised and appreciated by the council.
"It is timely that we remember and pay tribute to the founding mothers and fathers of this town," Mr Bala said.
"It is also timely that we pay tribute to the many staff and workers over the years for their service in different areas, and of course its thousands of citizens from pioneer days until to date for promoting civic pride."

Saturday, December 27, 2014

A lovely wedding hug

A picture from the Fiji Times today - a beautiful hug on the wedding day of  Sailosi Ravi Tarai Waqatairewa and Saveth Som, the celebration in Tailevu though they come from Sydney.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Shops and mall planned for Labasa

from w
Labasa is not a sleepy little town at all. There are plans ahead to develop Labasa's shops in a big way. Of course it's still just mainly one long line of shops. The cane trucks still go past although there's a plan ahead to alter that also.
New shopping mall to create over 100 jobs in Labasa
Friday, 26/12/2014

Charan Jeath Singh
A new shopping mall including food court and a cinema is expected to create more than 100 jobs in Labasa by end of next year.
The project which is being undertaken by businessman, Charan Jeath Singh is worth more than $3 million.
Singh said the three level shopping mall will be a unique mall as it will also have an escalator which will be the first ever for Labasa.
He said the building which will house the mall is located in the main street of Labasa and they are currently renovating the ground floor which will have around 18 shops.
Singh said the ground floor is expected to be ready by early next year while the cinema and the food court is expected to open by July.

But some people are still critical of Labasa town as in the article below.  Perhaps it's a good thing though to list things that need fixing.

'Changes' for Labasa

Pardeep Lal
Monday, October 20, 2014
LABASA Town is the main town on the island of Vanua Levu and is situated at the estuary of the Labasa River. It serves people of three provinces (Bua, Macuata and Cakaudrove). The town has great potential to become an economically much vibrant town. Being a town that has experienced peripheral sub -urban growth in the last decade, activities have since then increased in the town.
Peak days are usually busy and the following problems are encountered by urban commuters and public.
* Lack of parking space. The number of vehicles in Labasa has significantly increased but parking space has remained the same! It is impossible to find parking space in town. Supermarket parking spaces are also limited.
* Busy supermarkets. Most supermarkets have few check-out counters and long lines are common. Loud music is a nuisance in some supermarkets. The concept of shopping in a quiet environment is not experienced by shoppers in supermarkets in Labasa. Supermarkets need to improve on their service delivery by setting up more check-out counters. They need to have express counters as well.
* Unavailability of bus service after 5pm. Most bus services cease around 5pm. If bus services are available until 8pm and supermarkets and businesses are open for extended hours, it will have many benefits. More growth opportunities will be created and business will flourish in the North. It will also reduce overcrowding of supermarkets and reduce parking problems in town during the day.
* Overcrowded bus stand. It is a risk to people who cross between busses to reach the market or town. The development of the market area looks promising, however, the town must consider an alternative location for the bus stand as a matter of priority. The pollution from busses is a huge health risk while congestion is unbearable. Commuters need a safer bus stand area.
* Crossing lights and crossing locations. The non-functioning of the only crossing light in the main street further causes traffic jams. People need to be educated on rules for crossing. Pedestrians have been seen jumping onto the road at zebra crossings without any due regard to traffic. Many people do not understand zebra crossings mean you may cross only when the road is clear. The police and the Land Transport Authority must mount education programs on this aspect for the general safety of pedestrians.
* Moreover, the back road is under-utilised except during peak hours. Town must improve the back road and direct all heavy traffic (trucks, tractors, cane lorries etc.) through it to avoid congestion on the main street.
Urban population growth for Labasa is a key indicator that justifies the call for improvement of urban services. Bureau of Statistics figures show the combined urban population in the North was 19,409 in 1986. This figure leaped to 30,051 within 10 years (1996) which is a 55 per cent increase.
A large number of people from rural areas have shifted to peri-urban areas. The demand thus is on improved roads, reliable water and transport service, better housing and greener environment.
With Government's plan to develop the North further, mechanisms need to be put in place to sustain growth. Labasa must not go through the same problems and obstacles (squatter settlements, pollution, congestion, urban unemployment, overcrowding, urban flooding etc) other cities and towns (including Suva) have gone through.
Labasa Town must also work on extending its boundary. This will have long-term benefits for the town and its people. It must not be left to operate in its existing town boundary forever. Growth in the peripheral areas is indicating the town must grow outward. Many urban centres have been successful in solving urban problems such as overcrowding, congestion etc. by decentralisation of services.
Urban problems are associated with urban growth. While such problems indicate growth, the sensible approach will be to ensure sound urban planning which can only come about through better understanding of urban geomorphology.
* Pardeep Lal is a lecturer in ethics and governance at the Fiji National University's School of Social Sciences at its Labasa campus. The views expressed are his and not of this newspaper. He can be contacted on

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

And the lovo was excellent in Geelong

from Peceli and Wendy
The lovo (underground oven) was excellent, perfectly cooked dalo, pork, lamb, chicken,fish, palusami. Also kokoda (raw fish) salad, cassava and a fine trifle made by Grace. Andrew's palusami was a very good surprise using silver beet leaves. Vina'a va'alevu Andrew for the palusami and kokoda. My job was only the salad and to make up the menu and list of jobs! Bale prepared a nice looking table of healthy food. We had eleven people sharing Christmas lunch and the men/boys had done nearly all of the cooking. It's rest time now - some have gone off to visit a new baby in Melbourne etc. etc. and it's a quiet house.

Christmas Day in Geelong

from  Peceli,
Bula vinaka,  The message of Christmas  was shared in the East Geelong Uniting church this morning and our family went there. Wendy played the music and our worship leader was a young woman who will be training to be a minister soon.  Mesake my friend from Kadavu is in Geelong at present and he came along to our church. He used to work in Treasure Island. Yesterday I wanted to buy kalavata bula shirts but somehow there were none in the main shops so I bought five red tops for us of various sizes. Here are some photos.  One is of a young family, Chris and his wife from Sudan where he was a missionary.  Meanwhile the lovo is cooking in our back yard.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Geelong Fiji Friendship Club party

from w
To end the year our local Fiji group had a barbecue and lovo and gathered at Rippleside Park in Geelong - about fifty of us. Lovely fellowship and plentiful food - enough for some families to take a whole tray home. Thanks George, Andrew Snr, Andrew Jnr, Jordan, Epa and Bale for most of the food preparation.  Here are some photos.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Waiting in Advent

from w
I wrote this as a response to events this week in Sydney, though we are far away, living in Geelong. The last verse refers to a very large conical Christmas tree on the waterfront of Geelong.


Truer than a Midsomer jigsaw

to guess and surmise motives,

the radio or television drama is the ‘now’,

one character seriously flawed,

others like us, ordinary, shielding friends.

There’s anticipation in the darkness

of a tragic outcome and it does come

as a climax of light flashes and gunshots

with blood in the coffee shop.

Shadows run,  men suited for battle

rescue men and women hostages

who could have been my friend, my family.



An ocean of flowers, still wrapped in paper,

foil, cellophane, and letters in a child’s writing,

tributes for strangers, sharing grief,

in a communal swell of pain

as part of our human response

during Advent, waiting.



Concerned by a backlash

Of separating ‘them’ from ‘us’

Someone was inspired to write

‘I’ll ride with you’

I’ll sit beside you on a train, protect you, 

stop the potential of insults

because your dress-code

marks you as strange, an enemy.

A church notice juggles the letters

to form a new message:

The Kingdom of God is like

‘I’ll ride with you.’


5. The story is retold, cyclic,

 in carol singing, without snow.

It’s midsummer for us yet we sing

‘In the bleak mid-winter’

and the perfect song ‘Silent Night’.

Though the trauma of a girl giving birth

is  hardly quiet at all.



A dark sky with a contour of stars,

a backdrop for the tall luminous tree,

blue and green glass-like

reflects on rippling water.

Conjured by a clown

now admired as a symbol of hope.

We are waiting, despite major disquiet.


Friday, December 12, 2014

Fijian choir in Canberra's Parliament House

An odd look at a Fijian choir singing at Canberra's Parliament House. - and a response in a Letter to the Editor of the Fiji Times:

Kadavu Choir Down Under
WITH the teaser "Woo hoo the choir has arrived" and a photo of the 42-member Kadavu Choir dressed in kala vata standing in front of a beautiful painting, that had served as background to different world leaders while they delivered speeches from the Great Hall of the Australian Parliament, no one would've guessed this was the political comic column of the Canberra Times.
The Kadavu choir definitely expected their performance to woo the hundreds of everyday visitors and workers at Parliament but, they never expected it to become politicised to make fun of the Honourable Members and provide humour to readers of the Canberra Times.
Well done to the Kadavu Choir for a wonderful performance and well done to the brilliant reporter who used their performance as a focal point for a fantastic political humour piece, while being very careful not to insult the choir.
Instead, remarked that their Christian songs cleansed and exorcised Parliament House after a sinful parliamentary year.
I know our own Parliament is also in much need of cleansing.
Too bad Kadavu Choir can't do that as we're a secular state now so, we should just leave the cleansing to the cleaners.
SAMUELA SAVU, Canberra, Australia

Gang-gang: Fijian choir cleanses Parly House
Date December 8, 2014     Ian Warden     Columnist for The Canberra Times
Heavenly voices: Fiji's Kadavu Choir perform at The Great Hall, Parliament House. Photo: Jay Cronan
How clever of Parliament House's administrators, how appropriate of them, to bring in a powerful, cleansing Christian choir to sing there, the minute the parliamentary year is over.
On Monday the 40-strong Fijian choir was strikingly clad in costumes of aquamarine (perhaps suggesting the pellucid South Pacific that laps Fiji's shores). In the cavernous but acoustically well-blessed Great Hall the Kadavu Choir performed its Christmas carols and other festive and soothing Christian songs. The sinful parliamentary year is only just over and one could almost feel the choir's Christian singings going out from the Great Hall and coursing through the premises like a legion of acoustic exorcists, driving out the year's demons, cleaning away the drifts of a year's lies and skulduggeries. Surely that was why Parliament House's administrators had invited the choir of Methodists, and at this time, the very first weekday after parliament's rising.
We were too shy to put that perhaps controversial analysis to the choir's chairman Mr Ratuvuki. Instead we asked him to tell us all about his choir.
He explains that the Suva-based choir was formed in 1979 and has been in continuous existence ever since, with, of course, ever replenishing recruits of new choristers. They are all Methodists and on the third Sunday of every month they take part in a church service somewhere in the province. This church service is a tradition now, begun in the 1970s and after punishing cyclones that killed people and ravaged homes. The services were instituted to, in his words, "achieve security [against cyclones] from the Father in Heaven".
Yes, and it is hard to imagine God, famously appreciative of fine music, being able to ignore a church service involving the Kadavu Choir. On Monday their singing was very, very beautiful, sometimes passionate and exuberant (oodles of happy hallelujahs) but always at the same time polished and disciplined.
Their complex version of Jingle Bells (a little eccentric for a choir of folk who cannot possibly know, in Fiji, what fun it is to ride in a one-horse open sleigh) was enormous fun. Their Go, tell it on the mountain, Lord was rapturous and had the atheists among us envying the happy choristers the boon of the faith brought to them so long ago by Methodist missionaries.
Then the male choristers, left alone in the great space beneath and in front of Arthur Boyd's terrific Great Hall tapestry, sang movingly about their brother Joseph's plight as he walked towards Bethlehem.
All of this Christian loveliness seemed to us to put the cleaners through hitherto politics-begrimed Parliament House.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Not malua malua in this Parliament - five minutes to debate a dozen decree amendments

from w
This is amazing and I can see why Tupou was concerned.  Just passing these amendments in a hurry shows no respect for the debating process of a democratic Parliament.

We’re just rubber stamps: Draunidalo December 11, 2014 06:06:56 

 Fiji's Member of the Opposition Tupou Draunidalo says the Fijian Government is treating them like rubber stamps, a faction not to be heard - only to make up the other side of the house. She was reacting to a decision made in the house that debates on 12 consequential bills to the 2015 Budget be limited to five minutes. 

Draunidalo said to commit only five minutes to each side to debate on all bills, bills that impact the country and Fijians, was not enough. “Well five minutes for all the bills is not very clear, I’m sure the understanding was that it was five minutes for each bill,” Draunidalo said. “If that’s how this government wishes to treat the opposition that we’re here for nothing, I don’t know why you complained when we walked out because really, that’s how they want to treat us as a rubber stamp for us not to be heard, just sit here and make up this side of the house,” Draunidalo said. She said if they had known that they were only given five minutes for all the bills to be debated, they would have mounted arguments against the idea. 

Opposition whip Ratu Isoa Tikoca said that there was a need to deliberate the bills in details. “You reckon that 15 bills to be discussed in five minutes, what a joke!” However, concerns made by the Opposition was stayed before the house and the bills were later passed. 

Bills passed before the house today: - A Bill for an Act to amend the Income Tax Act (Cap.201). (2/2014)
 - A Bill for an Act to amend the Fringe Benefit Tax Decree 2012. (3/2014)
 - A Bill for an Act to amend the Service Turnover Tax Decree 2012 (4/2014) 
- A Bill for an Act to amend the Stamp Duties Act (Cap.205). (5/2014) 
- A Bill for an Act to amend the Tax Administration Decree 2009. (6/2014)
 - A Bill for an Act to amend the Excise Act 1986 (7/2014) 
- A Bill for an Act to amend the Customs Act 1986 (8/2014) 
- A Bill for an Act to amend the Customs Tarrif Act 1986 (9.2014)
- A Bill for an Act to amend the Value Added Tax Decree 1991 . (10/2014)
 - A Bill for an Act to amend the Capital Gains Tax Decree 2011. (11/2014)
- A Bill for an Act to amend the Tertiary Scholarship and Loans Decree 2014 (12/2014) 
- A Bill for an Act to amend the Land Sales Act (Cap. 137). (13/2014) 

By Vuniwaqa Bola-Bari

Read more at:
Copyright 2014 ©

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Seasonal workers to NZ limited

from w
They've made it rather difficult for Fiji people who live in towns to be part of the Seasonal Workers Scheme in New Zealand.
From Fiji Village:
Only selected people eligible to be employed under NZ’s RSE
Wednesday, 10/12/2014

People aged 18 to 45 years living in rural and peri-urban settlements are the only ones eligible to be employed under New Zealand’s recognized seasonal employer scheme.
This has been confirmed by the Permanent Secretary for Employment, Productivity and Industrial Relations, Taito Waqa at the opening of the recognized seasonal employer process workshop today.
Waqa said this is a targeted scheme only for people living in the rural and peri-urban settlements as the 2008 poverty report shows that the poverty rate in the urban areas has decreased while the poverty rate in the rural areas are still increasing.
The scheme will be signed between the two countries tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Christmas letter 2014

Greetings to you from Peceli, Wendy, George, Bale, Epa, Jordan, Andrew, Big Andrew, and household.  
We are reminded of Christ’s birth with the carols, messages, decorations and the huge conical tree in Geelong that lights up the sky in the night. Let us honour and pray for one another, for miracles in our world  today and may this message of good will give peace to you.  Our compound,  now called Vatuadova Kisi  often has a dozen or more people living here with visitors, the extended family, and friends of our teenagers and even  the touch rugby gang rock up.  There’s kava flowing several nights a week.  Relatives from Sydney have been staying in Andrew’s bungalow and Andrew’s new house went up early in the year. Next year Linlay will start school at Form 2 at Geelong High School. Jordan finished Year 12 and Andrew Year 10. Jordan recently had  surgery  to take out the plate and rod in his leg, and he is recovering well. Earlier in the year Peceli and the  two Andrews went to Fiji for the funeral of Peceli’s brother Dakai. Health continues to be an issue for us oldies with pills and checkups. The young ones in the family play tennis summer and winter for East Geelong Uniting – the club that lost their clubroom and courts with the Uniting Church kerfuffle, but have relocated to Breakwater.  Peceli and I often go for drives and simple picnics to enjoy the beauty of the Bellarine Peninsular.
Church news – Peceli continues his relationship with Altona Meadows/Laverton and I still play music at East Geelong and talk too much at council meetings. The members of South Geelong who lost their church  have joined out church at East which is doing well with community service – donating a vehicle to the Women’s Crisis Centre in Tonga and  setting up the teaching of stringed instruments at a local school.  We will have a second minister coming early next year which is a bonus. Rev Ikani continues to be an inspirational leader of our faith community.
Community news – Geelong has problems re unemployment with places like Alcoa, Ford and others sending staff off or even closing down.  Despite the enthusiasm of our new Mayor for tinsel and glitter, there’s a lot of pain out there.  However there is  much volunteer activity going on such as free meals at Christ Church, and care by Diversitat and others for the refugees coming into our community who are not allowed to work. We continue to help at Donation  in Kind  though  interest in Rotary is waning. Geelong continues however to be a place that we love to reside in.
Loloma and  best wishes for the Christmas and New Year season.

Wendy and  Peceli Ratawa.          December 10 2015

Saturday, December 06, 2014

gift to Tonga from Geelong

from w
Our East Geelong Uniting church in Australia congregation were happy to donate this vehicle to the women and children Crisis Centre in Nukualofa. Our minister Rev Ikani Vaitohi, Moana and children, John Birrell and Annette Colgrave went over to Tonga for handing over. We are delighted to have a relationship with you all in Nukualofa. I was in Tonga last year and loved the place and people. My daughter-in-law is a doctor there.