Friday, April 29, 2016

Jasper and Marist the winners

Jasper, Marist win Coca Cola Games titles

Saturday, April 30, 2016
Update: 3:59PM JASPER Williams High School has retained the Coca Cola Games girls division title while Marist Brothers High School won the boys title.
Marist won 17 gold, seven silver and 10 bronze medals while Natabua won 12 gold, 12 silver and four bronze medals in the boys division.
In the girl's division, Jasper won 15 gold, 19 silver and eight bronze medals while Adi Cakobau School won 15 gold, eight silver and six bronze medals.
There was tough competition between the top two schools in the boys and girls division.
* Full results and coverage in The Sunday Times tomorrow.

Fiji's javelin throwers

Copeland did well in the Australian Nationals, coming third.  He can almost qualify for the Olympics.
And the athletes are doing well in Suva for the Cocacola Games especially the throwers, who are breaking records.  For some pictues of the current games go to  And even in
Australia our family have won medals  - especially Andrew who used to be in the Fiji squad but now is in the Masters.  A few years ago even Rev Peceli had a go at javelin.

BY: syagi
16:05, April 5, 2016
SUVA: Fiji's javelin rep Leslie Copeland finished third in the Australian Athletics Championship on Sunday and set a new national record.
Copeland recorded a throw of 81.76m and is on the verge of qualifying for the Olympic Games in Rio, Brazil. 
To qualify automatically, the 27-year-old must record a throw of 83m in the next qualifying event scheduled to be held in Fiji, in July. 
"I firmly believe that Leslie will qualify for the Olympic Games," Copeland's coach James Goulding said in an email. 
"Leslie competed yesterday (Sunday) and threw 81.76m. It was short by 1.24m of the Olympic qualifications. 
"Leslie and I would like to thank our sponsor Shop N Save, Athletics Fiji, FASANOC, International Olympic Committee and the Fiji National Sports Commission for all the support that was rendered towards our training stint in Australia," Goulding said. 
Kiwi Stuart Farquhar won the AAC javelin final after recording a throw of 83.93m. Australian Hamish Peacock was second with a record of 82.84m. 
"Leslie is a great testament to the success of lengthy blocks of intensive training and competition. It really works," said Bob Snow of Oceania Athletics. 
"A great result for Leslie." 
Pacific's sprint king Banuve Tabakaucoro competed in the AAC as well. 
He finished 6th in the 100m final with a time of 10.5secs. In the semi-final, Tabakaucoro clocked 10.35secs. The Olympics qualifying time is 10.16secs. 

Government being mean

It's obvious that 'democracy' is hardly the style in Fiji's Parliament. Read on.... in a letter to the Editor of the Fiji Times.


Amenatave Yaconisau,Delainavesi, Lami | Thursday, April 28, 2016
I refer to your headline article by Nasik Swami (FT 27/4/16) where the Opposition party's time to discuss and respond of five minutes was discussed.
This is worrying because it goes against the very essence of democracy i.e of uniting and stabilising the political process. It should not divide but bring together sectional interest of voters and their voices to be heard and discussed well. They should provide coherence not a divided environment.
This brings about stability in the country and is a safety valve because diverse voices are well discussed and harmonised and ways of reconciliation are sought.
It seems that competition is allowed but one party overshadows the other by sheer numerical supremacy and this time around the five minutes responsive time. I know that others freely compete but they lose out when it comes to voting.

I believe this can distort the decision making process if it gives little time to demands of voters. Competitive parties are characteristics of liberal democracies like ours. Let's keep it that way.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Help for reconstruction in Vuna village, Taveuni

from the Fiji Times:

Home restoration help for Taveuni villagers

Luke Rawalai
Tuesday, April 26, 2016
AFTER living on Taveuni for the past few years, their love for the island has led a group of expatriate hotel owners and locals to raise $60,000 for the restoration of homes on Navakawau and Vuna villages.
Located on the south end of the island, the two villages are among one of the worst-hit areas in Taveuni.
Nakia Resort owner and head of the volunteer group of relief workers, Julie Kelly, said the $60,000 they raised earlier with the help of kind donors would assist families rebuild and restore their homes.
"Apart from this, we have given families eight tonnes of roofing tin, strapping and nails to Navakawau Village," Ms Kelly said.
"Villagers were able to make use of the local trees that were damaged at the height of the cyclone and mine their own timbers from chainsaws that we also delivered them.
"They have been able to cut 2x4 mahogany timbers from trees readily available in their ownbackyards."
They delivered seven tonnes of building materials and two Husqavarna chainsaws to Vuna Village to assist its population of 641 villagers.
"The second shipment of materials has been delivered to Navakawau which has a population of 652 villagers and these building materials will provide new roofs for 68 families."
Navakawau Village headman Iosefo Matailima said the building materials and chainsawsgiven to villagers would help those who lost their homes in the wake of Severe TC Winston.
Mr Matailima said villagers were thankful to the team of volunteers for thinking of villagers during a time when they had nowhere to turn.
Vuna Village traditional leader Ratu Emosi Tolevu thanked the volunteers for giving selflessly.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Kia island west of Vorovoro and Mali

from the Fiji Times last year:  The Kia people are traditional fishermen and related to the people of Mali Island. We can see Kia from Nukutatava Beach.  The photos below are from a different website - a blog from visitors to Kia to explore the reef.


Chef Lance Seeto
Sunday, November 08, 2015
At the turn of the 19th century, sandalwood was one of the most valuable and sought-after timbers in the old world.
When the tree was accidentally discovered in Fiji's northern islands, a bloody, decade-long timber boom began. Spanish, British and American ships descended upon Vanua Levu - the Sandalwood islands. We're in Ligau Village, Kia, an island in the Macuata province that was once an outpost in this wild west shootout for sandalwood. Welcome to a Taste of Paradise.
Much of Fiji's pre-colonial history can be read in the journals and diaries of the sailors, clergymen and missionaries.
They may be a one sided account of the old days, but it is the only written record Fijians have of their pre-colonial history. One that caught my interest was of English sandalwood trader, William Lockerby.
He had arrived to Fiji in 1808, a few months earlier than the first Chinese onboard the Eliza. It was the peak of the sandalwood boom and every businessman, conman and pirate was attracted by the tales of undiscovered riches. Fiji was yet to be discovered by the European explorers. Lockerby kept detailed accounts of his observations.
The early 1800s were like the California gold rush of the old wild west. The good, the bad and the ugliest examples of the papalagi, the white man, was about to descend on the unsuspecting native civilisation.
The light brown timber of old sandalwood and butt of the tree contains an aromatic oil; long prized in Polynesia for scenting coconut oil.
Whilst the Tongans prized the fragrant timber, high prices on the Chinese market made it one of the most valuable timbers in the world, as it still is today. In Asian countries, sandalwood carvings are used in religious ceremony whilst the sawdust is turned into joss sticks and incense for prayer.
For the native Fijian of this period, the sandalwood trade brought regular exchanges of goods with the Europeans, and the bartering for anything made of iron; a new commodity to the Fijians. But the decade long sandalwood boom was also the bloodiest in their dealings with the pale skinned papalagi.
So precious was this timber that many European traders would raid villages or other ships - and sometimes even murder for it. Unfortunately for the Fijians, their first contact with the white man was with some of the worse band of misfits, conmen and pirates to sail the high seas.
The wariness and mistrust of the strangers would set the tone for the next century, as Fiji was no longer an undiscovered country.
Lockerby's journals recount an island outpost on the northern side of Vanua Levu called Kia, and lucky for me that the Reef Endevour was pulling into anchor off its shores.
It was once known as Brown's Island, supposedly named after an American ship's mate who had stumbled upon a treasure of untouched sandalwood plantations. Along with other Americans and Englishmen, Mr Brown had essentially taken over the island with his motley crew.
Several ship's iron cannons had been placed high on the hills to ward off any invaders. Lockerby recounts they had been there a "dozen years ago" - placing their installment around 1795 - something the local villagers I spoke to, did not know.
The village is at the base of a hard mountain rocky range with sheer cliff faces. The village women at Ligau tell an amusing story of when their forefathers and brothers trekked up the steep hill to mount the cannon for Brown.
More than a dozen men lifted the 2 tonne iron cannon up the treacherous mountain. As they reached about halfway up the peak the men collapsed from exhaustion and sent message for the women to take it to the top for them; and they did. The women laughed, "We're stronger than the men!" I was dying to see the old cannon documented in the sandalwood trader's journal.
The village elders said it was still there but expressed doubt we would make it. I don't blame him! Lucky we have a remote controlled drone camera, it was a long way up and over the peak.
Watching the drone's monitor, we all waited in anticipation, it was like finding a needle in a haystack, but finally…there it was. We'd discovered the cannon that William Lockerby had written about more than 200 years ago.
* Lance Seeto is the award winning chef based on Mana Island, and is Fiji Airways' Culinary Ambassador and host of Fiji TV's Taste of Paradise. Sunday 7.30pm only on Fiji One and online at

An other story at this website:

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Vinaka Seona for sticking up for Professor Wadan Narsey

from Fiji Times today:

He's usually right

Seona Smiles
Sunday, April 24, 2016
DON'T go, Professor Wadan Narsey.
It was too sad to read his final column (The Fiji Times 16/4) in which he described the distressing apathy and silent censorship in our society that has driven him to leave Fiji.
He's right, of course. He usually is, that's one of the most annoying things about him and why he, specifically, gets so severely unpublished and dis-invited.
It's dreadfully discouraging and even I fall into self censorship in a self-centred desire to be published and read.
Some of the most anguishing days of my life were when soldiers with guns but without any understanding or belief in legitimate rights to information sat at our newsroom and removed any items the regime didn't want you people to read.
When someone yells at me in the street, or speaks to me in a shop or at the park to say they enjoyed something I wrote and I say "thanks so much for telling me", I really mean it. It's great to know people are reading my stuff and I hope it encourages some to stand up for good things, such as saving our public trees and being able to comment freely on the state of the nation.
I know many, many people appreciated Prof Narsey's writing, a lot more than those who got around to telling him.
Also lot of people wanted to punch him on the nose and I dare say there are people who want to yell at me in the street to say "what rubbish you write, can't stand it". But fortunately they don't — either out of apathy or as I like to think, because Fiji people are too nice.
Just recently, a book by Prof Narsey that will confirm his reputation as a stellar scholar was published by Palgrave Macmillan. Titled British Imperialism and the Making of Colonial Currency Systems, it is based on the research and theories developed for his Doctor of Philosophy thesis.
Lots of his mates — and he does have them, some in the most surprising places eg the cop shop and up at the barracks — spent years telling him to get on with the book and stop messing about with "pop" articles for the press and talking on panels to people who neither knew nor cared for the things he was passionate about.
But that's the measure of the man. He really wanted ordinary people to know matters important to our lives, about our national finances, how our money is being spent, how our society is being run, about injustices, evasions and downright fibs by officials.
He is harsh on people whom he sees should be saying and doing something about such things and on organisations that work on such matters; not always seeing that different approaches doesn't always mean apathy or inaction.
I too am appalled at the sad self-censorship of journalists who have spent their careers so far learning to be incredibly careful of punitive legal action or to believe that "development journalism" means saying lovely, supportive things about people in power and writing anything critical is wrong.
The façade of democracy that allows undemocratic decrees and serious injustice needs to gain the confidence and maturity to understand that debate, dissent and comment are signs of a healthy society. Next time around I might even vote for a government that sees that.
Long before the spurious exercise to award the government's exclusive advertising contract to the newspaper that most supported the development of the nation etc, no government-funded organisation was permitted to advertise with The Fiji Times.
No use complaining to the Media Industry Development Authority because such things appear not to have come within the concern of "development".
The top chap there has now been made head of the Human Rights Commission in Fiji, something I would have thought was a conflict of interest, but whatever.
I see also that the Human Rights Commission has given $10,000 to the Attorney-General for the Prime Minister's Natural Disaster Relief and Rehabilitation Fund, accepted as a contribution that "is a gesture of solidarity with the Fijian Government as it rebuilds Fiji".
I remember, as I am sure Prof Narsey does, the A-G as a great supporter of democracy, back in the day when he was among our number who opposed coups and ch­a­llenged the seriously bad constitution of the Qarase government.
We now have a new Constitution, but not, alas, the one the people who had earlier stood with the Attorney-General had worked for, nor one that is free of overriding decrees.
So Prof Narsey is leaving "the 'home' that Fiji has been and will always be in my heart".
The home which he knew as a Toorak boy in hard colonial times, when his father worked a laundry and young Wadan did the deliveries after school — being told at the door of our then editor and publisher, Sir Len Usher, to use the tradesmen's entrance.
The home of guitar strumming and long nights of song from the 1960s; of being stranded overnight on Sandbank with the non-swimming love of his life, watching the tide rise; ofbarbecues on the beach with his boys and the time he stood on the buried lovo and squashed the yam; of being almost arrested for lurking on Suva sea wall with a pair of binoculars when only trying to spot Halley's comet; of running arguments about the perfect design of a barbecue and how to cook Chinese food; of much beer and more debate.
And he must remember the night the party drifted down to the sea wall, when the police came along to try and stop the dancing and listened patiently to denials of drinking and finally, in exasperation, said to him and even older mates: "Professor, look at your grey hairs, aren't you ashamed of yourselves — go home."
He is going to miss this home and if he really won't write any more critical, complaining, controversial columns, even from abroad, who then is going to inform and encourage us and publicly prod us out of apathy.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Museum now digital

Good idea.

Just a click of mouse to see historical exhibits

Tevita Vuibau
Saturday, April 23, 2016
MORE than 1300 items on display at the Fiji Museum have been digitised to give students in rural areas the chance to view exhibits with just a click of the mouse.
Through the Virtual Museum, more than 1300 individual photographs of exhibits have been placed online with accompanying descriptions.
The Virtual Museum was launched by Education Minister Dr Mahendra Reddy yesterday at Naitasiri Secondary School.
He said he wanted students in rural and maritime areas to know the Virtual Museum was compiled with them in mind.
To put the Virtual Museum together ­— local audio visual company First Fighter Video and Audio Production — professionally photographed 609 artefacts in 23 photography sessions while the other 246 images were scanned and provided by the Fiji Museum.
"We have to find a way to take institutions like the Fiji Museum with the stock of knowledge that they have, to the people who cannot make it to the physical museum," Dr Reddy said.
"Now the geographical layout of Fiji is very challenging. Here we have people all over the maritime area inhabiting 150 islands.
"So we have to ensure the education we provide to urban schools is also provided to the rural and interior.
"We have students in Suva Grammar and Marist Brothers' High School who could walk to the Fiji Museum on any given day and enjoy the exhibits there.
"That's not the same situation for students in Udu Point, Cicia, in the Yasawa Islands or Kadavu. We are now thinking of how we can take this stock of knowledge to not only the students but teachers and civil servants — that is why we came up with this project.
"Many schools from the interior and outer islands have to take special field trips to visit the museum and this visit is only for a short duration. Now, everyone, including you all can visit the Fiji Museum online from where ever you are. You can access all the things kept in the museum while sitting at home."
The Virtual Museum scales to screen size so it can be viewed on PCs, laptops, tablets and phones.
Added to this, all work was done in Fiji by Fiji-owned businesses and locally-based staff, working closely with staff from the Fiji Museum.
The Virtual Museum can be viewed on

Thursday, April 21, 2016

School Pledge

The Fiji Education Department has launched a pledge to be said by students.
More than 220, 000 copies of the pledge have been printed and would be distributed to all schools throughout Fiji.
The Pledge
1. I will respect, love and care for my parents, teachers, friends and elders,
2. I will stay healthy through exercise and practice good hygiene
3. I will stay clean through good thoughts, works and deeds
4. I will believe in myself through faith in God
5. I will attend school daily, abide by all school rules and study hard
6. I will say NO to drugs, stay away from bad habits and value my life
7. I will use technology for good and not as a tool to hurt or harm others and
8. I am a proud Fijian and will make Fiji a nation of peace and progress.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Happy birthday Ateca

Ateca Ratawa is here with us at present and today is her birthday. Happy birthday Ateca. Here are some photos - the first time I met her was in Lautoka and here is a photo of Ateca aged one with her Aunt Suliana who raised her and Mila to be fine women of today. The second photo was when Ateca was 21 and was holidaying with us in Geelong and she parrticipated in a multi-cultural event organised by the Geelong Migrant Resource Centre. Third photo is is Baba and Ateca with two children - Pinky and Wendy Junior. The fourth photo was taken last week of Ateca with her friend Joy Baxter.

Wadan Narsey on Fiji's censorship

Wadan Narsey's fine articles have been occasionally and selectively published. In this article he says farewell as he articulates what many people think of the kind of censorship in Fiji that means people just do not get the right information. In the Fiji Times Saturday April 16 2016.

Silent censorship

Professor Wadan Narsey
Saturday, April 16, 2016
JUST living in Australia for a few months and watching television, makes you see clearly, how the Fiji public is so badly denied by the poverty of Fiji media offerings and silent censorship
There are wonderful Australian media programs such as Q and A, Insiders, Catalyst, Landline, Insights, Foreign Correspondent, Four Corners, to name just a few, not even mentioning the many specials every week on ABC and SBS.
Just in the past two months alone, Landline explored how an Australian sugarcane farmer, successfully intercropped rice to pander to his Vietnamese wife. Another intercropped with sunflowers for the seeds and oil, and mung beans (which Fiji farmers have also tried on a very small scale).
But what really stands out are the many robust public policy debating programs with sharp neutral such as Q and A (Tony Jones) or Insider (Barry Cassidy) or Insights, where Opposition MPs or politically neutral commentators are given equal weight to that of Government voices.
Often, intelligent studio audiences are allowed to comment or give their verdict on particular utterances with applause or sceptical silence,
Of course, we all remember that once upon a time, Fiji Television also had very robust programs, such as Close Up, but sadly, no more.
Despite the ending of open censorship by the Government, an invidious silent self-censorship is denying the Fiji public access to "alternative voices".
My personal individual experience of censorship by the premier university, by the Fiji media and by the Fiji Bureau of Statistics is only the tip of the iceberg of a much wider "silent censorship of many".
The one rare exception is The Fiji Times whose survival must be defended, or the public won't know what they have got, until it is gone.
Open and silent censorship
In the past, media censorship was quite easy to prove. Censors were physically in the newsroom, expatriate newspaper publishers were being expelled, large fines or jail terms were being handed down by courts, and warnings were given to certain media organisations.
Today's censorship is not obvious simply because no journalist, media organisation or educational institution will publicly own up to "self-censorship". But it is abundantly clear that there is an absence of dissenting voices from forums such as Close Up, 4 The Record, Talk Business, and the many talkback shows on TV and radio.
My personal absence from these programs is obvious to many, given my obvious prominence in previous years. Also absent are other "dissenting" voices like Opposition Members of Parliament or critical NGO leaders, while voices sympathetic to Government are given maximum exposure.
What is missing in government circles is any adherence to the dictum attributed to Voltaire (or Evelyn Beatrice Hall ) "I disagree with your views but I will defend to the death your right to express them".
The one bright media light in Fiji, is The Fiji Times which continues to serve the public as a channel for alternative views and as a proper watchdog on the government of the day, despite operating financially on a less than level playing field.
It saddens me that the Fiji public continues to show total apathy to the censorship of individuals such as me, or blatant unfairness with taxpayers' advertising funds shown to The Fiji Times, the proven most popular print media in Fiji.
Censorship from USP
This individual has been a senior USP economist, former parliamentarian and well-known media commentator, yet there is no public comment on his continued censorship by not just that university but also the mainstream media and a supposedly neutral government department like the Fiji Bureau of Statistics.
Despite my decades of service from 1973, USP asked me to resign in 2012, alleging financial pressure from the government.
In 2013, USP refused to allow the Faculty of Business and Economics to host the launching of my FBS Report on the 2008-09 Household Income and Expenditure Survey, and the associated policy workshops for civil servants, NGOs and other stakeholders.
In 2013, an invitation by the USP Journalism Students Association to speak at USP for World Media Freedom Day was withdrawn.
This prominent economist has been excluded from several panel discussions in his area of expertise, organised by USP departments, while expatriate professors have been welcomed.
One Economics Department panel discussion on the Fiji Government's re-issue of a $500 million dollar bonds (to which I had been invited) was cancelled.
A special edition of the Journal of Pacific Studies on the 2014 Election, excluded all writings by this academic, while pro-government non-academic outsiders were invited to contribute.
USP's censorship is not confined to me. It is on record, that one senior member of the university management was strongly warned not to associate socially with a particular Member of Parliament (and former USP academic) or even with one of his friends, also a senior academic at USP.
Other senior USP academics, not perceived favourably by the management are deprived of acting headships, despite their proven experience.
The USP Staff Association fails to defend members' rights and privileges, while USP students have been actively discouraged from responsible political activity.
The once robust intellectual life at USP of both academics and students, has been severely eroded without any show of concern by the University Council or the public.
Censorship by FBS
It is public knowledge that my FBS Report on the 2010-11 Employment and UnemploymentSurvey (Fiji Women and Men at Work and Leisure) completed in 2013 has still not been published. This denies the Fiji public essential and fascinating statistical results on gender gaps in employment, incomes, unpaid household work, sports and leisure activities like sports, kava drinking, watching television, and religious gatherings.
It is understandable that the FBS management cannot protest publicly for fear of loss of their employment. But sadly, neither has there been any public protest from university academics, or NGOs (like FWRM, WCC, CCF, Transparency International) or professional organisations such as the Fiji Institute of Accountants or Fiji Law Society, or social leaders, who all should be interested in the statistical findings being censored.
The public will not know that while the FBS has completed a 2013-14 Household Income and Expenditure Survey, this data is being processed now with World Bank assistance, while a local academic who did this work with them for the past seven years, has been completely shut out, undermining the self-reliance that has been built up these past 10 years.
Yet objective and freely disseminated statistics from FBS is vital for public policy decisions.
Media censorship of one
After the 2009 abrogation of the 1997 Constitution, not just my articles but also many letters to the editor were not accepted for publication by both Fiji Sun and The Fiji Times even when copied to the MIDA chairman.
Media programs such as Close Up, 4 The Record and Talk Business and the many radio talkback shows declined to invite this economist, who used to be ever-present on their programs before 2009. On a rare positive note, just prior to the September 2014 Election, The Fiji Times began to publish and continues to publish my opinion pieces, sometimes only after vetting by its lawyers.
The Fiji public needs to appreciate the courage of The Fiji Times owners (Motibhai Patel family), FT publisher (Hank Arts) and editor (Fred Wesley) for their moral courage in producing a newspaper which remains the sole source of independent information in Fiji, and whose relative superiority has been independently verified by the Tebbutt Poll.
Lest we forget, in recent years, newspapers have been fined heavily, some expatriate publishers have been expelled, while editors have been given jail sentences.
A recent decision by Government denying The Fiji Times fair access to taxpayers' advertising funds, also drew no public comment from MIDA, the Commerce Commission, the Fiji Chambers of Commerce, or professional organisations such as the Fiji Institute of Accountants and Fiji Law Society, or NGOs (like FWRM, WCC, CCF, Transparency International) or social leaders, who all should be interested in ensuring that there is a robust competitive media environment.
If the Fiji public do not rise out of their apathy to defend the legitimate rights of The Fiji Times, then sadly, "the Fiji public won't know what it has got, until it is gone".
One day, they will also remember bitterly the words of Jawaharlal Nehru: "Evil unchecked grows and evil tolerated poisons the whole system."
Oppressed people do leave
As occurred after the 1987 and 2000 military coups, there is also today an emigration of many educated and skilled people.
Sadly, that category now includes me, even though no comfortable refuge abroad will ever be the "home" that Fiji has been and will always be in my heart.
This will be my last article for The Fiji Times as I pursue professional work in Australia.
I thank the publisher, editor and other staff members of this newspaper who have facilitated my media contributions over the years.
I also thank its readers who have expressed appreciation for my articles.
* Professor Wadan Narsey is the adjunct professor at James Cook and Swinburne universities in, Melbourne, Australia. The views expressed are his alone.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

History of Butt Street church

from the Fiji Times:

From school to church

Peni Mudunavonu
Monday, April 11, 2016
MANY of us may not know how Butt St, where the headquarters of this newspaper is located, got its name. Or how the Wesley City Mission Church came to being.
According to an account in his memoirs, long time church member the late Ken Giblin said the Wesley City Mission Church, commonly known as "The Butt Street Church", was originally opened as a school.
"The name of the school was Wesley School and was built on a land bought by the Methodist Church for the education of half-castes.
"In 1938, I attended the newly-built school and I was told by staff members that the Government at that time did not want half-castes in their European schools so a school was made for them," Mr Giblin wrote in his memoir.
"The formation of Wesley Church was a brave venture among us unruly people, somewhat hard to control and yet fiercely loyal to one another,"
He said the venture was suggested by Reverend Charles Oswald Lelean whose memorial school was situated at Davuilevu near the banks of the Rewa River and the suggestion was only made a reality with the help from the European executive staff of the Methodist Church
"Two buildings were erected on the bought premises; one was a hall, a stage at the Gordon St side and the verandah facing Butt Street and it was recently torn down on January 4, 2016 for renovation and is now the new hall.
"The second building was called the Methodist Bookshop and the Methodist Office but the Methodist Church had other plans for the building which led them to install a printing press with several printing machines on the stage and an indigenous school started."
The National Archives records stated that the church was situated in the intersection of two streets named after two very influential personalities in the history of Fiji:
* Sir Arthur Hamilton Gordon, the first governor of Fiji in the colonial times whose policies was decisive in shaping the history of Fiji; and
* John Marten Butt, who was the manager of the first branch of the Bank of New Zealand that was opened at Levuka on July 17, 1876 and he was also a warden (equivalent to mayor) and chairman of the school board of Levuka at the time.
Two years later the world was at war as World War II erupted.
"During the years 1941 and 1942, thousands of New Zealand and American soldiers poured into Fiji.
"Our school was taken over by armed forces and Suva was a town of soldiers, pillboxes, trenches and air raid shelters everywhere and that many of the members of the church went to the country side and at times there would be only five people attending the church service.
"Many people shifted elsewhere because of the war," he said.
At the height of the war, Mr Giblin said, the church celebrated its first wedding which was held on April 18, 1942. "It was the union of Ms Amete O'Connor and Mr Ted Petersen. "Ms O'Connor was our first local primary teacher at Wesley Primary School," Mr Giblin said.
In the course of time, there was a need for a new building and a new minister for the church.
"The matter debated was whether to get a minister first or build a building first." Mr Giblin said they were previously directed by the head of the Methodist Church at that time in Epworth House to get a minister first and when the members of the church finally agreed their decisions changed.
"The decision to get a minister first took many months, until we said that we would take both on regardless.
"Reverend W Gillard arrived in 1966 and with him the church prospered so much that Reverend Gillard served for two terms.
"Upon the arrival of Reverend W Gillard, he requested that a new caretaker manager be appointed to look after the premises of the church.
"After considerable deliberations, Alfred Jack was employed as the first caretaker manager in January, 1967.
"Mr Jack's hard work proved to be a success and he held that position for eight years," Mr Giblin said.
In a documented discussion with Mr Giblin, Ms Petersen said no one knew at the time that from this little group something special was to take place.
"From the faith of these families a church was born, it will grow and continue to grow.
"As Jesus said, it is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field.
"The plant grew and became a tree and the birds made their nests in its branches, Luke 13:19," Ms Petersen said.
Mr Gibling ended his memoir with these words ... I will conclude my writing with a quote made by Rev W Gillard and I quote, "Please pray for us that we may do and say that which God requires of us for the healing of the racial, social and spiritual sickness in Fiji."
Mr Giblin has since died.

Saturday, April 09, 2016

Wow, help for houses

from Fiji Village - but who is paying for all the costs?
PM warns against abuse of Help for Homes initiative
By Elizabeth Rokosuka
Sunday 10/04/2016
Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama
People who are planning to cheat the $70 million Help for Homes initiative will have to think twice.
Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama says applicants must meet the criteria and their application must be truthful and accurate.
He says anyone found to be cheating or abusing this system will face the full force of the law.

This initiative is for those whose household annual income falls under $50,000.
Households will receive a prepaid electronic card with a set amount and pin number to purchase the building materials from selected hardware outlets.
The amount on the card will depend on the amount of damage to people’s homes.
Bainimarama says spot checks will be carried out by audit teams from the Ministry of Finance after the cards are distributed from the beginning of next month.
He says they do not want this scheme to be delayed because they have to check every claim and every roof.
He adds the Government is depending on people to be honest.

A $1,500 limit will be given for partial roofing damage.

$3,000 for serious roofing damage while $7,000 will be given for almost or completely demolished homes.