Thursday, February 28, 2013

World Day of Prayer

from w

At Wesley Uniting Church, Geelong, this morning for the World Day of Prayer. Nice to feel connected to women (and men) in many parts of the world. Tonga. Fiji, France. Ireland, everywhere. Today's worship was designed by women in France. Nice to see a group of children from St Mary's School there as well as oldies. The guest speaker was Michael Martinez CEO of Diversitat which tied in nicely with the emphasis on 'stranger and you welcomed me in'. Afterwards Wesley women hosted a lunch for us all.
And the World Day of Prayer of course is celebrated in many churches in Fiji also, such as in Naduri, Macuata. Story is in Fiji times Saturday.

Women pray for all

Serafina Silaitoga
Saturday, March 02, 2013
TEARS flowed as a group of women yesterday asked God to protect their counterparts around the world who may live in an unfortunate environment.
In marking the World Day of Prayer, women from the coastal area of Naduri, Macuata gathered at the village and offered their thoughts in prayers.
Leader Adi Samanunu Katonivere said it was an annual event marked by women from the different denominations and villages of Nabukadogo, Namama, Naduri and surrounding farms.
"This is one time we come together to pray for our sisters around the world who may face tough times either through violence or being faced with the loss of loved ones through wars.
"So it is important that we offer through prayers the different situations faced by our sisters around their world and even the hardships in societies today," Adi Samanunu said.
She said the special day had also brought women together.
"Despite our different religions and background, we are so united in this day of prayer as we ask God for guidance and protection in the societies we live in and that is important," Adi Samanunu said.
"It is also a day where we encourage and build one another up so we can contribute effectively to our communities," she said.
The women ended their day's program with a special lunch at Naduri Village.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

SDL now Sodelpa or what?

from w
from Radio Australia:

Fiji SDL Party changes name again to get around decree

Updated 26 February 2013, 18:27 AEST
Fiji's former SDL Party has attempted to register itself under a new name and acronymn.
The mainly ethnic i-Taukei party was not allowed to keep it's original Fijian name under the new political parties decree which said all parties much have English language names only.
It reformed itself as what it said was a new party - the Social Democratic Liberal or SDL Party, but an amendment to the decree forbade the use of initials of previous parties.
The party formally presented its application for registration this morning, presenting the electoral office with a list of eight thousand members - three thousand more than the decree requires.
The leader of the proposed party, Dr Tupeni Baba, explains to Bruce Hill how they intend to get around the ban on the use of their initials, SDL.
Presenter: Bruce Hill
Speaker: Dr Tupeni Baba, leader of the proposed Social Democratic Liberal Party, SODELPA, in Fiji
BABA: Yes, we have the same initials but the Soqosoqo Duavata ni Lewenivanua was in Fijian, and they used the LDL a lot because a lot of people could not pronounce the Fijian names for the old party. But instead of doing that we have gone into the names of the party, the Social Democratic Liberal Party, that's the proposed name. And we were advised also that the initials of those, first initials of all the names that we have might come up to SLDP, that might be seen to be objectionable. So we decided to avoid that and use an abbreviation instead, and the abbreviation is SODELPA. In that way we are trying to avoid the initials, the recognitions involving the SDL. So through abbreviation, which is also an old …, acronym.
HILL: So SODELPA means Social Democratic Liberal Party?
BABA: Yes it means that, but we use the abbreviation instead of the initials.
HILL: Initially the Political Parties decree said all party names had to be in the English language, which meant the old SDL had to change its name. Now they've said this thing you're not allowed to have the same initials as a former party. Both of these things aimed fairly clearly at your party. Do you think the government really wants to register your party?
BABA: Well that's what people are saying that we would be targeted and we feel like that as well. But we are following the decree to the letter to make sure that we will be registered. And I believe that in the names that we've chosen and in the abbreviations that we have chosen for the proposed party, we will be able to succeed. Our people are also waiting to see the outcome of that because the support in the country is still solid for the people that are supporting the proposed party that we're forming.
HILL: What happens if the coup-installed military government doesn't register your party?
BABA: Well we'll come to that when it happens and they should have very good reasons. But in terms of this decree we feel confident that we have addressed all the requirements. But we cannot foresee what they will have in mind the next time round. But we are sure that we can begin within ourselves be able to answer any inquiries that may be inquired or any modifications that need to be made, and we'll be able to satisfy that. I think the proposed party, the Social Democratic Liberal Party, although different in name, the people who are sponsoring the party and signed as members, they know our relationship with the old party. They know the people that are in this proposed party. Fiji's a small place and they have the confidence to be with us to go all the way with us.
HILL: The old SDL was very much seen as an ethnic iTaukei or Fijian party. Is that still going to be true of the new SODELPA?
BABA: SODELPA's constitution is very broad based, it's multicultural, multiracial and it articulates many of those social democratic values and also some of the modern liberal values. And I think we try very much to bring people together, unify the people, I think this is needed at this time. And I think this is an aspect that is new, that is innovative in the proposed party that we're intending to form.
- See more at:

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Seaqaqa Police Station

from Peceli,
It's good to hear compliments about the Seaqaqa Police Station as being the best in the country.  Forty years ago Seaqaqa was just a few cane farms but it grew into a big settlement.  Some of the pioneers in Seaqaqa were Jo Cavalevu, who was a Commissioner North then and Ratu Iloilo who was the Roko Tui Macuata. They thought then they could start another sugar mill in Seaqaqa but they didn't proceed with this. Congratulations to Jona for being the Best Community Policing Officer of 2012.

from the Fiji Times today:

Seaqaqa, Fiji's best station

Serafina Silaitoga
Monday, February 25, 2013
IT may sit among the hilly pine farms of Seaqaqa and beside a dusty road, but it has been declared the best police station in Fiji.
The announcement of the Seaqaqa Police Station being the best in the country last year certainly turned heads at the Police Excellence Awards on Saturday night and it sure did set a benchmark for other bigger stations.
The police station in Macuata has also produced the Best Community Policing Officer of 2012 in Corporal Jona Semo.
Delighted about the achievement of her team, divisional police commander north Senior Superintendent Fulori Rainibogi said the Seaqaqa Police Station also set a standard for other stations in the north.
"It has also challenged officers from other bigger stations around Vanua Levu to pick up and make improvements so it can also be like the station in Seaqaqa," SSP Rainibogi said.
"Seaqaqa team was the only one that received awards for the north and they deserve it because they have worked hard for it and they have done us proud.
"This will also mean a better year for us in the north as we will work together to produce better results next year."
Ms Rainibogi said the community policing program would also be enhanced in the division as they set their eyes to work better with the community to fight crime.
"We have a new model of community policing and that will be used by our team.
"Our work this year will mean increased awareness and outreach programs with the community," she said.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

A marriage at Rye Back Beach

from w

Peceli and I had a delightful weekend at Rye, over the bay from us so we went by the ferry from Queenscliff to Sorrento. Rachel and John's wedding was really unusual, with the formal ceremony held on a cliff-top above Number Sixteen Beach, accessed by a strenuous walk across sand hills and the temperature was about 40 degrees by 2 pm.  Peceli and another minister took the service. I sat on a prickly bush - no trees -  as I couldn't stand for half an hour!  The feast afterwards was excellent as the lovo the Fijian guys cooked was perfect - lamb, pork, chicken, dalo, palusami, cassava and they also roasted a lamb on a spit - plus all the goodies made by the hostess and family.  The feast and speeches etc. were in Rachel's compound so lovely decorations were put up by her family.  John is from Fiji, brought up on Koro Island, and Rachel is an Aussie - a very nice mature couple of people we had only met a month or two ago. Here are some photos we took over the weekend.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Fijians still sing doh re me

from w
Choir practice for Fijians often involves learning the voice parts - soprano, alto, tenor, bass using the tonic solfa system, Tonic solfa is rarely used these days in most countries but it works for singers in church choirs in Fiji and even when Fijians move overseas.  Here are some singers during their rehearsal on last Sunday - at Chadstone, Melbourne.  Once they get the notes right, then they can sing the words.

Thursday, February 07, 2013

Experiences of a tsunami

from w
Peceli was told by some older people in Naseakula that they were standing on the hilltop behind the village and saw the water coming which to them was as high as Mali Island.  This was in 1928, and the wave went as far as Korotari village.  Just this week a Fijian doctor working in the Solomon Islands on a small outlier island experienced a tsunami.  And another one was in the 1950s in Suva.. When I heard about the earthquake and tsunami in the Solomons I looked up a map because this week I have just read a book called 'Faraway' about life on Pidgeon Island which is in the Reef Islands near where the catastrophic event took place. Villages are beside the sea and wouldn't have stood a chance.
Two stories from the Fiji Times:

Shaken to the core

Tevita Vuibau
Friday, February 08, 2013
"I AM very shaken. It's been a very traumatic experience for me and I'm not sure whether I'm coming or I'm going."
Those were the words of distraught Fijian national Dr Ledua Waqaliti, a resident of Santa Cruz in the Solomon Islands that was rocked by the tsunami triggered by a magnitude 8.0 earthquake.
The tsunami caused mass destruction on the island with two massive waves washing away houses and flooding Lata airport, which was littered with debris.
Dr Waqaliti, a lecturer at the University of the South Pacific centre on the island, said the tsunami struck after midday, shattering an otherwise normal afternoon.
"E vakadomobula saraga na ka e yaco i ke e na noa (What happened here yesterday was absolutely terrifying)," Dr Waqaliti said.
"As soon as the earthquake happened, the students in my class came and led me out of the classroom to get to higher ground.
"All I could hear was people screaming 'tsunami!'. There were mothers and children calling out to each other and there was panic everywhere as people tried to get to higher ground."
The tsunami struck the western part of Santa Cruz but Dr Waqaliti, who lives on the other side of the island, said they felt the force of the wave when it struck land.
"The island is small so when we were running to get up the hills we could hear the wave," she said.
"While we were trying to make our way into the hills, we heard people screaming that the tsunami was 20 metres from reaching the airport."
With the island still feeling aftershocks and tremors yesterday, Dr Waqaliti said many residents had opted to stay in the hills rather than risk going back into the villages.
"The tremors here come every so often, sometimes they last for only a few seconds but then there are those that go on for a minute. The authorities are saying that we should expect a second earthquake some time today (yesterday) so right now people are still camping in the hills and making beds where they can."
She also had a message for her friends and family back home.
"I just want to let my family know that I am safe but just for them to keep praying for all those here in Santa Cruz. To all my family in Nadera and to my cell group at the Wesley Butt Street Church, please remember us in your prayers.
"The families here do not have much money and it's a hard life for some of them so all we ask is that the people of Fiji keep us in their prayers."
While the Ono-i-Lau native was happy that her students managed to escape unscathed, some staff at the USP centre in Lata lost family members in the disaster.
"The saddest part of the day for me was learning the co-ordinator of the course I am teaching, John Keniop, lost both his parents."
They were among the six confirmed dead on Wednesday when the waves roared over land. They came too fast and outran five elderly villagers and a child.
Another three bodies were found yesterday.
Dr Waqaliti said Mr Keniop's father was confined to a wheelchair.
"When the earthquake hit, Mr Keniop's mother began to make the move to higher ground but she realised her husband was still back in their house and came back for him.
"Unfortunately the tsunami came before they were able to move."
Their bodies were found in the sodden wreckage after the water receded.
Dr Waqaliti's husband in Suva, Ben Waqaliti, said he had made contact with her and was relieved she was safe.
"I know right now that she is in safe hands, she rang me when it happened and she seemed to be more concerned with the students and making sure they were fine," he said.

Remembering 1953 in Suva.

Tsunami threat's real, says 1953 survivor

Tevita Vuibau
Friday, February 08, 2013
WEDNESDAY'S tsunami warning and mass evacuation brought back vivid memories for those that were in the capital when it was hit by a tsunami in 1953.
On September 14 that year, shortly after midday, a tsunami generated by a 6.75 magnitude earthquake off the southeast shore of Viti Levu hit Suva.
Former Public Service Commission chairman Sakiasi Waqanivavalagi, who was a Form Six student at Marist Brothers High School then, does not rule out it happening again.
Mr Waqanivavalagi said there was always a chance a tsunami could devastate Suva the same way it did in 1953.
"I wouldn't rule it out. When I was Minister for Lands and Mineral Resources, I would receive updates on climate and tremors. This was one thing I was very worried about," he said.
"I would ask those at the ministry to keep a close watch on earthquakes and tsunamis because they were very devastating and they are still a worry."
Mr Waqanivavalagi said there was a need for villagers on coastlines to be moved to higher ground in the event of a tsunami.
He said the earthquake and tsunami happened one year after a cyclone caused a lot of damage in Suva.
Recalling the 1953 event, Mr Waqanivavalagi said it was an experience he would not forget.
"When the earthquake first struck, we thought that the army was firing artillery at Nasonini because of the sound. It was only when the earth started moving that we realised it was an earthquake," he said.
"Then before the tsunami came, the water rushed out of the bay in Suva and we could see the bottom, then all of a sudden it came rushing back in."
The wall of water that roared from the ocean, he said, burst past the Grand Pacific Hotel and deposited fish and debris at Albert Park.
"It was terrible. The most terrible thing I have ever seen. It even split the Suva wharf like a twig," he said.
When the alarm sounded on Wednesday, the first thing he thought of were his grandchildren.
"The best thing for schools to do right now is to teach students what to do and what will happen in an earthquake and tsunami."

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Peceli's garden

from Peceli,

This summer I have been busy in the vegetable garden and it is a miracle of life that from seeds and seedlings we have such flourishing plants.  Here are pictures of some of them.  We've been eating the cucumbers and the baigani is fruiting now, a favorite of our relatives in the village of Vatuadova, Labasa. Yesterday a friend at Donation in Kind (the toy maker) gave me some seeds to plant of a giant pumpkin.  His have grown to 150 kilograms in size, and I've seen some  like this, so I'll see what happens!  If I happen to go to Fiji I could take some seedlings perhaps to plant at Vatuadova.

Sunday, February 03, 2013

Kiribas wants land in Fiji

from w
Looking ahead and considering the effects of climate change on the sea levels around Kiribas, there's talk of the people securing land near Savusavu, in Fiji. A good idea.  Story from Fiji Times.

Kiribati to buy land in Fiji

Mereseini Marau In New Delhi, India
Monday, February 04, 2013
THE government of Kiribati will buy about 6000 acres of land near Savusavu for its food security as the country has started feeling the effects of the rising sea level.
And it will ensure that it protects whatever part of Kiribati that can be saved from the wrath of climate change.
In an interview, Kiribati President Anote Tong who was in New Delhi for the 12th Delhi Suistanable Development Summit, said the last thing he wanted was for people to panic.
"We are buying this land in Vanua Levu, near Savusavu, to address our food security and not for the relocation of our people," he said.
"The survey is concluded and we are now waiting for the approval of the Minister of Lands."
Mr Tong who has been advocating about the adverse effects of climate change in his small island state said that a whole community in Kiribati had relocated and the frequency of those relocating was more often now than before.
"We don't want our people to panic," he reiterated. Mr Tong said they were training people on what to expect if they were to relocate.
"We are not picking them up and relocating them. We are training them and they have a choice if they want to move."
Mr Tong said they did not want people to say they relocated because of climate change but because they had a choice to do so. With some of the islands on the verge of sinking in Kiribati, the first citizen of that small island state said everyone accepted that they could not save all their islands by building them up.
But, he said, that they would do everything they could do to ensure that they did not lose their nation to the rising sea level.
"We have accepted that we can't keep everyone in Kiribati, some will have to relocate. Relocating the whole country is our last option.
"We will try and build up some of our islands, but we can't do that for all.
"Nobody is going to give us the money to build up all our islands," he said.
Mr Tong said at the moment, the government of Kiribati was looking at other options like securing their food source.
"We are importing a lot of our food crops because our food crops are affected," he said.
"So the land near Savusavu is an investment which we hope to help in our food security."

Masi designs and copyright

from w
Air Pacific have used traditional Fijian masi designs in their planes.  That's okay, but now Air Pacific has put an advertisement in a Fiji newspaper requesting copyright - trademark - of these designs which truly belong to Fiji women of the past who made their masi designs. Women's groups such as the FWRM are protesting.
from Fijilive:

FWRM says no to trademark of designs February 03, 2013 07:22:30 PMA+ A-||| 0 The Fiji Women’s Rights Movement (FWRM) has strongly objected the attempt made by Fiji Airways to trademark the traditional kesakesa designs. According to reports, Fiji Airways is moving to trademark 15 motifs. Executive Director Virisila Buadromo in a statement said FWRM is against any attempts to commercially trademark cultural designs which are part of the Fijian culture and have always been available to people and communities. She said the move by Fiji Airways directly contravenes national, regional and international norms and standards on protection of societal intellectual property and public good. "It is also in direct violation of various articles of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, especially Article 31."   “This is also a contravention of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women [CEDAW], as women in Fiji are still the primary producers of such masi designs, and therefore various economic, social and cultural rights of women would be directly and indirectly affected by such an illegal and unethical trademark system”. While the Movement believes that the use of the traditional designs and the extensive promotion the logo designer received at the launch of the Fiji Airways new look was commendable, this latest action clearly shows how Fiji Airways wants to possess and control culture. “We strongly urge Fiji Airways to withdraw their application, and urge the Administrator of Trademarks to dismiss their application if it is not withdrawn,” said Buadromo.  “We also urge relevant authorities to create public awareness on this issue which will dissuade other entities from attempting to corporatize public and cultural designs”. FWRM will be joining the many concerned individuals and organisations in writing a letter to the Administrator of Trademarks. Meanwhile, Air Pacific which will fly as Fiji Airways from next month is expected to comment on the issue tomorrow. By Reginald Chandar ----------------

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama: Stop Air Pacific trademarking 15 distinct masi motifs
1.      ------------------------------------- 
1.      Petition by   Pax Viti   Suva, Fiji
This issue is important to me because the 15 masi motifs that Air Pacific/Fiji Airways is trying to trademark belong to all the people of Fiji and the other parts of the Pacific where the motifs are used. These motifs are easily recognisable having been created by artisans in times past and they have been handed down over the generations as a cultural inheritance. The motifs are used by craftspeople, tattoists, masi or tapa makers, designers and artisans to make cultural items like tapa, tattoos, cotton material, clothing, bags etc. These items reflect our cultural heritage, have significance and are often used in cultural and traditional ceremonies. The creation of these cultural items are a source of living for many people in Fiji and the Pacific.
While the grant of the trademark to Air Pacific/Fiji Airways may be a recognition for Mrs. Makereta Matemosi, the grant would not give clear recognition to those women and artisans who came before and created these motifs. Many of these motifs are used by iTaukei women of Fiji and indigenous women in other Pacific islands for kesakesa or masi/ngatu/tapamaking  and do not belong solely to Mrs. Matemosi nor to Air Pacific/Fiji Airways, but are instead a collective cultural inheritance for the people of Fiji and the Pacific.
To trademark the designs for one company’s sole and exclusive use is grossly unfair to other artisans and masi makers, and to the human rights of the indigenous people of the Pacific.
While we applaud Air Pacific and Fiji Airways decision to use indigenous motifs in their livery and logo, we do not support its exclusive use and trademark by Air Pacific/Fiji Airways alone. These motifs were not just created by Air Pacific/Fiji Airways in the last year since the Fiji Airways airline and logo were launched, and are the cultural heritage that should be protected and for the use of all the people of Fiji and the Pacific, in perpetuity, not for the exclusive use of a single corporate entity which although 51% owned by the people of Fiji through the government, cannot be allowed to arrogate to itself the exclusive use of these motifs.
The artists and families whose cultural inheritance this is, were not consulted by Air Pacific before this attempt to trademark these designs and I stand with them and the future generations in signing this petition to protest the trademark attempt.

What else can you do to object to the trademark attempt by Air Pacific:
1. Spread the word - share the link to the petition on your facebook, twitter, tumblr and other social media platforms - encourage your friends and family to sign the petition!
2. Like the Noda Masi page to keep up to date with information on this campaign against the trademarking of the 15 masi motifs:  Keep informed and up to date with other action that is happening and what you can do further. The deadline for objections is Friday April 19th, but don’t wait, write now, talk to your relatives and friends and other interested people now. Don’t wait until April to do something – what you do today may mean Air Pacific can be persuaded to back down and withdraw their applications and the government authorities to consider the views of the population. Remember to copy your letters to, post them on the Air Pacific facebook page and post them on this page too. 
3. Write to Air Pacific to register your disapproval of their unnecessary attempt to grab ownership of the 15 masi motifs by trademarking them, when they have already trademarked the Fiji Airways logo (in the center of the masi piece by Makereta Matemosi). Call for a reversal of Air Pacific’s trademark applications since it is 51% owned by you and I, the people of Fiji. Email or write a comment on the AP facebook page - and on the Fiji Airways page You can also write to FutureBrand, the PR company doing the Fiji Airways branding for Air Pacific: write to Sally McNeill, General Manager -
3. Talk to relatives who are masi/tapa/ngatu makers: If you have an aunt, grandmother or cousin who is a masi maker, ask them about the 15 masi motifs and if they know the history and origin of those motifs, and if they use them, where they learnt it from, how long they’ve used it. Record this with notes or on audio/video. Ask them their views about Air Pacific’s attempt to own or trademark these designs and if they would be forced in future to ask or pay Air Pacific a fee to use the motifs. Make a copy of your recording and put it on the internet on youtube or facebook and send a copy of the transcript/contents to Attach a copy to your letter of objection and help your relative with a letter of objection if they would like to object to Air Pacific’s trademark attempt too.  
4. Write to the Fiji Administrator General & Permanent Secretary for Justice to register your objection. Email or PO Box 2226 Government Buildings or fax your letter to Fax: (679) 3303676
5. Write to the Fiji Attorney General who is also the Minister for Justice (the Justice Ministry administers trademarks under the PS Justice) and is also the Minister for Public Enterprises – he appoints the Air Pacific Board. Email or post your letter to P.O. Box 2213, Government Buildings, Suva, Fiji Islands. Or fax it to            +679 330 5421      
6. Write to the President who has the responsibility to unify our nation and to protect the nation and our culture – see address below. Making your voice heard means this issue will be discussed at the highest levels of government for hopefully a reversal of Air Pacific’s trademark applications since it is 51% owned by you and I, the people of Fiji. 
7. Write to the Prime Minister as Minister for Indigenous iTaukei Affairs. Recently he overruled a decision by another Minister, and it would be easier to nip this in the bud by preventing trademark status to Air Pacific, than to try to reverse the decision after the fact. Email or send your letter to PO Box 2353, Govt Bldgs, Suva or fax it to             +679 3306 034      . Copy the letter to the PS PMs’ office and PS iTaukei affairs (address below)
8. Write to the Minister for Education and Culture Mr. Filipe Bole - Minister for Education, National Heritage, Culture and Arts. Private Mail Bag, Government Buildings, Suva or fax your letter to             +679 3303511      . Copy the letter to the PS for Education (address below)
9. Write to the Minister for Women Dr. Jiko Luveni and ask her to intervene on behalf of the many women who are masi makers and craftspeople. Write to Ministry of Women, Social Welfare and Poverty Allevation. PO Box 14068, Suva, Fiji. Or fax your letter to             +679 3312357       or email Copy the letter to the PS for Women (address below)

The objection appeals must be made by 19 April 2013 (19/4/13) or within 3 months from the date the applications were advertised in the Fiji Times (25/1/13). This means that the objection window period WILL END on 19/4/13.