Sunday, November 30, 2014

James Bhagwan on ABC radio

from w
Last night I was interested to listen to Fiji's James Bhagwan being interviewed by John Cleary on the ABC Sunday night religious program. Rev James was articulate and spoke of the arrival of the vaka from the Pacific Islands for a conference on conservation. He was also asked about the Methodist Church in Fiji and James spoke clearly about recent history.  Go to this website and the interview can be downloaded.


The Mua Voyage canoes on Sydney Harbour, 12 November 2014

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The Interview: Rev. James Bhagwan

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Pacific Island nations recently highlighted their concerns about conservation and climate change at the IUCN World Parks Congress in Sydney.
Leaders such as the President of Kiribati, Anote Tong, made a spectacular entrance to Sydney Harbour on 12 November 2014, sailing up Sydney Harbour in four massive Pacific voyaging canoes and docking at the Australian National Maritime Museum in Darling Harbour.
The Mua Voyagers travelled to Sydney from as far away as the Cook Islands, entirely under sail and navigating by the stars, as an example of the way people can still live in harmony with nature.
Rev. James Bhagwan is the Methodist Church in Fiji's Secretary for Communication and Overseas Mission and the chaplain to the voyagers.
He spoke to John Cleary about the voyage and the climate reality faced by the people of the Pacific.
Rev. Bhagwan also discussed the current political climate in Fiji, where the majority Methodist Church has endured a rocky relationship with the country's former military regime.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Proposed technical school in Labasa

from w
This does sound like a good idea.  Some of the courses undertaken at Fiji High Schools are not as practical or suitable as technical schools, so it's good to hear that one is proposed for Labasa.  From the Fiji media:

Proposed technical college

Luke Rawalai And Salaseini Moceiwai
Friday, November 28, 2014
LABASA Arya College will be converted into one of the first three technical colleges in the country next year.
This was revealed by the Minister of Education Dr Mahendra Reddy during his tour of the college in Labasa on Wednesday.
He said this was in line with the ministry's reforms to develop more technical colleges in the country.
"The technical colleges will enable students who want to do skilled work like electrical engineering, mechanical works, short cooking classes," Dr Reddy said.
"After completing these two-year courses in these colleges, the students can then pursue their diplomas at the Fiji National University.
"These programs will suit school dropouts well who can use these opportunities to look for skilled works."

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Seasonl workers to New Zealand

from w
Only thirty people to go to New Zealand as seasonal workers, and the training will cost half a million dollars!  What kind of training is that!  FORES is certainly going to make a huge packet out of this.

FORES to select for NZ seasonal work November 24, 2014 03:30:03 

 Fiji's Foreign Employment Service (FORES) will select and prepare the 30 workers to participate in the first phase under the New Zealand Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) Work Scheme. A sum of $520,150 has been provided to the FORES to facilitate the training of these workers as well as others expected to take up seasonal work in New Zealand and Australia later in the year. 

Finance Minister Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum said about 3000 Fijians are expected to be trained under this programme. Employment Ministry Permanent Secretary Taito Waqa had said in an interview earlier the training of workers is part of efforts to ensure and maintain quality in exports including in labour. It is likely government will also consider those registered with the National Employment Centre (NEC), when selecting those to take up the seasonal work programme. 

NEC has been provided $1million in the 2015 Budget to help unemployed Fijians find jobs, both locally and overseas, that will allow them to support themselves and their families. NEC focuses on providing skills training that makes unemployed persons, retirees, and volunteers more competitive in both local and overseas employment markets. It also offers placement services. 

Meanwhile, seasonal work for the 30 workers in New Zealand starts in February next year. They will work in Hawke's Bay, Bay of Plenty and Nelson. An agreement will be signed on December 11 between Fiji and New Zealand to set out the RSE arrangements. 

FORES was officially launched in July this year to help Fijians find employment overseas. The program has helped Fijians find employment in the UAE, Canada and NZ. More opportunities are available now that NZ and Australia have welcomed Fiji back into their seasonal workers program.


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Friday, November 21, 2014

China and Fiji

from w and from ABC

Chinese president Xi Jinping visits Fiji as part of China's Pacific engagement to strengthen ties

China's president Xi Jinping is in Fiji on a whirlwind visit aimed at strengthening economic and strategic ties with Pacific island nations.
Mr Xi's visit came after Indian prime minister Narendra Modi stopped over in Fiji also to court regional leaders, who form one of the largest voting blocs at the United Nations.
Both leaders targeted the Pacific as a vital stop on their way home from the recent G20 summit in Australia.
Mr Xi is holding bilateral talks today with Fiji's prime minister Frank Bainimarama and seven other Pacific heads of state, including Papua New Guinea's prime minister Peter O'Neill.
During a traditional welcoming ceremony in the tourist town of Nadi last night, Mr Bainimarama said Fiji wanted China to be fully engaged in the Pacific.
In a thinly veiled swipe at Australia and New Zealand, he said China had been "a true friend of Fiji" and had never interfered in Fiji's internal politics.
And also:






Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Brij Lal, academic from Labasa awarded

from w
It's good to see Brij Lal, who was once  a young lad in babasiga land, who studied hard and became a recognised international academic, has been given a special award..

Award for academic

Verenaisi Raicola
Wednesday, November 19, 2014
Fijian historian and academic Professor Brij Lal, who was involved in drafting the now scrapped Fijian 1997 Constitution, was awarded the Distinguished Achievement Award of the International Association for the Study of Migration and Indenture at a conference in Mauritius last week.
This award recognises a lifetime's path breaking research on the history of Indian migration and settlement in different parts of the world, and is a testimony to Dr Lal's global standing in the field.
"This award comes as I move closer to retirement next year," Dr Lal said.
"I feel deeply humbled by it, knowing the long and difficult journey that has led to it.
"The recognition of my international peers means a lot to me," he said.
Dr Lal, who was in Mauritius to receive the award, said: "It was in recognition of my lifetime's work on the history and culture of the Indian indentured diaspora, which began in 1979 with a study of the girmit experience in Fiji.
"I have since visited all the major Indian indentured labour colonies in the Caribbean, the Indian Ocean, Africa and Southeast Asia, providing an overarching interpretation of indentured migration and settlement," he said.
Mr Lal's first book, Girmitiyas: The origins of the Fiji Indians, is now recognised globally as the foundational text in the field.
Two other scholars were also honoured: Marina Carter from Britain and Brinsley Samaroo from Trinidad.

PMs of China and India visiting Fiji

from w
There won't be any 'shirt-fronting' and bad manners when two leading Prime Ministers visit Fiji later this week. They will surely be welcomed with correct protocol.

PM Modi to head to Fiji after Australia visit, climate change talks on agenda

AFP | November 18, 2014, 12.11 pm IST
The Indian Prime Minister and Chinese President Xi will both hold mini summits during their Fiji stopovers, meeting with up to 12 regional leaders as they bid for the support of one of the largest voting blocs in the United Nations. (Photo: PTI/File)
The Indian Prime Minister and Chinese President Xi will both hold mini summits during their Fiji stopovers, meeting with up to 12 regional leaders as they bid for the support of one of the largest voting blocs in the United Nations. (Photo: PTI/File)
Suva, Fiji:  Rival suitors India and China step up their courtship of Pacific island nations this week when Narendra Modi and Xi Jinping head to Fiji following the Group of 20 summit in Australia.

The Indian Prime Minister and Chinese President Xi will both hold mini summits during their Fiji stopovers, meeting with up to 12 regional leaders as they bid for the support of one of the largest voting blocs in the United Nations.

A likely central issue of the talks will be climate change, where low-lying Pacific islands would welcome assistance.

"China and India, they are not just global political and economic powers, but they are contributors to the problem of climate change and the Pacific Island countries are at the receiving end of climate change but do not necessarily contribute to it," said Sandra Tarte, director of the politics and international affairs program at the University of the South Pacific in Suva.

"In the past there has been this deadlock between developed countries and these so-called developing countries on how to approach the issue and whether or not countries like China and India need to make concessions.

PM Modi arrives in Fiji on Wednesday for a three-day visit with Xi landing on Saturday.

The countries expected to be represented at the talks along with Fiji include Samoa, Tonga, the Cook Islands, Niue, Nauru, Vanuatu and the Federated States of Micronesia.

Although Fiji has a substantial Indian population, Modi will be the first leader from New Delhi to visit since Indira Gandhi in 1981 and the first to have broad interaction with a wide range of island leaders.

But Tarte did not see India expanding its presence in the South Pacific to the same extent as China.

"India doesn't have the same reach as China does, diplomatic reach. It's economic ties are not that expansive or as developed," she said.


Friday, November 14, 2014

Fiji Geelong Friendship Club

from w
This evening several families from Geelong and also Melbourne gathered at Joe and Ninetta's home for kava, talanoa and a lovely dinner and some later adjourned to our household to drink kava and have a good social time. Here are a few photos of some of our family and friends in the Fiji network here.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Pacific canoe sails into Sydney

from w

Pacific Island canoe flotilla sails into Sydney Harbour for IUCN World Parks Congress

New South Wales' Environment Minister Rob Stokes has welcomed Pacific Island leaders into Sydney Harbour, as the World Parks Congress begins with more than 5,000 delegates gathering in the city to participate in this once-in-a-decade event.
A flotilla of canoes from the Pacific Islands has reached Darling Harbour marking the end of a voyage to highlight the need for more action to tackle climate change, with their final destination being the International Union for Conservation of Nature Sixth World Parks Congress (IUCN).
The Vaka canoes of the Mua Voyage sailed across the harbour this morning with Pacific Island leaders from Kiribati, Cook Islands and Palau on board.
They sailed under the Sydney Harbour Bridge before arriving at the Australian National Maritime Museum for the official welcoming ceremony.
It is the first time a fleet of traditional voyaging canoes has sailed to Australia, with crews embarking on a 6,000 nautical mile journey.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

A bright costume for a Fiji chick

from w

Kula bird inspires national costume November 13, 2014 12:14:37 PMA+ A-||| 0 inShare   Follow @ Twitter Miss World Fiji's national costume to the 64th Miss World finals in London has been inspired by the Kula bird- one of Fiji's unique parrot species. The costume which has been designed by Andrew Powell and Aisea Konrote gets its style and colour from the Kula bird which is endemic to the islands of Kadavu and Ono in the Kadavu group while the head piece draws inspiration from the 'lakalaka dance' by the Lauan people. Miss World Fiji National Director Andhy Blake said the Kula bird is significant to i-Taukei culture as the feathers were used in fans as well as in dance costumes and the Kula bird is also on our five dollar currency. "The national costume inspiration will showcase one of our endemic species and what better way to showcase the beauty of the Kula bird than in a costume to be worn on the Miss World stage." "National Costumes in pageantry should reflect the uniqueness of the country it represents and must never be confused as a Traditional Costume which is costumes that reflects our indigenous values and materials." Miss World Fiji Charlene Tafuna'i leaves our shores next Wednesday and will fly to London after spending some time in Los Angeles.

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Copyright 2014 ©
And  an earlier design for a beauty pageant for the Fiji entrant was of a peculiar looking owl. Below are some more appropriate Fiji designs that I think look better.   Here's a video of the bird dance when dressed as an owl. Rather comical, good fun, but was it appropriate?

The bird costume does nothing to flatter the young woman.  Colours should compliment and complement her skin colour, enhance her beauty, keep her looking feminine.  Perhaps using the colours of the sea and reef would still be symbolic of Fiji - pearls, iuminous tiny shells in the bodice, various layers of blue, aqua, green in chiffon for the skirt. I have yet to see a design like I imagine would be better.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Plug it in to a coconut tree

from w
Typical of some gifts.  Flour to bake bread but where's the oven, where's the electricity. Do they plug a vine into the coconut tree?  I wonder too about gifts of laptops to remote villages, so how do they get wi-fi ? Well, I suppose the youth in the village can cook plenty of topoi to eat!

Here's a letter in the Fiji Times.

Bakery project
THE Ministry of Youth and Sports has funded a bakery project in my village of Dromuninuku, Naweni, Cakaudrove, with the mata ni tikina, the adviser to the youth group.
Eleven bags of 50 kg flour and baking ingredients have been received by the youth group, however, the youths are yet to receive the electrical oven to enable them to bake.
None of the youths are able to bake bread and the village has no electricity to generate the electric oven.
EREMASI DAME, Cakaudrove

Friday, November 07, 2014

Seasonal workers from Fiji to Australia

from w
Someone yesterday told us that the number of workers in the Seasonal workers program in Australia would be capped at 500 from Fiji but that is ridiculously small as Australia needs thousands of labourers for the fruit harvest alone. The figures below refer to only Fiji or to all Pacific Islanders in the scheme?  then I looked up an Australian government website    and read this:

What will seasonal workers get paid?
Seasonal workers are provided with the same working conditions and arrangements as other employees in their workplace. Seasonal workers are usually employed under the Horticulture Award 2010.

Is the Seasonal Worker Program capped?
Yes the number of seasonal workers that can be recruited each year is capped. 3250 places are available to Australian Approved Employers in 2014-15. 4250 places are available to Australian Approved Employers in 2015-16

How long can seasonal workers stay in Australia for?
Seasonal workers can be invited to undertake work in Australia for a single approved Australian employer for a period of between 14 weeks and six months. Australian approved employers need to guarantee a minimum average of 30 hours of work per week for the duration of seasonal workers’employment.

What sectors can seasonal workers be employed in?
Seasonal workers can be employed to undertake work in the horticulture, ccommodation, aquaculture, cane and cotton sectors

Sunday, November 02, 2014

Anglican confirmation in Labasa

from w
St Thomas is doing well with many young people confirmed in their church recently. This was written up in the Fiji Sun.  

November 03

👤 by Seruwaia Waqasaqa, LABASA

More than 25 children of Saint Thomas Anglican Church in Labasa were part of the confirmation Sunday held at their church yesterday.The Confirmation Sunday means it is the first initial process of one’s inclusion into the Christian community.

The Sacrament of Confirmation is unique as it reconfirms their faith by being baptised. The Vicar of the Saint Thomas Anglican Church in Labasa, Father Kelvin Rakesh, said parents should take this time to lay the foundation on values they wanted their children to have.He said children took part  in the Lord’s Supper when they reached the ages of nine to 11 and received the Sacraments of Confirmation when they reached the ages of 11.
“We are trying to tell and teach these little children what this means. 

At this stage young children at the age of nine, 10, 11 have not developed in their minds the ability to be able to make decisions on their own. At this time their faith relies on people in authority on what the laws say and what their mum and dad says.”

Father Rakesh said parents needed to be open-minded and allowed their children to express and develop their own ideas.“When their children grow older, hopefully the values and the teachings that were laid at an early stage of life will help them in making correct and right decisions. This event happens every year and we are pleased to see a huge number of children reconfirming their beliefs and faith in the teaching and the gifts of the Holy Spirit.”

Father Rakesh thanked Archbishop Apimeleki Qilio who was part of the event.