Tuesday, May 30, 2017

FNU to build an arts complex

This is excellent news, that the FNU plan to build a brand-new complex for arts which I presume means visual arts, theatre, dance and music.  Gone are the days when these subjects were regarded as on the periphery of studies. When I taught art in Fiji I was one of the very few art teachers and even the training of teachers in these areas was minimal. A man or woman was expected to lump art, music and phys ed all together. Much better today and we know that there is work out there for artists, musicians, actors and so on.  (Article from Fiji Villagle)
FNU estimates costs to design and build a creative arts department in Nasinu
By Lena Reece
Wednesday 31/05/2017

Nigel Healey.
The Fiji National University is estimating costs to design and build a creative arts department in Nasinu that will be included in their capital budget for 2018.
This has been confirmed by Fiji National University Nigel Healey, who says that they have commissioned a comprehensive engineering report to establish the cost of repairing the Raiwai FNU campus and bringing it up to a high standard.
He adds that because the damage is quite extensive and the building is old, this cost was very high and the University Council concluded that it would be more economic to build a purpose‑built creative arts building, housing a television studio, performing arts theatre, mixing suites, sound‑proofed and music practice rooms.
Healey says that the Council has also considered the most appropriate location of a new facility and, because Raiwai campus is in an industrial zone with no sidewalks, it is not ideally suited for a university building. 
He adds that the consensus was to build the new facility at Nasinu campus, where there is a lot of unused land and space for car parking.
FNU Vice Chancellor says that the new building will give the campus a cultural hub.
Healey says that their Capital Infrastructure team is presently liaising with staff from the FNU creative arts departments to design the concept for the building.

Indian Division Labasa fundraising

Church Walk To Fundraise, Champion Civic Pride

Church Walk To  Fundraise, Champion Civic Pride
Methodist Church of Fiji Labasa and Savusavu Indian Circuit members after cleaning up roads and footpaths along Labasa to Seaqaqa on May 27, 2017. Photo: Shratika Naidu
May 30
In a bid to raise funds to build a church, the Methodist Church of Fiji Labasa and Savusavu Indian Circuit conducted a walkathon with a difference on Saturday.
Church representative Alfred Wiliame said they held a walkathon by holding a clean-up campaign from Labasa Town to Seaqaqa.
Mr Wiliame said more than 20 members started cleaning the streets, footpath and drains of Labasa from 5.30am.
“The members walked to collect rubbish and this is the first time we have done this. It is like a cleanup campaign and a walkathon for us,” Mr Wiliame said.
He said ‘cleanliness was next to Godliness’, thus the choice of their main activity for the walkathon.
Currently the congregation are having their services at a temporary shelter in Naodamu in Labasa.
They aim to raise $300,000 to build a church complex and the walkathon was one of the fundraising activities.
“The other reason we decided to have a clean-up campaign is because we have civic pride.
“We want people to practice the right way of disposing rubbish and refrain from throwing them on our streets, footpath and drains,” Mr Wiliame.
The church has also made an appeal to those who are willing to lend a helping hand to contact them on 9359794 or make a deposit into their Church Savings Account at Westpac – 9806351483.
Edited by Caroline Ratucadra

Monday, May 29, 2017

Fish poisoning in Labasa

from the Fiji Times

Fish poisoning scare

Monday, May 29, 2017
Update: 3:31PM THE Ministry of Health and Medical Services has confirmed that 17 villagers from Ligaulevu in Mali were rushed to Labasa Hospital on Sunday afternoon over the weekend for fish poisoning. A statement from the ministry said the villagers were treated and sent home.
"It is believed they ate Dabea (Giant Moray Eel) for lunch," the statement said.
"There were classical signs of fish poisoning like numbness of hands and feet and some had vomiting and diarrhea resulting in mild dehydration. The team had Labasa Hospital responded promptly to attend to all of them, they had to be hydrated and given medication."
"All the patients were sent home after receiving the medical care and all of them have been advised to report back if encountered with any complications."
The statement said the Divisional Medical Officer (DMO) Northern and his team would continue to monitor the situation and any patients who may appear to be at risk would be carefully monitored and treated as required.
Meanwhile the Ministry of Fisheries and police confirmed that 16 villagers had been rushed to hospital while 13 were treated and sent home and the other three recovering at Labasa Hospital. Mali district representative Seru Moce confirmed this adding villagers were well aware of poisonous fish species but continued to consume them.

Day in the life of the widow of a Fijian talatala

Day in the life of a widow of a Fijian talatala

·         6 a.m. cup of tea and honey on toast. It’s 5 degrees in Geelong.
·         Feed guinea pigs vegetables then put Ginger Meggs and Ratu Vulavula inside a carton to bring into the lounge room near the gas heater for a couple of hours.  They huddle together,a but anxious to be away from the freedom of the large puppy pen in the verandah.
·          Andy makes porridge for three, Take four pills.
·         Watch TV news – death, mayhem, chasing Corby unsuccessfully.
·         Check emails, facebook, Addie, Age, Fiji media. Not much going on.
·         10 a.m. to the medical clinic, read the paper Addie in 4 minutes, meet the new Diabetes Educator Georgia. (Every six months have a checkup.) A long session – of nearly an hour - with a new girl learning the computer options, slowing it all down. Bit of joking to mask my mismanagement of diet, etc. BP is 150/70, way too high.
·         Back home decide to try out Andy’s swing, high, low, high, low, then when I get down I spew up into the garden.
·         Grandson calls in on the way to work and we make arrangements for one of the cars to be serviced. We are grateful that the grandsons are working full-time.
·         Make tomato soup for lunch and pick grass in the garden for the guinea pigs.
·         2 p.m.  Instead of going to the library for our Book Club we go to the cafe in James Street where they have spectacular cakes for $8 a piece. There are six of us, a wake to remember our delightful member Maria whose funeral some of us attended a few days ago. Last meeting a month ago she was with us, animated, intelligent, sparkling with wit -  but alas two weeks ago after surgery there was a setback. Her body in now back in Portugal with kin. So we mainly buy coffee and little Portuguese cakes – like French madeleines. We talk about the book of the month – The Vegetarian – by a South Korean writer. Very dark, sad, scary. It’s now a movie – art-house kind.
·         I walk a block (with a walking stick) to catch the Newcomb/Whittington bus – haven’t used the buses for two months. It’s a run to catch it  - the buses pull up about four at a time – for less than a minute -and my BP is way up as I scurry.
·         Back at home, the TV ‘Heartbeat’ is starting – small rural setting in England and the lives of the police and others. I’m a sucker for this program at present. And other English detective/forensic kind of programs.
·         Andrew has made flatbread wraps with chicken and greens so that’s my late afternoon snack.
·         On the computer I do half-an-hour of the church bulletin for next week – including a contribution by one of the women and a prayer by St Francis of Assisi which sounds quite contemporary for our modern world.  There are some good posts from the Methodist Church in Fiji. There’s  lots of comments that started with Margaret Court’s letter re definition of marriage – that really got the possums out of their hidey holes, their bushy tails shaking with anger. Plenty of bias and prejudice on both sides of the argument.  Even in the local paper there are arguments about flying rainbow flags.
·         Our angel from Christ Church Anglican has dropped in with a box of vegetables and all sorts of goodies. We are so blessed by these gifts.
·         Tea is bacon and eggs and greens.  I have now a plan for six months which includes care with diet, twice a week at the heated swimming pool, etc. And after the periscope examination in a couple of weeks, then I can find out if I have a serious illness or not – to know why I have anaemia and low iron stores, etc.
·         Tidy up the kitchen, do the dishes.  Nothing much on TV tonight.
·         Aching despite the Panadol Osteo so find the Deep Heat.
·         That’s about it for the day so it’s time for bed and listening to the ABC talkback and quiz after midnight.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

A legend of Macuata

This reposted from a story I wrote a few years ago in this blog.

SUNDAY, JUNE 11, 2006

A legend from Macuata

From Wendy,
I collected this story from Jovilisi from Sueni village. It is a story of Toatagane's daughters and their adventures and travels in Macuata as told by Jo using the English language.

Toatagane was one of the chiefs or our place in our old ancestral village of Nabatini. He had two daughters, Adi Senibua who was younger, and Adi Wata who was older. They were cooking their breakfast one morning consisting of yams. The method of cooking was preserving the liquid in the pot which was a clay pot. Their father returned from planting in the garden and the food was ready. The table was prepared for breakfast with nicely cooked yam. But they had made a mistake. They had poured away the juice from the pot which was earthenware. It was usual to eat the cooked yam with the liquid. 'What have you done with the juice?' shouted Toatagane. He was furious, sad, and angry.

So he told his daughters to pack straight away, to take their belongings and go to a faraway place where his name was not know. They were downhearted and started to cry to be banished like that. They travelled down the track towards the sea because their village is on top of the mountains in Vanua Levu.

The first place where they rested was near a river with big stones, big rocks piled together. They started to wonder how that came about and one said to the other, the young one. 'Just look at the big rock all piled together'. In our dialect the older one replied, 'They are just sitting on top of each other.' From then till today that placed is called Vatuveitikoni which means rocks on top of one another.

Further down it started to rain. The girls were getting wet and cold and they came to a deserted house, probably deserted during the war. In the kitchen they saw a burning fire so then took two sticks of fire with them and travelled further on. The older one was holding them, blowing them, and the younger girl was warming herself. That place is called Nabukaraliga which means that she was holding the fire in the air and blowing them to warm the younger sister.

Then they moved on and saw an orange tree fully ripened and full of fruit. When the orange tree ripens the fruits get yellow and reddish. Adi Wata called out, 'There's a big orange tree over there.' This place is calledVunimoli which means the orange tree.

They left that place and had to cross a small creek. They could not jump across because it was a bit swampy so the older one went and got a fallen log of a sea tree and put the log across the creek to help them cross.Kawakawasea means the sea which was used to cross a swampy creek.

They left that place and went further down and came across another creek and there were many spots on the rocks and the younger girl was delighted at the sight before them. She wondered how this happened and they named the place Vatuboroboro which means a spotted rock.

Then they went further down to the place that today is the town of Labasa. There was a large sea tree. It is a very large tree grown in Fiji which usually bears fruit which is sweet when ripe but we don't usually eat them, only when we are really hungry. Most people just chew them. When the two girls reached there, there were many bats flying all over the tree eating the fruit. They named that place Nasea, the place of the Sea tree. This is where the town of Labasa is situated now.

They left there and went further down to a place where the village of Naseakula now stands. It was during low tide and because these girls were from the bush they were delighted to see seashells along the bank of that small creek. The younger girl was picking up the seashells on the bank, savulu. That is why the vanua of Labasa is called Wasavulu by its chiefly title until today. She stayed there and her sister went further on.

The place she came to is what is called today Tuatua. She sat down to wait for her younger sister and she was calling on top of her voice but the younger one answered back to Wata. 'I'm not going any further. You can go. I am staying. Go on' So the younger one 3was left there, Adi Senibua, and she became the chief of that place because she was good-looking, beautiful and now I heard about this very old story that she became the vu of that place which is called Madraibokola.

The elder girl Wata went further down to where the Wailevu village is situated. She was keen to see this wide river and she had to cross it so she swam across. She called this place Wailevu which means a very big river.

Further down she was getting cold and she came across a small river just two to three kilometres down from Wailevu and she was saying 'I have to swim across'. Qalo means swim and we call this place Qalowaqa which means a place to swim.

Then she left that place and went further down and then came across a village. The people were having lunch there, a pudding made out of tapioca and coconut cream. She came in from the bush not knowing this food. There was no tapioca from her home village. She liked the taste of the pudding and when she finished the first plate the ladies said, 'Have some more pudding' Me tavi na yabia? This referred toa the second serve of the pudding by calling the place Tabia.

Then she came upon a hill and on top of the hill looking down at the sea thre was a village down below. But there was an army of villagers just fighting there, burning down villages and when they saw this woman descending from the hill they thought that she was a spy. They tried to catch her and were yelling on top of their voices. 'Catch her. Yalava. Catch from there. Yalava is the place. Chase her from there.'

She left there and came further down and when she came down to the second village which is Korotubu and there were some people there. They were occupied and they threw stones and rocks at her. Tubua mai ina. That place is called Korotubu.

She left there and it was getting dark and she was getting tired also and needed a place to sleep on the way. There were a lot of coconuts and a bigdilo tree on the beach. She brought two coconut leaves, the dried leaves called Sasa and spread them around. Sasa is the dried coconut leaf. That place is called Sasa.

She left Sasa and went further down to where the village of Naduri stands today. That army of warriors that were fighting along the coast had destroyed the village, burnt it down. Only the posts were left, all burning. She was unhappy because nobody was there. It was empty. 'All the place is burnt down. Only the posts are standing up' she thought. Naduri means burnt posts. So she was there alone and made up her mind not to go further but to find a place to stay for the time being. So she looked down towards the west and saw there was an island. She thought it might be safe if she went there.

So she turned herself into a bat and flew across to the island which we called today Macuata i wai. Nowadays in Naduri there are still people by the name of Tamaibeka, still using that word, (not nabeqa) some of the chiefs of Naduri. And she went and there was a wiriwiri tree. Boys came to the wiriwiri tree and saw this bat hanging up there and started to collect stones to throw at the bat. But she spoke to them. 'I'm not a bat. I'm not a flying fox. I'm a human being'. So she changed into a person and came down. They saw that she was a beautiful girl and took her home and then made her chief of Macuata i wai. She was staying there with the people feeling very safe and the people were very kind.

And one day when she was collecting seashells from the beach, her father, Toatagane back at Batini on top of the mountain was very lonely and he looked down. He saw her picking up the shells and in our dialect language he said, 'Ma cu o Wata ni vili mena vivili' which means Wata is picking up seashells. That is where the name Macuataderives from and from that time until now these two places where the young ladies stayed most of the time, they still have a very strong link with our place.

Up to the time when they signed the Deed of Cession there were two chiefs of Macuata who signed the Deed of Cession, one from Naduri and one from Nasekula. Katonivere from Naduri and Ritova from Naseakula, one from the older sister from Naduri, and the younger sister from Nasekula.

Jo said, This story was told by my grandfather to Ratu Sukuna in 1928 to the Native Lands Commission. This is written down. It is in the Native Lands Commission files.

Peceli said, Maybe it is in the category of ai tukutuku raraba. There are stories told, this is one of them.

Jo said, My grandfather's name is Tomasi Naceba. Ratu Sukuna was in Macuata. They held the first Native Land Commission in 1928 in Naduri. Ratu Sukuna was Commissioner of Lands. The people of Macuata could not make a history of about they originated from. There were too many stories and Ratu Sukuna could not be convinced so my grandfather came. A message was sent to my grandfather through the Tui Labasa of that time because the Tui Labasa is related to the people of the time. Their mother comes from Vuo which is bati to Labasa and he knew that their people though were not from Macuata but their mother's were. My grandfather went down to Naduri and told the story to Ratu Sukuna and this story convinced him that this was the real thing that had happened. He had been hearing this and that and couldn't believe it. After hearing this story Ratu Sukuna told the chiefs of Macuata ' I think you of the vanua of Macuata should by right owe their allegiance to Batini, the place they originated from.

A village in Macuata

Story from Fiji Times:

Ancestral god's gift of water

Luke Rawalai
Sunday, May 28, 2017
WHILE villages and settlements along the coast of Naduri in Macuata struggled with their supply of water during the drought of 2015, the village of Namama had nothing to worry about.
In fact, when a visitor to the village asked village elder and traditional herald to the Tui Macuata, Vereti Veisamasama, how the villagers were coping with the dry conditions, he simply pointed to the rocky mountain behind the village and said: "O ea a bui (The old woman)."
Apparently the stranger did not understand what Mr Veisamasama was talking about. However, if you talk to anyone at Namama who is well versed with their folklore, they will tell you that Geta is the old woman who lives in the mountains.
Geta and her origins
She is the legendary woman who is said to be the origin of the people of Namama, a village nestled along the Naduri coast.
People in Namama refer to her as their their "vu" (a demigod from whom sprang a group of people); the protector of her people and in some instances a sign of eminent bad luck.
According to Mr Veisamasama legend has it she was the only sister of the snake god, Degei, and was one the many who journeyed with him from an unknown place to Fiji.
Legend has it Geta bore her brother's child during the journey and was banished by her brother to a place "where he was not known".
Mr Veisamasama said last year, a few officials from the Ministry of iTaukei Affairs visited the village seeking the story. He said when the legend was related to them, they said it matched some stories of the people of Vatukacevaceva in Ra.
Vatukacevaceva is a village just below the Nakauvadra mountain range, known in iTaukei folklore as the early home of some of the earliest iTaukei settlters.
Arriving in Namama
The people of Namama believe Geta came to Fiji with her brothere from somewhere on the African continent.
Upon her arrival at Naduri, she chose to settle at Namama but at a location on the hilly mountains now known as 'oro'ma'awa or old village.
After settling at 'oro ma'awa, her people decided to move to a place closer to the coast known as Na'i'o in the Namama dialect, or Natiko where they stayed.
Because of modernisation and wanting to be closer to the road, the people decided to move to Namama Village, a five-minute walk to the village of Naduri, the seat of the Tui Macuata.
The people of Namama say they originated from the old woman in the hills known as Geta.
Gift of water
Legend has it that when Geta was walking the mountains of Namama, she decided to have a rest and relieved herself in some bushes. Unknown to her, the god of the neighbouring island of Kia was watching the whole scene enfolding on the mountainside.
It was at the sight of Geta when he exclaimed in the Kia dialect 'Ai pele sa mi ce o Geta? (Is that Geta relieving herself on the mountainside?).
When Geta heard this, she hastened to rise and flee the scene knowing she had been caught in the act.
According to legend, at the spot where Geta relieved herself is a spring. This is the water source that has been sustaining the people of Namama through the ages.
According to villagers, the villages and settlements in and around Naduri can dry up but the spring never runs dry providing fresh water for the children of Namama.
Namama elder Iliesa Nakete said this was the precious sacred gift Geta continues to give to the people of Namama.
"We are thankful for the gift because we never run out of water even during droughts," he said. "However, it takes vigour and great strength to visit the site because it sits right on top of the hills."
Sightings of
'their' old woman
To this day the people of Namama claim they have special sightings of Geta who appears to either warn them that something bad is about to happen or to relay good news.
Mr Nakete says she often appears as an old Fijian lady of Indian descent begging by the roadside with torn clothes.
"Once we were going to the farm with a bunch of youths from the village when we sighted an old Fijian lady of Indian descent wearing rags by the roadside," he said. "Suspecting that it was Geta herself we accorded her with the 'tama' or greeting.
"When she did not speak we continued on not fearing her because she is supposed to be our vu.
"Sure enough, a few days later one of the members of the chiefly family in the village died."
Another incident, Mr Nakete related, was of a Namama woman on Viti Levu who had been having problems with her husband regarding the care of their child.
"I happened to be staying with the relative of ours when the incident happened and they had just begun legal proceedings in court," he said.
"Early one morning we got a shock when the father of the little girl walked to our house with the child telling my relative that she could keep the child for as long as she wanted. All we could make out was that he had been having sleepless nights after being visited by an old Indian lady who did not give him peace until the break of day.
"This is the legacy of this woman and what she means to our people."

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Copying Pacific designs

It is inevitable that people from overseas who like the tapa designs etc. from the islands copy these designs to make money. But how to you monitor this breach of copyright"  Article from the Fiji Times.
Alisi Vucago
Thursday, May 25, 2017
PACIFIC Islanders need to prevent the exploitation of the cultural designs their countries are known for, says Papua New Guinea fashion designer Sarah Haaod Todd.
Ms Todd made this comment at the Fiji Fashion Week press conference yesterday.
She is representing PNG with her label PNGianKala and will join the event with her unique PNG flag inspired collection.
She claimed foreigners had come into her country and remade their traditional shoulder bags known as bilums and sold it to people of PNG at a higher price.
"Each province has a different style to make a bilums and its actually very diverse," she said.
"Traditional belums are woven from the barks of trees and hand-made, however, this has been exploited."
She also stated tattoo designs, which are unique to her culture, had also been used by foreigners without the permission of the traditional owners.
"Amongst us, I call upon governments to penalise any foreigner that comes in and exploits our culture and heritage for monetary gains," she said.
"It is happening right now and it is going to wipe out and commercialise our culture as there is no love, no respect and it doesn't come from within them."
"They're just doing that to make money from us and it has been going on for far too long and getting worse."
Ms Todd encouraged designers to think about lobbying the issue to their governments to ensure there was some kind of protection in place for their heritage which was unique and stood out anywhere in the world.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Fiji Times or Fiji Sun


Vijay Maharaj, Sydney Australia | Wednesday, May 17, 2017
This Sawakasa II village road sign is tilting on its side in Tailevu North. Picture: JONA KONATACI.
This Sawakasa II village road sign is tilting on its side in Tailevu North. Picture: JONA KONATACI.
I wish to thank the Attorney-General and Economy Minister, Aiyaz Saiyed-Khaiyum, for moving around the country trying to educate the people on the system of budget preparation. He is also inviting suggestions and ideas that could be incorporated in the next budget.
While I appreciate the motives behind such campaigns, I am at a loss to understand why our A-G keeps on attacking The Fiji Times. I am a keen reader of newspapers and I closely follow the news section of radio stations and TV channels.
I believe The Fiji Times has given enough coverage and publicity to his meetings. Whatever transpires in such meetings are reported by well trained and experienced reporters. In fact, I believe I have seen more of Honourable Sayed-Khaiyum's pictures in The Fiji Times than any other current politician, for which he should be really thankful.
Some time ago in one of his meetings in Vanua Levu, I believe Hon. Sayed-Khaiyum even asked the people not to buy The Fiji Times, and now he is telling people not to believe what is reported in The Fiji Times. Such comments and actions I believe will do more damage for our A-G politically.
Finally I strongly believe that The Fiji Times is still the "people's" newspaper.
Look at the volume of its circulation and one can easily gauge its popularity. Whatever we read in this open column is entirely the views of the writers and the newspaper should never be blamed if it hurts any politician or a member of Parliament.
I believe in true democracy and according to our Constitution we have the freedom of expression and therefore any politician should always be prepared to face a bit of criticism and also accept praise if offered for good work.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Mothers' Day and a barbecue

The boys suggested we go to the You Yangs for a barbecue for Mother's Day so nine of us prepared and drove out past Lara but there were over a thousand people with the same idea! Anyway I did some sketches near a rock and the others climbed up Flinders Peak and took some photos which I will sort out later. Then it was time to cook - BUT all the gas had gone out in the public barbecues near us! So we drove back to Geelong to Eastern Park and hoorah - there was a spare barbecue at the shelter up top of the hill. Salads, sausages, chops, hamburgers, eggs cooked heart shape in bread, etc. etc. Now we are enjoying mudcake and coffee. (Have to drink my coffee at least two hours after eating red meat for the iron to work!) So we had a mountain and the sea today for our fresh air outing. 16 degrees, sunny at first so it was okay. Also, I received some lovely flowers and chocolates - the latter to share of course.