Wednesday, October 22, 2008


Aporosa was teaching in a classroom in Kadavu when he started to feel doped from a late night of too much grog. He became acutely aware that he was still intoxicated, and that this affected his concentration, motivation, and that he wanted to sleep more than do his job, which was to impart education to the students.

This prompted him to question the effectiveness of other teachers following yaqona consumption, and to consider whether a link existed between the high under-achievement rate of students in Fiji and heavy yaqona drinking.
Aporosa is the Fijian name this part European traveller Shane was given by his part Fijian mother, a Robinson with links to the chiefly village of Naduri in Macuata.

Abo, as he is affectionately known has been doing his own experiments on the effects of yaqona on education. He has gone to the extreme with a plantation in Rauni, a piece of land in the scenic backdrop behind Richmond Methodist School in Kadavu.

So he conducted his experiment on whether there was a link between poor education delivery by teachers and their consumption of yaqona. Abo found that academic comment concerning yaqona's influence on education delivery was limited, although informal debate and discussion was widespread.

He found that some have even blamed traditional practices associated with the use and consumption of the beverage as a major reason for under-achievement in Fijian education. Shane took a sample of 38 teachers, Ministry of Education staff, academics and education stakeholders were surveyed and interviewed using a structured questionnaire and semi-formal interviews.

He found yaqona, a soporific intoxicating beverage, played a vital cultural and economic role in the rural educational arena and research participants confirmed that the over-consumption of yaqona by some teachers, both during and after school hours, was having a negative impact upon their ability to adequately deliver education to their students.

"Additionally, a number of factors were identified that I argue contribute to the over-consumption of yaqona by teachers in the rural teaching environment. "These include the cultural significance of yaqona, ceremony and presentation, the State/ community education delivery partnership, limited extra-curricula activity, the ethos of vakaturaga, obligation, bole (a non-aggressive form of competitive consumption), kinship, and masculinity.

"Despite these factors, I argue that the complete removal of yaqona from the school campus would be both impossible and detrimental, threatening limited financial resources and the State/community partnership, which is vital to the systems of rural education delivery; together with diluting culture, identity, and notions of self-worth, and therefore perpetuating under-achievement," he said.

It must be noted that while this study has concentrated on one particular research site, Richmond Methodist High School (RMHS), Kadavu, this does not single out any particular educational environment, religious association, or governance structure as being more liberal or restrictive in its approach to yaqona within its education delivery systems.

Aporosa said cultural practices surrounding yaqona at the research site are comparative with most rural Fijian school contexts. "Moreover, as with most semi-autonomous structures, certain practices tend to manifest to greater or lesser degrees.

"For example, two yaqona related experiences, occurrences that could potentially be deemed as amounting to serious professional misconduct, were observed at other secondary schools elsewhere in Fiji, and such behaviours have not been observed during the 400 plus days I have lived at RMHS over the past seven years."

Aporosa said he had been a regular consumer of yaqona for seven years, has a small yaqona farm at Natokalau, Kadavu, and an interest in the etiquette and culture surrounding its use. However, equally alarming in his findings was that only two brief comments linked yaqona consumption and education delivery. One from the Ministry of Education (MoE) which stated in its 515 page 2000 Fiji Islands Education Commission report entitled Learning Together: Directions for Education in the Fiji Islands, "Many teachers in rural areas also become involved in excessive yaqona consumption, with the result that they are less effective in their professional work. Instances have been cited where teachers leave classes unattended while they drank yaqona".

The other comment from a group of researchers from the Department of Education and Psychology at the University of the South Pacific, and the Ministry of Education, which visited Koro schools in 1994-5. Their report stated that yaqona has the "ability to sap energy and support listlessness and there can be little doubt that it substantially inhibits performance of duties in non-traditional professional environments, including the civil service and teaching."

The researchers asked that "individuals in the education service appraise the degree of moderation they bring to the habit, given the other demands on their intellectual powers, and perhaps to take a more parsimonious view of the amount of kava that might appropriately be imbibed at social gatherings"

Abo has found that while Mediherb 9, a professional newsletter produced for companies licensed to distribute herbal medicines, recommends a maximum daily dose of 200mgs of kavalactones, one standard cup can contain 247 mgs of this.

"Following the consumption of one bilo of yaqona, it can take up to nine hours for the kavalactones to reach maximum effect in the body," his research states. "This is because of the time it takes for the kavalactones to pass from the stomach into the bloodstream.

"Food eaten during, or after consumption, can disrupt this time period. It has been determined that the intoxicating effects of yaqona continue to work well after consumption ceases." The study goes in hand with a directive issued by Permanent Secretary for the Public Service Commission Taina Tagicakibau but still yet to be followed by a number of odd government schools and other schools in the country.

The findings of Shane's study are his own but they do confirm what many people already know about yaqona yet fail to address. But you should also understand that Shane does drink yaqona and he has even been to the nakamals in Vanuatu where it is drunk in stiff concentrations but in small amounts - three baby bowls can be the equivalent of any Fijian baby mix - so to speak.

Yaqona does affect productivity in some way or even directly - if you are sleeping during work.
Fijian Teachers Association secretary Maika Namudu said teachers should reduce grog consumption and stop drinking yaqona in schools. "This will keep their mentality sharp so they can teach properly," he said.

"When a person consumes too much yaqona their nervous system gets numb and this affects their alertness. "Hence we ask our teachers to review the way they consume yaqona." Mr Namudu said when a teacher is badly affected by grog consumption their productivity will drop and this will affect students under their charge
"It is not very professional when you see it from a practising teacher's point of view," he said.
"Yaqona should be taken at moderate levels - the best way is to do it during the weekend and stay alert throughout the week. People in rural areas should be aware that parents are watching that lowers the esteem of civil service in general."

Yet kava continues to be consumed in many hidden kitchens and classrooms of our government offices. It may be the reason for the low productivity that some officers are capable of. It may hold the key behind why Fijian students are lagging behind in their studies compared to their Indian counterparts.
Adapted from Fiitimes Online

Friday, August 29, 2008


He loves village life. Staying among the villagers in Nadrau up in Nadarivatu is the best thing that has ever happened to him. Ronil Singh, a primary school teacher at Nadrau Fijian School never regretted being posted to the interior of Viti Levu.

In fact he wished it had come earlier on in life ahead of all the difficulties he faced. But he believes that it was the reward of all his hard work and sacrifice which he made earlier on. Life had not been fair for this 21-year-old who had dreamt of becoming a lawyer.

After graduating from high school with a gold medal he won for scoring the highest chemistry marks in FSLC in the Ba zone, he enrolled for the University of the South Pacific's Bachelor of Law degree.

While he was accepted to do that program, it was finance that mattered. Since his parents were ordinary sugar cane farmers in Naba Tolu, Ba, there was no chance of him being a private student

He banked on a scholarship, but that too evaded him. Ronil's only other option was to become a teacher. During his two years at the teacher's college, Ronil also worked part time at a freight company in Nadi at the weekend to sustain his wants.

"Whatever I earn from working at the weekend, was used for my LTC affairs," he said. After two years of teacher training, he finally became a primary school teacher. But he waited for 10 months to get his first posting. "When I was posted to Nadrau, I received that opportunity with both hands," he said.

"At first I didn't know where I was going, but I knew that was my calling so I had to go. Being away from home in an unknown environment, Ronil said was one of the biggest challenges in his life.

"I was there alone, I have to cook my own food and wash my own clothes. I felt so lonely I wanted to run away." But he realised that running away from reality was not what life was about. He stayed on and had to counter it. He said that what made life easy there was that he had basic necessities in his two bedroom house like water and electricity.

"The villagers are the owners of Monasavu so we have electricity up there," he said. "And we have television and mobile network there too." To reduce being homesick, he had approached a student to stay with him in quarters.

"So it's me and Voniani at home," he said. Ronil said that Voniani's parents had allowed their son to stay with him. "He helps me and I help with his school fees and other needs." "I thank his parents for realising my request and allowing us to stay together."
"He is a bright student and I feel that there is a need for me to nurture him so that he can be someone in life." Ronil loves his village life so much, he sometimes wishes that he remains there forever.
Adpted from Fijitimes Online

Monday, August 18, 2008


Her name will probably never cease in the history books of the Hibiscus Festival but if there is one thing Liebling Marlow has gained from it, it is a gut full of confidence.

The 70-year old has commented on the festival for the past 52 years and was still in a jovial mood to share a bit more about how the festival changed her life.

A resident of Pearce Home in Suva now, Liebling said the title of Miss Hibiscus or Fiji's first Miss Hibiscus never really mattered to her. She said after the festival, she joined her husband Herbert Marlow at the Fiji Visitors Bureau, meeting and greeting tourists who visited Fiji.

From that day she was actively involved in tourism and other Hibiscus festivals with her husband. "I don't know if it changed my life but I know that it gave me confidence. After the festival, I achieved so much and I became involved not only in tourism but in women's affairs.

"Back then the Hibiscus Festival was for two nights and there were 23 of us. The experience will always be a memorable one," she said.

Liebling was crowned the first Miss Hibiscus in 1956 and since then 45 other queens with the same stamina, poise and grace have followed suit to claim the same title at the annual event.
Adpted from Fijitimes Online

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


BETANI Salusalu is somewhat of a celebrity in the stunning Mamanuca group of tropical islands. Every island he lands on sees staff provide him a homecoming welcome, not to mention a ready bed and breakfast.

It's a relationship that has taken several years in the making, but one which has become crucial to the future that resort and resource owners in these islands envision for themselves.

Salusalu is the coordinator of the Mamanuca Environment Society, a non-profit organisation formed in 2002 "to address environmental issues in the region and specifically work towards the betterment of the region's marine and terrestrial environment".

His work takes him across the spectacular chain of tropical islands scattered to the west of Fiji, visiting resorts, landowners and staff villages, with the chief goal being education and dialogue, along with environmental monitoring.

It's a role that was created by the resorts he visits, all of whom are members of the Mamanuca Fiji Islands Hotel and Tourism Association (MFIHTA) which founded MES. On any given day Salusalu and his team could be either monitoring water quality, surveying a reef system, advising resorts how to manage liquid waste, teaching villagers about composting or talking to land owners about a fishing "tabu" or ban.

It all depends on the needs of a particular site or community. The waters and reef systems around the Mamanucas, Salusalu says, are like the lungs of the west. "We sit around a bay that receives a lot of the runoff from activities in the west of Viti Levu. So we are vulnerable to sedimentation and a lot of waste from human activity is flushed into the area".

With the tourism industry in the area heavily reliant on the spectacular natural beauty of the Mamanucas, it makes sense that owners, workers and visitors take a wholistic approach to environmental protection there. What's been even more fulfilling, Salusalu says, is the support that MES has received financially through sponsorships.

Over the weekend, ANZ Bank's Fiji head Robert Bell handed the group a $25,000 cheque to help continue the environmental work in the area. It's the third time the bank, which is the Gold Sponsor of the program, has provided financial support to the body.

Bell says a big part of the reason for their support is that MES is concerned with creating a better future for Fiji and that it has a lot to do with education - which over the long term should have a wider impact than just policing of environment issues.

"Businesses need to have a broader reach and this program is particularly important because it's about Fiji's future. I've been on Castaway Island for 35 minutes and 35 days of stress just washed away. It's an indication of what tourists to the area can expect, and the environment is a major part of that success formula," Bell says.

MES treasurer Ronnie Chang - who represents Pacific Island Air on the executive committee - says the support of corporates such as ANZ, and silver sponsors AON Risk Services, as well as members spread throughout the Mamanucas, keep the environment in focus.

Salusalu and his team - which includes project assistant Fesi Isimeli, project officer Diana Nagatalevu and volunteer Kenneth Cokanasiga - are kept busy all year round focusing on bettering the environment in the islands. They travel to four schools in the area providing children with the basics on coral reefs, coral biology and ecology, and teaching kids how to conduct basic reef surveys.

They carry out best practice training for watersports activities staff in resorts - providing theory and practical education designed to make staff more environmentally savvy. One ongoing initiative is the bid to eradicate the crown of thorns starfish from the area because it is a coral predator. These are removed from the waters in the area

Twice a year they also conduct water quality analysis from the Nadi Bay area through to Lautoka Wharf, testing for nitrates and phosphates that might encourage the deadly algal blooms that could devastate the Mamanuca ecology.

Their busy program includes turtle conservation, including educating villagers in the area about how to protect turtles and turtle nesting sites. The region has also had one turtle released into the wild which has been satellite tagged, allowing resorts to receive updates of her travels around Fiji and the region. One area of major importance considering the tourism focus of the region is maintaining the health of coral reefs, which are a magnet for spectacular diving and snorkelling.
Part of this process is a drive to restore giant clam populations in the area, because clams are helpful for the development of reef.

Salusalu says mini clam nurseries sites are present at Castaway Island, Tokoriki Reef, Elevuka Reef, Qalito House Reef, and Solevu village house reef. The group also facilitates a Reef Check program which sees 18 separate sites undergo regular checks through trained volunteers. Castaway Island Resort operations manager Steven Andrews says guests are increasingly keen to help preserve the "paradise" they have come to love.

One of the more successful initiatives has been Castaway's Kids Sea Camp where children are educated on the marine environment - and parents more often than not join in.

Environmental issues in the Mamanucas are increasingly recognised as being not just crucial for everyday business, but for the very survival of the way of life of people who live and visit there.
Integrating the two now with the support of industry-led initiatives such as MES means paradise can remain uninterrupted for generations to come.

Adpted from Fijitimes Online

Tuesday, August 5, 2008


A NINE-year-old boy who partially lost his sight because of his fight with cancer is pleading with donors to assist him so that he can go overseas for treatment.

When most boys his age go to school and play with their friends, Josaia Temo, from Lakeba in Lau, has to stay indoors because of his condition.

Josaia suffers from genetic skin cancer and the disease has infected his left eye and caused partial blindness. He has lived with his grandmother ever since he was born and now 70 years of age, she continues to look after him.

When The Fiji Times visited Josaia and his grandmother Litiana Moce at their host's Raiwaqa home in Suva yesterday, he was lying on a mattress with his forehead and eyes heavily bandaged. Mereoni Taginadavui, a volunteer with the Fiji Cancer Society, said she was taking care of Josaia and helping with his condition.

Ms Taginadavui, a cancer survivor, said despite his serious condition, Josaia is full of life and loves to sing and pray. "We first found out about his case when we went to visit some of the rural islands to meet cancer patients and we found Josaia with his grandmother," she said.

Ms Taginadavui said Josaia was diagnosed with skin cancer in 2006 but they had lost contact when his grandmother had moved to the village.

"We are thankful to Project Heaven who were able to relocate Josaia during their trips to the island. His grandmother had brought him to the project for his eye infection," she said. She said Josaia has two big sores on his head and his eye infection but they were glad that his condition was improving.

"He was released from hospital one week ago and since we do not have any hospice, we were very glad when Alumita Cokanavula agreed to provide one bedroom in her house for Josaia and his grandmother to stay in,' she said. Speaking in Fijian and with tears in her eyes, his grandmother Ms Moce said she was the only family Josaia had and she had been taking care of him all these years. But she said with her advanced age it had become hard for her and she said she was thankful to all those who were helping them.

Ms Taginadavui said Save the Children Fiji, Fiji Cancer Society and Project Heaven were working to get people to donate money and medicial items to help Josaia. She said the money collected by Save the Children and Fiji Cancer Society would be used for Josaia's travel cost and treatment in New Zealand.

"Josaia is like any other nine-year-old boy and when he is not in pain, he will sing and talk to us. The only time he is in pain is when his bandages are changed and his sores are cleaned and it is very heart-wrenching to see him that way,' she said.

Those who wish to make a donation to help with Josaia's overseas treatment can do so by depositing into the Fiji Cancer Society Sashi Goundan Account.

Adpted from Fijitimes Online

Wednesday, June 25, 2008


WHEN Flying Fijians skipper Mosese Rauluni runs onto Ballymore Oval for the Pacific Nations Cup match against Australia A on Sunday, it will be a defining moment in his rugby career which is four years into a new decade.
For the Qarani patriot from Gau island whose family resides in Brisbane, Queensland but plays his trade for Saracens Rugby Club in England, the priorities in life will have to change.
His reaction after spending time off rugby to be with his family has revealed he has found new love in daughter Isabella and the passion for the oval ball will be second.
So the PNC match against Australia A will be his last for the year in the Fiji number nine jersey.
To go by his words (not the first time) it could turn out to be his last competitive international match for the country.
He will not feature against Tonga in the last PNC game next week but he is determined to create history by becoming the first skipper to lead Fiji to victory over Australia A.
It will be special for Rauluni, who was brought up and learned his footy in Brisbane. The city is home for the Raulunis and he has a special bond with Ballymore Oval.
Then there is an inevitable tide of change when he turns 33 on Friday.
A win against the hosts would be a perfect belated gift for the 42-Test veteran. Last year he led Fiji to the quarter-finals of the Rugby World Cup -the first time since the inaugural event in 1987.
Rauluni played for the Australia under-19 in 1993 and 1994.
He debuted for Fiji against New Zealand Maori in 1996 and has been a regular since then.
At the 1999 RWC he was reserve to elder brother Jacob the number one Fiji halfback.
In the 2003 RWC, he played in all four of Fiji's pool matches.
Rauluni went on both Pacific Islanders tours in 2004 and 2006.
After an outstanding performance at last year's RWC, Rauluni was named the Player of the Year' at the 2007 Fiji Rugby Awards.
With nothing decided yet for 2009, Rauluni said he wasn't getting any younger and had to give it another 100 per cent in his last match of the year in the White jumper with the coconut emblem.
"We need to start building depth in the halfback position," Rauluni said. "It is time to give the other guys a break, especially those who will carry the flag in the future."
He said while there was no concrete decision on which direction his career would follow, it was imperative he wasn't selfish.
"It's important I try to get a bit of rest because I have played a lot of rugby not getting any younger," he said.
Fiji coach Ilivasi Tabua said Rauluni was a key mover who led and played with a real warrior attitude every time he was on the pitch.
The two played together in the 1999 RWC.
"He is a great asset and motivates his players and they feel a different vibe and energy with him around," Tabua said.
"But we have to understand he needs his break as well and there are younger guys coming through."
Rauluni has never played against Australia A and would want to make the match a memorable one.
"It will be tough and we will have to be prepared," Rauluni said.
"But the players know that they can do it."


Tuesday, June 24, 2008


Levuka will always have a special place in the history of Fiji. Not only was Levuka the country's first capital, it was the starting point for commercial trading and life in general. In fact, most people would agree if it was not for the existence of the Old Capital, Fiji would not be where it is today.
Before the seat of Government was transferred to Suva in 1881, Levuka was under the de facto reign of Ratu Seru Cakobau, self proclaimed King of Fiji. From early days of settlement to the first colonial administration, Levuka possessed evidence of early civilisation and modernisation.
Located on the island of Ovalau, Levuka is renowned as the historical site where Fiji was ceded to Britain on October 10, 1874. An initial proposal to cede Fiji was denied some 20 years before that. From the date of cession onwards, the year 1874 has been held in high regard.
However, 134 years later Levuka is once again rewriting the history books on Fiji's official Deed of Cession documents. On June 6, 2008, original Fijian translations of the Deed of Cession were discovered and given to the National Archives for safekeeping and sustainability.
The re-enactment of another Deed of Cession handover at Nasova was a significant event for Fiji despite the occasion seemingly kept low profile. The official document was handed over to Government archivist Setareki Tale by the Tui Levuka. The auspicious ceremony was attended by Government officials from the Ministry of Information, Department of Culture and Heritage as well as members of the Lomaiviti Provincial Administration.
While many would be familiar with the existence of the English Deed of Cession document at the National Archives, the recent discovery of the Fijian translation has opened up airways to more historical findings in the town.
For the late Tui Levuka Ratu Kolinio Rokotuinaceva, the handover ceremony was an important event. He said although this was a document Levuka was proud to maintain, it would be in safe hands in terms of its preservation. The handover was probably the last public appearance by the Tui Levuka before his untimely death on Monday.
After the framed documents were given to government chief archivist Setareki Tale, provincial administrator Jese Veibuli spoke on the need to sustain important documents that entail the history of our country.
However, details of how the document went unnoticed for more than a century is anyone's guess.
Mr Veibuli has been in office for the past four months. He said the document had been hanging in the PA's office and no one realised it was the original.
"Nobody knows how it ended up there and how it went unnoticed for 134 years. It has been hanging in the district office for a very long time. When I was an internal auditor, I had seen and read parts of the document. Some of the translations were a bit vague and I was trying to find out what the interpreter, David Wilkinson was trying to say.
"We asked a typist to type out as best she can what was written. However, when one reads the document then one can fully understand what it was about. This is a very important document. In fact, back then it was not easy to get the consent of all the chiefs in Fiji to sign the Deed of Cession."
Mr Veibuli said there were a lot of disagreements between the chiefs but as a result of the Fijian translation of the Deed of Cession, they reached an agreement. He said the consensus was also reached as a result of the continuous prayers of the talatala and reverends. Mr Veibuli said this was a fact that was unknown.
"The Deed of Cession was made possible through the intervention and prayers of the people of God. At the time there was a lot of friction and differences amongst the people and these talatala were interceding for a peaceful nation through their prayers.
"Apart from that, the Fijian translations were not fluent or grammatically correct but Mr Wilkinson was able to get the message across. His translations were almost word for word but the chiefs understood the meaning of the translation. This is a very significant document that must be safeguarded for the next generation."
Although he was proud to be part of the event, Mr Veibuli said the documents were in good hands. He said the documents were a part of Levuka and to see it leave the island was a sad moment. Nevertheless, Mr Veibuli said, this was not the last historical find on the island as the possibility of another imperative find in Levuka was endless.
"The handover ceremony is a historical occasion for Levuka. One century and 34 years ago on this site, the 13 chiefs of Fiji agreed to cede the country to Britain because of this translation that was read to them. It is a part of Levuka. There was a petition sent to the office where people disagreed with the transfer of the document.
"Unfortunately, it is a requirement by law that such documents of national benefit and importance be kept at the national archives or the museum. Although we would like it to stay in Levuka, we know we are leaving it in good hands," he said.
The exact date when the document was placed in the provincial administrator's office is still an unknown fact. The people who would have had answers to the many questions about the Fijian translation of the Deed of Cession have carried that vital information to their graves. These notable people are former district officers and commissioners.
However, without dwelling too much on the past, the important aspect now is to note the events that led to the discovery of the transcripts.
Government chief archivist Setareki Tale said the first mention of the document came from an Australian volunteer Derek Cleyland who noticed the document hanging on the wall in the provincial administrator's office while in Levuka.
Mr Tale was on the next available boat to Levuka to find out whether or not this was the original Fijian translation of the Deed of Cession. He was able to cross check his findings with a copy of the same translation kept at the National Archives in the United Kingdom.
"There was this atmosphere of excitement at this perceived lost historical document. On the English document of the Deed of Cession, there is an attestation or a note by Wilkinson stating an attachment to the document. So at the moment, the English version is only half of the Deed of Cession. This may as well be the other half or the other attachment as indicated by the attestation to the English version.
"There were two English documents for the signing of cession so there is a possibility there are two attachments or two Fijian translations. One English document went back to Britain, the other was kept in Fiji. However, the English version in Fiji was sent to London in 1937 for restoration. It is still kept there. In 1946, a correspondence was received from Britain stating a copy of the Fijian translation. I am not sure if this copy is legalised or promulgated, a regulation to determine when it was sealed."
Mr Tale said the next step would be to determine the accuracy in translation between the English and Fijian version. He said the original transcripts were very old and had to be restored and repaired for sustainability. Mr Tale said under the Public Records legislations, it was a legal requirement that historical documents or findings be kept at the national archives or museum. In the meantime, Mr Tale said investigations into another possible historical document would take place.
"These documents are of national importance and information on it should be made available for the public. We might investigate whether or not another document which is the supposedly first written proposal for cession is original. As far as we know, the first proposal or request to cede Fiji was turned down and this was in 1854.
"This new development is significant especially highlighting a time when Fiji was going through rough times especially with the collapse of the cotton industry and resistance to tax payments," he said.
Mr Tale added preliminary discussions have been held with the UNESCO to formulate a committee that promotes culture and heritage as well as facilitate accessibility to information of important documents.
Culture and heritage
With Levuka Town still functioning with its commercial centres, the call for more public awareness on maintaining one's culture and heritage is pivotal. Department of culture and heritage director Peni Cavuilagi said the town will always be an important chapter of the country's history.
He said while the Fijian translation of the Deed of Cession is something Levuka is proud of, the message behind its unnoticed existence for 134 years is for more preservation of historical artifacts, culture and heritage.
"It was through Derek Cleyland and a local staff from our department that the document was highlighted. It has been there for many years and even then people did not realise its value and importance. This is very important for Levuka. However, there is a need to change local perception on the issue of culture and heritage.
"We need to convince people to preserve and conserve this part of their lives. This is what defines their identity. We have also been trying to convince members at the provincial council meeting to establish a sub committee on culture and heritage. There are far more significant documents and sights that are not yet seen."
He said the department has a program called Heritage on Young Hands and while the idea of stressing the need for cultural and heritage preservation, Government endorsement is needed.
"Most people have expressed concern about the loss of culture and heritage. We are planning to list Levuka as a World Heritage site. We are grateful to Government for the funding we have received so far which is an allocated budget of $300, 000 for this year," he said.


Friday, April 25, 2008


FORMER stars of the Coca-Cola Light Games believe the games shape the character of athletes and prepares them for their future careers.
Commissioner Northern Colonel Inia Seruiratu, a senior boys 200m national sprints champ for Ratu Kadavulevu School in 1983, said confidence "is what you get when you prepare well physically and spiritually for these games".
Seruiratu's 4X100m senior boys relay team won the event that year and RKS won the games.
Former national school girls sprint champion and Islands Business International editor Laisa Taga said the games taught her how to be competitive and work hard for her goals.
"You can't rely on others, you've got to be the best in what you do, and be disciplined."
Former Marist sprinter and shot put thrower Samuela Loiti said the games strengthen the character in a person's life.
About 3000 athletes from 142 schools around the country have converged on Suva for the start of the two-day games at the National Stadium today.

Adapted from Fijitimes Online

Sunday, April 20, 2008


TWO former government chief executives tied the knot at the Centenary Church in Suva yesterday in front of about 300 relatives and guests.
Former Public Service Commission chief executive officer, Anare Jale married former Social Welfare CEO, Emele Duituturaga.
Ms Duituturaga
wore a two-piece white satin and lace bridal wear and her.
She could not contain her happiness when she entered the church with her father, Pita Duituturaga who gave her away. They arrived in a white Mercedes Benz.
About 12 young girls in pink silk dresses led the bridal procession, before Ms Duituturaga and her father entered the church.
Not even the wet Suva weather dampened spritis with guests coming in their best suits and colourful dresses.
Mr Jale was wearing a two-piece black suit while his four best men wore a blue silk shirts embroided with magimagi (sinnet).
Former President of the Methodist Church, Reverend Tomasi Kanailagi presided over the wedding ceremony.
Guests present at the church included former Vice President Ratu Joni Madraiwiwi, Naitasiri paramount chief Ratu Inoke Takiveikata and his wife Adi Lagamu.
Also among the guests were former Finance Minister Ratu Inoke Kubuabola and his wife; Health Minister Permanent Secretary Doctor Lepani Waqatakirewa, former Transport and Civil Aviation chief executive Vuetasau Buatoka and businesswoman Mere Samisoni.
Mr Jale hails from Ono in Lau, while Ms Duituturaga is from Moala.
The reception was held at Tradewinds last night.

Adapted from Fijitimes Online

Sunday, April 13, 2008


HEAVY rain experienced around the country over the past few days have been blamed for a death, a helicopter crash and landslides.
Dead is 61-year-old Alekesio Nawaqavou, a dalo farmer of Kicukicu settlement in Cakaudrove who was swept away in currents caused by heavy rain.
Tim Gibson escaped with minor injuries after the helicopter he was piloting crashed into the sea off Uduya Point in Lami yesterday and a family was forced to leave their home following a landslide.
The helicopter that crashed about 7.10am is owned by Island Choppers.
Acting police spokesman Corporal Joe Weicavu blamed bad weather conditions for the crash. He said Mr Gibson received cuts and bruises and after medical examination was sent home to rest.
Cpl Weicavu said Mr Gibson would be interviewed later.
Island Choppers managing director, Stephen Green said two helicopters were travelling from Nadi to Nausori, on their way to Fulaga in the Lau Group.
He said Mr Gibson, 45, was flying the first helicopter alone while his colleague Robbie McKenzie was on another with five other passengers travelling to Fulaga.
Mr Green said after leaving Nadi the pilots spoke with the Nausori control centre which informed them of the sudden change in weather conditions. He said they were hoping to make a safe landing when Mr Gibson's helicopter crashed into the sea.
Mr Green said the $2 million helicopter was a write off.
He said Mr McKenzie picked up his colleague and they all returned to Nadi.
Mr Green said Namaka police interviewed Mr McKenzie while Mr Gibson had not been interviewed.
He said Mr Gibson was checked by a doctor and sent home. Mr Green said Mr Gibson who hails from New Zealand has twenty years experience as a pilot.
Attempts to contact Mr Gibson were unsuccessful yesterday. Mr Green said his company had three helicopters prior to the accident, which was used for the purpose of passenger transfers to the Mamanucas.
Meanwhile, the Director of Meteorology Rajendra Prasad yesterday said people must expect flash floods as a result of the current weather situations.
He said there was a trough of low pressure with associated cloud and rain bands that remained slow moving over the group.

Adapted from Fijitimes Online