On January 14th 2014, the Vaka Moana, UTO NI YALO that sailed around the world with 6 other vakas during the Te Mana O Te Moana voyage was officially handed over to the Uto Ni Yalo Trust (UNYT) and the people of Fiji at Lautoka Wharf by Master Navigator Magnus.
The historic occasion was a wonderful event and I’m so happy and proud to have been part of it and extremely excited to be a part of her new journey here in Fiji. At the time i was the Secretary of the UTO NI YALO Trust (UNYT) and i was and still am extremely grateful to all the crew, family and friends of our lady Uto and of course the UNYT for opening their arms to me and including me into the wonderful Pacific Voyaging family.
The whole concept of the gifting after the big voyage 2 years previously that our son got to be a part of and hooked our family into this fantastic world of traditional sailing, was to now go forth and continue reconnecting our cultures, advocating for clean oceans and to pass on the knowledge of Celestial navigation to the younger generations all while using the vakas in between islands as a means of transporting cargo proving that sustainable sea transportation was the better way to go in order to save our oceans.
A tough task ahead you might say…some may say near impossible. To those i say nothing is impossible…besides i want my children’s children and their children and so on to enjoy the beauties of our oceans so why not.
Fiji is a country filled with people of many different races, many cultures and religions. The diversity of the country is amazing for one so small. These are just a few of the many images I have taken over the years.
Some will be pleasant images, some not so pleasant…such is the life of a photo-journalist.
I love portraiture and it is possibly my favourite type of shots to do. Capturing people close up requires a lot of patience in many cases especially when it comes to children.
I have taken hundreds of portraits over the years and often find it very hard to choose which ones are my best. This album is a work in progress as I strive to make each portrait I take better than the last.
Many years ago I met a young Fijian lady who unbeknown to me would become a friend…not a close friend but someone you bump into in the middle of the street, stop and have a crazy conversation with heaps of laughs and move on…so a friend…perhaps even one of the nicer friends to the many I have.
A couple of years later I bumped into her in the street (as you do) after not seeing her for a while and she was in a crisp Fiji Police uniform…she had joined the forces since I had last seen her. As a joke I lifted the camera and aimed it at her and as she started joking around telling me she would arrest me I took her photo for the fun of it. The photo would become one of my many favourites not only because it was of her smiling while not realizing I was shooting but because she looked great in her Fiji Police hat.
I gave her a copy and didn’t realize that it to would become a special photo for her and her family.
Over the years we kept up on Facebook and she would tell me how fascinated she was when my husband Sam was in Iraq…asking me all sorts of questions about how he was doing there etc. I believe she kept in contact with Sam while he was there as well and before I knew it she too was in Iraq and of course our chat sessions continued whilst she was there.
Not long ago I found out she was very sick and was suffering from kidney failure…she needed dialysis treatment which is extremely expensive here. I saw her a few months ago and she was thin, fragile looking and no where near the strong woman I had met all those years ago…but we still stopped and had a good laugh about nothing really, said our good byes and moved on. That was the last time I saw or spoke to her.
Today I opened up the paper and sat in shock as I came across her funeral notice and there looking back at me from the paper was Desley in her Police uniform…the very photo I had taken impromptu and as a joke all those years ago.
Once again I was snapped into reality as I realized how quickly we can be taken from this Earth. One minute here and gone the next.
For Desley I’m sad she’s gone and never got to live to a ripe old age…I’m also sad that I never saw her again before she passed on, but I’m happy she’s no longer suffering and has left us all behind to move onto a better place.
R.I.P “sistri” Desley Jabin Khan – see you on the other side my friend…
As a child growing up in PNG I was pretty much brought up around the awesome sport of Rugby League.
This hard hitting sport played by men that often look like Gods is most possibly the only sport known to mankind that consists of bodies bashing against bodies without any body protection for 80mns.
Rugby League is a fairly new sport in Fiji but is one quickly growing a following because quite frankly, the more aggression, speed and hard hits a sport has to it..the more Fijians love it!
Our very our team appropriately named the Fiji Bati (remember in an earlier post I explain the word “Bati” to you) have been absolutely awesome in this tournament and play their last pool game this Saturday against England.
The team is made up of many Fijian boys that are playing in the NRL set in Australia and have gotten together to reconnect with their Fiji bloodline and play for country..truly inspiring considering many are born and bred in Australia..and are only reconnecting with their Fijian heritage for the first time now.
Fiji with flags flying high, will once again stand still for 80mns to scream, laugh, cry and possibly want to throw things at the TV (as in my case..often) when the boys get on the field this weekend.
The image shows the Fiji Bati praying together before their game against Australia last week. *this is not my image btw
Daylight savings kicked off this morning with the family almost sleeping in.
Once successfully up, the young ones proceeded to walk around as if they were part of the Walking Dead cast. Can’t say I felt much different myself t be honest..am currently on my 3rd strong coffee as I write this just to get myself into action.
So here’s to daylight savings..fingers crossed mornings get better..
Fijians the world over love our rugby…maybe I should stress that a bit more…we LOVE our rugby!!
On any given day children, teens and adults…male and female can be seen throwing a rugby ball around as the sun sets on our beautiful shores.
Children in villages and suburban homes for that matter that can’t afford a simple pleasure like a rugby ball substitute it with an empty PVC Coke bottle or a coconut that’s how addicted we are to our rugby.
Sevens Rugby is our National sport…end of story and when the IRB 7s circuit starts every year hoards of Fijian fans travel following our Fiji team to watch them play around the world.
While this is going on, just about all TV sets in Fiji are tuned into the games at home and in villages people will congregate by the numbers to the one or 2 sets available so they don’t miss the action.
Children, men and women will scream the house down, swear, cry and laugh when the team plays and if the team wins a particular circuit, taxis will blare their horns throughout the night to show that we have won.
Flags can be seen on cars, houses, buildings, on people etc as we cheer our team on and fly the noble banner blue.
The above image shows Fiji fans in full force at one of the IRB circuits.
Waisale Serevi ~ known as possibly the world’s greatest Rugby 7s player ever & lovingly nicknamed “The Wizard” by international commentators because of his handling of the rugby ball is our most famous Ambassador.
This small man has been playing the 7s field for 21 years amazing spectators and fellow rugby greats the world over with his smooth ball handling and quick steps.
I have many friends around the world that I have met online and usually they know of Fiji because they have heard or seen Serevi on the rugby field. Here in Fiji, we agree that Serevi put us on the map.
Here in Fiji we thank Waisale Serevi, for 21 years of incredible rugby memories!
In March 2013, Serevi was inducted into the IRB Hall of Fame, in Hong Kong.
The Triton shell, also known as ‘Triton’s trumpet’ Charonia tritonis, is used as a trumpet in Melanesian and Polynesian culture.
Conch shell trumpets were historically used throughout the South Pacific, in countries such as Fiji. In resorts in Fiji they still blow the shell as a performance for the tourists. It is still used today to announce the arrival of Chiefs, Royalty and special guests to functions etc.
In the past and sometimes still today we also used the conch shell when a chief dies: the chief’s body would be brought down a special path & the conch would be played until the chief’s body reached the end of the path.
Makereta Matemosi is an artisan with a strong reputation in i’Taukei (Fijian) circles for her innovative masi or tapa cloth designs.
Her fame has now spread far beyond Fiji after being chosen to design our national airline’s new branding.
Makareta’s logo can now be seen at airports throughout the Asia Pacific region emblazoned on the new Fiji Airways state-of-the-art Airbus A330s. Makareta is seen above with the original tapa design she submitted for the new Fiji Airways logo.
Congratulations to Makareta for keeping the culture alive and now global….simply awesome!!!
Fiji Airways Airbus tail with the logo by Makareta on it.
Our National airline, Fiji Airways previously known as Air Pacific.