KIRIBATI AND TUVALU INDEPENDENCE DAYS CELEBRATION
The Kiribati and Tuvalu Independence Days Celebration held at Great Dunmow, in Essex over the weekend of the 21st to the 24th July 2000 was yet again a great success and credit and thanks to all the association members, their friends and families, associates and guests, who gathered in great numbers and made the weekend event such a tremendous and memorable occasion.
The KTA committee on behalf of all its members, wished to thank Clive Smith who initiated and oversaw the task of approaching and negotiating with the Great Dunmow Town Council on our behalf for use of their superb facility. Our sincere thanks to the Great Dunmow Town Council for the use of their facilities, and to the people of Great Dunmow themselves for their tolerance and hospitality. We hope that the few community members who managed to view our traditional dances on the Sunday enjoyed an insight in the Pacific culture.
Mayor and Mayoress of Great Dunmow.
As ever, the main highlight of the event was the roasting of the pigs in the traditional way. Gratitude to Bob Bryden, Neil McNaughton and their helpers for preparing the ground oven and especially for Fr. Koru and his team for overall responsibility of the traditional roasting rituals.
The members from Scotland once again arrived on Thursday night and the rest of the campers joined them from Friday. There were approximately 23 families camping, which is roughly 100 people altogether, making the most of the weekend and enjoying the Great Dunmow Town Council's hospitality to the full.
Thanks to Jeremy and Rose - not forgetting - their assistants, Nei Noelyn Tibaua and Ten Harry Dixon for their superb role of greeting members on arrival with copies of the day's programme.
Our thanks to David and Anne Jones and also to Mrs. Sommers for their endless efforts in the feast preparation department. Thanks to everyone who helped decorate the hall and took charge of cleaning it on Sunday.
There are so many of you to mention and thank individually so please be assured that your helping hand and contribution on the day were certainly very much appreciated.
Kaitibo Batterham and Bubunrenga Teke.
The main programme of the day started with the Association's AGM. The feasting was soon underway. A congratulational and well-wishing speech to the two nations, Kiribati and Tuvalu and their united nationals, was appreciated from the Kiribati Honorary Consul, Mr. Michael Walsh.
The cutting of the cakes, by Mrs. Rotee Walsh and, our Chairperson, Mrs. Samoala Kofe-Jackson and toasting to the health of the two nations officially declared open the celebration.
The feasting continued and dancing soon followed for most of the afternoon. Wonderful comments and encouraging remarks on how the dancers seemed to have improved year on year have been received from those members who managed to attend this year's celebration. The afternoon soon passed and tea was served. Once again thanks to the effort of all those who were so willing to lend a helping hand in the kitchen either making sandwiches or taking charge of brewing, serving cups of teas, and coffee-making duties!
The KTA Independence Celebration to commemorate the Kiribati 21st Independence Anniversary on the 12th July and the Tuvalu Independence Anniversary on the 1st October was an enjoyable event and thanks again to everyone who made it such a tremendously memorable event.
NEWS FROM THE KIRIBATI CONSULATE
There has been a spate of Ministerial and Parliamentary visits to the UK this year although mainly Ministers in transit - however, the Vice President spent two weeks in the British Isles on a Commonwealth Parliamentary Association conference which took place in Jersey and Edinburgh as well as London; the speaker of the House of Assembly and Natanera, Member for Onotoa, have also made CPA visits. At various times in the year I have been to the airport to meet the Ministers of Finance, Environment, Health and Commerce, and a couple more have gone through Heathrow on short transits.
The main news from Tarawa relates to the completion of the new parliamentary building at Ambo, which gave a good reason for Kiribati last month to host the South Pacific Forum for the second time - the first time being in 1980, just after independence.
I am glad to be able to report that agreement has now been reached with the UK Government over the clean up of Kiritimati Island, and the Royal Engineers are due out there next year.
Group garland presentation.
The reserve fund has continued to prosper, and now stands at more than AUD $700 million. This is partly due to favourable exchange movements (the Australian dollar has devalued a great deal) but the other reason is that Kiribati has run budge surpluses for the last three years, even after the costs of the new parliamentary building are taken into account. It is likely that the Government will soon split its management into three, supplementing the two current fund managers HSBC and NICAM with a third.
I have gotten used to people ringing me up when one of our nationals gets arrested, but a first in my five years as Consul was being rung up by one of three Belgians to whom I had issued visas, they having been arrested in Tarawa: for illegal entry. It turned out there had been a mix up in the fax number therefore they were to lodge the flight plan for the plane in which they had chartered (and the plane had therefore turned up out of the blue, as it were...
Best wishes to you all from us all
FROM THE CHAIRPERSON
KTA's first year calendar had been fairly busy up till now. At the beginning of the year, we were very proud to be associated with the Millennium Island although most of us had never set foot on the island itself. The fact that it was in the Kiribati Islands was enough for us to be smiling and to be proud of. We enjoyed seeing all that went on, on the Millennium Island on our TV screen.
On March the 8th: Young Christian Blake soldiered on proudly carrying the flag for Kiribati at Westminster Abbey at the Commonwealth Day. Christian wore the traditional costume the Kiribati nekei round his waist with all the colourful trimmings that go with it. Well done Christian! The Tuvalu flag was carried by one of the Commonwealth staff. Mr. Fatasi Malologa unfortunately did not get to the Abbey in time! I put all the blame on the train for not arriving on time.
On March the 19th: Some of us were woken up to hear such dreadful news from Tuvalu on the radio. Of the fire in Motufoua Secondary School on Vaitupu Island were eighteen girls and their matron all perished in the fire.
I like to pass on a personal message from the Tuvalu Prime Minister Ionatana Ionatana: "My sincere thank you to KTA members and the Pacific Island Society for your kind support to the Tuvalu's tragic fire. I wish you good luck with your associations. Fafetai lasi".
I am very pleased to say that the total amount we raised was 3,271.27 pounds and the money has now been sent to the Motufoua Memorial Fund Account in Funafuti, Tuvalu.
Guy and I would like to thank everyone who donated monies to the Vaitupu Memorial Fund. Fafetai lasi.
Our Dance Organiser Mrs. Avira Harding and Dance Co-ordinator Mrs.Rrosemary Hardy have been incredibly busy with their programme this year, with the exceptional of an invitation to participate at the Dome on behalf of the Pacific Islands Society of UK and Ireland on August 16th 2000.
Trip to the Dome. After months of organising the trip between the Dome organiser and PISUKI and KTA, the efforts finally paid off. Everyone especially the children found the trip exciting and fun! A chance to see this enormous monument and most talked about subject in the media. Now we are really going to dance in it! It was an opportunity that it was too good to miss by anyone. Just fantastic! It was a very successful event and everyone enjoyed the trip. All the performers and supporters worked very hard on this trip to insure that everything all goes well according to the organiser's plan.
Our big thank you to the Dance Organisers, Avira (KTA) and Rakee (KTA/PISUKI) and Agnes (PISUKI) for getting us to the Dome and back home safely. Thank you to all the dancers and supporters for your help. We all thoroughly enjoyed the whole trip. Our thanks also go to the PISUKI officials for choosing the KTA to represent the Pacific Islands at the Dome. We hope that we have done you proud.
A big thanks to our KTA members whose business firms had helped to sponsor us to go to the Dome through PISUKI. Kam bati n raba. Fafetai lava.
Lob Aron & Co Ltd. - Corporate Finance for Mining.
SilverGrey Computing (UK) Ltd. - IT Equipment.
New Guinea Pacific Line - Shipping Line.
Andrew Weir Shipping - Shipping Line.
Our special thanks and a huge appreciation to all the children for your beautiful dancing. It was certainly the highlight of the day. What was so especially wonderful about this year, was the fact that we have more children taking part in the dancing. We are very proud of you and we rely on you to carry on the cultures of our two countires. Very well done! Kam bati n raba and fafetai lasi!
DANCE ORGANISER'S REPORT
Talofa and Mauri!
The last twelve months have been very busy for everyone involved with the dance group. We have welcomed many new members to the dance group. Since our last Independence get together, we have performed in:
Blackpool - The Horseshoe Bar April 15th 2000, organised by the British Nuclear Tests Veterans Association. Dance members arrived from all over the country at various times including the day before to our designated bed and breakfast accommodation in Blackpool. It was a good attendance by the dance members. Our dance programme began at 8.00 p.m. Saturday evening and lasted for one hour. Everyone enjoyed the night. We would like to express our gratitude to the British Nuclear Tests Veterans Association for their generous donation which helps towards our accommodation, transport and our dancing fund.
London-Burdett-Coputts CE School, 20th May 2000, organised by the Pacific Islands Society of the United Kingdom and Ireland (PISUKI). The programme started at 2.45 p.m. with the PISUKI AGM preceded by addresses from various speakers. The actual Island Night began at 6.00 p.m. in which our KTA performers started first entertaining with half-an-hour of dancing. Other Pacific Islands performers also took part. At 8.00 p.m. the KTA performance put on the last half-an-hour of their dances. The dancers put on a brilliant performance. The Island feast prepared by Tongan Islanders was lovely. Thank you to Soane Liutai and his colleagues for assisting us with our dance tapes.
Bath-Kingswood School, 3rd June 2000, Corona Worldwide, which was organised by Mrs. Elizabeth Hunter. We were offered lovely sandwiches on arrival which we all appreciated before we commenced our dance performance at 12.15 p.m. until 12.45 p.m. We would like to say thank you for your donation towards our transport and dancing fund.
At 2.30 p.m. Sam Derby sounded the conch shell, followed by our dance programme which commenced with the garland presentation. Our dancing programme was of all the various traditional Kiribati and Tuvaluan dances performed by our young boys, girls and adults. We were very pleased to have with us visitors who are visiting their relatives here; Tere Maungatabu, Kabotake Tiimi, and Bubunrenga Teke who joined our dance group. Our visitors included Lina Tihale and her children and Rosie Jurrer who performed a couple of dances, Lisa Waldmeier and Amina joined in with the singing. Many thanks for your dances and singing contributions. The dance finished at 5.00 p.m.
In the evening at 7.00 p.m. there was more dancing of Pacific Island style and a disco for those with energy still to dance until 12 midnight when the evening ended after a very successful day.
On Sunday at 11.00 a.m.-12.00 noon, the dance group performed some dances to the villagers of Great Dunmow when the KTA Independence celebrations ended.
We would like to say a big thank you to every performer young and old for all their hard work making these performances successful. This is due to the large amount of time and dedication that has been spent practising our dances. We also would like to say an additional thank you to all the team supporters and hope we can count on your continued support for future dancing event. Keep up the good dancing and well done.
Thank you very much to Drs. Richard and Betty Underwood for kindly donating Kiribati and Tuvalu artefacts that they brought home: dancing skirts, shells and dancing finery. We will use some of these for dancing costume and the rest will be displayed at any KTA function for people to see.
One of our members also kindly donated a few dancing skirts, for which we are also grateful.
We appreciate all these donations as they are very useful and they will be well used by KTA.
Letter of thanks for Pacific Island Day at the Dome by Mr. Michael Peart
Kam bati n rabwa and Fefetai!
KTA DANCERS AT THE MILLENNIUM DOME
It was 11.30 a.m. on Wednesday the 16th August 2000, that the KTA dancers commenced their first half-an-hour performance at the "Our Town Stage" in the Millennium Dome at Greenwich, London.
Earlier backstage, the scent of lovely fresh flowers filled the changing room adding to the heavy mixture of excitement and nervousness that affected all those involved with the big even. A calm atmosphere however ensued once the curtains were slowly drawn back after Martin had confidently made his introductory speech. We all knew that the traditional garland presentation signalled the start of our dancing performance, adding to the international spotlight already put on our chain of tiny islands on the eve of the new Millennium.
Since our invitation to perform was received almost a year ago, the dancers had been planning and practising frequently for this event, the enthusiasm and excitement of the children added to the nevous anticipation of what was to come.
The KTA were to perform in the Dome with the Rotumans and Samoans on behalf of PISUKI who had organised the event in association with NMEC Ltd., the event being built as "South Pacific Day" for the "World Stage Event".
The other Pacific Islands Groups performed in different arenas within the Dome complex. It was good to have Letila and some of her Rotuma dancers shouting in excitement as we were performing our first show. This was true "Island Support", their encouragement added to the "Pacific Atmosphere" and was greatly appreciated.
In total KTA had more than 50 adults and children performing on the "Our Town Stage" and even though we had an exhaustive schedule of four performances during the day, almost everybody had the time to enjoy and marvel at some of the Dome's other attractions in between performances.
The "Our Town Stage" venue was packed to capacity each time we danced and our performances were simultaneously telecast to the huge panoramic television screens situated throughout the Dome. This probably resulted in the last performance at 4.30 p.m. being so well attended, that people actually stood outside the entrance watching the television screens because they couldn't get any closer.
Our younger dancers were particularly impressive, the girls performances were very polished and a joy to watch. The boys led by their boss Martin performed extremely well and showed great confidence, flair and agility. Martin, our only adult male participant gave the opening address and a brief introduction on Kiribati and the Pacific Islands. He highlighted and focused on the effects of global warming on the environment, especially on the low-lying atoll islands of the Pacific. The spotlight remained on Martin throughout proceedings as he went on to introduce each dance routine. To make it even more interesting, he was dressed in full traditional Kiribati male costume.
It was certainly wonderful to see wonderful keen supporter, Eric Bailey at the Dome. His motorised wheel chair was a familiar site at our performances and his good wife, Teruabine made sure he saw other Dome attractions before being guided back in time for our next show.
Patrick Sommerville, PISUKI Vice-Chairman and KTA member, together with PISUKI Council member Peart were keen figures in organising this event. It is to their credit that it all came together in the end especially when Patrick fell ill in the lead-up to the event. Michael took over the reins and urged all those involved to pull together and finalised the arrangements. It was good to see that Patrick was able to attend and assist on the day and all those involved wish him a continued speedy and full recovery.
Click on the above image for a great poster!
It was also a great accolade to hear from the Dome officials that the KTA broke their record for attendance at the "Our Town Stage" filling it to its capacity of 500 people not only for the first performance, but also for the other three performances!!!
Our special thanks go to PISUKI for giving KTA a wonderful opportunity to show those who visited the Dome on the day, an insight into our Island culture through our dancing performances and routines. PISUKI also provided transport and accommodation for dancers and supporters too, which was greatly appreciated and enabled some last minute practice to take place prior to our performance. Top top it all, we have been promised by PISUKI that a free video copy of the Dome performances will be made available to each family that participated.
We would also like to extend our thanks to the sponsors who have kindly donated money to PISUKI to finance the expenses of the running of the event. Last but not least, a very big "thank you" to everybody who participated or provided valuable backroom support, so as to make the day such a memorable and proud occasion for those representing our Association.
Kam bati n rabwa and Fafetai lava!