Rabi News Stories from 1997

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News Update 26th. Aug, 97

Here are the Latest News Updates via Rabi's own correspondent - Kaiea Bakenebo. Kaiea first started collating the Local News back when the 'Banaba/Ocean Island News' first began in 1993. His news service has proved very popular, and through Kaiea's efforts a contemporary view of Banaban life can now be recorded and broadcast to the rest of the world...




by Rabi Correspondent Kaiea Bakanebo

Courtesy Issue No.26- 'Banaba/Ocean Island News'.

News Date Issue 26th. August, 1997


RABI ROAD WORKS: On 11/6/97 Government power barge "Vasua" arrived on Rabi and discharged her cargo PWD earthmoving equipment, to upgrade the road on Rabi.

RABI POLICE TRAINING: On 25/6/97 a Local Police Officer (Kiaben Takirara) returned from intensive training on Police Basic at the Fiji Police Academy in Suva.

LIBRARY WORKSHOP: On 1/7/97 Library Workshop was conducted by a chief librarian from Savusavu Library. Mrs. Bernadette Whippy and the participants were a mix of all Primary School librarians, Rabi High School librarians, the two librarians from Rabi Community Library and a representative from the Rabi Pre-School. An expert in book binding was also present and gave a few hints on the preservation of books. The workshop was a success according to the participants.

EUROPEAN CONTINGENT ARRIVES ON RABI FOR START OF 'HOMECOMING TRIP': On 2/7/97 HOMECOMING TRIP to Ocean Island (European contingent) arrived with Stacey King (the co-ordinator of this trip). There were about thirty Europeans amore than sixty Banabans preparing for this trip. Originally the planned trip was by ship. The pre-arranged boat had a major engine problem so the trip had to be deferred to Tarawa by air which is faster as the stricken boat with her engine problems had delayed the travelling arrangements far behind schedule. While the European members were on the island they had a good time mingling around with the Banabans on their exile island of Rabi. Some had the opportunity in visiting a reserved fishing ground for the Rabians or the Banabans while some lazed out in the sun in a remote are of Rabi. Hope they enjoyed their stay on Rabi without any complaint.

HOMECOMING PASSENGERS FINALLY LEAVE RABI: On 10/7/97 Motor Vessel "Sofe "arrived on Rabi and all Banaba bound passengers left on this ship to Suva, including the Rabi Dancing Club.

RETURN OF BANABAN CONTINGENT TO RABI FROM HOMECOMING TRIP: Again on 14/8/97 the same M.V. "Sofe" arrived and off loaded the Rabi contingent who went to Ocean Island. They all have returned safely from their ancestral homeland Ocean Island.

They all praised Stacey’s efforts, Japanese and others who have contributed to making this trip a success, but the credit is to Stacey herself. Determination and persistence usually overcome any obstacle that stand in your way, things don’t happen by hoping, they happen by positive actions - only then you can succeed.

Ken Sigrah asked if he could make a comment thanking Mr. And Mrs. H. Embleton for sponsoring his fare to Ocean Island. Initially Ken was recruited as a cook and handy man but when the travelling arrangements changed Tom & Helen came to his rescue and sponsored his airfare to and back. So he became a tour guide on Ocean Island as well as T.V. interpreter. So Tom and Helen’s money was well spent: My mother in law - Nei Maria, who was also a member in the group who has returned safely, commented that the trip was a great experience to cherish.

BANABAN DANCING GROUP LEAVE FOR JAPANESE DANCE TOUR: While the Rabi Dancing Group was away on Ocean Island another prominent dancing group - the Banaban Dancing Group also left Rabi on 24/7/97 to perform the Banaban cultural dancing in Japan, and its a coincidence they almost returned at the same time. According to their leaders Councillor Iakoba Karutaake the dancers made a great show, they’re great ambassadors for the Banabans.

On 15/8/97 the dancers returned in high spirits, many thanks to Manabu and his Japanese friends for their great support making the trip such a success. Also not forgetting our Japanese friends in Nadi who came to the rescue of the Banaban Dancers who were stranded in Suva. Thank you to all our Japanese friends.

DEATHS: To update our Banaban readers on Rabi’s deaths:

  • 8/4/97 Tebeke Anterea of Tabiang, died of long illness.

  • 9/4/97 Nei Arumiti of Buakonikai, died of natural death.

  • 9/5/97 Rakubo (bun Nei Matarena) died of long illness.

  • 6/8/97 Nei Teretia Tamoa of Tabwewa, victim of diabetes.

  • 7/8/97 Nei Tebuatarake Karutaake, victim of diabetes.

  • 10/8/97 Tome (bun Nei Tarita) died of illness.

It is noted that death occurs unexpectedly but birth occurs expectedly!



by Rabi Correspondent Kaiea Bakanebo 

Courtesy Issue No.26- 'Banaba/Ocean Island News'.

News Date Issue 8th. April, 1997


A FAREWELL PARTY Has been held at the Guest House to Ratu Epeli Kanaimawi and Major Tue Malo, the then Rabi Interim Administrators. Only Bill Cruickshank was not present. Rabi Council employees (heads of departments only); Banaban elders and Rabi Council of Leaders were all there to say ‘thank you’ and bid them farewell. I was a great night, polished off properly in a grand Pacific style.

BRITISH AMBASSADOR based in Suva, Fiji - Mr. Michael Peart, his wife and one Mrs. Marise Fernandes had arrived on the island and had presented to Council toys for Rabi Pre-schools plus four books to Rabi Library. (It is better to receive anything than to receive nothing).

CYCLONE GARVIN has left Rabi partly paralysed, most of the dependent fruit trees along the North West coastal areas of the island were damaged. Some cash crops were also damaged and houses along the costal areas were affected by tidal waves and need extensive repairs. The Banabans have adjusted themselves well to this kind of weather - humid hot, humid cold or cyclone.


10/2/97 an infant to Nei Kaneke and Nakura.

18/2/97 an infant to Nei Waka and Tekeua

24/2/97 Kaitarawa died at Fatima

14/3/97 Nei Tiena Teburetau died at her home in Nuku.

15/3/97 Terauna died at Nadoi, Uma

26/3/97 Nei Raine Christopher died in Suva (sister of David Christopher; Rabi Council Executive Director of Services)

4/4/97 Nei Tikara Bonteatu died enroute to Savusavu Hospital.

6/4/97 A son of Mesita and Nei Meretian, died accidentally with a knife while playing with some young boys.

To conclude my report, I would say everything is normal on Rabi. One old Council bus is servicing the island with two trucks. The other bus in hospitalised for engine defect.

I think that is all from this end.

Best Wishes. K.B.


by Rabi Correspondent Kaiea Bakanebo

 Courtesy Issue No.24- 'Banaba/Ocean Island News'.

News Date Issue 29th. Jan. 1997


RABI COUNCIL OF LEADERS: Probably the appointed Government. administrators have handed over back the full responsibilities of administration of the Banaban people to the newly elected Councillors. With a very experienced leader like Mr. John Teaiwa the future of the Banaban Community is very very bright. There is no open wound or lacerated wound not to be healed except the cancerous wound. It is high time we the Banabans have to push, push our fellow Banabans up the high wall so one after the other they can drop on the other side and be on his or her own. It doesn’t mean one is about to conquer the wall when he’s pulled down again - no let those kinds of attitudes be gone and lost forever. Let us cross our fingers to what will be Council immediate objectives.

EDUCATION: There has been a reshuffle amongst Rabi High School Staff. Those without teaching certificates are on redundancy and recruitment has been conducted, (substitutes for the outgoing) for qualified teachers. Is this one of Council’s first objectives?? To upgrade the standard of the School?? Rabi High School has a new Lab. Building recently opened but without equipment. The school is requesting for donors of science equipment thru the editor of this network. All schools on Rabi - primary and secondary schools are having classes again, after a lapse of more than two months.

DEVELOPMENT: As Rabi Council took office just a month ago maybe all development project are viable now. The people are very anxious for this “Trade Link” between Tarawa and Rabi, so maybe Rabi will be one of the eighth (undeclared) ports of entry in Fiji???

GOVT. STATION (Administration) ON RABI: It was speculated that there will be a District Officer stationed permanently on Rabi. Again it has been rumoured that this station has been allocated to Tukawesi - a Government Station at Tunuloa District which has no District Officer ever stationed permanently there. Well we are on our own again - the cast out race!

HEALTH: There has been an epidemic of flu on Rabi, before this Trachoma was widespread on the island. Whenever there is a change of weather there must be a widespread of disease.

WATER: Rabi Council still maintains the water system on the island, and we badly need a proper hygienic treatment of water.

SPORTS: Since the aftermath of 15th. December celebrations the ongoing sports activity on the island still existing is - Volleyball.

DEATHS: Terereitaake Tokou aged about 25 years old of Tabwewa hanged himself at Farm Settlement shutting him out from this world. Let him be in peace the way he like it. Amen. Until next issue. K.B.

by Rabi Correspondent Kaiea Bakanebo
News Date Issue 7th. December, 1996

In the second round of elections held on Rabi to elect the new Chairman of Rabi Council - John Teaiwa from Tabiang Village was elected to the position. John's position as Councillor for Tabiang will now be taken up by Keith Christopher who ran second to John in the first round of voting from Tabiang village. This now sees nine elected Councillors as Rabi's Council of Leaders.

News Date Issue 2nd. December, 1996

RABI COUNCIL ELECTIONS: Last week 29th. - 30th. November was a very busy week for us here on Rabi. On 29th. Nov. the District Officer Savusavu and his party arrived on Rabi to prepare themselves for the next day's activity - Election Day. Early the next morning, Friday, Council elections commenced and ended at 6pm. All ballots boxes closed in all centres witnessed by the candidates themselves. In the evening at about 8pm counting commenced and ended at about 11.30pm. District Officer pronounced the following candidates who had won the election:

Tabwewa Village

Nei Makin Karoro (Elders Seat - First Woman elected in Banaban History to Council Position); Iakoba Karutaake (Open in General Seat)

Uma Village

Frank A. Christopher (Elders Seat - On Advisory Committee of Banaban Heritage Society Inc.); Pastor Teatu Moutu Rewi (Open in General Seat)

Tabiang Village

John T. Teaiwa (Elders Seat - ex Permanent Secretary Fiji Government); Bauro Kabure (Open in General Seat - ex National Bank of Fiji Manager Savusavu)

Buakonikai Village

Bureia Fiamalosi (Elders Seat); Tebaruru Baoa (Open in General Seat - ex 2I/C Local Police)

This coming Friday 6th. December, 1996 another general elections will be considered for the Chairmanship post after this then the new Councillors will sit for the first time.


by Rabi Correspondent Kaiea Bakanebo

Courtesy Issue No.23 - 'Banaba/Ocean Island News'.

News Date Issue 4th. October, 1996

BANABA MP VISIT: On 15th. August ’96 Banaba MP Mr. Burenimone Biara made a surprise visit to Rabi calling on the Elders and the Interim Administrators, then left on 21st. Aug ’96.

ROTUMA CATHOLIC CELEBRATIONS: August 1996 was a month for Rotuma to remember 150 years of Catholic religion when first established on the island. All Catholic Rotumans around the country converged on to Rotuma and celebrated the occasion. Samabula Parish from Suva also went and five Banabans from this Parish were involved in a Banaban traditional dance performed by thirty or so, pretty young Rotuman girls. These five - Jerome & wife - Baeang; Kakiatu & wife - Bwebwere; and Kabiri Iborito taught the young Rotuman girls the Banaban dance and it really thrilled the Rotumans on the island. The performers were mistaken as the real Banabans, even the young men on the island were much attracted to the Banaban traditional dance. To show their appreciation they called out “Mafu-le-lelei” not knowing that the girls performing were the real Rotuman girls.

DONATED COMPUTERS: On 26th. Sept ’96 donations of computers have been received by Rabi High School Principal - Rubena Karakaua brought in by Mr. Daniel Bridges. There was no computer in the school before, but with these two or three computers available now, the school will primarily conduct computer classes. The school is very grateful for such donations. They are real assets to the school, hopefully the school will benefit a lot from these presents. The Rabi High School was privileged to have him (Dan) as their special guest, so they provided accommodation for him during his short stay on the island until he left on 5th. Oct ’96.

TB WORKSHOP: From 16th. - 19th. Sep ’96 Tuberculosis (TB) workshop was conducted on the island. The co-ordinator of the workshop Dr. Bera and Dr. Arun Kumar from the Tabiang Control Unit based at Tamavua, Suva. About 16 doctors and nurses around Vanua Levu attended this workshop. Also invitations were extended to Council staff and Government Civil Servants. From Council were - Temarewe Manoku of Women’s Interest and Mr. Qio from Council Administration. Civil Servants were - Mrs. Tute Itinnokuaki Touakin and Mr. Raratu Burenteweia both from Banaban School; Mr. Faiana Ofati of Tabiang Primary School were the participants in this first type of workshop that was ever held on Rabi. Kitchen hands responsible for the participants meals were rotated each day giving each party the responsibility of preparing meals including breakfast. The Catholic women, the Methodist and the Seventh Day Adventist women all gave free service preparing foods for the participants when the organising committee asked for help.

PARBICA (Pacific Regional Branch of the International Council on Archives) Meetings concept to include a Banaban is an excellent idea. The Record Management Course recently sponsored by AUSAID at Labasa, Fiji was very beneficial to the Banaban participant - Miri in her field. Hopefully the Banabans exposure to future workshops will be of great benefit to the entire Community with the preservation of our historical material for future generations.

COOKING WITH BREADFRUITS: Thanks for the recipes given in last ‘NEWS’ Issue No. 22. Rabi is one among the Fiji islands with so many kids of breadfruits. During breadfruit season, every household will definitely boil breadfruit for their meals. It will be boiled this way and that way, that way and this way but still it will come out as breadfruit: but with the new recipes, we hope the taste will now be different.

COOKING WITH MANGO: Any ideas on how to add mango into dishes. Rabi has experienced that mango litter the island during its season. Probably this year - December - January the production will be heavy according to mother nature, unless we get heavy rain and strong winds. Mango can be processed as sweet jam, we need a factory but definitely this factory will wait until the next season as mangos flower and fruit only once a year.

NEW ELECTIONS: Rabi is now anticipating fresh Council elections rumoured around November or January next year.

DEATHS: On 5th. Sep ’96 Teitebon Taungea died of stroke.

K.B. reporting


by Rabi Correspondent Kaiea Bakanebo

Courtesy Issue No.22- 'Banaba/Ocean Island News'.

News Date Issue 20th. July, 1996

EDUCATION VISIT: On 1/6/96 one Ms Marie Fernandes an expatriate from the U.K. who is on attachment to the Ministry of Education in Fiji arrived on the island to inspect schools especially Pre-School centres around the island. She held a lecture on “Speech and language” her main field. She left Rabi on 7/6/96.

ROUTINE TOUR: On 3/6/96 Major Malo (Interim Administrator) arrived on normal round of tour, he left on 7/6/96.

HEALTH VISIT: On 27/6/96 the new Minister of Health Leo Smith; Director of Medical Services (Preventive) Dr. Asenaca; Senior Medical Officer Cakaudrove Dr. Vosarogo; District Officer Savusavu; X-ray technician and a clerk from SDMO’s Office from Savusavu made a short visit to Rabi Hospital. On 28/6/96 before departing the Minister had an opportunity seeing his constituency voters.

CLOSURE OF SCHOOL: On 1/7/96 Rabi Council Interim Chairman Bill Cruickshank was on his round of tour to the island. His sort visit coincided with the closure of Tabiang Primary School by Rabi resident doctor Dr. Thien Hlal (a Burmese National), resulting in a very hasty visit by the Senior Education Officer Cakaudrove in which the demand from doctor was immediately rectified and the school re-opened again on 3/7/96.

DIVORCE PARTY: On 2/7/96 a party of merriment was conducted at the Rabi Post Office regarding the separation of Telecom Fiji Ltd. And Post Fiji Ltd., before they were under one banner - Fiji Post & Telecom Ltd. And now history has been made and to stamp that three officials from Labasa arrived on the island and officiated this divorce ceremony. Invited quest were Council Staff (Supervisors) with their Administration Officer Nenem; Primary School head teachers; Rabi M.O. Dr. Thein Hlal; O/C Fiji Police Post (Rabi) Cpl. Apenisa and other prominent citizen’s on the island. Drinking kava was on the main menu apart from other prepared food. In the afternoon the officials from Labasa left with extra loads in their stomach!!!???

NEW SURVEY EQUIPMENT: Rabi MP to Kiribati House of Assembly returned on 9/7/96 after more than two months absence attending to his official duties as Rabi MP. Upon his return to Rabi he brought with him form Suva a new set of Survey Equipment a donation from the British Government via its embassy in Suva. The Banabans are very grateful for such donations like this and it is believed that two third of lands on Rabi is unsurveyed and with this new equipment Rabi Council Chief Lands Officer, Kaato Hedstrom had a load of work on his hands.

Ratu Epeli Kanaimawi, a member of the Rabi Council of Leaders, tries out a new survey equipment that was presented to the council in Suva yesterday. It was presented by the British government and will be used to survey two thirds of land on Rabi Island that will take two years to complete. About $12,000 worth of equipment was presented to the council chairman Bill Cruickshank by the British Ambassador Michael Peart. Courtesy FIJI TIMES, Suva.

THEFT AT HIGH SCHOOL: Five male students from Rabi High School have been sacked for being involved in a break in and stealing at the school last term and early this month (July). Apart from being dismissed from the school, the police have laid charges against them for this offence.

KIRIBATI SPECIAL GUESTS: On 14/7/96 Kiribati Vice President also Minister for Home Affairs & Rural Development, Hon. Tewareka Tentoa arrived on the island with the following persons:-

  • Mikaere Baraniko - Secretary for Home Affairs

  • Erene Nikora - Acting Chief Lands Officer

  • Manate Tenang - Chief Agricultural Officer

  • Miteti Abete - Director of Marine

  • Kamaie Teteki - Acting International Trade Officer

  • Tekena Tiroa - Census Commissioner

They were met by Council Executive Director of Services & MP for Rabi Mr. David Christopher; Council Administration Officer Mr. Nenem Kourabi; Elders Chairman Mr. Tekoti Rotan and Council Chief of Police.

CATHOLIC VISITOR: On 20/7/96 Catholics on Rabi welcomed their VICAR GENERAL (Assistant to Archbishop) who arrived in the afternoon accompanied by two assistants from the Catholic headquarters in Suva. His Most Reverend was accorded a full traditional welcoming ceremony followed by traditional dancing performed by Rabi Dancing Group. On Sunday the Vicar General conducted Holy Mass. On 22/7/96 after tea the VIP left to Savusavu.

SPORT: So far youths from Uma hosted Volleyball competition every Saturday since the beginning of the year. There are six male teams in the line up and four female teams competing fro prizes for the winner, first runner up and second runner up. Other youths from other villages are also conducting their own sport or they leisure out in the bush planting and cleaning their farms or they laze in the sea fishing for food. Subsistence crops such as yaqona and dalo are the two major money earners on the island. Beach-der-mer is another booming economy on the island, yaqona middlemen roaming around looking for grog from farmers while beach-der-mer. Rabi mini market is in full swing giving the vendors a very good opportunity in earning extra cash. These vendors also operating a food take away from the market.

RABI HIGH SCHOOL NEW LAB. BUILDING: The building is almost finished and ready for operation, there is no labour cost in building this house as it is built through ‘community work’.

PUBLIC UTILITIES: Public Utility on the island are functioning well, we are fortunate to have plenty of rainwater this year even though we are heading towards the end of the dry season - no shortage of water reported. Public Transport is still maintained by Council the two junky buses maintained and serviced are very costly, the two trucks are running alright. With all these a major problem will effect the island as a whole, people will really suffer and we are grateful for Council services that is well maintained.

DEATHS: Rabi - Nei Teienimakin Abera of Uma died of short illness; Suva - Oteniera Tabakea alias Momo and Paul Seru (husband of Staff Nurse Tiniwa).

AID SHIPMENT: Consignment of cartons have been received safely on Rabi sent from Australia thru Stacey. These assorted items were distributed out by Qio according to the written names on each carton. We express our thanks to those who donated and care for the Banabans. Our sincere thanks to Stacey for using her own resources in seeing that these cartons must get thru.

Thanks! That is all from Rabi. Until next issue. Tia kabo Ni sa moce! K.B. reporting.  


by Rabi Correspondent Kaiea Bakanebo

Courtesy Issue No.21 - 'Banaba/Ocean Island News'.

News Date Issue 20th. May, 1996

EASTER HOLIDAY: School staff, other Government staff and Council Establishment employees took to the bush with this opportunity of two days off planting crops and yaqona, some laze off in the sun fishing for food while others eat around a bowl of grog drinking yaqona (kava) and yarning away. Everywhere was quiet and peaceful everyone enjoyed Easter gracefully only essential services seemed to be ignorant of this great opportunity and we are grateful to them.

INFRASTRUCTURE: Public Works Department (Government employees) are still responsible for the maintenance of the road on the island, but without machines the condition of the road deteriorates and very soon the two public buses will give up and people will make a journey by foot. Private motor vehicles now on the road are two light trucks. Council has two unreliable buses and two trucks servicing the island, these are the only means of communication on the island.

Water is unsafe, no treated water is available on the island so for safety we boil the water. There is a wonder why grog drinkers never get sick as they drink untreated water every now and then, let us assume that kava kills bacteria??? Anyway Rabi experienced a heavy drop of rainwater this early start of the dry season allowing mountains to suck in enough water until the dry spell is over sometimes in August.

DEATH: Rabi Council Chief Executive Director of Services and Member for Parliament representing the Banabans on Rabi Mr. David Christopher has lost a life partner - Mrs. Emily Christopher who died of short illness on 28th. April, 1996. Council staff console with David indirectly which prompted him (David) to make an acknowledgment as in his circular. The funeral of the late Mrs. Emily Christopher was held at Tabiang village and large crowd attended. The funeral coincided with the arrival of Rabi administrator Major Tiu Malo on his round of duty. He also paid his last respects. The Bible quotes that we are made from the mould of sand dust so when we die our body will go back to where it belongs - the soil. Paul reminded us that the Lord himself is our source of peace, he will give us peace at all times and in every way.

OTHER DEATHS: On 2nd. May, 1996 Teisivi (husband of Nei Atima) died of long illness at Buakonikai village. On 12th. May, 1996 Ani Tenikom died of stroke attack. He was also from Buakonikai.

KIRIBATI AUTI NI MAUNGATABU: Mr. David Christopher on 3rd. May, 1996 left Rabi to Suva enroute for Tarawa to attend to his official duties as member of the house for the Banabans on Rabi, with misty clouds of sadness still lingers MP for Rabi attended to his duties first.

RELIGION: On 3rd. May, 1996, Assemblies of God (Rabi branch) hosted Christ Ambassadors youth rally which attracted more than seventy supporters around Vanua Levu. They dispersed on Monday the 6th.

DOG POISON CAMPAIGN: On 6th. May, 1996 - 9th. May, 1996 dog poison baits were laid in the four main villages i.e. Tabwewa, Uma, Tabiang and Buakonikai, by the Local Police, Fiji Police and the Veterinary Officer from the Ministry of Agriculture (Labasa). More than fifty stray dogs were destroyed, five cats and one pig. This is one way of controlling dog population as they are a health hazard.

FILING CLERK COURSE & WORKSHOP: On 6th. May 1996 - 10th. May 1996 Miri Tekire attended this five days workshop on Record Management at Labasa sponsored by Australian Agency International Development (AUSAID). This course was jointly co-ordinated by the Public Service Commission and the National Archives of Fiji. Rabi Council was very grateful to the National Archives for extending an invitation resulting in Miri’s participation. AUSAID provided the accommodation at the Grand Eastern Hotel, meals and travelling. Twenty five (25) participants from Government, various Ministries took part in this workshop under the guidance of Dr. Peter Orlovich. According to Miri the course was a very successful one.

HOSPITAL: On 13th. May, 1996 eighteen officials headed by Health Director of Services Dr. Vilikesa Rabukawaqa and Senior District Medical Officer, Savusavu - Dr. Vosarogo, X-ray Lab technician supervisor for PWD construction Northern and other health officials arrived on the island with the X-ray equipment and conducted X-ray on previous Tabiang cases and those suspected of having contact. After making an inspection and carried out X-ray review they all left. There is a prospect of upgrading the hospital’s mess room, children’s day care center etc & etc. X-ray Department for the first time since the hospital opening is now fully operational.

There is a concept for a Water Treatment Tank to be installed for the hospital, this has been lobbied by Doctor Hlal Thien (Rabi's resident doctor). In mid June there will be a sub-divisional meeting and workshop on Tabiang disease to be held on the island. Doctors from Vanua Levu medical centres with doctors from Tamavua Hospital in Suva will converge on Rabi for this workshop.

PRICES AND INCOME BOARD: Two officials from Labasa arrived on the island on 13th. May, 1996 and inspected shops suspected of charging goods beyond reasonable prices. Also they had time to see consumers and hear their complaints. They came together with Rabi Council Interim Administrator - Ratu Epeli Kanaimawi who is on his normal round of tour.



In September 1995, the first stage of the Banaban Foundation was begun, with the forming of the ‘Banaban Heritage Society Inc...'  based in Australia. The Society will need to build substantial funds to be kept in trust before the formation of the Banaban Foundation can take place. With the help and assistance of the many friends of the Banaban community scattered around the World the Society hopes to eventually see the rehabilitation of the Banabans homeland, and the development of Rabi to its full potential.

On 15th. December, 1995, the Banabans on Rabi celebrated their 50th. ‘Jubilee’ Anniversary of their first arrival on the island. The island’s annual 50th. Celebrations were a grand affair with a full week of feasting, cultural and sporting games and activities. A new commemorative plaque was unveiled on the island by the special guest of honour - His Excellency the President of Fiji, Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara.

The 50th. Anniversary Plaque reads -

By the Grace of God this plaque which commemorates the arrival of the Pioneer Banabans on Rabi Island on 15th. December 1945 was unveiled by His Excellency the President of Fiji. Rt. Hon. Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara, KBE, KSTJ, CF, on 15th. December, 1995.50th-celebrations-Rabi-Fij-1995

His Excellency the President of Fiji dedicating the new memorial

stone at Rabi 50th Celebrations, Rabi Island


A new hospital was finally opened on Rabi in early December, 1995, and was built by the Fiji Government. The island also saw the opening of the first Community Library for the Banaban people in July, 1995. This library has been a major project of the Banaban Heritage Society Inc.., and is actively support by the Society.

Another important step in Banaban history has taken place with the appointment of a Rabi representative - David Christopher as a M.P. in the Kiribati House of Assembly. This is an unusual and welcomed move with Rabi being part of the Republic of Fiji. The Banabans now have two representatives in the Kiribati House of Assembly with Banaba Island represented by - Burenimone Biara. Since these new steps have taken place the Banabans have made another major step in their turbulent history, by finally sitting down with the Kiribati Government and discussing the developments and future of their homeland - Banaba.






David Christopher - Kiribati MP from Rabi Island.

    This year 1996, the Banabans on Rabi hope to finally hold general elections for the Rabi Council of Leaders, who will take over the running of the island from the Interim Administrators, who were appointed by the Fiji Government back in 1992. These elections will hopefully be held July/August 1996, and see a new turning point in Rabi's history.

    The current population on Rabi is nearing 4,500 people, with Rabi experiencing the highest population growth in 1995 in the entire Fiji Group.

    More Banaban News Archives

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