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Fijian Community Association Victoria Inc

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Fijian Dance Groups

Department of Religion, Education, Language and Culture

         

 

The Fijian Community Association Victoria aims to reconnect Fijians to their Language and Culture. The Fijian language AND Culture will be taught to Fijians and other ethnic groups that are connected to Fiji and those that are interested. The Department of Religion, Education, Language and Culture of  FCAV will be responsible in the overall running of the Language and Cultural training programs.

1966 WINNING "MASI" DESIGN RETURNED

The Masi (Tapa Cloth) that won the Ladies "Masi" design competition in March/April 1966 in a Competition at the village of Nacamaki, Koro, Lomaiviti was today presented to the Fijian Community Association of Victoria by the owners Mr and Mrs Chris and Janet Smyth of Mornington, Victoria. There to accept the gift was Koro native and former Lomaiviti, representative in Fiji Parliament, Mr Simione Kaitani who represented the Vanua of Koro and also the Fijian Community Association of Victoria as a member of the FCAV Committee himself. Also present at the presentation was the President of the Fijian Community Association Victoria, Mr Vonivate Driu.

Mr and Mrs Smyth are from Wellington, New Zealand. They migrated to Australia 40 years ago bringing with them the winning Nacamaki Masi and some other treasured Fijian artifacts that they collected while Mr Smyth was teaching at Nasinu Teachers College in 1965 and 1966. Mr Smyth traveled to Koro in the Yaught, Ramarama, with 6 other colleagues. Describing Nacamaki at the time of the competition, Mr Smyth recollected that the competition ground was a rugby field with two small wooden churches on both ends. One was a Methodist Church while the other was a Catholic Church. The villages of Koro took part in the competition and included basket weaving, sack racing, spear throwing, writing contest for kids, masi designs for women etc. There was a Yaqona ceremony of welcome performed before everyone took part in the competition.

After the competition and while everyone were packing up to go back to their villages, Mr Smyth approached the lady with the winning Masi design and asked her if he could buy it. The lady willingly accepted after discussion with other ladies and he bought the "masi" but really can't remember how much he bought it for, "Maybe 1 pound but I am not sure", he said.

The couple left New Zealand after Mr Smyth was being seconded by the New Zealand Department of Education to take up a Lecturers post at Nasinu Teachers College. At Nasinu Teachers College, he remembered teaching with Mr Meli Maisema, the late Mr Inoke Tabualevu and Mr Moti Lal etc. Some of his students include the late Mr Sefanaia Koroi and FTU President Mr Pratap Chand. He was a member of the Nausori Golf Club together with the late Mr Semesa Sikivou. One of the couples 8 children, now 52 years old, Mary was born in Suva's old Colonial War Memorial Hospital.

He hoped that the "Masi" will bring cheerful memories to the people of Koro.

Photo: Mr Simione Kaitani receiving the Masi that won the "Masi" Design competition in Nacamaki 52 years ago.

While in Fiji, Mr and Mrs Smyth met the famous artist Mr Semisi Maya and became friends.

Semisi Maya was a well known Fijian artist prominent during the 1960's to the 1980's for the amazing paintings he created despite being severely crippled by leprosy. 

They also presented a collection of Semisi Maya's art work which they hope can be kept by the Fijian Association as displays for future generations to appreciate in our Cultural Shows and displays.

Below is one of Mr Semisi Maya's Art work:

More of Artist, Semisi Maya's art work are shown in the slide show below:

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CULTURAL PRESENTATION

Photo: FCAV Committee member, Mr Eroni Lewaqai, performing a Fijian presentation.