Bula Vinaka, Fiji!
The One Million Stars project took me to Suva in Fiji to weave stars with the Fiji Medical Association (FMA) and to meet with Team Fiji.
On Friday 31 March, I met with Dr Waqainabete, president of the FMA and we wove stars with some of his Medical students at Fiji National University. After a fun weave jam, they put on a lovely afternoon tea of Fijian sweets and savouries, with flavours and influences from India, to celebrate World Doctors Day.
"A Nation Against Violence" conference by Fiji Medical Association. So much fun! Photo: Fiji Medical Association.
I met Dr Waqa in Auckland last August, in Auckland at the Pasifika Medical Association. I was invited to speak about the One Million Stars project at the PMA 20th Anniversary conference to an incredible gathering of leading doctors, surgeons, nurses and medical professionals from across Aotearoa New Zealand and the Pacific. It was an incredible honour to speak at the FMA mini conference “A Nation Against Violence” on Saturday 1 April. I was part of a panel with the Police Commissioner and Ministry of Women and together, we each spoke about the need to work together to end violence in our communities. I showed images of my work as an artist and weaver, which always helps to put everything into context, including the origins of the One Million Stars project.
I put a challenge to the FMA to weave and collect 1,000 stars, which many seemed really keen to achieve. Yay! A few were excited to share the project with their colleagues, namely the Paediatrics unit. I love how people can see the benefits of star weaving for their team of professionals serving their communities and for those who they are trying to support.
With Team Fiji Headquarters. Follow them on facebook, they are spreading the star love with students and communities across Fiji. We are stronger when we work together! Go Fiji!! Huge shout out to Master Fes and Naomi for making this happen in Fiji. Yes!
On Monday I met with Team Fiji headquarters and did a small presentation about the project and my work, and taught them how to weave stars. Fesaitu Mario (Master Fes as he is affectionately known as by staff and community) has been their champion star teacher, teaching at sports festivals and camps and getting athletes and coaches involved. Originally from Rotuma, one of the islands part of Fiji, Master Fes shared how he knows this star weave well, and that they even make sevausevu (necklaces) with 5 woven stars in it!
We then wove stars with some rugby players at the Aquatic centre and students from ACS college who will continue weaving stars with Team Fiji. So much fun, and a great opportunity to talk about how to use the boomerang app on Instagram! So thrilled that Fiji will be part of the GC2018 installation. Go Fiji!!