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Staff of Extension Services USP Suva 1985

I had the privilege of serving as Coordinator of Course Development in what was then Extension Services (now the Centre for Flexible Education) of the University of the South Pacific in Suva, Fiji, 1983-1985. Only days before I left to return to Western Australia (and Murdoch University) I bought a camera and raced around the offices and took photos of everyone I could find, because I realised that I really cared about all these wonderful people, and that I would probably never see them again.
In fact, I did get back to USP for a conference in 1999, and met a few of them again briefly. I believe at least four were still with the CFL then. Revising this page in 2017, I find that the only person from 1985 who is there now is the man in the top job, Professor Som Naidu. In 1985 he was then a 'course developer' (instructional designer), now he's the Director.
There are a few people whose photos are not here, simply because they weren't there during the two days I was snapping away: John Sommerhauser had left USP, to return to California. I missed the lovely lady in the audio studio, Naomi Rakuita, and I did not photograph course developers Joan Teaiwa and Ruby Va'a, nor senior administrator Filimone Fifita. I did not have the courage to ask the Director, Marjorie Crocombe OBE, if I could take her photo.
I should also confess that I have forgotten a few names, and cannot find them in the souvenirs I've kept. So I apologise for that, and also for any mistakes I've made below. I hope people will correct them, and also ask me to take photos down if they feel that it's inappropriate for me to have them here. I know that at least two people below are no longer with us, as I was told in 1999 that Jo Daniva has gone, and then later Penerope Faktaurere.

My two years in Fiji were definitely the two best of my life: no contest. And that is partly down to the fine people I had the pleasure of working with.

Ivan Williams, Head of Distance Education, and my immediate boss: the best person you can imagine working for

Eni Ramere, HDE's secretary, later with the Centre for Flexible Learning.


Savenaca Madanavosa, then the Secretary of Extension Services.

Asenaca Osborne, Secretary to the Director of Extension Services, Marjorie Crocombe DLitt OBE.

Som Naidu, then Course Developer, now Pro Vice-Chancellor Flexible Learning & Director Centre for Flexible Learning

Eileen Tuimaleali'ifano, Course Developer (later Coordinator of Instructional Design) later still with Student Learning Support, CDFL

Sheila Baledrokadroka, secretary to the very fortunate Coordinator of Course Development

Kesaia Matanimeke, secretary to the Head of Continuing Education, Emiliana Afeaki

Jessie Leong, TV producer

Ewedd-Kid Kulatea, Technical Officer (Satellite)

Kid and his assistant Prakash working on the satellite antenna aimed at the former American weather satellite Peacesat ATS-1


Georgina Wilson, Media Assistant, Satellite Studio. Georgina was prolly photographed more than anyone else, as she was usually in control of the Satellite Studio, which was the most interesting area of Extension Services to photograph. When I visited in 1999, she was still running the Studio, tho in the new building.

Georgina may have later changed her name to Veilaveyaki.

Verbena Miller, also a Media Assistant

Verbena with a young relative of hers

One of the two graphic artists, Gyan. The other was the late Jan Prasad, of whom I have no photo.

Sylvia Rupeni, administrator of materials despatch, later production officer. I met Sylvia again in 1999 at USP.

Viliame 'Alofi, Admin Assistant

Sailasa Ratumaiyale, Records Officer.

Akanisi Sakuwai, typist - later electronic publisher in the Centre for Flexible Learning

Sue Inia, typist, now Susana Sanipati, also later electronic publisher in the Centre for Flexible Learning

Taina Colawai, typist

Nisha Dean, typist

The late Josefa Daniva, despatch clerk, and a good man, as you can see

Savenaca Ravono, despatch clerk, who was still with CFL in 1999

This lovely lady is the late Penerope Faktaurere.


This was part of Extension Services as it was in 1985. The door led to the offices of HDE and CCD and to the graphics studio.


The building was still there in 1999. The vegetation has grown a bit.

I suppose I should finish with one of the CCD: not taken at my desk, but in our garden with my elder daughter Eleanor (aged 4) and the lovely lady who helped us in the house, Mere Kalou (nee Vitokai, I think) from Kadavu, who has now retired to her village at Kavala Bay.

Garry Gillard | New: 27 November, 2009 | Now: 13 September, 2021