Vinaka Golden Oldies

Farewell and Vinaka (Thank you)

The Golden Oldies Mission team has partnered with the Anglican Church of Polynesia to help brings Gods love to all the people they met. The Golden Oldies came from all over NZ, from a variety of Christian denominations, and we even had some ‘Junior’ Golden Oldies to provide wonderful support as well.

22.0 GOM2019 Team Farewell Blog

The team visited remote squatter villages, schools, hospitals, an old people’s home an orphanage, a prison, and a variety of churches.
Over 30 bags of donated goods including books, stationery, sports gear and medical equipment were distributed throughout the mission.

15.8 packaging complete blog

Some of the 30+ bags that were distributed during the mission

New Vicarage and Sign

The Golden Oldies and supporters have been contributing to the construction of a vicarage in a remote Coastal Village.

This will allow a full-time minister to live in the Village. It is being built by the Men’s Group each Saturday, and has created a new sense of identity for the men, from 3 workers to now 30-40 helping out on the Saturdays.

The old church sign

At the same time the Church community have wanted a new sign and now they have one  which brought everyone out for the blessing and official opening.

Another Church AND Kindergarten sign

The final visit was to a church that runs a kindergarten during the week within the church and its grounds. Its full to overflowing with children, but they have felt very embarrassed by the state of their sign.

It was a great honor to be able to prepare a new sign for them and this is being installed by the local volunteer fire brigade this week.


The team with the church members showing how the new sign will look when installed in place

The last school on the river

Its a long trek

The Golden Oldies traveled down the largest river system in the region, through the mangroves to arrive at an isolated fishing village. The Primary School had spent much of the week preparing their speeches, songs and cultural dances for the team.
“Its a wonderful opportunity for our students to proudly display their culture to our very nice visitors” remarked the Senior Teacher.

20.6B HEAD BOYThe team spent time talking to the men, woman and children about life in the village. Songs and stories from the Bible were shared and the children singing grace as a group prior to lunch was very moving.

Diabetes Clinic

A Medical Clinic was held for the adults of the village to test their diabetics status. Diabetes is a major health concern in Fiji with an amputation occurring every 12-hours. It was very encouraging to discover the Village people were in excellent health, having to live off the sea for fish and their crops surrounding them.


Youth Fishing Boat

The trip also created discussions for micro-enterprise opportunities by looking at a partnership to support the youth of the village to purchase their own fishing boat. We look forward to seeing this progress over the next few months.


The Youth are keen to purchase a boat and motor like this to help them generate income for themselves from fishing and transportation on the river

Back to the future


This Church School faces many challenges. The Government appoints all the staff for every school, and then also determines their length of stay there. It means teaches arrive at Church schools with no passion to share the underlying values of the school. In fact it appeared many teachers there may not subscribe to the Christian that the School was founded on.

Currently one Sister from the Anglican Sisterhood acts as the Chaplain for all the 900 students. It is her role to provide ‘Religious Instruction’ to the entire School.

The Principal appreciated the visit of the Golden Oldies to bring the story of the gospel in song, drama, skit, poi and testimony.  It was well received by the junior and senior students. The team also presented gifts of donated books, stationery, and sports equipment, all things very scarce in existence.

It is a credit to the teachers of Fiji for the efforts they are making to educate their students with limited resources. And also a credit to the Fijian Government who have prioritised education as their future, by resourcing it with free education and transport for all.

Yet there is still a long way to go, and it is good to know that the Golden Oldies contributions can make a small difference for the good of the Fijian children at the same time.

We’re worried about our future

Muddy track leads to warm welcome

Trekking along a muddy, slippery track to a squatter settlement was a challenge! Yet it was well worth it with the warm welcome received by the Village Chief.

He told the team about the fear they live with daily about their future. 70 people live in this tin-housing village being encroached by new housing developments. The team prayed for the Village, that the current Court case to retain their land from Property Developers will be successful for their future survival.

Subsistence living

The Village lives off its fishing, crops and micro-business crafts. The Golden Oldies were proudly shown around their village, and learning about subsistence living within a city boundary.

They previously had 10 pigs they were rearing for income, but disease has left only one pig remaining. Pigs of improved strain are needed to continue this venture, and now they need to fund raise for that. It is something the team are looking to support.

Building relationships

The mission trip here was another change to engage with people, encourage them, pray together, and consider how through these partnerships we can further support them and grow our faith together.


A Cocktail of Young and Old

First the Old

The team visited a Government-funded Old People’s Home for residents with nowhere else to live. Rejected by their families, some have lived here for over 30-years, many with either severe disabilities or psychiatric behaviours.

Recently there has been a change in emphasis in care. The priority has moved from solely a clinical focus to a more holistic model of care. Staff are engaging residents in the decision-making for their daily lives and  even trying to reunite residents with their families.

The team spent time talking with residents and staff, and were inspired by the care being provided by staff with minimal resources.

Then the VERY Young

Next was the Maternity Hospital and Emergency Health Centre. The Maternity Hospital delivers 80-babies/month with only one Nurse available at the delivery. Today 7 young ladies had either just had their baby or were hoping to give birth later today. They stay for 12-24 hours before returning home.

GOM Supporters had provided much needed medical equipment and some Golden Oldies from previous years had prepared ‘New baby Gift Packs’ which were handed out and warmly received by the new mothers.

The Emergency Health Centre has 800 people/day arriving for emergency treatment and medical attention. The Centre caters for 90,000 people in the region.

The GOM visit and donated gifts are very much appreciated by the medical staff. They even remembered what we had brought from previous years!

The Youth with the ‘Young at Heart’ Oldies

The Orphanage was an inter-generational meeting of young and not-so-young. The children performed skits and songs, and the GOM reciprocated.

It was a lovely time of engaging with them and hearing their dreams for the future.
Some of our ‘Junior Golden Oldies’ represented the GOM team on the field!

Finishing with the mandatory ‘Family Photo’!

17.30b GOM team

Transforming Lives

16.0 rainbow

we awoke to a beautiful rainbow

To bed with the sound of monsoon rain we awoke to a rainbow, and a clear day!

Our view from the Bible College gives us lovely views of the coral reef.

16.2 House of Sarah

House of Sarah Trustee Rev. Sereima shares their ministry with the team

House of Sarah

The Team began the day hearing about the transformational work being carried out by staff, Sarah Carers and community volunteers. Know as ‘The House of Sarah’ ministry it has increased its range of services over the past decade significantly. Recently they ran an inspirational media campaign on TV and movie theatres advocating for an end to violence against woman and children.

Village welcomes Golden Oldies

A village on the outskirts of Suva, makes the Golden Oldies very welcome, with the little they have. Yet they gave everything from their heart. The team presented a bible story where the village children became the actors. It was a real privilege to be able to share a word of encouragement and pray with them.

The Minister expressed his appreciation of this partnership over the years and how much the people look forward to the annual visit from the Golden Oldies. The children had been waiting to meet the team for over an hour – they were so excited to escort each Golden Oldie along the track to their Church.

The team did their best to sing some songs, however the children made the evening by embracing the Golden Oldies with their affection and with their wonderful dancing.

As the team departed, the children ran behind yelling
“Morce (Good-bye) see you next year!”

Arriving to Darkness, Sun and RAIN!!!

Finally arriving at Suva International Airport, Now where are our bags?

The Golden Oldies Team arrived 8-hours later than planned due to flight cancellations, flight delays and rescheduling to the final flight to leave Nadi for Suva in Saturday night.

Instead of arriving 7pm we ending up arriving in Suva having dinner at 11pm. Not bad going for our 85-year olds!

Sunday, and off to the Suva Cathedral

Sunshine. Walking to Church. Fiji love their rugby!

It is amazing to collate all the generous donations of gifts and materials for the Mission. It took the team hours to sort through everything then bag up all the goods to deliver to all the mission projects during the week ahead.

Some of the bags ready for distribution to the mission projects

Sorting through all the donated goods took hours

And while that was happening Bishop Henry from the northern Island of Fiji came to discuss the next exciting development of the Mud Brick Project

Bishop Henry impressed with one of the newly produced Mud Bricks







And now the challenge is… the rain, monsoon rain since early afternoon, and continuing into the night. Monday is an open-air evening Village event in a squatter village. Only hoping the weather clears by then. Time will tell.

Monsoon Rain has been with us all afternoon and evening. Oh dear!!

Fiji Bound

Meet some of our team

GOM Chch Team 2019

The Christchurch Team Members at their final day of mission training

This year we have 24 ‘Golden Oldies’ from all over NZ coming on the 11-day mission trip to Fiji. This is the 8th consecutive year of this ‘short-term, long-term mission called the ‘Golden Oldies Missions’ has run.

The team has had training days to prepare themselves, fund-raised to support mission projects they have identified as significant to build the lives, villages, and churches in Fiji.
Many others have contributed to this mission too, so its not just the team members going, there’s the NZ-based ‘supporter’s team’ as well! Thanks GOM Team NZ!

7.2 Leaving Christchurch

Farewell Christchurch, brrrrrrr that snow!

The team will be based in Suva, the Capital of Fiji, which has a population similar to the size of Christchurch, NZ. The team will be returning to previous years mission projects to continue to help and support their progress.
We will update the stories during the week ahead
7.4 Arriving Fiji

Arriving Fiji, ahhhhhh that’s a lot warmer!

Vinaka Lorraine and friends

6.0 GOM Lorraine & Wendy

Lorraine showing her fundraising tin to Archer Chaplain Wendy

Lorraine is a resident in the Archer Rest home in Christchurch. Lorraine has a Golden Oldies Fundraising tin in her room, and as family and visitors came to see her they had to place a donation in her tin. It was filled to over-flowing! and now she is staring to refill it again!!

6.2 GOM-Cubro support Jamie Wendy Ashley

Cubro Reps Jamie and Ashley donating medical equipment to the Golden Oldies Mission

Along with all the residents there and Archer’s other sites of Thorrington and Linrose; individual supporters, Croft Print and Design, Cubro Medical Suppliers, individual supporters and community groups like the local Thursday Craft Group, everyone has generously supported this year’s Golden Oldies Mission to Fiji.

Everyone’s fundraising efforts are going to help provide medical equipment to remote hospitals and Medical Centres and an Old People’s Home; sports equipment to Schools, education stationery to children, bibles to Churches, materials to build a house for a church minister, new signs for churches, and funding to support the mud brick project. And that’s only an example of the support.

A big ‘bula vanaka’ (thank you) to everyone!

Mud Bricks-Closing Chapter 1


For six weeks we have worked towards making mud bricks to bring new hope to the people of Fiji and eventually the wider Pacific. Now this Chapter draws to an end.

We’ve finally made some mud bricks, but… we’re not convinced yet that the machines we have are suited to Fiji.

So, lets recap and tell you what we’ve done achieved so far, and finally what’s next.

5.0 soil testing

Research has been a major part of the mud brick project

Miracles do happen

We miraculously met with Government officials, keen to support trialling mud bricks for housing, micro-enterprise, and trades training in Fiji. They were encouraging and wanted to stay informed.
We met with the new Anglican Archbishop for Polynesia who was keen to offer their support towards the mission.
The meeting with the NZ High Commission and NZ Foreign Affairs was ‘robust’ yet we parted with them interested to keep the conversation going.
And, we identified a science laboratory to test our bricks to meet local building code conditions.

2.1 Archbishop with a mud brick v1

The Anglican Archbishop of Polynesia supporting mud bricks

Finding Nemo/the Ingredients-Site

Then the mud brick exploration for sustainable materials and a production site led us to visit 20 villages over the two main Islands. We finally decided to setup ‘Head Office’ at a Church in the middle of nowhere on Vanua Levu, the northern Island.

We found a Mine extracting mineral for the Chinese market and then discarding the residue mud as waste. There’s tonnes of waste mud for us to use there. We found a quarry for sand and even have looked at coconut husk as an ingredient for the mud brick as well.

We finalised our Production Base at a Village Church, within the idyllic grounds the church owns. Thomas (or ‘Tomasi’ as they call him in Fiji) and Pate have employed some local youth and together with them, the ‘mud brick team’ was formed.

We finalised our Production Base at the Village Church, within the idyllic grounds the church owns. Thomas and Pate have employed some local youth and together with them, the ‘mud brick team’ was formed.

4.7 The Pit

A Mine that extracts minerals for the Chines market and the waste mud is suitable for mud bricks

Mud Brick Production underway

The ‘Mud brick team’ has worked tirelessly for 3-weeks experimenting with the variety of compositions of ingredients from various sources, differing moisture levels, then compressing them into little ‘mud pie/bricks’ in a mould like a baking tin. Afterwards they are tested for strength and record everything. So far, great results. Everything is working well and the Fijian boys are loving the experience and learning about the science of soils and developing research skills.

5.2 mixing mud

Mixing the ingredients

Hit the Wall

Then the problems began.
Converting the exact replica of ingredients from the mini-brick to the main brick machine has become a stumbling block. The machine won’t allow the bricks to compress if they’re too wet, and if they’re too dry when compressed they collapse into sand when picked up.
We’ve talked to experts in NZ and around the World, talked to the machine manufacturer -all with ideas but nothing that has resolved the problem satisfactorily at this stage. It all points to these specific machines may not be suited to the soils here in Fiji.

5.4 bricks in machine

The first mud bricks coming out of the machine

Now what?

We believe in this vision. We have seen God’s leading throughout. We have established great partnerships and we have some wonderful Fijian people wanting to work alongside us to make it work. We can’t let them down and the many supporters who keep encouraging us to keep going.

The new Chairperson, Steve, of the Anglican Missions Board (AMB) flew to visit the Mud Brick team this week.

5.8a mud pate steve Thomas

Anglican Mission Board Chairman, Steve, visits Pate and Tomasi

We discussed the Mud Brick vision being like a modern-day mission. Individuals, youth groups, parishes fundraising to buy bricks to build houses, training local Fijians in house building. These people adopt a church village, come and visit and/or transfer their skills and knowledge to make bricks and houses.
Next week the Golden Oldies Mission is in Fiji and we have been invited to meet with Government ministers on  Monday afternoon to further discuss the entire project.
We have identified an alternative manual mud brick machine in USA and are looking to purchase it and ship it to Fiji within the next few months.

With all that happening, Thomas is returning to NZ after the Golden oldies Mission, and we believe we will be starting Chapter 2 of the Mud Project in early 2020.

Vinaka vakalevu

for your on-going support and encouragement.
On behalf of Graeme, Roger, Rev. Amy, Pate and Tomasi.

5.6 mud brick team

The ‘Mud Brick team’ Pate, Nivoi, Seva, Viliame, Tomasi