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

Vinaka! Farewell from Fiji

11a team farewell

Golden Oldies Graduation Banquet begins

11b bible

A special bible is gifted to the MAST Chapel by the Golden Oldies

11c VIPs

Our ‘Golden-Golden VIP Oldies’ Jill and Avila graduate!

11d peter shy

Come on Peter lets dance

11d dancing

And so the dancing began

11e lilyann

Under a warm starlit night

11f amy

Keep up Amy!

11g large grp dancing

Our ‘VIP’s’ are in the centre of the dancing!

11h small grp dancing

It went on into the night

11i boys dancing

Even the ‘boy’s’ got dragged up to dance!

11j caroline

Finally, to Caroline our Fijian Leader, a BIG vanaka vakalevu (Thank you) from all the 2018 Golden Oldies Mission team!

A remote hospital caring for their people

10a hospital

A remote hospital with 16 beds supporting 80,000 people

10b childrens ward

The Children’s Ward of 1 bed, 2 cots, in the Reception and Nurses Station. AND there’s also one bed in the same room acting as their A&E Centre!

10c ward 1

Visiting the adult wards

10d ward 2

The team had the opportunity to pray for the patients and their families

10e medical equipment

The generosity of many allowed the donation of desperately needed medical equipment to assist the staff in their care of their patients

Greeted by Village Mighty Warriors!

9a rugby jerseys

Even in remote villages, they have their 7’s rugby team that plays every Saturday!

9b golden golden oldies walk

Our ‘Golden Golden’ Oldies being personally escorted through the village

9c arrive village school

Arriving at their Village school

9d classroom

Avila and the team share Gods love with the children of the school

9e poi

Time to teach the poi – a popular event at each visit with everyone, children and parents

9f fish lunch

They live off the fish they catch, so its fresh fish for lunch

9g warriors 1

The VILLAGE MIGHTY WARRIORS challenge the Golden Oldies

9h meke

Time to do the ‘Meke’ -to present a gift of cloth to the village

9j village meeting

The team spend time meeting and sharing with the village people

9k pastor book

Gifts of Christian books for the Sunday School, and a special book for the Village Pastor presented by Jenny

9l bye

‘Moce’ (Bye) “Please come again”, “See you next year”

Travelling to a remote coastal village

8a fish jetty

Arriving at the Fijian style ‘Ferry Terminal’ to travel down an expansive river system to a remote fishing village

8b fish on river

On the river

8c fish mangroves

Through the mangrove tributaries

8d fish near sea

Nearing the mouth of the river and sea

8e walk on sand

Back on land, now a stroll along the beach to the village

8f walk on sand 2

Nearly there! Tranquil, beautiful, and remote

8g village

Walking into the Village

8h village welcome

Greeted by the warmth and friendliness of the Village people