For Alipate

by being

I learnt through Mr Setareki Tale that Mr Alipate Mateitoga, Acting Director of the Ministry of Information, passed away on 23rd January after a short illness.

Alipate was one of the council members of the Southeast Asia-Pacific Audiovisual Archive Association (SEPAVAA). I last saw him during our Executive Committee meeting in Indonesia in November 2008 to survey the venues for the 13th SEAPAVAA Conference. It was the first time I spent much time with him and he was always thoughtful, enthusiastic and kind. Whenever he introduced himself to our hosts, he would proudly state that he was from Fiji. During our discussions, he would speak up for smaller archives that required more support from the Archive community and volunteer for things he felt should have been done. His contribution to the preservation of audiovisual heritage of Fiji and our region will be remembered long after he left us.

Reverend James Bhagwan, a close affliate of Alipate, wrote in Fiji Times about the the loss and I am sharing extracts of that here, with his kind permission:

“At the time of his death, Alipate was acting Director of Information, and during his time as head of the Ministry of Information’s Film and TV Unit was not just a pioneer in television in Fiji but also a mentor to many of the men and women in the fledgling television industry.

My brother Alipate (I call him brother because he was the only person outside my immediate family to call my mother, “mum” and not be reprimanded with a steely glare) was still in his prime at fifty-two. Even after his funeral and burial, many of his family and friends are still in shock. “Pate” as he was known by family, friends and colleagues had worked at Cable and Wireless (FINTEL) and Radio Fiji and was one of the few who were in William Parkinson’s core team when FM96 was started.

He was part of Australian Channel Nine’s original “Fiji TV” team before the 1987 coup scuttled plans for the early introduction of television in Fiji.

He joined the Han Siedel Foundation based at 56 Domain Road which was to become the Fiji National Video Centre and is now the Ministry of Information’s Film and Television Unit, where for many years he was the Prinicipal Information Officer and the driving force behind the Dateline Fiji, Voqa Ni Davui and Sitara programs.

Many of Fiji’s television camera operators, producers and editors were inducted into the industry by Pate, who at the time of his death was the acting Director of Information.

A musician and recording engineer in his own right, Pate is also missed by the Fiji music industry as well as the JICA Alumni where he had served as its president for four years.”

As we hold Alipate in our prayers and thoughts, the Executive Committee of SEAPAVAA has compiled some pictures of him during his times with us in Manila and Indonesia.

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SEAPAVAA Conference in Manila (2008) by Dhani Sugiharto

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SEAPAVAA Conference in Manila (2008) by Dhani Sugiharto

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SEAPAVAA Conference in Manila (2008) by Tuenjai Sinthuvnik

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Excursion after the SEAPAVAA Conference in Manila (2008) by Adrian Wood

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Excursion after the SEAPAVAA Conference in Manila (2008) by Adrian Wood

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EC Meeting in Indonesia (2008) by Dhani Sugiharto

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EC Meeting in Indonesia (2008) by Dhani Sugiharto

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EC Meeting in Indonesia (2008) by Adrian Wood

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EC Meeting in Indonesia (2008) by Adrian Wood

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EC Meeting in Indonesia (2008) by Adrian Wood