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KVF Cooperative - Helping us Help each other.

in conjunction with KVF C0-OP ONLINE SHOP
Proudly present
The Spoken Version - Volume 1
  only $A29.95 & the CD is delivered to you anywhere in the world.


Read by  Sarah Hilborne de Bruce


1. Why Fiji?  

Why John Gittins chose Fiji instead of the Falkland Islands. Anne Gittins was invited to join him after six  months when they were married, spending their honeymoon on Nukulau. Anne¹s detailed description of the rough trip on the Adi Beti¹ to Kadavu is enough to make anyone feel sea-sick. 
     Click here  to hear a sample                       

2. Our First Home

Arriving in Kadavu and setting up home in very basic conditions. There follows the welcome ceremonies and becoming acquainted with the local people and customs.  
Click here to hear a sample

3. Catering Problems and Prisoners

Different types of boats bringing supplies from the main land although the island bore fresh fruit and vegetables, fresh water prawns while the sea provided a plentiful supply of fish. Barking pigeons were amongst the exotic wildlife. Amusing anecdotes about prisoners who   were engaged in various duties.
Click here to hear a sample

4. The Sacred Turtles

Anne and her in-laws witness the calling up of the turtles by the Namuana maidens. The legend  is described and contrasted with that of the island of Koro.
click here to hear a sample
5. On Tour

Village inspections, another hazardous trip in a rowing boat. Amusing anecdote of  polite Fijians not wanting to contradict Gittins, a higher ranking person¹.  A taste of Fijian villagers¹ hospitality.
John suddenly given orders by the Governor to pack up and go to the next station - Sigatoka!
click here to hear a sample

*Price of "Tales of the Fiji Islands" Volume 1 including postage is just A$29.95 click here to order

"Tales of the Fiji Islands" by Anne Gittins, read by Sarah Hilborne de Bruce


We are pleased to announce that after seven years in the making, Volume 1 of the recorded tales from Anne Gittins' book is now available. This series of stories is a must for all those intending to visit the Fiji Islands in person or in mind, a must for all those wishing to take away memories, and a nostalgic return for all those who can no longer be there. The tales are often amusing, sometimes sad and even exciting. They are a special social record for which we must be grateful to Anne Gittins. It may be seen to challenge politically correct views on life in the islands in those times.


In her mid 90s Anne herself was instrumental in the early days of the making of these recordings and she heard these first stories just days before she passed away a year ago. One of her sons, Michael, reported that she was delighted and "quite chuffed" at what she heard.


In the embryo stages of the project the Fiji High Commissioner, London, was very supportive and wrote:


"The book written by the wife of John Gittins, one of Fiji“s District Commissioners and Administrators spanning three decades from the 30s to the 50s of Colonial Fiji, is a delightful account of rural and communal Fijian living seen through the eyes of a non-native. It is a narrative of Fijian social behaviour on occasions and events that overall make up our customs and traditions as a people. The legends that surround it and in particular tribes of the islands related so very energetically by the author serve the same cause as legends in other civilisations, i.e. to add colour and glamour to a way of life.


In co-operation with the Gittins' family, Sarah Hilborne de Bruce has undertaken to convert the book into audio. I have since listened to the first two chapters. Together with the appropriate sound mixes that create authentic backgrounds to Kava ceremonies and mekes (Fijian dances), to the reading, the effort is highly commended. The work, when completed, would be a useful source of easy listening and relaxation for Fijians and friends alike". Filimone Jitoko.


Volume 1 - Anne Gittins shares with us some of the events surrounding her arrival, setting up home and early experiences in Kadavu, the first posting.


Volume 2 - features Sigatoka, the Nadroga dialect and crafts, plus an amusing tale of a tedious trip to the dentist. The reef is also described in detail plus recipes made from creatures found therein!


Volume 3 - takes us to Vunidawa and an amusing account of the Governor's Visit, an expedition for Blue Prawns, Chinese interludes with endless food courses and an alarming story: Murder by Moonlight!


Volume 4  - covers Ra, the Gold Mines and Nadrivatu. From there we are taken to Nadi which was one of the wildest places in those days - The Skull in the Tree is an intriguing tale and we also learn about the Ramayana.


Volume 5 - whisks us off to Levuka and an amazing account of John Gittins“ survival of a plane crash. Remeniscences of Count VonLuckner;The Deed of Cession and important historic events. Then from the old capital to the new capital, Suva: Officialdom in and out of Office, the social life of the day and The Firewalkers of Beqa.


Volume 6 -  The concluding volume, takes us back to Sigatoka, Vatulele, War in the Pacific, The Census and the Gittins“untimely departure.





Dear Gerry

Some messages that made the project worthwhile:

Dearest Sarah:
How very 'wonderful his words of encouragement' and honest. All that he
wrote is so true about those who missed out, and those whom you will touch
with your voice through this story. Ms. Gittins may have left the body, but
her story now has life and is animated with sounds giving sight to those
scenes just as she had lived them..... You have done something worth its
while, Sarah de Bruce!!

From Jill's note she is in contact with you to get the CD on the website,
great... Isa dear Sarah, what is your time line on the production? Have you
checked out the KVF's site. I just know that you are going to enjoy it and
will have so much to contribute.

I loved the soup recipe and the story about the Mecedez Benz guy who helped
you out. Life is interesting isn't it. When we direct the mind to do
something, everything else falls in to its place that is for sure, including
people. Also the emails from your friend regarding other friends from
'home.' No doubt there is a certain way of telling things or asking
questions that is so familiar.

Once this is out we will have to get 'Le Tour ' of locations going so that
we can gather those souls out there who would love an adventure, and can't
wait to sample afternoon tea a la Gittins via Sarah....I am sure afternoon
tea sessions is in there somewhere? or?

Waiting for your next news....

Loloma levu yani

 To: hilborne@wxs.nl
 Subject: RE: Time for a chuckle
 Date: Wed, Dec 1, 2004, 18:13

Bula Sarah,

This CD sounds like a real labour of love. You have made a lot of
sacrifice to complete this project. I hope that you put in a section on the CD about
how this whole thing developed and in particular the critical role that
you  played in the project. After all if it had not been for your sacrifice this
project would not have been completed. If the reader or listener knows
that the odds that you were up against it will make them then realize that this
CD is special and that we are privileged to have listened to it during our
time on Earth.
Think of all the folks from the colonial era who are no longer
around and who would have loved to listen to the stories. They have missed
out and we will get all the enjoyment. You were at the right place at the
right time with the right frame of mind to make this happen. This is not
just fate. It is spiritual. You were meant to do this. Being plunked in
the middle of a foreign country was the environment that was needed to do this
project. I bet if you were in Fiji this would not have happened because
you would have been so much into socializing, you would not have had time to
do this.
Your sacrifice will be the gain of many and most of them you will
never meet in your life but you will have touch them with your voice on
the CD. I am truly fortunate to have communicated with you and this will
definitely make the CD even more enjoyable.