The book Launch at the Fiji Orich is now almost one month back – and it was a great evening! Thanks very much to all the dedicated people who make it such a success and an unforgettable moment! Go back in memories and look at the great moments captured during the evening and read Peter Bourke’s opening message.

Peter Opening Message

Message by Mr Peter Bourke, Launch of Fiji Recipes & Memories, The Fiji Orchid, 26th February 2015

Your Excellencies, The President, Ratu Epeli and First Lady, Adi Koila Nailatikau. The Honourable Minister for Tourism, Mr. FaiyazKoya, Ladies & Gentlemen.

I am delighted, indeed honoured to be invited here to launch this most wonderful and charming book “FIJI RECIPES & MEMORIES” written by the “NEW KID ON THE BLOCK” of literary circles, the very talented Lynette Mercer.

At one level, this book is a free flowing, easy read, full of anecdotes, quips and stories with plenty of pictures and no pretensions of literary prowess. However, I would draw your attention to something at another level. This book is a unique vehicle in which the author has placed her heart on her sleeve as she shares with humour and imagination, her recipes, her life experiences, and her love for Fiji, for all to share.

This is more than just a recipe book. It is a book filled with many stories of Lynette’s life in the Fiji Islands. These are stories that should be shared with visitors to our shores and with Fijians alike. These stories, also known as “Lynette’s Memories”, are a rich addition to the historical narrative of life in Fiji in the 1940’s, 50’s and 60’s.

And coming back to the recipe side of the book ~ there are some absolutely fascinating recipes that you will find nowhere else such as the BALOLO FRITTERS, DAIRO VAKASOSO AND NUMBER NINE TEA.

The book also has a chapter on Fijian herbal remedies. This is a topic close to my heart. The knowledge of Fijian herbal medicines is being rapidly lost by each consecutive generation. But here in “Fiji Recipes & Memories”, Lynette passes on the knowledge she acquired of Fijian medicinal herbs, living in the remote parts of Fiji.

Lynette, as some of you know, was born in Australia and came to Fiji with her Missionary Teacher parents when she was just two years old. They first lived at Cuvu, Nadroga and then moved to Kadavu. Lynette came to Viti Levu at the age of 10, where she met her first “kaivalagi’s” besides her parents.

Lynette’s experience of growing up in some of the remotest parts of Fiji has led to this collection of tasty, ingenious and imaginative recipes. Her teenage years were spent on Bau Island of which she has many fond memories. There is a whole chapter dedicated to her years on Bau, and I am sure that many a story will be shared here this evening with those fellow Bauans who are among us tonight.

 I first came to know Lynette in 2002 when my wife, Jenny, recruited her to do a management locum at Nukubati Island, our island resort on the remote North coast of Vanua Levu. I have a policy of employing locals only in my businesses in Fiji, no expatriates and Jenny told me that she had found the perfect Kaiviti for the job. Lynette, with her life time of experience, living in remote parts of Fiji fitted the bill perfectly. And I immediately found her to be a woman of so many talents. Her knowledge of Fijian culture and languages brought a new dimension to our guest’s holiday experience on Nukubati.

Lynette did management locums on Nukubati for 7 years until 2009, and all the time she was there she had this hand written manuscript of her memories and recipes. Many of our guests read the manuscript and all would urge Lynette to have it published. But nothing happened until Lynette met Christa, who ran with the publishing project. Christa is here this evening, arriving in the country from Switzerland, this morning. Thank you Christa for being here and for seeing this project through to completion.

And to Lynette, I thank you for sharing your life with us through this wonderful book. I urge all here tonight to read this book and to share it with family and friends….to go back in time and remember the tastes and smells of your childhood. Once more, smell the sea and feel the sand between your toes.

Congratulations Lynette. You have now entered the hallowed halls of Fijian Literary Circles.

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