01/06/2014 JOE’S CHEEKY RED BUS 

The ravaged school bus lie on the edge of the Limu bush track one hundred meters from the Hakupu to Alofi highway. The pot holed and dusty road offered its good rampant to the red bus. More so, over many years it journeyed under sleazy conditions from the bitter sun and heavy rain. It was a school bus, then a ground playpen by the Tuatea Park, even played shrine to the proud owner Joe Jackson Junior in front of their stone house, it is now rotting away its fate in its place of rest. 

This week, is the show week for the village to host onlookers from other villages. From the heritage perspective, the red bus is a significant cultural highlight for many generations. Now the hell has eaten the red steel frame and the Chinese creeper has woven over it getting barely visible. The Education Department sign on the side just scrape the test of time. 

The prospect of a revival has long passed. Not the memories and its sentimental value. For years the red bus, some called it, the cheeky red bus like the famous school journal story former pupils still remembers. This is probably the best and the last time to enter the bus heritage into the history lines of Hakupu. It used to carry hungry stomachs and roaring students back to the village from Paliati. Few instances, we faced unexpected stops on the way if the roaring burst old Joe’s leopard mood. Usually, the lash was not negotiable, the culprits identified after minutes of absolute silence. The next second, the yellow cards were dished. In happy mood, Joe pretended he left his pair of ears in the tool box by the fudged hand brake and let the student ramble the jungle. 

Joe was just one of the first entrepreneurs to privatise the bus service on contract to the government. Factually, the bus was a patched work from his talented brain and skills after years of toil at the Public Works mechanical workshop at the Amanau depot. The man’s brilliancy brought heaps of joy to the students of Hakupu, and other villages that filled the wooden board seats. They should all throw intimate affinity to the red bus, including the victorious village cricket team. Joe inherits his clever ability from father Joe Jackson Senior. Joe Junior decides to use his heavyweight knowledge wisely mending the bus engine if it was a BSA motorbike in those days. He had no master’s qualification but his sharp calculation gave him tremendous influence to fix any class of broken vehicles. His work was reliable and predictable. 

In the end, the engine had almost busted into pieces from the constant rambling makatea road. That was when Joe finally called it the day before the bus wheels dismantled themselves and threaten the lives of his customers. The red bus had carried, nurtured and pampered many young hearts and heads of Fineone. 

Like Joe, people like High College (Kalulu) Mitiepo and Speedy Makapa of Vaiea deserves our salute and bow for their dedicated work to drive many of our former students to and from Paliati over many years. Happy memories should outstrip the Chinese creepers ravaging of what we claim our red bus. Our gain today was their triumph and sacrifice. 


During the past years the struggle to restore abandoned hurricane houses around the village remains passive. The answer seems simple. Lack of finance and commitment by the families and by and large landowners battle it out among the extended families to claim individual ownership of the building. What actually happens the lifeless house gets more rotten and people age with time.

The failure to agree to disagree becomes the norm rather than agree to agree and do something positive from the endless debates.

Which is why Stan Atuvaha Kalauni business entrepreneur and MP decided to renovate the family home of grandfather Kalauni Haimau at Lalopine right by the fringe of the village green on the crumbled road to Tuatea Park.

“It’s a valuable asset and heritage to the family which is why we’re doing it up now’, Stan stated.

The old house was destroyed by the cyclone (Heta)in 2004, he adds.

The restoration project has taken 2-3 months with creative local stones used on the exterior walls to stabilise the building. 100 meters from the site is the stone made house of Joe Jackson the only kind in Niue until the Limestone motel project of Ida and Albert Hekesi was constructed at Peta Hill.

The long standing heritage of the late Matafenoga and Kalauni Haimau will once again be lifted to its former glory during the early days when Kalauni was a former Village Constable and a general bush doctor practising circumcisions on the village boys and also men who were maturely married. On one rare occasion a booked patient had his turn cancelled when he escaped the painful task.

Regular visitors to the site have talked about the new renovation which is expected to be done by the end of March.

24/12/2012 PMC Motor Bike Club

Christmas is the  adorable time to do bizarre things which are personal hobbies to young men and women of today. They like to mix, chat and create ideas that add flavour and a bit of spice to the community environment.

PMC promotes the idea where they get together to repair worn out motor bikes with modern tools and know how.

We want to make the most of Christmas with the gang and build what we can achieve as creative boys. Niue has limited recreational parks and facilities to explore which is why they want to do something with a difference. It’s clearly a much better way to share talents and learn from one another than to indulge in cocktail stuffs.

It’s not only learning and observing but doing and testing out on the job what I leant, say Karl a.k.a Suna Mautama.

Rhys Tatui and Lanze Mautama have fixed three third hand motor bikes and working on two more units for the club, aiming at the round the island Takai.

Fixing old motor bikes can be useful where the boys gain experience on mechanical skills but safety is the most important thing for the rural club.

I teach my boys to be careful and responsible so we can develop as a good boys club, says Rhys Tatui.

When asked what PMC stands for, it’s People Mix and Chat, Rhys jokes with a sigh.

It’s been a successful year for the club who survive with third hand junks spare parts from Trade Me and contacts in New Zealand. There are many people to thank for at this time, say the management team, whose office and mechanical workshop is underneath two coconut palms shades.

We wish everyone in Hakupu, our friends on Niue and overseas a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, they screamed in laughter. We are the growing PMC of P…Mix Crew.

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