Rotuma Day 2012

Rotuman youths welcome the official party
For overseas readers Rotuma may need an introduction.  Rotuma is a small (14km2) volcanic island with rich soils and is located about 640km north of Suva. Its people have their own unique culture and language and today they are one of Fiji's two indigenous people. The island was ceded to Britain in 1881 and became a dependency of Fiji at  Independence in 1970. Under previous Fiji governments they were largely self-governing but they had one seat in Parliament and another in Senate. There are about 10,000  Rotumans, approximately 8,000 in mainland Fiji where, relative to their numbers,  they have made major contributions to society and the economy. Since the 2006 Coup the Bainimarama has sought to promote development in Fiji's outer islands and a large sum of of money has been sunk into the Rotuman economy.  The island  is now an official port of entry, communications have improved with mainland Fiji,  and  root crops are now being exported to nearby Tuvalu.  


Fiji’s Minister for Primary Industries Mr Joketani Cokanasiga today (Saturday 12th) officially opened the 131st Rotuma Day Anniversary celebrations at Ahau Government station on the remote island of Rotuma.

At today’s occasion, Minister Cokanasiga highlighted to guests including those that had travelled to the island, that the occasion provides all Fijians the opportunity to renew and strengthen the historical ties between Fiji and Rotuma. “This is a relationship that was forged by our chiefs of ‘Viti kei Rotuma’ (Fiji and Rotuma)”, Minister Cokanasiga said.

The Minister called on the people of Rotuma to reflect on the theme of this years celebration, ‘Unity moves Rotuma Forward’. “My fervent  prayer for Rotuma and the people of the island to make it work forge ahead together and let it prosper,” he said.

He also reiterated the Fijian government’s commitment to Rotuma “as enshrined under the Roadmap to Democracy and Susutainable Socio-Economic Development”.

Highlighting Rotuma’s vast resources including its rich volcanic soil which has the potential to produce high yield and increased agricultural production, Minister Cokanasiga said this provides an opportunity to stimulate trade between Rotuma and other parts of the country.

“Under the Fiji Government social development vision, the focus for development include reducing poverty, avoiding early dropout, quality education and improving health. It is the platform for implementation of socio economic programmes on the island and is supported by other new initiatives that the government has put in place”.

The Minister today also opened the High Temperature Forced Air Treatment (HTFA) to facilitate trade not only between Rotuma and other parts of Fiji but also with island countries.

“The declaration of Rotuma as an international port of entry, the facilitation of trade between Tuvalu and Rotuma will also open up opportunities on small business and tourism.” He said the development of Biosecurity on the island in collaboration with the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) to facilitate the trade between the two countries and boarder control development will help Rotuma achieve her aim.

Minister Cokanasiga said the idea of trade between Rotuma and Tuvalu was initiated by the Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama. “This resulted in trade consultation with Tuvalu and other Pacific islands in the near future so the installation of the HTFA treatment facility will improve export of Rotuman crops to Tuvalu and later to Kiribati   other regional countries and help sustain the islands economy,” Cokanasiga said.


SEMI MEO said…
Had the pleasure to join Queensland Rotumas last night in their own ‘Rotuma Days celebrations.. The near 600 dinner guest were entertained by the ever exuberance of Rotuman traditional dances and succulent feast. Brings back sweet memories of your truly’s 2 trips to the blessed Island of Rotuma!!.

Popular posts from this blog

Fijian Holdings Scandal: Betrayal by their trusted sons

Lessons from Africa

The Ratu Tevita Saga, Coup4.5, Michael Field, the ANU Duo, and Tonga