Monday, October 09, 2006

Changing face of Fiji Day

Changing face of Fiji Day

From the archives about Independence Day
and then find the slideshow – black and white – of 10th October 1970

From Peceli

Fiji day is the day I always remember and honour. Undoubtedly the memorable historical Deed of Cession in 1874 is the starting point, this event held in Levuka with high chiefs of Fiji who came to sign the Document. The two chiefs from Macuata were there, Ritova and Katonivere. Apparently Ritova was forced to sign and then he died in Levuka.

In 1970 a big celebration of Independence Day was led by Ratu Mara with Prince Charles attending at Albert Park, Suva. I still can picture the celebration in Rakiraki with my family - Wendy and two little boys then.

The positive part of Fiji Day

We like celebrations, feasts, and church thanksgiving for this day. However when I think more about it, there has been a change from the norm of saying ‘Yes Sir, Io, saka’ to the present day when Fiji people now ask, ‘Should I do it? Should I do this?’ People are more educated now and more outspoken. It was a colonial time before, but not now, and these days we seriously question the chiefs if they are not taking their duties responsibly.

We want to promote good living standards and education for our children and their children. We expect dignity and tolerance and respect but it is not always happening.

Lest we forget

There are sensitive things too. We remember the damage to our society as well, sometimes economic, sometimes social. Natural disasters we can take, tidal waves, landslides, floods and get back on track. Coups though have hurt people and the country, but they have made us all question where we are going.

During my trip to Fiji a couple of months ago I happened to visit some of my Macuata kin at Nukulau Prison together with George Speight. I conducted a small church service with them and had lunch with them. The point is that in Fiji there are many problems and different attitudes. During this Independence Day we also have to think of people in gaol also.

So what are your concerns this day, Fiji Day 2006?

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