Quite some time ago Fijians sang a patriotic song – sere ni vanua to the tune ‘Dwelling in Beulah Land’. adapted from a hymn by C. Austin Miles. Many years later, in 1970, the leaders of Fiji wanted a national anthem in English and this tune was suggested and a competition held. I went in it and wrote some sweet words but I didn’t win.
The original Fijian words are as follows and the English song is not a translation of this though.
1. Meda dau doka ka vinakata na vanua
E ra sa dau tiko kina na savasava
Rawa tu na gauna ni sautu na veilomani
Biu na i tovo tawa savasava
Me bula ga ko Viti
Ka me toro ga ki liu
Me ra turaga vinaka ko ira na i liuliu
Me ra liutaki na tamata
E na veika vinaka
Me oti kina na i tovo ca
2. Bale ga vei kemuni na cauravou e Viti
Ni yavala me savasava na vanua
Ni kakua ni vosota na dukadukali
Ka me da sa qai biuta vakadua
The winning anthem is as follows and is sung today. Now the Education Department want flag ceremonies in all schools with the singing of this song. The words are ironic actually but in 1970 there was optimism. The words are by Michael Francis Alexander Prescott.
1. Blessing grant oh God of nations on the isles of Fiji
As we stand united under noble banner blue
And we honour and defend the cause of freedom ever
Onward march together God bless Fiji
For Fiji, ever Fiji, let our voices ring with pride. For Fiji ever Fiji her name hail far and wide,
A land of freedom , hope and glory to endure whatever befall.
May God bless Fiji
2. Blessing grant oh God of nations on the isles of Fiji
Shores of golden sand and sunshine, happiness and song
Stand united , we of Fiji, fame and glory ever
Onward march together God bless Fiji.
A note from the internet: The third most common ethnic group on the islands are Indo-Fijians and it was proposed in 2008 that the national anthem be in the three primary languages of the country: English, Fijian, and Hindi. Was the anthem ever translated into Hindi?
Flag raising ceremony a must: Bole
April 15, 2011 09:17:54 AM
Schools in the country have been reminded that flag ceremony is compulsory and students have to memorize the pledge as well as the singing of the national anthem. This has been brought to attention by the Minister for Education, Filipe Fole during his tour to the Secondary Schools in Ra. “It is so moving and inspiring to see students honour their country in conducting the flag ceremony.” Bole said. Bole said student’s involvement in the flag ceremony ensures they are taught loyalty, respect and love for their beloved country. He added that having the flag ceremony in schools is also the basic ground for teaching unity to the children for a multi-cultural nation like Fiji.
By Nasik Swami