Community honours sons

Assistant Minister of the Offi ce of the Prime Minister Sakiusa Tubuna (third from left) and Opposition MP Aliki Bia (far right) cut a cake with elders of the Tamavua-i-wai community during the celebration, on Mon 29 May 2023. Picture: ELIKI NUKUTABU

The tears that our forefathers shed and the hurt and pain we have been carrying all these years will now be heard in Parliament, thanks to you.

Descendants of Solomon Islanders in Tamavua-i-wai settlement expressed this sentiment at an emotional ceremony yesterday where they celebrated the achievements of two of their sons — Assistant Minister of the Office of the Prime Minister Sakiusa Tubuna, and Opposition Member of Parliament Aliki Bia.

The celebrations began with a veiqaraqaravi vakavanua (iTaukei traditional welcome ceremony), where the two gentlemen were welcomed by the community.

Speaking during the ceremony, celebration committee member Lote Raboila said the swearing in of Mr Tubuna and Mr Bia into Parliament on December 25, 2023, was a proud moment for all descendants of Solomon Islanders who were brought to Fiji during the blackbirding era.

Keimami kila na mosi keimami dau tugana lo tu, e sa na lai rogo i Palimedi. (We know that the hurt and pain we’ve been carrying all these years will now be heard in Parliament),” Mr Raboila said.

Na nuiqawaqawa balavu tatara tu mai ya, qai cabe na Tiseba 25, 2023, sa cabe e rua na luveni Solomoni e Palimedi, e vaka e sa cilavi keimami e dua na rarama vou. (The swearing in of two children of the Solomon Islands descendants on December 25, 2023, into Parliament felt like a light had finally shone on us and removed the despair that we’ve carried all these years).

“Vinaka vakalevu na vosota tiko, vinaka vakalevu na nanumi tu ni nodra tagi, na nodra buno kei na nodra mosi na noda qase. (Thank you for your commitment, thank you for remembering the cries, sweat and the pain that our forefathers had to endure).”

Mr Raboila said having Mr Tubuna and Mr Bia on opposing sides of the House meant that the cries of the Solomon Islands’ descendants would now be heard. He also said the community was always ready and willing to fulfil the call of the nation.

Ni ra wilika na vanua e sa lutu kina na nodra vicovico me sa nodra vanua tudei (we consider Fiji, the place where we were born to be our permanent home)”.

Both MPs thanked the community for hosting the celebration and promised to do their best for their people.

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