Tuesday, 14 October 2008 8:08 AM

Solomon Island Fijians Celebrate Fiji Day

Over the weekend, the Solomon Islands Fijians together with other Fijians living and working in the Solomon Islands came together to celebrate the 38th Independence Anniversary of Fiji.

Saturday the 11th saw the Fijians gather at the Rove Police Club and Grounds, adorning the colours of their confederacies; Kubuna, Burebasaga and Tovata.

The Solomon Islands Prime Minister, Dr. Derek Sikua and his wife, Mrs. Doris Sikua were guests of honour, as they sat through to watch the traditional kava ceremony, the presentation of Tabuas, other gifts and Meke (dances).

In his speech, Dr. Sikua thanked the Solomon Islands Fijians for their many contributions to the Solomon Islands development when the first Fijians came to the Solomon Islands after World War two as business men and tradesmen to build the hospitals, schools, Provincial stations and other infrastructures. He also thanked those who have contributed much to the sporting scene, especially in rugby. Dr. Sikua also acknowledged the Fijians serving within RAMSI, helping to strengthen the economy, governance, judiciary and law and order. Dr. Sikua stated that he is proud to have celebrated Fiji day with the Solomon Islands Fijians who "call Solomon Islands home."

The day then continued with a float parade by the three different Fijian confederacies beginning from the multipurpose hall to the Rove Police grounds.

Hundreds of curious bystanders had a glimpse of the Fijian culture at its best as they flocked the roads and even followed the procession as the Solomon Island Fijians proceeded to crown their charity queen.

Over the past weeks, the Solomon Island Fijian's three confederacies have been raising funds to go towards the development of their purchased land. After the float procession, Adi Tovata, Miss Choyta Douglass from Taveuni was crowned Miss Solomon Islands Fijian Charity Queen 2008-2009, after raising more than $44,000. Adi Kubuna, Miss Lutina Dakei from Levuka, came in second, raising more than $33,000. Adi Burebasaga, Miss Jeanna Delaiverata Chow from Kadavu came in third after raising more than $31,000.

The celebrations then continued into the night at the Airport Motel's Bula Bar, owned by a Solomon Islands Fijian.

On Sunday, the celebration officially ended with a church service at the Methodist Church, where during the sermon, Talatala (Pastor) Noah stated that "Solomon Island Fijians should continuously be united to strengthen our relationship."

Many Solomon Island Fijians stated that "this has been the best Fiji Day celebrations ever."

"We have never been divided into the three groups in previous Fiji day celebrations; however this has been the best idea. It has brought together many families to work towards the same cause. The new generation had no idea that Fiji has three confederacies, and this has given them a taste of their culture, never once experienced," says Ratu Marika Delaiverata, the Solomon Islands Burebasaga confederacy President.

"I have never enjoyed Fiji Day as much as I have enjoyed it this year. The float parade was a wonderful experience and seeing everyone in their colours gives the extra flavour to the day. Solomon Islands is my home, however, celebrating Fiji day gives us the taste of our other culture," says Melanie Turagaluvu, whose father is from Beqa island and mother from Malaita in the Solomon Islands.

Prior to the Saturday and Sunday celebrations, a rugby match was organized between the Solomon Islands Fijians and the Honiara select on Friday the 10th which the Solomon Island Fijians won.