By ALFRED TUIKORO TORA
Nuku’alofa – October 15, 2019: 11am (Nuku’alofa Times): Fijians in Tonga are eyeing a bigger and better Golden Jubilee Fiji Day celebrations in 2020.
Kubuna Fijian Community Chairman Iliesa Tora says that is the plan, following the successful staging of the 2019 event at the Apifo’ou College Hall in Ma’ufanga last Saturday.
“Next year will be the 50th anniversary of Fiji’s Independence and because October 10 will be falling on a Saturday there is definitely going to be a bigger one – a whole day event which will also include the Government of Tonga and other countries represented here in the Kingdom.”
Mr Tora said the plan now is to call for a Fijian Community committee that will be formed to oversee and plan the celebrations.
Meanwhile, Fijians in Tonga have been urged to be good ambassadors.
The message came out of the Fijian Community Fiji Day celebrations at the Apifo’ou College hall in Ma’ufanga on Saturday, October 12.
Chief Guest Dr Nailasikau Halatuituia, who has direct links to Fiji, said Fiji and Tonga shared close relationships through blood ties.
He shared examples of Tongans who travelled to live in Nadroga in Fiji years ago.
And the blood ties between the Cakobau family of Bau and Tonga through the late Tungi Fisi, Ratu Edward Cakobau.
Speaking to the community members and guests on the 49th anniversary of Fiji’s independence Dr Nailasikau said it is important that Fijians in the kingdom become good ambassadors for Fiji in whatever they do.
He added he was honoured to be part of the celebration.
“I am honoured and indeed grateful to be part of this special day celebration,” Dr Nailasikau said.
The Apifo’ou College hall was packed on Saturday night as Fijians celebrated the anniversary of their independence.
Fiji gained independence on October 10, 1970.
Kubuna Fijian community president Iliesa Tora said the day was always a special one for all Fijians.
“Here in Tonga we have not been able to celebrate Fiji Day on October 10 because a lot of our members are working and are not able to have time off on the day,” he said.
“So we organise the celebration for the weekend to involve everyone. This is a day of celebration and we are honoured to have Dr Nailasikau and all our guests with us.”
Also present on the day was former Prime Minister Lord Sevele of Vailahi, who is a former student of the St John’s College in Cawaci.
Hon Ma’ata Fakafanua was also present at the event.
Members of the Rotuman, Indian and iTaukei communities joined together to celebrate the day.
Father Ekuasi Manu, principal of Apifo’ou College, blessed the event with a prayer after the traditiona Fijian ceremonies of welcome were accorded to Dr Nailasikau.
Mr Tora said they would like to thank everyone who had supported the event, the sponsors Lalita Store, Samu’s Fiji Food Corner and the family of Abdul and Reena Shamim.
“They helped us with donations in kind and cash, which helped made the event a successful one,” he added.
Next year the community plans to host two celebrations – a Fiji Day on October 10 and the community celebrations after that.