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Rabuka humbled by support from Fijian diaspora in Cook Islands

Tuesday 14 November 2023 | Written by Losirene Lacanivalu | Published in Fiji, Local, National, Regional


Rabuka humbled by support from Fijian diaspora in Cook Islands
Fiji Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka with the Fijian students and principal of Apii St Joseph’s Savenaca Tukitoba at the Punanga Nui Market, Rarotonga. 23110773

Fiji’s Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka was humbled by the support he received from Fijians residing and working in Rarotonga and Aitutaki during his weeklong visit for the 52nd Pacific Islands Forum Leaders Meeting last week.

The Fijian diaspora turned out in large numbers at events held on both islands to show their support for their leader and his delegation.

“I am humbled by the fact that they all came together at the airport (arrival) and also at the opening,” Rabuka said.

Rabuka, who came into power after the 2022 general election in December, was accorded a traditional welcome ceremony on Tuesday. On Saturday, Rabuka and his delegation were hosted and farewelled by the Rarotonga Fijians at Te Atukura Grounds in Tutakimoa.

Cook Islands Prime Minister Mark Brown and his wife Daphne, Ministers Albert Nicholas and George “Maggie” Angene, and Secretary of Foreign Affairs and Immigration Tepaeru Herrmann also attended the farewell event.

Cook Islands formalised diplomatic ties with Fiji in 1998, but Prime Minister Brown said that the relationship goes beyond mere agreements. He further revealed that 63 Fijians have received permanent residency in the Cook Islands and expressed aspirations to formalise the Fiji and Cook Islands route through Fiji Airways.

Brown extended his gratitude to Prime Minister Rabuka for his vision and leadership, following a successful meeting with regional leaders. He commended their commitment to showcasing the true spirit of the Pacific, the spirit of “vuvale”, and maintaining the peaceful nature of the region.

Addressing the Rarotonga Fijian diaspora, Rabuka expressed his sincere gratitude to Prime Minister Brown and the Cook Islands chiefs for embracing the Fijians as members of the Cook Islands community. He stressed the importance of the Pacific Islands Forum Leaders Meeting in fostering unity among Pacific nations.

Prime Minister Rabuka encouraged the Fijian diaspora to support and care for one another as well as the locals in their communities. He highlighted the significance of nurturing strong relationships within the Pacific family.

The Cook Islands Fijian Association said in a statement on their Facebook page: “On behalf of the Cook Islands Fijian Association president and committee and the Fiji PM Farewell organising committee, I take this opportunity to say Vinaka Saka Vakalevu to everyone for your collective and collaborative efforts in farewelling our PM on Saturday, 11 November, making it such a memorable experience for our Fiji PM and his delegation.”

  • Losirene Lacanivalu/Fiji Govt