Performers at the Fiji Day thanksgiving celebration - 21101101
The Fijian community of Rarotonga came together over the weekend to celebrate Fiji Day, making the country’s 51st anniversary of independence on Sunday.
A sports fun day was held at the Avatiu
field on Saturday where the Fijian community came to take part in activities
including volleyball, egg and spoon races, sack races, tin can stacking
competition (pani), and donut on a string challenge.
Celebrations continued the next day with
an official thanksgiving service at the National Auditorium, attended by Prime
Minister Mark Brown and other distinguished guests.
The service flowed with a mix of speeches,
prayers and sermons, with hymns sung by all those present in the crowd to fill
up the spaces between each speaker.
The Prime Minister and George “Maggie”
Angene, the Minister for Culture, Corrective Services, and the House of Ariki, were
the guest speakers of the day.
Justice Minister Vaine “Mac” Mokoroa also
attended the event alongside Makea George Karika Ariki, Makea Vakatini Phillip
Ngamatoa Ariki and Bishop Paul Donoghue from the Catholic Church.
The speeches were followed by the cutting
of the cake, an acknowledgement speech by Ana Mataitini, the president of the
Fijian Association, and a prayer for the kaikai.
While guests ate, entertainment was
provided by five groups which included the Kubuna confederacy, the
Fijian-Indian group, the Burebasaga confederacy, the Rotuman group, and the
Mataitini expressed her gratitude further
as the night wrapped up, thanking the Ministry of Culture for allowing the use
of the Domes for the ceremony.
“Thank you to all our friends who were
here today, without you we wouldn’t have had such an awesome evening. Thank you
for your contributions and your love, and just a big thank you to everyone who
participated in this year’s 2021 Fiji Celebrations,” she said.
Fiji was officially granted independence on
October 10, 1970, after 96 years of British colonial rule.
Volleyball, an all time favourite amongst the Fijian community, was a highlight activity on Saturday at the Avatiu field. SALOTE LOKI/21101103
Tin can stacking competition (known as pani in Fiji), with the later aim of knocking the tins over with a tennis ball proved to be one of the most amusing activities. SALOTE LOKI/21101104
Saturday proved to be the perfect day for the sports and activities which brought many friends and families together - 21101105
Performers on Sunday evening singing proudly for their country. SALOTE LOKI/21101106
Prime Minister Mark Brown with his wide Daphne Brown who attended the ceremony on Sunday. SALOTE LOKI/21101107