Rotuma

Rotuma is a Fijian dependency, consisting of Rotuma Island and nearby islets. The island group is home to a large and unique indigenous ethnic group which constitutes a recognisable minority within the population of Fiji, known as "Rotumans". Its population at the 2007 census was 2,002, although many more Rotumans live on mainland Fijian islands, totaling 10,000.

Rotuma Island

Rotuma
Location of Rotuma in Polynesia.
Location of Rotuma in Polynesia.
Schematic map of Rotuma indicating districts and main villages.
Schematic map of Rotuma indicating districts and main villages.
Administrative centerAhau
12°29.9′S 177°2.82′E / 12.4983°S 177.04700°E
Official languages
Ethnic groups
Demonym(s)Rotuman
GovernmentDependency of Fiji
• Gagaj Pure
(District officer)
Niumaia Masere
• Gagaj Jeaman
(Council chairman)
Tarterani Rigamoto
Independence from the United Kingdom as part of Fiji
• Date
October 10, 1970
Area
• Total
47 km2 (18 sq mi)
Population
• 2007 census
2,002
CurrencyFiji dollar (FJD)
Time zoneUTC+12
Calling code+679

Geography and geology

Fiji map
The island of Rotuma is on the far north of the map.

These volcanic islands are located 646 kilometres (401 mi) (Suva to Ahau) north of Fiji. Rotuma Island itself is 13 kilometres (8.1 mi) long and 4 kilometres (2.5 mi) wide, with a land area of approximately 47 square kilometres (12,000 acres),[1] making it the 12th largest island of Fiji. The island is bisected into a larger eastern part, and a western peninsula, by a low narrow isthmus only 230 metres (750 ft) wide, the location of Motusa village (Itu'ti'u district). North of the isthmus is Maka Bay, and in the south Hapmafau Bay. There are a large population of coral reefs in these bays, through which there are boat passages.

Rotuma is a shield volcano made of alkali-olivine basalt and hawaiite, with many small cones, and reaches 256 metres (840 ft) above sea level at Mount Suelhof near the center of the island. Satarua Peak, 166 metres (540 ft) high, lies near the eastern end of the island.[2] While very secluded from much of Fiji proper, the large reef and untouched beaches are renowned as some of the most beautiful in all of Fiji.

There are some islands located at a distance between 50 metres (160 ft) and 2 kilometres (1.2 mi) from the main island, but still within the fringing reef:

  • Solnoho (south)
  • Solkope and Sari'i (southeast)
  • 'Afgaha and Husia Rua (far southeast)
  • Husia (Husiati'u) and Husiamea'me'a (close southeast)
  • Hạuamea'me'a and Hạua (Hạuati'u) (close together northeast).

Additionally, there is a separate chain of islands between 3 kilometres (1.9 mi) and 6 kilometres (3.7 mi) northwest and west of the westernmost point of Rotuma Island. From northeast to southwest, are:

The geological features of this unique island contribute to its national significance as outlined in Fiji's Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan.[4]

Flora and fauna

A 4,200-hectare (10,000-acre) area covering the main island and its small satellite islets is the Rotuma Important Bird Area. The Important Bird Area area covers the entire range of the vulnerable Rotuma myzomela, and the Rotuman subspecies of Polynesian starling and lesser shrikebill. Rotuma also supports isolated outlying populations of Crimson-crowned fruit dove and Polynesian triller. The offshore islets of Ha’atana, Hofliua and Hatawa have nationally significant seabird colonies.[5]

History

Linguistic evidence

Linguistic evidence suggests an original settlement from Fiji. Linguists include the Rotuman language in a subgroup with the languages of western Fiji, but Rotuman also has a large number of Polynesian loanwords, indicating later contact with Samoa and Tonga.

Origins in oral history

Rotuman oral history indicates that the islands' first inhabitants came from Samoa, whence they were led by a man named Raho. Shortly thereafter, further settlers arrived from Tonga. Later, additional settlers came from Tonga and Kiribati. In the 1850s and 1860s, Tongan Prince Ma'afu claimed Rotuma and sent subordinates to administer the main island and islets.[6]

Ratzel[7] wrote about a legend relating to the Samoans and Rotuma as follows:

"Thus the Samoans relate that one of their chiefs fished up Rotuma and planted coco-palm on it. But in a later migration the chief Tokaniua came that way with a canoe full of men and quarrelled with him about the prior right of possession."

European contact

The first known European sighting of Rotuma was in 1791, when Captain Edward Edwards and the crew of HMS Pandora landed in search of sailors who had disappeared following the Mutiny on the Bounty. There has been some argument whether the island discovered by Quirós known as Tuamaco fits the description and location of Rotuma, but no claim has been fully substantiated.

Mid-19th century

A favorite of whaling ships in need of reprovisioning, in the mid-nineteenth century Rotuma became a haven for runaway sailors, some of whom were escaped convicts. Some of these deserters married local women and contributed their genes to an already heterogeneous pool; others met violent ends, reportedly at one another's hands. Rotuma was visited as part of the United States Exploring Expedition in 1840.

Cession to Britain

Wesleyan teachers from Tonga arrived on Rotuma in June 1841, followed by Catholic Marists in 1847. The Roman Catholic missionaries withdrew in 1853 but returned in 1868. Conflicts between the two groups, fuelled by previous political rivalries among the chiefs of Rotuma's seven districts, resulted in hostilities that led the local chiefs in 1879 to ask Britain to annex the island group. On 13 May 1881, Rotuma was officially ceded to the United Kingdom, seven years after Fiji became a colony. The event is annually celebrated as Rotuma Day.

Demographics

Although the island has been politically part of Fiji since 1881, Rotuman culture more closely resembles that of the Polynesian islands to the east, most noticeably Tonga, Samoa, Futuna, and Uvea. Because of their Polynesian appearance and distinctive language, Rotumans now constitute a recognizable minority group within the Republic of Fiji. The great majority of Rotumans (9,984 according to the 2007 Fiji census) now live elsewhere in Fiji, with 1,953 Rotumans remaining on Rotuma. Rotumans are culturally conservative and maintain their customs in the face of changes brought about by increased contact with the outside world. As recently as 1985, some 85 percent of Rotumans voted against opening the island up to tourism, wary of the influence of Western tourists. P&O Cruises landed on the island twice in the 1980s.

Notable Rotumans and people of Rotuman descent

Riamkau Sau, Last King of Rotuma

Tomoniko Vaurasi, Veterinary

Politics and society

Rotuma was governed as an integral part of the Colony of Fiji after cession to the United Kingdom in 1881 when a group of Rotuman chiefs travelled to London to meet Queen Victoria. The Paramount chief was granted the name of Albert by the Queen in honour of her husband Prince Albert who had died twenty years earlier.

Following Fiji's independence in 1970 and the military coups of 1987, Rotuma remained with Fiji.

Social organization

Rotuma is divided into seven autonomous districts, each with its own headman or chief (Gagaj 'es Itu'u), with villages:

  1. Noa'tau (extreme southeast): Fekeioko, Maragte'u, Faf'iasina, Matu'ea, 'Ut'utu, Kalvaka
  2. Oinafa (east): Oinafa, Lopta, Paptea
  3. Itu'ti'u (west, but east of western peninsula): Savlei, Lạu, Feavại, Tuạ'koi, Motusa, Hapmak, Losa, Fapufa, Ahạu (Government Station)
  4. Malha'a (north): Pepheua, 'Else'e, 'Elsio
  5. Juju (south): Tuại, Haga, Juju
  6. Pepjei (southeast): 'Ujia, Uạnheta, Avave
  7. Itu'muta (western peninsula): Maftoa, Lopo

The district chiefs and elected district representatives make up the Rotuma Island Council . The districts are divided into subgroupings of households (ho'aga) that function as work groups under the leadership of a subchief (gagaj 'es ho'aga). All district headmen and the majority of ho'aga headmen are titled. In addition, some men hold titles without headship (as tög), although they are expected to exercise leadership roles in support of the district headman. Titles, which are held for life, belong to specified house sites (fuạg ri). All the descendents of previous occupants of a fuạg ri have a right to participate in the selection of successors to titles.

On formal occasions titled men and dignitaries such as ministers and priests, government officials, and distinguished visitors occupy a place of honor. They are ceremonially served food from special baskets and kava. In the daily routine of Village life, however, they are not especially privileged. As yet no significant class distinctions based on wealth or control of resources have emerged, but investments in elaborate housing and motor vehicles by a few families have led to visible differences in standard of living.

Political organization

At the time of arrival by Europeans there were three pan-Rotuman political positions: the fakpure, the sạu, and the mua. The fakpure acted as convener and presiding officer over the council of district headmen and was responsible for appointing the sạu and ensuring that he was cared for properly. The fakpure was headman of the District that headed the alliance that had won the last war. The sạu's role was to take part in the ritual cycle, oriented toward ensuring prosperity, as an object of veneration. Early European visitors referred to the sạu as "king," but he actually had no secular power. The position of sạu was supposed to rotate between districts, and a breach of this custom was considered to be incitement to war. The role of mua is more obscure, but like the sạu, he was an active participant in the ritual cycle. According to some accounts the mua acted as a kind of high priest.

Following Christianization in the 1860s, the offices of sạu and mua were terminated. Colonial administration involved the appointment by the governor of Fiji of a Resident Commissioner (after 1935, a District Officer) to Rotuma. He was advised by a council composed of the district chiefs. In 1940 the council was expanded to include an elected representative from each district and the Assistant Medical Practitioner. Following Fiji's independence in 1970, the council assumed responsibility for the internal governance of Rotuma, with the District Officer assigned to an advisory role. Up until the first coup, Rotuma was represented in the Fiji legislature by a single senator.

Administratively, Rotuma is fully incorporated into Fiji, but with local government so tailored as to give the island a measure of autonomy greater than that enjoyed by other political subdivisions of Fiji. Rotuma has the status of a Dependency, and its administrative capital is 'Ahạu in the district of Itu'ti'u, where the "tariạgsạu" (traditionally the name of the sạu's palace) meeting house for the Council of Rotuma is based.

At the national level, Fijian citizens of Rotuman descent elect one representative to the Fijian House of Representatives, and the Council of Rotuma nominates one representative to the Fijian Senate. Rotuma is also represented in the influential Great Council of Chiefs by three representatives chosen by the Council of Rotuma. For electoral purposes, Rotumans were formerly classified as Fijians, but when the Constitution was revised in 1997-1998, they were granted separate representation at their own request. (The majority of seats in Fiji's House of Representatives are allocated on a communal basis to Fiji's various ethnic groups) In addition, Rotuma forms part (along with Taveuni and the Lau Islands) of the Lau Taveuni Rotuma Open Constituency, one of 25 constituencies whose representatives are chosen by universal suffrage.

Social control

The ho'aga, a kinship community, was the basic residential unit in pre-contact Rotuma.[11] The basis for social control is a strong socialization emphasis on social responsibility and a sensitivity to shaming. Gossip serves as a mechanism for sanctioning deviation, but the most powerful deterrent to antisocial behavior is an abiding belief in imminent justice, that supernatural forces (the 'atua or ghosts of ancestors) will punish wrongdoing. Rotumans are a rather gentle people; violence is extremely rare and serious crimes nearly nonexistent.

Conflict

Prior to cession, warfare, though conducted on a modest scale, was endemic in Rotuma. During the colonial era political rivalries were muted, since power was concentrated in the offices of Resident Commissioner and District Officer. Following Fiji's independence, however, interdistrict rivalries were again given expression, now in the form of political contention. Following the second coup, when Fiji left the Commonwealth of Nations, a segment of the Rotuman population, known as the "Mölmahao Clan" of Noa’tau rejected the council's decision to remain with the newly declared republic. Arguing that Rotuma had been ceded to the United Kingdom and not to Fiji, these rebels declared in 1987 independence of Republic of Rotuma and were charged with sedition. It did not have any substantive support, majority opinion appears to favor remaining with Fiji, but rumblings of discontent remain.

See also

References

  1. ^ Rotuma Island | island, Fiji
  2. ^ http://permanent.access.gpo.gov/websites/pollux/pollux.nss.nima.mil/NAV_PUBS/SD/pub126/126sec03.pdf
  3. ^ http://www.rotuma.net/os/lajereports/LRI2007turtlereport.pdf
  4. ^ Ganilau, Bernadette Rounds (2007). Fiji Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (PDF). Convention on Biological Diversity. pp. 107–112. Retrieved 28 May 2017.
  5. ^ "BirdLife Data Zone: Rotuma". datazone.birdlife.org. Retrieved 3 June 2017.
  6. ^ "The Rotuman People", p. 4, in Te'o Tuvale, An Account of Samoan History up to 1918
  7. ^ The History of Mankind by Professor Friedrich Ratzel, Book II, Section A, The Races of Oceania page 173, MacMillan and Co., Ltd., published 1896
  8. ^ Robson, Toby (30 January 2011). "Rocky Khan a sevens player with a difference". Fairfax Media. Retrieved 4 November 2013.
  9. ^ http://www.rotuma.net/os/sports/sports2009/sports0901.htm
  10. ^ http://tvnz.co.nz/view/tvone_minisite_story_skin/415110
  11. ^ Howard, Alan (1964). "Land Tenure and Social Change in Rotuma". Journal of the Polynesian Society. 73: 26–52.
  • A.M. Hocart, Notes on Rotuman Grammar, Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, London, 1919, 252.

External links

Coordinates: 12°30′S 177°4.8′E / 12.500°S 177.0800°E

Council of Rotuma

The Council of Rotuma is a municipal body on the island of Rotuma, a Fijian dependency. Owing to the unique character of Rotuma, the powers of this council are greater than those of other municipal bodies in Fiji and in some ways it approximates a legislative body, though it is in every way subordinate to the Parliament of Fiji.

The Council consists of fourteen full members and three advisory members. Each of Rotuma's seven districts elects one representative to the Council; the traditional Chief of each district is also a Council member ex officio. The advisory members, who have speaking rights but not voting rights, are the District Officer, the most senior Medical Officer, and the most senior Agricultural Officer, all of whom serve ex officio.

The seven chiefs are chosen according to traditional custom. The election is usually for life, although the Fijian cabinet minister responsible for Rotuma may, at his or her own discretion, dismiss a chief and order the election of a new one.

The seven elected representatives are elected for three year terms by resident Rotuman Islanders aged 21 and over. Candidacy is restricted to persons who are eligible to vote.

The full members of the Council elect a Chairman from among themselves. In addition to his vote as a member of the Council, the Chairman has a casting vote in the event of a tie. The present Chairman is Terani Rigamoto.

The Council is required to meet at least once every three months. The Chairman and nine other members constitute a quorum to do business. Special meetings may be called by the Chairman, on his own initiative or that of eight members of the Council.

The Council has the following powers and responsibilities:

to implement directives of the Fijian cabinet minister responsible for Rotuma.

to administer the Rotuman development Fund established by the Rotuma Act

to make bylaws relation to the environment, waste disposal, and public health.

to make bylaws for the promotion of the social and economic betterment of the Rotuman community

to regulate communal work

to regulate the prevention or removal of the public

to provide for the care of children and the elderly

to regulate the conservation of food supplies on Rotuma. Such regulations may provide for imprisonment of up to four months, or a fine of up to one hundred dollars, or both.In addition, the Council historically has also had two other important responsibilities, which were effectively terminated by the military coup of 2006 and the subsequent promulgation of the 2013 Constitution:

to nominate 3 members of the Great Council of Chiefs. The Great Council was abolished by the Military-backed Interim Government.

to nominate 1 member of the Fijian Senate. The most recent Senator representing the Rotuma Island Council was Dr John Fatiaki, who served from June 2006 till the military coup of 5 December 2006. The Senate itself was abolished by the 2013 Constitution.

Dance in Rotuma

Dance in Rotuma refers to the traditional and modern dance styles performed by the people of the island of Rotuma, which became a dependency of Fiji in 1881. Despite Rotuma's political and historical links with Fiji, the island's culture shows strong Polynesian influences, particularly from Samoa and Tonga, which, along with Fiji, feature strongly in the history and traditions of the Rotuman people.

Situated approximately 465 km (289 mi) north of Fiji, Rotuma's relatively remote position ensures that the island still maintains major linguistic, historical, and cultural distinctions from its neighbours. However, the main styles of Rotuman dance, the Tautoga, the Mak Sa'moa and the Mak Rarotoga, show clearer influence from neighbouring cultures than most facets of the culture.

Fakpure

The Fakpure was the secular ruler of Rotuma in the pre-European contact times. It was one of three chiefly roles with direct influence across the island of Rotuma, the other two being the Mua and the Sau. Traditionally the most senior political authority on the island, the Fakpure was one of the gagaj ‘es itu’u of the districts of Rotuma, and the convener of the island’s Council of Chiefs. After being elected as the district chief through the traditional processes (see gagaja), the position of fakpure was bestowed on the most senior of these district chiefs, usually the chief whose district had won the most recent war, who also received the privilege of being the first served in the politically charged kava ceremony.

Fara (Rotuman festivity)

Fara (literally, “to ask” in Rotuman) is a traditional Rotuman cultural and social event, occurring in the summertime festival of “av’ manea” (“party time” in Rotuman) where groups of singers and dancers traverse from house to house in a prescribed area to perform and entertain their hosts, “asking”, as the name suggests, for their hospitality and participation.

Fijians

Fijians (Fijian: iTaukei) are a nation and ethnic group native to Fiji, who speak Fijian and share a common history and culture.

Fijians, or iTaukei, are the major indigenous people of the Fiji Islands, and live in an area informally called Melanesia. Indigenous Fijians are believed to have arrived in Fiji from western Melanesia approximately 3,500 years ago, though the exact origins of the Fijian people are unknown. Later they would move onward to other surrounding islands, including Rotuma, as well as blending with other (Polynesian) settlers on Tonga and Samoa. They are indigenous to all parts of Fiji except the island of Rotuma. The original settlers are now called "Lapita people" after a distinctive pottery produced locally. Lapita pottery was found in the area from 800 BCE onward.

As of 2005, indigenous Fijians constituted slightly more than half of the total Fijian population. Indigenous Fijians are predominantly of Melanesian extraction, with some Polynesian admixture.

Australia has the largest Fijian expatriate population, according to the Ministry of Pacific Island Affairs, while Fijians were also the fifth largest Pacific ethnic group living in New Zealand; a decrease of 8 percent between 1996 and 2001. The estimated Pacific Islander population size is 231,800 in 2001 Fijians comprising about 7,000 of that. Outside Oceania, a substantial Fijian diaspora is found in other anglophone countries, namely Canada, United States and the United Kingdom.

The Bose Levu Vakaturaga (Great Council of Chiefs) once passed laws and regulations governing the indigenous Fijian people. Until its disbanding by the Military of Fiji following the 2006 coup, the Great Council of Chiefs met yearly to discuss native Fijian concerns. The council, which was formerly responsible for appointing Fiji's president, was composed of 55 Fijian chiefs selected from the 14 provinces. Included in the council were three appointees from the island of Rotuma and six appointed by the Minister of Fijian Affairs. The Minister of Fijian Affairs consulted with the President as part of the selection process. Former Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka was given a lifetime appointment on the council.

Gagaja

Gagaja [ŋaŋatʃa] is a Rotuman word denoting the position of "Chief" or "Lord". This could be a formal chiefly position in one of the seven districts (gagaj 'es itu'u) or a village chief (fa 'es ho'aga) as well as to anyone else, such as the Chairman of the Rotuma Island Council (Gagaj Jeaman ta) to whom respect and deference is owed based on their own skills and attributes. Unlike in many other Pacific cultures, the official chiefly positions are not allocated according to any strict primogeniture, but rather are elected from all eligible males within certain kạinaga (family or clan groups) to whom the chiefly title belongs.

Geography of Fiji

Fiji is a group of volcanic islands in the South Pacific, lying about 4,450 kilometres (2,765 mi) southwest of Honolulu and 1,770 km (1,100 mi) north of New Zealand. Of the 332 islands and 522 smaller islets making up the archipelago, about 106 are permanently inhabited. Viti Levu, the largest island, covers about 57% of the nation's land area, hosts the two official cities (the capital Suva, and Lautoka) and most other major towns, such as Nausori, Vaileka, Ba, Tavua, Kororvou, Nasinu, and Nadi (the site of the international airport), and contains some 69% of the population. Vanua Levu, 64 km (40 mi) to the north of Viti Levu, covers just over 30% of the land area though is home to only some 15% of the population. Its main towns are Labasa and Savusavu. In the northeast it features Natewa Bay, carving out the Loa peninsula.

Both islands are mountainous, with peaks up to 1,300 m (4,300 ft) rising abruptly from the shore, and covered with tropical forests. Heavy rains (up to 304 cm or 120 inches annually) fall on the windward (southeastern) side, covering these sections of the islands with dense tropical forest. Lowlands on the western portions of each of the main islands are sheltered by the mountains and have a well-marked dry season favorable to crops such as sugarcane.

Other islands and island groups, which cover just 12.5% of the land area and house some 16% of the population, include Taveuni southeast off Vanua Levu and Kadavu Island, south off Viti Levu (the third and fourth largest islands respectively), the Mamanuca Group (just off Nadi) and Yasawa Group (to the north of the Mamanucas), which are popular tourist destinations, the Lomaiviti Group (just off Suva) with Levuka, the former capital and the only major town on any of the smaller islands, located on the island of Ovalau, and the remote Lau Group over the Koro Sea to the east near Tonga, from which it is separated by the Lakeba Passage.

Two outlying regions are Rotuma, 400 km (250 mi) to the north, and the uninhabited coral atoll and cay Ceva-i-Ra or Conway Reef, 450 km (280 mi) to the southwest of main Fiji. Culturally conservative Rotuma with its 2,000 people on 44 km2 (17 sq mi) geographically belongs to Polynesia, and enjoys relative autonomy as a Fijian dependency.

Fiji Television reported on 21 September 2006 that the Fiji Islands Maritime and Safety Administration (FIMSA), while reviewing its outdated maritime charts, had discovered the possibility that more islands could lie within Fiji's Exclusive Economic Zone.More than half of Fiji's population lives on the island coasts, either in Suva or in smaller urban centers. The interior is sparsely populated because of its rough terrain.

Lau Taveuni Rotuma (Open Constituency, Fiji)

Lau Taveuni Rotuma Open is a former electoral division of Fiji, one of 25 open constituencies that were elected by universal suffrage (the remaining 46 seats, called communal constituencies, were allocated by ethnicity). Established by the 1997 Constitution, it came into being in 1999 and was used for the parliamentary elections of 1999, 2001, and 2006. The electorate covered the Lau Islands, Taveuni and some of its outliers including Rabi Island and Kioa, and the remote dependency of Rotuma.

The 2013 Constitution promulgated by the Military-backed interim government abolished all constituencies and established a form of proportional representation, with the entire country voting as a single electorate.

Lio 'On Famör Rotuma Party

Lio 'On Famör Rotuma or LFR (meaning "Voice of the Rotuman People" in Rotuman) was a political party in Fiji, which sought to represent the interests of the Rotuman people in their main representative constituency, that is, the Rotuman Communal Constituency, which under the 1997 Constitution used to elect a Member of Parliament in the House of Representatives for all people of Rotuman descent across the nation of Fiji. Although the party never won a seat in Parliament, the it tightly contested the parliamentary elections of 1999 and 2001.

The party faced some controversy over its short history, primarily related to the mismanagement of funds and donations, and having lost some face did not offer a candidate in the 2006 election.

List of countries without rivers

This is a list of countries that do not have any rivers.

Local government in Fiji

Fiji is divided administratively into four divisions, which are further subdivided into fourteen provinces; the self-governing island of Rotuma and its dependencies lie outside any of the four divisions. Each division is headed by a Commissioner, appointed by the Fijian government. The divisions are basically agglomerations of provinces and have few administrative functions of their own, but serve to foster cooperation among the member provinces for providing services. Each province has a provincial council which may make bylaws and impose rates (local taxes), subject to the approval of the Fijian Affairs Board, a government department. The board must also approve the appointment of the Roko Tui, or executive head of the provincial council, who is usually a high chief, although in recent years, commoners have sometimes been chosen.

The provinces used to have direct input into national affairs through the Great Council of Chiefs and the Senate. The Great Council of Chiefs was a traditional body which advised the government on indigenous affairs and also functioned as an electoral college to elect the President and Vice-President; 42 of the 55 members of the Great Council were chosen by the provincial councils, three from each province. In addition, 14 of the 32 members of the Senate, the upper house of the Fijian Parliament, were chosen by the provincial councils (one Senator each) and confirmed by the Great Council of Chiefs. The Military-backed interim government that seized power in a military coup on 5 December 2006 formally abolished the Great Council of Chiefs in 2012, and the 2013 Constitution promulgated by the regime similarly abolished the Senate. This effectively ended provincial input into national government affairs.

Additionally, the island of Rotuma, north of the main archipelago, is self-governing according to the Rotuma Act promulgated in 1927. The Fiji government includes it in the Eastern Division for statistical purposes (such as the census), but it has its own council which is empowered to legislate on most local matters. Like a province, Rotuma used to choose (through its council) 3 members of the Great Council of Chiefs and 1 Senator.

Below the provincial level, districts and villages, based on extended family networks, have their own chiefs and councils. Indigenous Fijian administration is based on the koro, or village, headed by a Turaga ni Koro elected or appointed by the villagers. Several koros combine to form a Tikina, two or more of which comprise a province. In addition, municipal governments have been established for the cities of Suva and Lautoka, and for ten towns. Each has a city or town council elected for a three-year term, presided over by a Mayor chosen by the councillors from among their own members. On 15 February 2006 the government announced legislation to change the local government term of office from three years to four.

Provincial administration, and its sub divisions, cater for ethnic Fijians, town and city councils cater for urban residents of all races. Local authorities have also been established for rural areas, with advisory powers and these provide a voice to people of all races outside the provincial structure. The Ministry of Regional Development ensures that Fiji's rural areas are provided with the access to opportunities and basic amenities that are enjoyed by the urban areas. This is done through its district administrations which are involved in community capacity building, coordinating the development projects like upgrading of rural roads, upgrading of cane access roads, development or roads for access to cash crops and other capital programs in their respective districts. They also attend to some statutory functions such as registration of births, deaths and marriages, liquor licences and acting as Third Class Magistrates.

Fiji is divided into 17 districts, each with a district officer and five sub-districts with assistant district officers. The districts generally centre on towns and cities, but some follow provincial or tikina boundaries. The districts are: Ra, Tavua, Ba, Nadi, Nadarivatu, Keiyasi, Nausori, Navua, Vunidawa, Suva, Korovou, Macuata, Savusavu, Bua, Taveuni, Seqaqa, Saqani, Tukavesi, Kadavu, Rotuma, Lomaiviti, Lautoka. [1]

Methodist Church of Fiji and Rotuma

The Methodist Church of Fiji and Rotuma is the largest Christian denomination in Fiji, with 36.2 percent of the total population (including 66.6 percent of indigenous Fijians) at the 1996 census. Of the 280,628 persons identifying themselves as Methodists, 261,972 were indigenous Fijians, 5,432 were Indo-Fijians (1.6 percent of all ethnic Indians), and 13,224 were from other ethnic communities.

Along with the chiefly system and the Fijian government, the Methodist Church forms a key part of Fiji's social power structure. The President of the Church, who must have been an ordained Minister for at least ten years, is elected at the annual conference for a term not exceeding three years. Tevita Nawadra Banivanua was elected President of the Church at the 2014 annual conference, and took office on 1 January 2015. He succeeded Tuikilakila Waqairatu.

Rotuma (Rotuman Communal Constituency, Fiji)

Rotuma Communal is a former electoral division of Fiji, the sole communal constituency reserved for citizens of Rotuman descent. Established by the 1997 Constitution, it came into being in 1999 and was used for the parliamentary elections of 1999, 2001, and 2006. Its boundaries encompassed the entire nation; Rotuman-descendants anywhere in Fiji were eligible to vote for, and be a candidate for, this constituency. (Of the remaining 70 seats, 45 were reserved for other ethnic communities and 25, called Open Constituencies, were elected by universal suffrage).

The 2013 Constitution promulgated by the Military-backed interim government abolished all constituencies and established a form of proportional representation, with the entire country voting as a single electorate.

Rotuma Group

The Rotuma Group is a group of volcanic islands with Rotuma Island being the main island, located at 12°35′S 177°10′E, approximately 465 km north of Fiji.

There are some islands located at a distance between 50 m and 2 km from the main island, but still within the fringing reef: Solnohu (south), Solkope (southeast), 'Afgaha (far southeast), Husia (close southeast), as well as Hạuameamea and Hạua (close together northeast). Additionally, there is a separate chain of islands between three and six km northwest and west of the westernmost point of Rotuma Island. From northeast to southwest, those are Uea, Hafhai with nearby Hofhahoi, Hafhaveiaglolo, Hatana and Hạf’liua.The islands have an aggregate area of 44 km², of which the main island Rotuma occupies 43 km². Only the main island is permanently inhabited.

The Rotuma Group comprises a Dependency of Fiji. The population of the dependency at the 1996 census was 2810.

Rotuman language

Rotuman, also referred to as Rotunan, Rutuman or Fäeag Rotuma, is an Austronesian language spoken by the indigenous people of the South Pacific island group of Rotuma, an island with a Polynesian-influenced culture that was incorporated as a dependency into the Colony of Fiji in 1881. Classification of Rotuman is difficult due to the large number of loan words from Samoan and Tongan, as a result of much cultural exchange over the history of the Pacific. Linguist Andrew Pawley groups the language with the West Fijian languages in a West Fijian – Rotuman branch of the Central Pacific sub-group of Oceanic languages.

The Rotuman language has sparked much interest with linguists because the language uses metathesis to invert the ultimate vowel in a word with the immediately preceding consonant, resulting in a vowel system characterized by umlaut, vowel shortening or extending and diphthongisation.

Unlike its Pacific neighbours, Rotuman is typically considered an AVO (agent–verb–object) language.

Rotumans

The Rotumans are the indigenous inhabitants of Rotuma, a small island group forming part of the Republic of Fiji. The island itself is a cultural melting pot at the crossroads of the Micronesian, Melanesian and Polynesian divisions of the Pacific Ocean, and due to the seafaring nature of traditional Pacific cultures, the indigenous Rotuman have adopted or share many aspects of its multifaceted culture with its Melanesian, Micronesian and Polynesian neighbours.

Solkope

Solkope is a small and densely wooded island off the southern coast of Rotuma in the Fiji Islands, at the edge of the fringing coral reef. It is separated from the main island of Rotuma by a channel that is between 50 and 200 m wide, and lies immediately southeast of the village of Kalvaka in the district of Noa'tau. It 765 m long east-west, and up to 515 m wide, and rises to a height of 128 m. Its area is 0.3 km². From the sea, it cannot be recognised as a separate island.

Tautoga

The tautoga (pronounced [tauˈtoŋa]) is considered the most formal and restrained style of Rotuman dance, usually seen performed in large festivities or ceremonies (called kato'aga, a term summing up all traditional Rotuman ceremonies), or in public opportunities to showcase Rotuman culture. The tautoga style can be seen as comparable to the Tuvaluan fatele or Tongan lakalaka, and the "toga" [ˈtoŋa] sound to the word alludes to such an origin.

Tēfui

Tēfui are the unique garlands of the Pacific Island, Rotuma. They are made by tying multiple "fui" ("täntäne" leaves (polyscias) and sweet-smelling flowers in the shape of a star), with modern adaptations using wool or ribbon. The number of fui used is dependent on the situation. The Rotuman tēfui is used primarily as part of traditional ceremonies and celebrations (kato'aga), both happy and sad.

Divisions
Provinces
Dependency
Cities
Towns
History
Geography
Politics
Economy
Society
Polynesian triangle
Polynesian outliers
Polynesian-influenced
Art
Broad culture
Geo-specific,
general
Canoes
Dance
Festivals
Languages
Literature
Music
Mythology
Research
People
Religion
Islands
Districts
Principal islands
Significant outliers
Archipelagos

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.