9 Aug 2011

New archive reveals reluctance of Fiji's founding father

9:50 am on 9 August 2011

Fiji's founding father Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara would rather have been tending the ill than leading his nation to independence.

The reluctance of Fiji's former President and Prime Minister is one revelation of a collection of interviews with early Pacific leaders to be launched on Radio New Zealand International's website today.

Broadcaster Ian Johnstone conducted many of the interviews in the mid 1990s and he says it's a chance for young Pacific Islanders to hear the voices of those so important in the move towards independence and self-government.

"Some of them didn't want to do it, some of them were overcome by it. Some were very proud of it. Some were mad keen! And all this is carried in the voices, the voices from the past."

Ian Johnstone hopes the CD and website will become a learning tool for students and schools throughout Pacific Island countries.