19 May 2015

Rotumans call for cultural centre in Suva

9:22 am on 19 May 2015

The Fiji Rotuman Association is hoping a cultural centre can be set up in the middle of Suva to help save a culture which is on the UN Endangered list.

Association president Pasirio Furivai says the culture has been listed as vulnerable for a few years but there is a real danger it could be moved to critically endangered, especially with only 2,000 people living on Rotuma itself.

Mr Furivai has been working with the Fiji government to try and get Rotuman included in the education curriculum.

He says of the 15,000 Rotumans living around the world, only a third can speak Rotuman, which is affecting how they relate to their culture.

He says teaching Rotuman in school would help but there are resource and accessibility issues and parents also need to change their mindsets.

"So parents tend to emphasise the children to learn the English and learn other subjects because that is where it will lead them to get a job whereas the Rotuman skills and culture is not really emphasised and not a priority in many households because they do not see that as important."

Mr Furivai says a cultural centre, where people could learn traditions, weaving and cultivation would be a boost to the culture.