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๐‘๐š๐ญ๐ฎ ๐’๐ฎ๐ค๐ฎ๐ง๐š ๐ƒ๐š๐ฒ ๐‚๐ž๐ฅ๐ž๐›๐ซ๐š๐ญ๐ข๐จ๐ง ๐Ÿ๐ŸŽ๐Ÿ๐Ÿ’ ๐“๐จ ๐‡๐จ๐ง๐จ๐ซ ๐•๐ข๐ฌ๐ข๐จ๐ง๐š๐ซ๐ฒ ๐‹๐ž๐š๐๐ž๐ซ๐ฌ๐ก๐ข๐ฉ

The Assistant Minister for iTaukei Affairs, Heritage, and Culture, Hon. Sikeli Tuiwailevu, this morning officiated at the soft launch of the Ratu Sukuna Day celebration and announced that it will take place over three days, starting on May 29th and ending on May 31st. 

The theme for this year’s celebration is “๐˜Š๐˜ฆ๐˜ญ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฃ๐˜ณ๐˜ข๐˜ต๐˜ช๐˜ฏ๐˜จ ๐˜๐˜ช๐˜ด๐˜ช๐˜ฐ๐˜ฏ๐˜ข๐˜ณ๐˜บ ๐˜“๐˜ฆ๐˜ข๐˜ฅ๐˜ฆ๐˜ณ๐˜ด๐˜ฉ๐˜ช๐˜ฑ ๐˜ต๐˜ฉ๐˜ณ๐˜ฐ๐˜ถ๐˜จ๐˜ฉ ๐˜Š๐˜ถ๐˜ญ๐˜ต๐˜ถ๐˜ณ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ข๐˜ฏ๐˜ฅ ๐˜Œ๐˜ฅ๐˜ถ๐˜ค๐˜ข๐˜ต๐˜ช๐˜ฐ๐˜ฏ” as one of Ratu Sir Lala Sukuna’s enduring legacies is strengthening culture through the education system and traditional institutions.

While the main celebration will again be centered in Suva, the Ministry of Education and the Fiji National University will also organize programmes to honour the late Ratu Sir Josefa Lalabalavu Vana'ali'ali Sukuna. 

“We have a series of programmes. On 29 May, we will commence with a Culture and Education Symposium at the Holiday Inn. The Chief Guest will be the Chairperson of the Great Council of Chiefs,” said Hon Tuiwailevu.

This symposium which will be interactive will engage students and youths, educating them on Ratu Sir Lala Sukuna's visionary contributions to education while seeking their views on how his contribution can take the nation forward. 

Thursday the 30th of May will be dedicated to primary and secondary school students and will begin with an assembly at 9 am at Albert Park. The Permanent Secretary for Education Ms Selina Kuruleca will officiate at the event.

Thereafter, the park pavilion will host speech contests, cultural performances by students, and exhibitions showcasing Ratu Sir Lala Sukuna's enduring legacy.

The day will end with a public lecture by Professor Steven Ratuva at FNU Nasinu Campus from 5-8 pm, targeting the youth audience.

There will be a public march from the flea market to Albert Park on May 31st at 9 am. The Honorable Prime Minister will be the Chief Guest and will deliver the national address.

The celebrations will conclude with a state function at 6 pm at the State House while Cultural performances and live music will continue at Albert Park.

“The public is invited to visit the special exhibitions at the Albert Park Pavilion, Fiji Arts Council, and Fiji Museum, the public lecture on 30 May, and the public march and main celebration at Albert Park on 31 May.” 

“Let us all show our support for these celebration events and honor Ratu Sir Lala Sukuna's vision, aspirations, and legacy for Fiji,” the Assistant Minister stated in conclusion.

Ratu Timoci Tavanavanua, the Roko Tui Bau, spoke about the life of the late statesman at the event which was also graced by the presence of the Marama Bale na Roko Tui Dreketi Ro Teimumu Kepa, the Turaga na Qaranivalu Ratu Inoke Takiveikata, Turaga na Tui Kalabu, Ratu Paula Maiwiriwiri and the Assistant Minister for Education Hon Iliesa Vanawalu.

Ratu Sir Josefa Lalabalavu Vana'ali'ali Sukuna was born in 1888, into a chiefly family on the island of Bau. 

He made significant contributions to the history and identity of Fiji. Despite the British prohibition on Indigenous Fijians fighting in World War I, Ratu Sir Lala Sukuna joined the French Foreign Legion and was awarded the prestigious Medaille Militaire for his service.

Ratu Sir Lala Sukuna’s dedication to supporting the war efforts during both World Wars I and II connected Fiji to countries around the world such as France and England.

Ratu Sir Lala Sukuna passed away en route to England on the ship Arcadia on 30 May 1958. 

He was buried at the Sau Tabu in Tubou, Lakeba alongside the great leaders of Lau. His legacy lives on through the role he played in the pre-independence years. 

His passing marked the end of an era, but his influence in shaping pre-independence Fiji ensured the nation's existence, making him a crucial figure in Fiji's continuing story.

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