ROTUMA Day is an occasion to reflect on the journey and progress that Rotumans have made as a people since May 1881 says Minister for Primary Industries and acting Minister for Defence, National Security and Immigration Joketani Cokanasiga.
In his keynote address yesterday on the island, Mr Cokanasiga acknowledged the contributions of chiefs and the community towards positive growth and development.
"Rotuma has made a very significant contribution towards Fiji's development as a nation.
"The celebration theme this year is 'Hugag'esea 'uta 'kia Rotuma se re' meaning 'unity moves Rotuma forward'," Mr Cokanasiga said at the government station in Ahau where the celebrations were held.
"The government is committed towards the development of Rotuma as enshrined under the roadmap for democracy and sustainable socio-economic development.
"Rotuma has the potential to continue to contribute to the development of Fiji's economy with its resource-based sector particularly its rich ocean, rich volcanic soil, favourable climate that have the potential to produce high yield and increased production from both the sea and the land."
Under the government's social development vision, Mr Cokanasiga said the focus of development was directed towards reducing poverty, avoiding early school dropout, the provision of quality education and improving health service delivery.
Juju District opened the celebrations with a traditional dance led by their chief, Gagaj Tiporot.
Various groups set up stalls and carried out activities and awareness programs for the islanders including community-based environmentally-friendly Laje Rotuma Initiative, women's groups showcasing a range of handicraft and an agricultural selection in front of the Pepjei District tent.
The government delegation is expected to leave the island today, arriving in Suva on Tuesday.