SUBRAIL Park in Labasa was a sea of white and blue yesterday as more than 500 people gathered to mark the 42nd anniversary of Fiji's Independence.
The event saw students from more than 10 schools, government officials, stakeholders and members of the public converging to mark the special occasion.
Chief guest and USP Labasa Campus director Doctor Samuela Bogitini said Fiji had been through a lot of difficult times and with patience, faith and hope "we have walked together victoriously to observe this day with national pride".
"Our sovereign rights that we have attained since Independence Day in October 10, 1970 will always remain a significant day to all of us," Dr Bogitini said.
"Our strengths can be derived from our differences and negotiated in good faith and through these differences, we can exploit to produce a reservoir of hidden treasures and knowledge on which we can build our foundation of unity as a nation."
He said multiculturalism was always an effective tool of nation-building.
"The emphasis on multiculturalism must be one of the key ingredients to nation-building together with universal values embraced by all," he said.
"This is a historical moment for the nation and the current Constitution Commission will be an important vehicle to bring constitutional democracy and sustainable future governments."
Dr Bogitini said the Look North Policy was also an excellent example that must be acknowledged as one of the government policies aimed at improving the lives of our people.
"We need new ideas and innovations in the North to transform our natural resources into commercial opportunities as the global knowledge economy refers to the fact that knowledge is now the main driver of development."
The event featured entertainment, presentations and a march by students of Holy Family Secondary and Nabala Secondary schools.