Rotumans raise cash for vessel

A THREE-DAY program that will include traditional and contemporary songs, dances, art, craftsmanship and a fashion show will be held to promote Rotuman culture and heritage in the country.

The Vaka Ne Rotuma show will be held at the Grand Pacific Hotel this Saturday and the project is pioneered by local Rotuman fashion designer Hupfeld Hoerder.

Mr Hoerder said one of the major challenges for many Rotumans living in Fiji was accessibility because of the island’s isolated location.

“It has been a challenge for Rotumans on the island to establish economic activities that allow them to build sustainable livelihoods for their families and communities,” he said.

He said Rotumans were one of the two indigenous ethnic groups in Fiji and there was a need for more awareness on culture and heritage so that young Rotumans and visitors alike could learn and appreciate this unique community.

He said the show would include established Rotuman designers such as 8 Mountains by Moira Solvalu, Hupfeld Hoerder, Michael Mausio, Rosie Semisi, Rako by Letila Mitchell, Aisea Konrote and newcomer Edward Tavanavanua.

“During the cocktail segment before the show there will be a silent auction of art and handicrafts as well as prizes kindly donated by sponsors,” he said.

He said the proceeds from the show would go towards a trust fund that would be used for investment in the purchasing of a roll-on roll-off ferry for Rotuma.

“The long-term plan is for this to be an annual event that involves more activities such as a discussion forum where Rotumans can gather and share issues and challenges they face,” he said.

“This is the first charity fundraiser, so we cannot say how much at this stage we’ll collect because people are pledging from all over the world and supporting a good cause.”

About 250 people are expected to attend the event.

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