Rotumans are Blessed
by Henry Enasio (Sydney, Australia)
I'm of the opinion that Rotumans are blessed--blessed
with a lot of things, including an island paradise of breathtaking
scenes, silhouetted by mountain greens and white sandy beaches that
flicker in the crystal clear ocean that surrounds it.
That is my opinion and no doubt some may disagree with
me, but I'm willing to accept that and enter into a dialogue. I subscribe
to this opinion based on what I saw and knew whilst growing up in
Rotuma and on current happenings, which I will illustrate below to
substantiate my opinion.
1. The Name
Let’s begin with the name, Rotuma. In my opinion,
it's a combination of two words (rotu and ma),
which literally means, “church” and “belief.” Many
names in our culture are closely associated with something like an
occasion or an incident. So could “church” and “belief” be
the English words used to describe the islanders, which when translated
was used to name the island we now call Rotuma? It's also my opinion
that the name Granville does not correspond to Rotuma, other than
being a name ascribed by the explorers. Interpret it however you
want, but remember your answer will be an opinion too.
2. The Land
Rotuma's volcanic soil is so rich in nutrients that
it does not need fertilizers other than the mulch from leaves. Whilst
growing up in Rotuma, I saw during the 13 May Cession Day celebrations,
yams that weighed over 460 lbs and grew to well over 7 feet in length,
taros that weighed over 53 lbs and were about 4 feet in length, bananas
of different kinds that had 15 - 18 bunches each, sugarcane with
stems the size of my biceps, kumara (sweet potatoes) as big as a
brown coconut. You had to see it to believe it, for they were amazingly
massive, even though grown without fertilizers. Plants can be thrown
outside the house without having to plant them and will be ready
to harvest in 6 - 9 months time, not to mention the abundance of
fruits that ripen on the trees for the islanders’ enjoyment,
and on which the birds and animals feed. There is also our
lush forest, without hidden dangers of poisonous snakes, spiders,
etc. that can kill, or bees and hornets that will sting when disturbed.
3. The Sea
The sea surrounding Rotuma is abundant in fish of
different sizes on and outside the reefs that can be hooked, speared
in high or low tides, or netted. Also there are the assorted crabs,
shellfish, and seaweeds that taste very delicious and are good for
4. The Fresh Water
Though Rotuma is very humid and can be very warm,
there's always a lot of rain. Also there's the underground fresh
water so that holes can bored and tapped for drinking water. Wells,
too, can be dug for water even within a stone’s throw from
5. The Weather
Because the weather is predictable, people without
much knowledge in weather forecasting can anticipate changes. Seasonal
changes are minimal except for December to March, when strong winds
are usually experienced.
6. The Rotumans
Rotumans are Polynesian in culture and through association
with others are more diverse and relaxed than our cousins in other
Pacific Island countries. We are very adaptable and quick learners,
enabling us to readily accept diversity and to accommodate the best
from other cultures.
Although Rotumans are few in number, they are widely
spread around the world: in Europe, Canada, USA, Australia, New Zealand,
and the Pacific Island countries. Rotumans also are blessed in education
in that several have attained the highest standard possible in education
by completing a PhD. There are numerous holders of Masters and Bachelors degrees
in various disciplines who will one day get their doctorates. Our
women have done well and have just about caught up with the guys
in all fields of study and work. I just wonder who will be our first
woman to get a PhD. The ratio of successful individuals to the population
is very high, competitive with some well developed countries.
Then there are the occupations. Rotumans have excelled
in Fiji in both the public sector, from the highest position in the
Judiciary to the private sector as managers. I also know of some
Rotuman women who have done well for themselves and are millionaire
property owners, which I wouldn't have believed if I did not see
it for myself.
Thus, armed with the above, it's my opinionated view
that Rotumans are blessed unless someone who disputes it and tells
me otherwise can change my mind.
Submitted 15 May 2004
From Vikatoria Schippers-Managreve in
I absolutely agree: “Rotumans are so blessed.” I have
travelled very widely for the last twenty years around the world,
either visiting or living in countries in Europe; the Middle East;
Asia; North, Central, and South America; and the Pacific. At the
moment, I am living in Jakarta, Indonesia. Every place I find myself,
although it may be so beautiful, so exotic, or so advanced, always
makes me yearn for Rotuma--the people and the island. In all these
other places, I always find something missing, whether it is the
friendliness, the spontaneity, the harmony, or the wonderful feeling
I have not found a place, island, or people that has everything
we Rotumans have. Some may say that because Rotuma is a tiny island,
things and people are easy to manage. I totally disagree with this
as I have been to inhabited islands much smaller in size than Rotuma,
and the island and its people do not have so much as the Rotumans.
I haven’t found a race so small in number that has reached
out so far and wide in the world and attained so much.
Every opportunity I have, I talk about Rotuma and its wonderfully
blessed people. I feel that in their hearts, all Rotumans know that
they are special. Rotumans have so many gifts and talents: tolerance,
respectfulness, fun loving, and the wondrous gift of sharing. They
adapt so easily and are always striving to do their best in whatever
situation they find themselves. Rotumans are a very happy, loving
people by nature. Rotumans are wholesome people.
Can anyone tell me of an island or race that equals Rotuma or the
Rotumans? I have not found it.
How could this be? I believe we are blessed by The Almighty God.
So thanks for the eye opening reason: Rotu and Ma.
Submitted 27 May, 2004
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