The Fiji National University (FNU) presented a matanigasau (traditional apology) to the President of the Republic of Fiji, His Excellency, Ratu Wiliame Maivalili Katonivere at the State House yesterday.
Led by the FNU Chancellor, Council members and Acting Vice-Chancellor, the FNU delegation also consisted of the senior leadership team (SLT) and FNU staff.
The institution presented its traditional apology to the President, who is also the Turaga Na Tui Macuata, to apologise and acknowledge the President and his people for land that was given to the University to develop for tertiary education provisions in the North.
The President said he was grateful that the University acknowledged the traditional custodians of the land. His Excellency, Ratu Wiliame added that he accepted the apology on behalf of the other paramount chiefs of the Northern Division.
“I recall the groundbreaking ceremony in 2013, as that was one of the first few events I undertook when ascending the role of Tui Macuata,” he shared.
“I’ve seen the hardships and challenges that our students from Vanua Levu face when they come to Viti Levu for a better life and better education. I saw FNU as the solution to dealing with the problems that our people faced.”
“I feel good when I see students from all over Vanua Levu come to Labasa to further their studies. FNU has changed mindsets. Parents are now encouraging their children, they have no excuse now to further their education because the service is right at their doorstep.”
The President highlighted his full support of FNU and its plans to fully develop its campus in the North.
FNU Chancellor and Chair of Council, Semesa Karavaki said the University would be able to progress with its development plans in the North following the visit to the Tui Macuata.
“As Chancellor, I have highlighted the Council’s full support of FNU’s strategic vision of making tertiary education accessible to all Fijians,” he said.
“Today’s visit is a show of the University’s unity and what we have done today is what our people will benefit from in the years to come.”
Acting Vice-Chancellor, Professor Unaisi Nabobo-Baba added that the visit was an act of traditional respect for the land and its owners.
“This visit was a long time in the making. We were gifted the land many years ago, and today we are here to apologise for not showing our appreciation earlier,” Professor Nabobo-Baba said.
“We also thank the Tui Macuata and his people for the land given to FNU and humbly request and look forward to his support of the plans FNU will undertake in the Northern Division.”
“As part of FNU’s senior leadership team, I intend to work alongside the Council and SLT to progressively develop the campus in the North. We can now build on a solid foundation after receiving
the blessings of the President.”
“Although there may have been issues in the past that have been a barrier to our progress, we can only move forward now with great determination and perseverance to ensure that our current
and future students in the North receive the tertiary education they rightfully deserve.”
The visit is part of the University’s commitment to demonstrating its deep appreciation of the landowners of Fiji for their overwhelming generosity and support towards the national tertiary institution.
FNU representatives had also visited the Nailaga village elders in Ba earlier this week. The district is the landowning unit of the FNU Ba Campus.