Fijian Language Week 2023 - Dr Leone Vadei
Dr Leone Vadei is a familiar and smiling face here at Etu Pasifika Canterbury. He is both knowledgeable and proud when it comes to his Fijian lineage and roots.  

 What part of Fiji are you from and were you born in Fiji? 

What do you and your family do to keep your culture alive?  

Speaking the language at home to our children, attending an indigenous Fijian Church on Sundays (Service is in full Fijian), attending some cultural gatherings in the community as well. 

Do you have a favourite proverb or saying in Fijian?  

Ena dau kele ga na waqa ena toba malumu (literally translated as, boats will dock to rest in harbours that have calm waters). It means people/friends/family will only be acquainted with people who provide them respect/comfort/happiness. 

A favourite Fijian song you could share? 

“Isa isa vulagi lasa dina” – a lamentation of friends or visitors that leave after coming to visit our shores.  

What is your favourite part about Fiji? The food? The tourism? Church/religion?  

The people. They are so joyful and fun loving. Our culture which is deeply rooted in family and respect, and our practice of Faith in God outlines a lot of our daily cultural practices and mannerisms. 

 Do you have any tips for those who may be travelling to Fiji? Any must see things? Take time to venture out of the Resorts or Hotels when you are there. Get to meet the people and eat their food and live their culture, to get a real feel of the Fijian way of life. 

What are some common things we see in FIji? - Kids playing rugby? Music always playing? Lots of animals?  

Lots of Rugby. It is a sport that is played everywhere in Fiji – in towns and villages there will always be a ground for the locals to play their social rugby. 

How important is family to you?  

Very important – it is the basis/root of our social systems in the Fijian culture. It is where respect and culture is learnt from. 

What's one word that describes you in Fijian and what does it mean? Yalo vinaka (means, good hearted). 

Anything interesting extra you’d like to share about yourself/being Fijian? I grew up in a small village on one of the remote little islands of Fiji called Moala Island in the Lau group of islands, where life was very basic (no electricity, cooking with firewood, and basically living off the land and sea. Old fishing vessels were the only mode of transport to the main island where Suva – where we proceeded to access supplies and also to further develop children’s education. This is the setting that I grew up in. It has created in me a humble heart to learn to appreciate everything that life has to offer here in Christchurch NZ. 


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