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Vanuatu descendants celebrate 43rd Independence Day

The Ni-Vanuatu community of Muanikoso paid homage to their forefathers during their 43rd Independence of Vanuatu celebration.

This diaspora was composed of descendants of Vanuatu laborers who were brought to Fiji during the blackbirding period.

These proud ni-Van descendants never forgot their roots despite calling Fiji home for the past several decades.

Mateo Tomu Butuni, a fifth descendant of the Vanuatu laborers says it was an emotional day for this close-knit community on the outskirts of Suva as they celebrated the country of their origin.

“We have been living and working together as a family because we are related. There’s no outside force or factor that can try and take away the things we have built since our forefathers have been since we came to Fiji and since we settled in this place.”

Butuni says they are proud of their forefathers’ contributions to the development of Fiji and Vanuatu.

The blackbirding system was active from 1864 to 1911, when more than 27,000 Pacific islanders, including Ni-Van were brought to Fiji to work on coconut plantations.