Former Teacher Awarded For Her Service


Having a career in the teaching field spanning 55-years is not an easy feat and for her efforts 80-year-old Raditini Manueli was bestowed the Fiji 50th Anniversary Independence Commemorative Medal recently.

In an investiture ceremony held at the State House in Suva, the President Major-General (Ret’d) Jioji Konrote, who is also the Chancellor of the Order of Fiji, acknowledged and appropriately rewarded about 31 individuals who have served selflessly and contributed immensely towards Fiji’s socio-economic and political progress and development.

“This is a great achievement and blessing and I thank god for letting me reach this number of years in my life and to also receive this great honour to receive a medal at this stage of my life,” Mrs Manueli said.

“I graduated from Corpus Christi Teachers College in the year 1961 and started teaching in 1962. I taught as a civil servant until I turned 55 years old, took a nine-month break to the United States and started teaching again when I got back to Fiji,” she said.

“I taught at Yat Sen School and then I worked at the Institute of Education at the University of the South Pacific where I worked in the Literacy Centre and processed children’s storybooks while advising teachers and parents on what kind of stories to use for children’s literacy and language development.”

“I worked there for quite a while and taught English at the Pacific Regional Seminary for a bit before going back to Corpus Christie to teach religious education. This is where I continued with my teaching career until I turned 77-years-old,” she added.

Mrs Manueli started teaching little children, setting the base for their education and development for a long time before taking up a post in the training college.

“I encourage the teachers to do the best they can for the children or the adults they teach and get our young people into the teaching profession because for me teaching is a very noble profession,” she said.

“Teaching is not easy but you have to be loyal, devoted and have the passion I had and I wish I could go back into the classroom especially with the few year olds in class 1, setting the foundation for the children.”

Mrs Manueli reveals she was 30-years-old when she witnessed Fiji gain independence from British rule in October 1970.

“Fiji gaining independence for me was giving a sense of the country coming of age as I believed we were now able to take care of ourselves and we didn’t need Britain to look after us anymore,” she said.

She directed a mass choir during the visit of Pope John Paul II to Fiji in 1986 and also led 500 voices for Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara’s funeral in 2004.