The Chiefs of the seven (7) Districts of Rotuma;
The Chairman, Gagaj Manav and the Members of the Rotuma Council;
The Former President, Your Excellency Major-General (Ret’d) Jioji Konrote;
Chief Executive Officer for Itaukei Trust Fund, Mr. Aisake Taito;
Senior Government Officials;
Distinguished guests;
Ladies and gentlemen.
Noa‘ia ‘e mạuri gagaj ‘atakoa and Good Morning to you all! Today we gather to commemorate and celebrate the 142nd Anniversary of the Cession of the island of Rotuma to Her Majesty Queen Victoria and the British Government. I am greatly honoured to be the Guest of Honour for Rotuma Day celebrations here on your beautiful island.
At the outset, I would like to thank the Council of Rotuma for the invitation to be here and for all the work that you do to ensure that the general welfare of the Rotuman Community as well as matters of the island are protected and continued peacefully.
As your Head of State, it gives me great pride and I deem it unique to witness our communities celebrate our diversity and multiculturalism.
As a traditional Chief I appreciate that our indigenous communities are able to preserve and observe our many traditions and cultural practices without obstacles.
I wish to emphasise that we also use, promote, learn and teach our language and mother tongue to our children and grandchildren so that our identity is equally embraced and protected. We continue to live harmoniously in our diversity and I am honoured that I am able to be here today to celebrate your day and to assure to you that today is a special and joyous occasion, not only for Rotumans but every Fijian.
Rotuma while its geographical location is isolated and the size of the island - small, Rotuma has had a disproportionate impact on Fiji’s development and progress over the years and continues to date. There are some 2000 Rotumans living on the island with over 10,000 or so on Viti Levu and Vanua Levu as well as in the smaller islands around Fiji; as well as thousands more around the world. Many children of Rotuma are employed in the civil service, health and medical services, the private sector, the disciplined forces and other professions.   
The many accomplishments and achievements of Fiji where Rotuma’s contributions were significant, the most significant is a son of Rotuma becoming the fifth (5th) President of Fiji. The former President and my predecessor, His Excellency Major-General (Ret’d) Jioji Konrote, served as President of Fiji for six (6) years, was a career soldier who rose up the ranks through merit to become Major-General of the Fiji Military Forces and then Commander in Chief; he is also a retired Government Minister, Permanent Secretary, diplomat and former parliamentarian. Very few Rotumans and even Fijians can boast of achieving similar accolades, for this I thank Rotuma for raising such a son who embodied values of servant leadership and patriotism.
At this juncture, it would be rather remiss of me not to acknowledge the Government as it is focussed on moving Fiji in a unified direction and creating confidence that allows all our people to put aside differences and work together and through our diversity to chart a newer and progressive future beneficial for all.
We appreciate the Government’s commitment to improve critical infrastructure such as roads in outer island communities; and enhanced air connectivity, especially to nearby islands. Services that would normally be centralized in major townships are now being made accessible to Rotuma, such as the first ever Rotuma Women’s Expo. This is the beginning of many great opportunities to be made available to Rotuma.
In conclusion, Rotuma has birthed and raised many notable sons and daughters that have acquired great recognition and contributed to Fiji’s developments before and after independence in 1970 and continues to date. Rotuma is also known for its pristine and beautiful flora and fauna that give many bigger destinations in the world a run for their money. In my personal opinion I know of Rotumans to be some of the most passionate and dedicated individuals regarding matters of culture, family and the land, all close to my heart.
I thank you all once again for the honour of being your Guest of Honour in this Rotuma Day celebration, I wish Rotuma, its seven districts and their chiefs; and the people continued blessings, abundance and prosperity.
Fạiȧkse’ea , and Vinaka vakalevu!