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These opinions were originally posted on Facebook, in the "Rotumans on Facebook" group

Sarote Erasito [7 December 2012]

While witnessing the FNU graduation ceremony today at Vodafone Arena...something struck me ...our unique and beautiful 'FUI' is fast loosing its originality and uniqueness !!!! The many new/contemporary versions displayed today were disgusting !!! I was saddened to see my ancestors' unique creation turned into 'diwali' deco , etc ..and worn by Rotumans & other races...My has become more important than retaining our unique culture...Gou aier'ak ne kepoi ka temamfua ne av ta la kelsin ma 'oris huga la ru ti' pau...

Maria Ali [7 December 2012]

Well said the generation now have forgotten their mother tongue n also I've noticed that they twisted their tongues n become Europeanized shame on them.

Marafono Kauata 10:20pm [7 December 2012]

Thank you Sarote Erasito for your observation and it is very sad to hear that"FUI" is fast losing it's "Origanilityand Uniqueness!!!" Is it because of shortage of materials or is it due to Laziness and Ignorance??? As Rotumans, without our Traditions, Culture and Language, we are Nothing and to lose any part of our Rotumaness would have a long term effect of who we are in years to Come!!! Rotuman Website kept us together through information, music and language and we owed it to Alan Howard for his far sightedness. My Rotuman Language is kept up to date by the Rotuman Music on this site and although I have been away from Rotuma for a long time, I can still speak and write in my own language BECAUSE I AM A PROUD ROTUMAN!!!

Sarote Erasito [8 December 2012]

Totally agree. The 'FUI' is one of our cultural things that identify us as matter where we are in the its being 'contaminated' by other alien materials which is really sad. Shortage of materials ??? I don't think so...I think most just want the easy way and they compromise so if we aren't careful we will lose this heritage together with the skill and creativity that makes the FUI what it is..or was !!!!

Marafono Kauata [8 December 2012]

Sarote Erasito, every Rotuman old and young who have seen "FUI" will know that it's Beauty, Sweet Smell and Appearance is UNRIVALLED BY ANY OTHER CREATION OF THAT NATURE!!! It is OUR HERITAGE that we are talking about and to be "CONTAMINATED" by substandard alien materials is Unforgivable. Please Don't Do It!!! Respect our Forefathers and Rotuma if you have nothing better to do with your life. Thank You.

Ravai Antonio [11 December 2012]

I have no problem with the originality as those are just modified versions...its significance is crustal clear to all Rotumans.....on the 'fui' being worn by other races, one must consider our diversity and through inter marriage, many of our children may not look fully Rotuman but I know deep down they have hard veins that run deep to our roots....and they are proud of it...It may not be appropriate to jump to such conclusions as you alluded to.

Sarote Erasito [11 December 2012]

I have NO PROBLEM with other races wearing the 'fui' concern is their changing my ancestors unique creation into something that resembles the the common xmas /diwali decor...etc...there was a version that resembled the poppy...a very enlarged one actually !!! Why can't we leave it the way it was meant to be by the inventors !!! Is it so important to conform to modern ideas and materials ???? May be I'm old school but I value my identity more than conforming to mordenization...I am Rotuman , I speak a unique language ,written with many unique vowels and I have many other unique cultural treasures bestowed by my ancestors and thats the way I want the world to view me !!! If we aren't careful...the FUI will lose its originality and value....I remember once hearing a Rotuman elder giving this sound advice ...' Nonoka 'aus faeag faeag Rotuam...ka nonoka faeag fifis, ma faeag fifis...ka se haisol'akigen faeag rua..nono ma teranit ka 'omus faeag Rotuam ta la toak 'e noj '...and that is exactly what has happened today....Many of the young ones speak very BROKEN Rotuman which is quite a shame !!!

Rosie Catherine [12 December 2012]

@Sarote Erasito...what is Rotuman?....language...traditions/culture...FUI...TOFUA..APEI...what is I think the FUI is at its best when made from natural materials...more meaningful.....

Vaurasi Rudolph [12 December 2012]

Sefek ka gou pa 'ea ta te mea'mea' he, 'is faeag 'e 'Fui", ma figalelei ka gou 'ea 'is famor Rotumam ma kepoi ka la po la faeag Rotuam po e amis kat inea faeag fifis,,,ka te kokot 'is es te la ea e 'ROTUMANS ON FACEBOOK' ka oror Rotuam ma Fifis ma Merek kel, ma gou ahae TAUAG is naat ke ao fekfek se rere ne os FUI po e av e on rerege 'is a'mou pa nonoj, ma rere te sirsir ma a'hae 'is ta Nojo, ka a'hae TAF ma NA'IA 'IS SE LOPO, ma la' FAR e av kesmas te', KASE MAOMAO NE fUI ON FAMOR ROTUMA REEM E 'AIPOA PENEISI TA' MA ON TI'U TAE...Ma figalelei ka gou kat oaf ra se te ne gou afai OS FUI FITA' MA RERE ka gou KAU'AK TENE AU EA....Le Sarote Erasito, Maria Ali, Marafono Kauata,Ravai Antonio,Tevita Katafono,Rosie Catherine ma Sanimeli Pita...Kesmas LELEI au noaia ma te'is on ti'u.

Tevita Katafono [12 December 2012]

Noa'ia to all - just a comment I would like to make on the above mentioned - yes I agree with some of your observations that the fui is fast loosing it's uniqueness and to some extend it's originality. For most Pacific Islander the fui is instantly identified with Rotuma/Rotumans- so in some respects it hasn't lost it's uniqueness, as for originality and perhaps it's authenticity than yes it has lost some of that. For most of us leaving abroad wearing a fui in a ceremony is all about identity - pride and belonging, it may be true that our fui lacked the natural lutre and wonderful perfume of the moskoi and pua that would a genuine one made in the island, nonetheless the pride and joy the fui brings to us is significant. Maybe the improvisation of the fui by some Rotumans is the result of the lack of access to the real stuff, certainly leaving in a foreign country would deny you that- Rotumans are always resourcefull and creative so you will always see different versions of the fui. My kids wore fui and tofua over their Holy Communion dresses which presented to them by their grandma - and yes the fui were plastic but they wore it with pride on the day. I guess what I am saying is - the fui for most Rotumans is symbolic - its the flag on the mast of the boat identifying your port origin -I think that regardless of the fui's lack of authenticity, if the bearer wears it with pride and joy than that's about all that matters really.

Sarote Erasito [12 December 2012]

'Ua'ua'ak se te' ne gagaj ne na 'omus ava la 'es vaeag 'e haifaegag te'is..Kel'ak ne 'is noh fakman'ia'ak 'os aga ma koroa fak-Rotuma...Gou 'aligen rere fui 'e hanue te' - Fiti...kat 'es siok'akiag ra po 'e 'aipoa sar se ma..kop ma 'af'af'ia 'os aoao ne, ne 'os hao ne...A'es'av'ak ne pepa ma repene 'e hanua ne tae 'e vas ta ...'inea ne la tapen'ak ..Noa'ia gagaj 'atakoa 'e haivaeag a'hae ma alalum 'aus 'e te' ne ut tutu ne 'aus noh sin...Hanisiof

Lavenia Inoke-Besetimoala [12 December 2012]

This is a very interesting thread that we have going here and this is my 2 cents....every time i see the fui, my heart feels warm with happiness and a sense of pride! the fact that other people choose to wear it makes me even more happier! I know for a fact that sometimes when you really need the flowers for the just never seems to find them so i do understand the need to improvise. What saddens me is that fact that some Rotumans do not take pride in making beautiful fuis with what they have (CAN BE DONE)....! Remember the fui is unique to us Rotumans so when you do make them, whether its for personal use or for someone else, make sure that the end product is something that even you will be proud to wear for everyone else to admire....its a reflection of you! Hanisiof!

Henry Enasio [23 January 2013]

I have read the discussions surrounding the fui with great interest but have to concur with Ravai Antonio and Tevita Katafono.

Due to various extenuating circumstances the fui seen and used nowadays comes in various forms, designs and styles from the hands of its creators who, in many cases, have to improvise for various reasons.

  • residence abroad
  • absence of the flowers needed to create it
  • lack of skills and knowledge
  • the desire to be contemporary

But personally I think it's the intention to symbolise our distinctive Rotuman identity and the solemnity of the occasion that matters, since there's no other race on earth that has a creation like our fui.

As for its original form, well that has changed a lot. The fui that I knew when growing up were made of the following:

  • hata
  • sea
  • moskoi
  • kori
  • ragkari
  • turau, or very young white coconut leaves
  • tantane, and many other fragrant Rotuman flowers, and
  • they always had a star, not the moon that we see nowadays

Thus our Fui has evolved to be more contemporary and meaningful like many of our customs such as the

  • tukuag omoi
  • the wake, that occurs simultaneously in Fiji and Rotuma, incurring more expenses.
  • kokua ma garue ta re kikia e teran lima. ( I just wonder when are we going to improvise and make things simple by copying the Western style, as we have copied the best of other races in our songs, dances, cooking etc.)
  • the exaggerations the mafuas make when they herald the amount of food prepared to make it sound good to the ear.
  • the spelling of our language etc.

I trust that this will give Sarote and others of like mind some food for thought, and to expect changes that are bound to happen to our customs and traditions. We can still retain our cultural identity while adapting to the conditions in which we express our uniqueness.