The photo essay below is the eighth installment of a personal account of my two years in Fiji and Rotuma from October 1959 through August 1961. The main purpose of this project is to provide photographic images that might be of interest to contemporary Rotumans.
I have forgotten the names of some of the people who appear in the photos and would welcome your help in identifying them. Information identifying people should be sent to <email@example.com> Please identify the photos by the numbers (#) in the captions.
Episode 8: The Healthy Baby Competition
On 7 May 1960 the "Annual Baby Show" was held at Ahau.The competition was started by Fatiaki Taukave, who went to Rotuma as an Assistant Medical Officer in 1953. With the help of the District Officer, Taukave persuaded the chiefs to collect money to buy prizes for the healthiest babies and winning mothers. At the time, individual district shows were held in November, and all the prize-winning babies and children were brought together at the hospital in December for the main show. The district with the most points was ceremonially presented with a trophy cup, in addition to individual prizes. The idea caught on immediately and aroused a great deal of interest in modern baby care on the part of the mothers. It probably helped to reduce the high levels of infant mortality that afflicted Rotuma in earlier times.
Sister Philip from Sumi was one of the judges. The babies were divided into two groups, those under two years old and those between two and five. Three prizes were given in each group. The district with the most points won the cup; in 1959 it was Itu'ti'u.