A full traditional ceremony of welcome was accorded to the Pacific leaders of the 18- member countries of the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) at the Sheraton Fiji Golf & Beach Resort in Nadi yesterday afternoon.
The ceremony was performed by the Navatulevu clan of Nadi who are the traditional owners of Denarau.
Following the traditional ceremony of welcome, Fiji presented its “matanigasau” (traditional apology) to the Forum family for the “mistakes of the past” and in failing to unite the Pacific vuvale, which saw the exit of our Micronesian island nations from the PIF.
The matanigasau, in the itaukei culture, is a profound way of seeking apology and a way of restoring peace and harmony.
Fiji saw it fitting to present the traditional apology to the Forum family to mend the broken relationship and also to strengthen our existing and political links and to generate new vigour in forgotten and dying relationships.
The matanigasau was received and accepted by the incoming Chair of the Forum and Cook Islands Prime Minister Honourable Mark Brown.
Our Pacific leaders are presently in Nadi for their 5th Special Leaders Retreat.
The retreat will focus on forum solidarity, and will also see the transition of the Chair of the Forum from Fiji to the Cook Islands.