Dudley High School students were among the first groups on an educational tour this morning at the Fiji Museum, to view an exhibition dedicated to the life and historical contributions of the late Ratu Sir Lala Sukuna.
The visit, led by Ana Diseru, an English and Geography teacher, aimed to provide students with a deeper understanding of the influential figure and encourage reflection on his impact on Fijian society.
Speaking about the importance of the visit, Diseru said, “It is essential for our students to learn about the life and accomplishments of Ratu Sukuna so they can appreciate his immense contribution to Fiji. By exposing them to his story, we hope to inspire a sense of pride and enable them to share this knowledge with their friends and peers.”
Onise Marama, a year 11 student studying Geography, History, and Fijian found the exhibition to be highly informative, alowing them to draw connections between Ratu Sukuna’s actions and the present day.
“Some of the things that Ratu Sukuna did are evident in the time we live in now,” Marama said. “And for that, I am grateful for this opportunity to learn more about the life of Ratu Sukuna.”
The exhibition is part of celebrations in the lead-up to the Ratu Sukuna public holiday set for Monday, May 29. It was reinstated this year after it was abolished by the previous FijiFirst administration in 2010.
Born in 1888, Ratu Sir Lala Sukuna was educated on Bau island, before completing his primary education at Wairuku Indian School, at which time his late father Ratu Joni Madraiwiwi served as Roko Tui in the Ra Province. He pursued further studies at Whaiganui, New Zealand, before going onto Oxford University, in the United Kingdom. He was predestined for leadership that included military training and was awarded the Croix de Guerre for his gallant role in World War I under the French Foreign Legion. He proposed and supported the Native Lands Trust Bill in 1940. This was passed in Legislative Council in the same year, this was the formation of the Native Lands Trust Board now known as the iTaukei Trust Board. He strongly advocated for the implementation of the demarcation of unclaimed land, and that these be exempted from being leased. He was instrumental in the formulation of legislation that focussed on ensuring that leased land is allowed to be utilised for commercial use. Influenced the preservation of the history, of the iTaukei, by establishing the Native Lands Commission. He was instrumental in the formulation of legislation and enactment of the Fijian Affairs Act, which included the Tikina regulations and Village regulations.