Opening of the 2016 Digicel Bula Festival
July 23, 2016 Prince Charles Park
The President of the Nadi Bula Festival Trust, Mr. Leone Naivalu;
The Executives and members of the Nadi Bula Festival Trust;
Na Momo Na Tui Nadi;
Na Momo na Tui Nawaka;
Na Momo na Tui Sabeto;
The Major Sponsor of the Nadi Bula Festival, Digicel Fiji Limited;
The Digicel Fiji Regional Manager West, Ms Florence Eyre;
Ladies and gentlemen.
Ni sa bula Vinaka, Namaste, As-salamu Alaykum,Noa’ia ‘e Mauri, and A very Good evening to you all
It is indeed a pleasure and honour to be with you here in Nadi this evening for the opening of the 2016 Digicel Bula Festival. I thank you most sincerely for your kind invitation.
Mu sa Cola Vina Riki, Nadi! Bula vinaka ladies, gentlemen, children, and you lovely contestants. A special Bula vinaka to all our visitors from abroad. Thank you for gracing our shores with your presence and I hope you are enjoying your holidays.
Today is the opening of an entire week of festivity, entertainment, competition, laughter and other events of interest. It is also a time Fiji’s Tourism Industry jet for the whole family to take time off from busy schedules and enjoy themselves. Festivals are usually very exciting times for children and the entire family.
The Bula Festival prides itself of being the only; 'unbroken festival of the nation,’ I thank the various organising committees who have been diligent since its inception in 1960 in ensuring that the people of Nadi continuously enjoy the festival despite the many challenges Fiji has faced; the recent one being the devastation caused by Severe Tropical Cyclone Winston.
The continued success of the festival is testimony of your diligence and persistence in ensuring that the people of Nadi are able to relax and enjoy themselves at least once a year during the Bula Festival, but more importantly, the primary intent of contributing to charity is maintained at all times and the less fortunate in society are assisted financially from the generous contributions of sponsors and the public alike.
Nadi town had and will continue to play a very important role as far as Fiji’s Tourism Industry is concerned. By being the jet set town, you are the main entry point for most of the international visitors and tourists who arrive into our shores by air.
The saying: 'the first impression is a lasting one' should always be borne in mind by everyone in Nadi as the very tourists who arrive into the country through Nadi International Airport are greeted and met by you. As we would like all our visitors to re-visit Fiji therefore, you will need to ensure that all contacts with every visitor to our shores have a lasting and favourable impression.
As I mentioned in my speech to the representatives of our Team Fiji to the Rio Olympic Games on Thursday, they will need to be exemplary Ambassadors for Fiji, both on and off the field. Likewise, I encourage you, the people of Nadi to be good representatives of Fiji and let the world know that we are as Fijians, “the way the world should be”.
Let us continue to promote and work collectively with other stakeholders in upholding the national Tourism Vision that; “Fiji is where Happiness meets you”.
About six months ago, we were all victims of Severe Tropical Cyclone Winston but today, I would like to commend and thank you for your resilience and commitment in rebuilding and working together in ensuring that Nadi remains a vibrant and friendly town and that Fiji is, and will always be a favourite tourist holiday destination.
Ladies and gentlemen, Tourism is very important for our country and whilst the Fijian economy has been buoyant and stable in recent years – and viewed favourably by the International community, we must as a young democracy with limited resources, be forever mindful of the fact that it is the Human Resource factor – the resourceful and hardworking people like you who make it possible for us to consistently maintaining this enviable national economic status.
Whilst the Fijian economy is experiencing positive and consistent growth and viewed favourably by the International community, the human resource behind the scene – the people who make decisions and persevere with a hard work need to be healthy, productive and happy.
As your President, I would therefore like to plea and request that you all become more conscious of your overall health and choose to live an active and healthy lifestyle.
For your information Ladies and Gentlemen, recent statistics disclosed by our Ministry of Health regarding the state of our national health is quite worrying. In fact, it is most alarming because Fiji has been identified to have the second highest diabetic cases in the world, hence my plea that we work collectively to fight the spread of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs), such as high blood pressure and diabetes as about 80% of our population normally die before they reach the age of 70 years. Many more Fijians are suffering from NCD related ailments and are therefore less productive and inevitably become a burden to families and the Health Medical Services.
Ladies and gentlemen, please allow me to commend and applaud the past and present organisers of the Bula Festival and the people of Nadi for all the good work that has been done in the past and present in promoting charity.
I have been briefed that over the years proceeds from the Bula Festival had been utilised to renovate the Nadi Hospital, the Nadi Civic Centre, the Speech and Hearing Impaired Clinic, the Nadi Town Council Library, provided scholarships for children, assisted families who have suffered through loss of properties and lives through fires and floods – and the list goes on.
I am so pleased to commend and congratulate you all for your compassion and charitable spirit towards those who are less fortunate in our society.
May I encourage you to keep up with your good work because as an inclusive society of diverse ethnicity, culture, tradition and religious faiths, all Fijians must collectively work and aspire to attain the National Vision of; “One Nation and One People”.
At this juncture, before I conclude let me acknowledge and thank DIGICEL Fiji Limited as the 2016 Bula Festival major sponsor.
Our appreciation and gratitude are also extended to the other business houses and organisations which have sponsored contestants, a very big Vinaka, Dhanyavaad and Thank You to all.
To our beautiful contestants, as with all beauty contests, there will, by the end of the week, the official and judges will pick only one of you to be the 2016 Bula Queen.
To all of you, you can consider yourselves as winners too by using this opportunity as a platform to develop your personal character and professional skills but more importantly, I hope that you enjoy the experience which I am certain will help you in becoming confident, mature and productive members of our community in future.
As contestants, you individually and collectively contribute towards Government’s initiatives to involve our youths like you in assuming leadership roles in Fiji’s overall national development.
Ladies and gentlemen, I now take great pleasure in declaring the 2016 Nadi Bula Festival Open.
May you have a blessed and successful week, and may Almighty God bless our contestants, the Vanua and people of Nadi, and our beloved Nation, Fiji.
Vina Du Riki, Dhanyavaad, Sukria, Faiak’sia, and Thank you.