Address at the Fiji Bulikula Name and Logo Launch
September 25, 2019 Tanoa Plaza, Suva
The Chairman, Fiji National Rugby League (FNRL) Board of Directors, Mr. Tomi Finau,
Board of Directors – FNRL,
Acting Chief Executive Officer-FNRL, Mr. Don Natabe,
Members of our FNRL Female Team, Distinguished Guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen.
Ni sa bula vinaka and a very good evening to you all.
Ladies and gentlemen, at the outset I would like to let you know that I deem it a great honour and pleasure to be invited and officiate as the Chief Guest as we gather to celebrate the Official Inaugural Launching of the Fiji National Women’s’ Rugby League Team Name and Logo.
This evening, is indeed a special occasion for me personally as your President/Head of State and Patron of the Fiji National Rugby League to launch our first ever National Women’s’ Rugby League Team Name and Logo.
In fact, tonight we are creating history in Fiji’s sporting legacy, with another ‘feather in our cap’ as a proud sporting nation.
HISTORY OF RUGBY LEAGUE
Ladies and gentlemen, allow me to share with you a brief history of Rugby League in Fiji.
Rugby League was introduced in Fiji in year 1992, but Fijian players like Joe Levula and Laitia Ravouvou were already playing and mastering the sport with their exceptional skills since the 1960’s.
More than twenty years later, the Fiji National Rugby League then developed into a force to be reckoned with both at local and international levels.
Rugby League had in the past and continues to this day to identify and attract young and talented Fijians who possess the unique and famous Fijian flair of rugby.
The recruitment of talented local players by overseas professional teams who offer very lucrative contracts started to gain momentum in recent decades with the exceptional performance of some Fijians who become top professional players like Noa Nadruku in the nineties.
Formerly known as the National Rugby League of Fiji, the organisation joined other countries in a super league campaign searching for international competition and recognition.
As Rugby League gains popularity throughout the nation, the organization later became known as the ‘Fiji National Rugby League’ and its national team recorded its trademark as the ‘Fiji Bati’.
Now, two decades after its establishment, the ‘Fiji National Rugby League’ has produced remarkable and talented players like Akuila Uate, Viliame Kikau, Jarred Hayne, Suliasi Vunivalu, Tui Kamikamica, and the Sims brothers (Korbin, Tariq and Ashton) to name a few established Fijian Rugby League players who have stamped their mark in the regional and international arenas and the list goes on.
The growth and development of the Fiji National Rugby League and the increasing popularity of Rugby League in Fiji is indeed encouraging.
An additional motivational factor and achievement in the sport is the inclusion of women.
Tonight’s launch marks a significant milestone in FNRL’s history and achievements, the unveiling of a special and unique, but at the same time very Fijian and most appropriate National Women’s Rugby League Team Name and Logo – The FIJI BULIKULA Brand!
As most of you know, Bulikula is an iTaukei word used to describe a rare and special type of golden cowrie shell.
These cowrie shells were and are still worn by some chiefs as an accepted and recognised traditional sign of chiefly status.
The cowrie possesses a porcelain-like shine that resembles a dazzling uniqueness of beauty, thus in my humble opinion an apt and relevant comparison to our women.
It encompasses a strong shell that protects its inner being, which is akin to the description and display of strength and love, which are very important traits and virtues which are portrayed by our women.
The name ‘Bulikula’ was no doubt selected and adopted to highlight and further nurture and promote this uniqueness of the character possessed by our women rugby league players here represented.
Ladies and gentlemen, I am also reliably informed that the Fiji Bulikula signifies a sentimental meaning for the Fiji National Rugby League players of today, as it marks a special tribute and respect to the late Chairman, Mr. Peni Baselala Naqau Musunamasi; who tirelessly and passionately embraced the development of rugby league in our nation.
He was a pioneer and pillar of strength who also played a pivotal role in the inclusion of women into the sport.
In this regard, may I request that we pause for a minute to remember and honour the memories of our fallen friend, colleague and mentor, Mr. Peni Musunamasi.
I am also informed that, the Fiji Bulikula had recently participated in two international matches, where they performed exceptionally well.
Again, our Bulikula Team continued to excel at the Ox and Palm Pacific Test Invitational Games which was held in June this year in Australia where they convincingly beat the Papua New Guinea Orchids with a 28-0 win for their first ever test match.
Another remarkable and commendable feat for our gallant team. Congratulations and well done!
The Fiji Bulikula continued with their winning spree to win Gold Medal at the Pacific Games 2019 in Samoa. Congratulations and well done again ladies!
As the Fiji National Rugby League prepares for the upcoming prestigious Prime Ministers’ XIII against Australia on the 11th October 2019, our national women’s team is again undoubtedly going to be the Team to beat at the Tournament.
We all look forward to this Tournament and have every confidence that the Fiji Bulikula will once again rise to the occasion and display another good and sterling performance.
Ladies and gentlemen, the launch of the Bulikula Brand tonight is therefore fitting as it is an ideal opportunity to honour our women players and officially name the Fiji National Rugby League Female Team – Fiji BULIKULA.
On that note, it is with great honour and pleasure that I officially launch the Name and Logo of our national women’s’ rugby league team – Fiji Bulikula!
In conclusion, Ladies and gentlemen we have created history tonight with the naming and launch of the BULIKULA brand and to the members of the Team may I offer some fatherly advice to you as you venture forth at the start of your career in representing our beloved country in the Rugby League code: Play as a Team, look after one another, go the extra mile, always give your best at each game or tournament and stamp your mark in the Rugby League field as a Team to Beat.
Once again, on behalf of Government and all Fijians, I wish you well and the Fiji National Rugby League every success for the future.
May Almighty God bless you all and our beloved Fiji!
Vinaka Vakalevu. Thank you.