24 Oct 2013

Fiji's Sodelpa says term iTaukei lacks majority backing

2:44 pm on 24 October 2013

An executive of Fiji's Sodelpa Party, Dr Tupeni Baba, says most people in Fiji still don't accept the term iTaukei when referring to indigenous Fijians.

Three years ago, the government decreed that iTaukei replace the word Fijian or indigenous or indigenous Fijian in all written documents.

Dr Baba says while the regime is using the word Fijian for all citizens as a symbol of equality, it is imposing the name iTaukei on indigenous Fijians.

"iTaukei merely means an owner, an owner of what? An owner of a car? An owner of a house? An owner of a tree? So it doesn't refer to them. The name of a people is very, very important. So it cannot be dismissed just like that by a gaggle of people who came here."

Dr Baba says Fijians fought and died for the name in battles and the regime has failed to recognise its significance by not consulting the people.

In 2004, an indigenous group objected to golf celebrity Vijay Singh being described as a Fijian, saying he was an Indian.