Whenever Hamilton resident, Dr Jitoko Cama FRACS misses his homeland of Fiji, he recites his favourite Fijian proverb.
“Au gone susu mai nakoro” which translates to “I was brought up in the village“
Dr Cama, who is a paediatric and general surgeon at Waikato Hospital and senior member of the Pasifika Medical Association (PMA), moved to New Zealand from Fiji in 2002 to further his studies.
Like many of his fellow countrymen who have immigrated to New Zealand, he continues to use his native language and traditions, like kava ceremonies to maintain his connection with his culture.
“Whenever I greet anyone I proudly say “Bula”, so they know where I come from. It identifies me as a Fijian straight away and makes me unique while living in Aotearoa.
Also, we still drink kava which allows us to connect as a community in a traditional way, even though we are not living in Fiji.”
This week is Fijian Language Week, and the theme is ‘Noqu Vosa, Noqu iSema Bula’ which means ‘My language, my living link’.
Dr Cama will forever be linked to his country of birth as he often returns to Fiji to volunteer his surgical expertise and provide much needed medical supplies.
He says that the Fijian community in New Zealand can ensure that the language is a living link by sharing traditional stories with their children and trying to speak the different and unique dialects of their villages.
“We need to share and document our stories for generations to come, to strengthen and retain our language.”
Date: Tuesday 6 October 2020