The National Archives of Fiji has been part of the Ministry of Rural and Maritime Development organised Government Roadshows for the last four years. The Roadshows are held in four provinces each year and each venue is different the following year. The three day programme is a much anticipated event for these rural communities as Government services are brought to their door step.
For the Archives thorough preparations are done and archival materials sourced according to the venue of the roadshow. Units such as Recordkeeping, Library and Digital Unit sort through their treasure trove of records for materials pertaining to the province and area where the roadshow is to be held. These materials were historical photographs & audio visual footage, Land Claims Commission Reports (Pre-Cession land sales) and Colonial Secretaries Office records.
In September 2013 three Archives staff joined a sixteen member team under the then Ministry of Information for the Nadarivatu Government Roadshow. It was a success. More than 200 people visited the archives booth during the two-day programme. Eleven villages and six schools were able to visit the booth. The contents of the display set up by the team mainly focused on historical and land information on the Nadarivatu, Nadala and Nadrau Region.
According to the Archives officers the highlight of the programme was when village elders were able to identify with people in the photographs on display.
A 70 year-old gentleman identified his grandfather’s Atunaisa’s photo. His grandfather was reportedly 100 years old at the time the photo was taken.
Another visitor to the booth Ratu Viliame of Nubutautau identified his great grandfather and namesake’s photo. His namesake was the son of Nawawabalavu, the chief who killed Rev. Thomas Baker.
In another roadshow similar sentiments were echoed by visitors to the Archives booth. A 79 year old man during the Nalaba, Ra Roadshow, was emotional when he saw a photograph of his father dated in the 1950s.
“This is like a dream come true. You have a dream in the night and here you see the reality there in front of you. We are really honoured for the Government’s generosity and for the National Archives of Fiji for bringing over to Nalaba things that we have only heard of in that happened in the past.”
This year there are four Government Roadshows scheduled for:
- Saqani, Cakaudrove
- Bukuya, Ba
- Vunisea, Kadavu
- Dawasamu, Tailevu