FIJI NEWS

Miss World Fiji proud of iTaukei link

By FONUA TALEI For a woman who has never met her biological parents, adopted at birth and raised by her iTaukei parents, Fiji’s queen to the 2012 Miss World pageant
21 May 2012 09:53

Miss World Fiji, Koini Vakaloloma

By FONUA TALEI

For a woman who has never met her biological parents, adopted at birth and raised by her iTaukei parents, Fiji’s queen to the 2012 Miss World pageant is proud of her connections with the iTaukei culture.
“I am proud to acknowledge the iTaukei culture as it has helped me through the struggles in life,” Miss World Fiji, Koini Vakaloloma, said.
“I have not met my biological parents, but one day I would like to be given the opportunity to meet them and embrace the cultures that I have come to be a part of.”
She shared how she moved to Suva with her parents when she was eight to further her education.
“My mother was a nurse and my father a civil servant. My family moved to Rewa later on in life for three years when my mother retired.”
While she lived in Rewa, Miss Vakaloloma said she learned to climb coconut trees, weave mats, cook meals using firewood, fish and wash clothes by the Rewa River.
She also learned how to do masi printing – the traditional handwork of the women of Moce in Lau – her adopted village.
She also reveals the joy of being able to speak the iTaukei language brings to her.
“There are no words that can describe how happy and proud I am to know how to speak and write in the iTaukei language. Being an advocate, it is my duty to make sure  I send the message across clearly in a way people can understand, and the iTaukei language has helped me accomplish that,” she said.
Meanwhile, she said preparation for the upcoming world pageant in Mongolia was going well.
She said the Miss World platform has given her the opportunity to stress more on the importance of raising awareness on mental health and the stigma associated with mental illness.
“I am preparing my best to make a positive impact to the world regarding issues that affect our island nation and the world, to be an ambassador for mental health, to be a child protection champion and to show compassion for the underprivileged.
“I listen and learn from them and its helping me with the journey to Mongolia. I will leave in mid-July to join other ambassadors from around the world with the pageant finishing in mid August.”
The 2012 Miss World pageant will be held on August 18, 2012 in Ordos, Inner Mongolia.
See also page 10.




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