From Yvonne Aitu SuniaMafile'o (4 November 2010)
I am curious as to how Bainimarama's name got to be on the airport facility? What's wrong with Rotuma International Airport? Or maybe use a Rotuman name—Malhaha-Hapmaka International Airport? We don't see any facility in Fiji named after a Rotuman! Not to mention the hundreds of Rotumans who have helped to build Fiji. So why does the name Bainimarama have to be used? Not using Bainimarama's name will not in any way disrespect or degrade his "contributions" to Rotuma. I don't know how other Rotumans feel about it; how about the Island Council? Or is this their idea? Wouldn't it be nice if the only international airport to be built on the island has an authentic Rotuman name? Some would say that it's only a name, but trust me, if you live here in the big USA, maintaining your culture and language is invaluable so as not to reek of being the same as everyone else.
If this takes place on Rotuma, then as Rotumans, we can be assured that other naming events, facilities, etc. that will be built on the island will take on foreign names: Frankie's Wharf, Singh's Super Market, Frank's Airport Canteen. Changing to become "modern" does not mean that our little island has to take on foreign names and attitudes or obligations. Perhaps Rotuma is a colony of Fiji after all!
Avat ma avat ka gou la hoif se otou hanueta, ka gou la kel se asa ma mal ne fa' se ri garuega ma ri koroa, ka gou la inea ne gou heleuf ia se oto hanueta 'e Rotuma. Ka nono ka teranit ne gou la hoif se Rotuma, ka pu se 'a airport ta, ka fa se ma se as ne Airport ta Bainimarama… International ….. ma kat fu lelei pau ra se oto huga ne airport ta ne fu se oto hanua ne oto te mamfua, ka he ka se fa ne hanua tu.
Noa‘ia, sadly I have the same curious question when I first read the article on naming our one and only airport, a significant infrastructure in Rotuma after a person. We're talking ROTUMA. We're talking about respect for an entirely different group of people, culture, land, etc., that's under the care of the Fiji Government which, by the way, has the moral obligation to assist us anyway. Let's not forget, we Rotumans have also contributed to the development of Fiji, and just because we're finally getting the long overdue help from the current government doesn't mean that we should name a significant infrastructure after a person.
The same respect goes to everything about Rotuma: Rotuman soil, Rotuman people, Rotuman language, the high school in Rotuma, the wharf in Rotuma, the airport in Rotuma or possibly, the 'Bainimara Airport'. Huh? "Come On!" What's wrong with Rotuma International Airport?
Perhaps an alternative would be to errect a plaque at the airport entrance as a show of appreciation for Bainimarama's significant role in contributing to the development or renovation of the airport.
‘Otou hanisi ma uaua‘aki la‘ se te‘ ne Gagaj hue‘ ne Rotuma.
I have heard from an anonymous correspondent in Fiji that the name "Bainamarama Rotuma International Airport" was proposed by government but not been confirmed yet. According to this correspondent, "Sources from Rotuma have confirmed that the people in Rotuma prefer the airport to be named 'Rotuma International Airport', so that will be the name of the airport and not 'Bainamarama Rotuma International Airport' as earlier reported. There is a lot of controversial discussion on this issue so I just wanted to clarify it before it gets out of hand."
After reading Sanimeli's update, I am forwarding the following view that may interest our Rotuman readers: