Fijian Government recovers instruments of independence

4 April 2014

Fiji's Instruments of Independence, thought to be lost to the nation forever, has been recovered at the National Archives of Fiji.

This important historical document was presented to Fiji's then Chief Minister Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara by His Royal Highness, Prince Charles of Great Britain at Fiji's Independence Celebrations in Suva in 1970.

The Instruments of Independence is the legal document that established Fiji's Independence from the United Kingdom. It was presented to Ratu Mara by Prince Charles on behalf of the British monarch, Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom.

The Prime Minister who is also the Minister for the National Archives of Fiji said this new development reinforces Government's commitment to preserving Fiji's historical documents.

"It's a reminder of government's responsibility to ensure that historical documents such as these are restored, preserved and shared for future generations", the Prime Minister said.

The Ministry of Information and National Archives of Fiji permanent secretary Sharon Smith Johns said this historic find represents the reforms carried out at the National Archives to ensure that every Fijian has access to these documents.

"The National Archives has undergone reforms designed to restore, conserve and re-archive these documents. Many of these same documents have faced neglect in the past. Now we have a dedicated staff that is genuinely concerned about preserving Fiji's history", Smith Johns said.

"It is yet another significant find that will be kept at the Archives for the public to view but it is also an integral part of Fiji's history that we will now keep safely for the future generations," she said.

Part of the current reforms carried out at the National Archives includes the restoration and digitisation of audio visual materials including historical film footages. This new process will allow the public to access for the first time, these "timeless and historical" parts of Fiji's heritage.

The Ministry's permanent secretary commended the staff at the National Archives for retrieving this document.

"Without the dedication of the staff at the National Archives, a find like this would not be possible and I would like to express my appreciation for their hard work", Smith Johns said.

Below are additional links to the story covered by Fijian broadcasters: