Meet the Team

Kathy Weber-Bates

Kathy Weber-Bates

Co-Founder

Like many Rotuman descendants around the globe, my heart carries a special place for Rotuma – even though I have never been there!
My mother was born in Savlei, my grandfather was from Savlei and my grandmother is from Lau in Itu’ti’u. The way my mother told stories, her generosity, her sense of humor, her cooking, her dancing, her singing, her dedication to family, and her selflessness were so unique but also so clearly identifiable as Rotuman cultural characteristics.
As she was dying from cancer, she wanted to see photos of Rotuma and listen to Rotuman music. We had large posters placed around her bed and it seemed to bring her joy, and a sense of tranquility. The idea that many Rotumans may not be able to return to the island for health, financial, or other reasons can be heartbreaking. The Rotuma Project honors that experience and will offer a creative way to take a walk down memory lane. The Rotuma Project also recognizes the thousands of Rotuman descendants like myself, who have Rotuma in their spirit, but have never physically been there.
This project is meant to be a new point on the journey toward bringing people together through storytelling, learning, and creating new connections for the greater community of Rotuman heritage. The Rotuma Project is a gift that we hope will bear fruit with our children and generations to come.
It is the gratitude we have for our elders and ancestors along with the inspiration we feel from the next generation that motivates us to humbly bring this project forward.
I wanted to share a special thank you to the Oceania Leadership Institute, which helped open my eyes to a shared experience among Pasifika peoples living in diaspora away from their ancestral islands…and creating a space for visionary ideas to bravely come forward. Hanisiof, Kathy Weber-Bates
Jonathan Fong

Jonathan Fong

Co-Founder

If it wasn’t for Covid, my family and I would have been on the island by now relaxing on the beach somewhere as we had already made preparations and plans from the beginning of the year.
My Grandfather is from Savlei and Grandmother from Lau / Itu’ti’u. My brothers, sisters, cousins etc have made the trip a number of times already but I was always caught up with school and work. This would have been my first trip ever to Rotuma for my daughters and I. This got me thinking…I’m past my 40’s, living in Suva and this is my first trip?!
Imagine the number of people with Rotuman heritage around the world who may never get a chance to visit the island or those that have migrated, created a life overseas and are now unable to make the trip back to see their island home one more time.
These are the thoughts that drive ‘The Rotuma Project’. A virtual 360 tour of Rotuma with links to information, interviews, stories etc along the way. We hope you will all benefit from this resource as we are excited to embark on this journey.

“Noa’ia ‘e hanisi. Alalum makikia.”

Thank you for your interest in the development of The Rotuma Project. If you would like to support the project, please contact us.

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