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University screens World War II Film

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Dr Vicki Luker (Lecturer at the Australian National University’s College of Asia and the Pacific) delivers her speech during the film screening.

The University of the South Pacific’s (USP) School of Social Sciences hosted the screening of a rare copy of the newly found newsreel of a film that included Fijians in World War II, fighting in Bougainville and returning to Fiji.

Entitled Fiji Return, the 13-minute film documented the fighting of the Fiji First Battalion in Bougainville and their return to Suva in 1944, after 16 months of service in the Solomon Islands and Bougainville.

The original copy of the film is held by United Kingdom’s Imperial War Museum and is directed by Ms Sylvia Cummins.

As part of the film screening, USP staff extended an invitation to the descendants of one of the figures featured in the film and the winner of the Military Cross, Lieutenant Isireli Korovulavula.

Mr Manu Korovulavula, and two of Lieutenant Isireli Korovulavula’s grandsons, his namesake Mr Isireli Korovulavula and Dr Isoa Korovulavula were part of the event on 18 September 2015.

This joint activity was organised by USP and ANU, under the recently signed Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the two universities.

Dr Vicki Luker from ANU’s College of Asia and the Pacific told the audience at USP’s Laucala Campus that the screening of Fiji Return was about learning and sharing between the present and the past and even between people, communities and universities.

She further highlighted that the film stressed the authenticity of the battle coverage and added that it shows places that people in Fiji today may or may not recognise, and links the present to the past.

Director of Development Studies at USP, Professor Vijay Naidu highlighted that the film was a very fascinating document. He added that it was important that historians brought World War II into a narrative of the Pacific work as well as the role of Fijian soldiers in the war.

“USP, where we are located is a peace dividend of the World War II. This real estate would not have been here, had it not been for that event,” he said.

The screening followed a panel discussion where journalist, Mr Earnest Heatley, Professor Vijay Naidu and Dr Vicki Luker shared their knowledge regarding World War II.

This news item was published on 22 Sep 2015 03:04:27 pm. For more information or any High-Res Images, please contact us on email

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