Welcome to Rotuma
Ethnically and linguistically distinct from Fiji, the Rotuman culture resembles that of Tonga and the Polynesian islands to the east. Strong emphasis on communal sharing and kainaga (kinship), combined with a slow pace of life, mean that visitors encounter a close-knit people with an elastic sense of time. And that is how the Rotumans prefer it to remain.
In 1985, wary of Western influence, 85% of Rotumans voted against opening the island up to organised tourism and, while it’s perfectly feasible to visit, genuine travellers here are few. Most who do so have been invited or are returning residents visiting ‘home’.
There are more than twice as many Rotumans living abroad than there are left on Rotuma. Most have left to find work and opportunities in Fiji, New Zealand and Australia, and this mass exodus means that young people can seem relatively scarce on this beautiful island outpost.