Rounds near and far unite at family reunion
Monday, December 17, 2007 - www.fijitimes.com
Members of the Rounds family, one of more prominent Part European dynasties in Fiji, converged to says goodbye at Lomary yesterday the last day of the first reunion the clan has seen since their first descendent arrived in the country 157 years ago.
Family members from around the world have mingled since last week at Sigasiganilaca in Serua, were their patriarch laid his roots.
"We came here to honour the past, appreciate the present and prepare for the future,'' said Captain John Rounds, a member of the newly formed Rounds Family Association.
Mr Rounds said apart from remembering their ancestors, it was also time to "seek forgiveness among each other for any past differences that may have caused friction".
"We also had the opportunity to discuss future management of land and other resources in the Rounds family name in Fiji and begin work on a database of family members and the various professional skills they have to offer," he said.
Family historian, Dennis Rounds, said their descendent, Charles Rounds I, originated from Essex in England, but later moved to Massachusetts in the United States before arriving in Fiji during the 1850s. The family patriarch eventually had eleven children from Francis Pickering, seven of whom survived, all sons, to eventually raise families of their own in various parts of the country, particularly Sigatoka and Lautoka.
Close to 400 people who met at Sigasiganilaca are direct descendants of those family streams while about 200 more who turned up at the re-union, are related through marriage.
The late politician, Bruce Rounds and current interim minister, Bernadette Rounds-Ganilau, renown local architect, John Rounds, an architect who designed the Suva City Council Car Park and Handicraft Centre and Captain John Rounds, currently acting deputy secretary for Transport are some members of the family who have rose to prominence.
The family is also musically talented boasting international jazz singer Michelle Rounds and guitarist Victor Rounds, who could not make the reunion because of his tour commitments with US Grammy Award wining singer Lionel Ritchie. The Serua settlement is where the original Rounds head laid his roots and was buried in the 1880s, and was fittingly chosen for the reunion.
"We thought of letting the world know that the place exists and that the Rounds are very much a part of it,'' said Gordon Rounds, 67, of Sydney.
The family intends to record its history in Fiji through the future publication of a Rounds Family Tree booklet which will not only be a record of family members, but an insight into the various personalities.