Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Creature drives villagers ashore

by Theresa Ralogaivau

Fiji Times - Tuesday, June 29, 2010

A STRANGE looking marine creature reportedly spotted in lagoon waters of three villages in Cakaudrove are keeping fishermen and divers away from sea.
Naiqaqi Village headman Jepeca Nakuvu said villagers from the neighbouring village of Laucala and Valeni were scared of going out to sea because of the creature.
Ateca Disukavanua, 50, said she was fishing near a copse of mangrove called Dogodogo on Monday when she saw a black creature swimming towards her.
"At first I thought it was a log but then it moved closer and I was so scared because the water was up to my waist I jumped on top of a mangrove stump," she said. "I hung on to that mangrove tree for about an hour and the creature, which was about three foot long, and had flippers like that of a turtle and had a strange long mouth.
"I had never seen such a thing before in my life. I was shaking because it kept hanging around as if it smelt the place where I was standing.
"I only got down when the tide went out and the water was only ankle high."
Mr Nakuvu said men from the three villages armed themselves with cane knives, digging forks and spears and looked for the creature hoping to kill it.
"When we know it is dead we will go out to sea because we are scared because this is something that we are not familiar with," he said.
The village headman said they had lodged a complaint at the Savusavu Police Station.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Shell used as communication tool

by Anare Ravula

Fiji Times - Friday, June 25, 2010
A DAVUI used in the 1700s to send messages to the gods during tribal warfare was found during a spiritual healing ceremony at Nakalavo Village in Nadroga last week.
Tabanivono Methodist circuit minister, Reverend Mosese Beranayarayara says the trumpet shell or triton was used by pre-Christian Fijians to call upon the gods.
"This allows the gods to fight against their enemies," he said.
Mr Beranayarayara said during the healing, villager Aporosa Namisi's family testifies that they continuously suffered from unexplained illnesses which began four generations ago.
"I told them during the healing they must have kept an item that their forefathers used during their worship to the kalou-vu (ancestral gods)," he said.
He said one of the women said there was a davui on one of the shelves which always attracted her attention whenever she carried out her home chores.
"Little did they know that was cause of their illness over the years from their forefathers until now," he said.
He said Mr Namisi explained the shell was used by his forefathers four generations ago.
Gau native Osea Moce said he had only seen a picture of the davui at the Levuka historical exhibition house at the old capital of Fiji in Ovalau.
"Seeing it here with my naked eyes is a wonder," he said.
"I wonder how the message was relayed to the gods."
Attached to the pointed end of the davui is the magimagi (coconut sinnet) which is plaited in a hose pipe-like shape.
It is believed that the hollow part carried the message that had been blown out to flow through the passage into the thin air reaching the gods.
Upon receiving the message the gods would in turn fight off the enemies that tried to invade the village or the vanua.
After the spiritual cleansing, Mr Beranayarayara took the davui to the Fiji Museum which houses an extensive archeological collection dating back 3700 years and relics of Fiji's indigenous cultural history.
Fiji Museum registrar Sela Rayawa confirmed the davui was brought in and Mr Beranayarayara signed a Deed of Absolute Gift allowing its preservation.
"We will now conduct an investigation to confirm its background history," Mr Rayawa said.
Mr Rayawa said this was the third such gift received by the Fiji Museum.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Moce Islanders raise project funds

by Geraldine Panapasa

Fiji Times - Friday, June 18, 2010
HUNDREDS of people gathered at Sukuna Park in Suva yesterday to celebrate Moce Day and raise much-needed funds to secure land on the island for the construction of a community hall.
The men and women performed traditional dances including meke, lakalaka, seasea and vakamalolo while others were dressed in different kalavata to represent the island's four mataqali.
Organiser Tataka Sigaca Buadromo said they had a target of about $40,000.
"This is an annual event and the main idea is to secure land on Moce and build a community hall that can house our people who come for visits from outside the island," he said.
"The event was opened by Moce community members in America and will be closed by those living in Australia today.
"We managed to raise $17,000 and we still have one day to fundraise to reach our target."
Mr Buadromo said Moce community members from all over Fiji travelled to the capital city to join in the fundraising event.
He said the two-day event enabled families and relatives to meet and greet each other.
"Our chief Ramasi Tui Moce Setareki Malupo was here to celebrate Moce Day," Mr Buadromo said. "Members from the different mataqali prepared meals and brought it with them to share.
"Some people did their own private selling."
He said the islanders have been fundraising for the project since last year.

Owners Want Land Back

by Theresa Ralogaivau

Fiji Times - Friday, June 18, 2010
BUA pine landowners have asked Fiji Pine Limited to return all native reserved land under pine cultivation.
At a meeting with the company board at Votua Village in Lekutu, Bua, landowner Tevita Raiova from the mataqali Naita of the Burenitu clan, who spoke on behalf Lekutu and Navakasiga districts, said that landowners wanted reserve land back because they had not been consulted about it being leased.
In 2008, Native Land Trust Board official Nimilote Naivalumaira confirmed Bua landowners were not consulted when the government began planting pine on their land 27 years ago.
Mr Naivalumaira said the problems identified by landowning units were caused by acts of omission during the early years of pine planting when the Government acquired the land through the Lands Department.
"The concerns raised by the Bua Landowners Association are understandable," he had said.
"This is indisputable.
"What is needed is a sustainable solution and resolution of issues which must aim for stability for the long term benefit to the nation and landowners alike.
"Fiji Pine must cooperate and assist in the process of rectifying mistakes and regularising their interest."
Landowners basing their arguments on that NLTB admission said they rightfully need to get their land back so that they can use it for planting.
Fiji Pine Board chairman Ratu Tevita Uluilakeba said they would look into the issue.
Deputy chair Ratu Jolame Lewanavanua, who met the landowners, said the issue was one that would be cleared before harvesting of pine plantations in Bua could proceed. "We went to meet them because we want to hear their issues and resolve them according to a pillar of the People's Charter," he said.
"We want to commence a new dawn in the company's relationship with landowners."

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

NZ Maori Right to Customary Title Key to Foreshore Agreement

by CLAIRE TREVETT  - 15 June 2010

New Zealand Maori have won the right to seek customary foreshore and seabed title – which would bring benefits similar to freehold title rights – after reaching a historic accord with the Government.
The deal includes commercial development rights and veto over other developments.
Iwi leaders and the Maori Party emerged from talks with Prime Minister John Key yesterday to announce agreement on a proposal to replace the 2004 Foreshore and Seabed Act by the end of the year.
The deal is, in effect, the same as one the Government presented as its preferred option in April – the foreshore and seabed will be owned by no-one, but iwi can seek rights, including customary title.
Customary title was prevented by the 2004 act, which put the foreshore and seabed into Crown ownership.
The Maori Party welcomed the deal, which will achieve its goal of repealing the 2004 legislation, but made it clear the Government's refusal to consider other forms of ownership remained contentious.
The party and iwi leaders had sought a form of Maori ownership, and co-leader Tariana Turia said there was concern among Maori about what public domain meant.
"But we have been given an assurance that [customary title and customary rights] will be as sacrosanct as any other rights or title."
Co-leader Pita Sharples said significant property rights would flow from findings of customary title, which he described as a "full-blooded title" similar to fee simple, or freehold title.
The only new factor in the final package is an overarching recognition of the interest of hapu and iwi in the foreshore and seabed – dubbed "universal recognition" – which will require iwi involvement in conservation projects.
Attorney-General Chris Finlayson said he hoped to introduce new legislation by August. He also moved to pre-empt any public backlash, saying reports that giving customary title would allow iwi to undertake such developments as hotel complexes on beaches were wrong and resource consent rules would apply as for any development.
Iwi Leaders Group representatives Mark Solomon and Tukoroirangi Morgan said yesterday that they were now largely satisfied, although they had not received everything they wanted. Mr Solomon, the Ngai Tahu chairman, agreed with Mr Key that only small tracts of the foreshore and seabed would meet the tests for customary title, but said iwi and hapu would have greater scope for other rights to be recognised.
The Government had also said iwi with customary rights would be able to benefit from non-Crown-owned minerals such as ironsands.
The Foreshore and Seabed Act 2004
Foreshore and seabed owned by the Crown.
Iwi and hapu can negotiate a settlement with the Crown which includes rights ranging from continuing traditional practices to co-management and development rights.
No opportunity to seek customary title in court although those with links akin to customary title get higher level rights.
Test for highest level of rights requires continuous ownership, occupation and use of adjacent land since 1840.
Public access guaranteed.
Foreshore and seabed owned by no-one.
Iwi and hapu claim customary title through High Court or negotiations with the Crown.
Weaker test for customary title – no need to show continuous ownership, though occupation and use since 1840 still applies.
Customary title carries development rights for iwi provided they meet usual resource management rules.
Right to veto other developments or conservation projects.
If they fall short of full customary title can still have customary rights recognised such as traditional practices and sacred sites.
New "universal recognition" recognises longstanding mana of iwi over foreshore and seabed and gives role in conservation projects.
Public access guaranteed and fishing and navigation rights protected.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Cakaudrove Province deliberate on proposed village by laws

Fiji Village News - 14 June 2010

The Cakaudrove Province believes that the introduction of the village by-laws will help people understand the meaning of respect.

Chairman Emitai Boladuadua said before respect fades away, people must be educated and reminded of their roles when they are in a village.

Cakaudrove Provincial Council Chairman - Emitai Boladuadua

Boladuadua said villagers are often seen being rowdy which he believes must be eliminated. 

There is an audio file attached to this story. Please loginto listen.

Meanwhile, the province of Ba has acknowledged the inclusion of the dress code in the draft village by-laws which is being deliberated on by the villagers of the province.

Chairman of Ba Provincial Council, Ratu Meli Saukuru said he believes that it is proper to dress up in a decent way when you approach or are in a village. 

All 14 provinces are currently deliberating on the proposed village by laws and they are to hand in their submission before the 25th of this month.

NZ Foreshore and Seabed Legislation to be Repealed in Favour of Maori Rights

Stuff.co.nz News - 14 June 2010

Prime Minister John Key has announced plans to repeal the 2004 Foreshore and Seabed Act after an agreement was thrashed out with the Maori Party.  
Co-leader Pita Sharples said it was a good day for the Maori Party after the two parties agreed on a raft of measures, including removing the foreshore and seabed from crown ownership.
It will instead become a public space though neither party has agreed what that should be called. Previously the government had proposed calling it "public domain".
Existing Maori and Pakeha private titles would continue unaffected as would public access and existing navigation and fishing rights.
Prime Minister John Key announced the agreement after talks today with the Maori Party and iwi leaders.
"It has been my view as prime minister that it's important for the nation to settle these issues so it does not remain as a weeping sore," he said at a press conference.
"I can report that the National government, the Maori Party and iwi leaders have agreed a common position on the foreshore and seabed issue."
Mr Key said a bill would be drafted and the Government hoped to introduce it to Parliament in August.
There will be a select committee process for public submissions, and the Government aims to pass the bill by the end of this year.
The new legislation is substantially the same solution the Government put forward earlier this year as its preferred option.
There have been additions, including the two-track regime for seeking customary rights and title and the establishment of universal recognition orders.
Customary title will cover development rights, and the right to veto development by others. Some mineral rights will be conferred.
The universal recognition orders will recognise the links an iwi has with the foreshore and seabed, but will not confer any rights.
Maori Party co-leaders Pita Sharples and Tariana Turia said they had fulfilled a long-standing promise to repeal the Foreshore and Seabed Act, which did not permit iwi to seek customary title through the courts.
"It is a great day for our party...by working with iwi leaders and the National Party we've been able to produce some significant advances," they said.
Iwi leaders, however, were less enthusiastic about the agreement.
They had wanted more, and said in a statement their "wish list" had not been delivered.
Mark Solomon, chairman of the Iwi Leaders Group, said the iwi representatives had worked hard to keep the dialogue with the Government open.
Tukoroirangi Morgan, chairman of Waikato Tainui, said agreement had been reached on "important matters of principle" that provided a strong foundation for further work.
Sonny Tau, chairman of Ngapuhi, said significant gains had been made and there was a need to keep moving forward.

Mr Key announced these decisions:
- The 2004 Act would be repealed and replaced with new legislation.
- The foreshore and seabed currently vested in Crown ownership would be replaced by a public space incapable of being owned;
- Existing Maori and Pakeha private titles would continue unaffected;

- Customary title and customary rights would be recognised through access to justice in a new High Court process or through direct negotiations with the Crown; and
- To establish customary title, iwi would need to meet a number of tests which would have applied if the Foreshore and Seabed Act 2004 had not been put in place.

Mr Key has previously said he thought very few iwi would be able to meet the criteria for seeking customary title.
He said today he still held that view.
Dr Sharples said that for those who had not been directly affected by the 2004 Act, nothing would change.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Province's $2.2m loan struggle

by Theresa Ralogaivau

Fiji Times - Wednesday, June 09, 2010
ITS struggle to pay off a $2.2m mortgage on Macuata House resulted in a financial committee of the province suggesting it seek the State's help to write off the loan with the Fiji Development Bank.
Finance committee chair Ravulolo Draunibaka said the province was paying more in loan repayments than what they earned from the rent of the building.
An initial loan of about $3.9m was taken to construct Macuata House in the 1990s.
"More than 10 years later we are still repaying a loan because of the principal and interest," he said.
"We receive about $20,000 rent a month, pay a bit more than that for loan repayments and usually left with $2000 to $3000 negative balance."
The finance committee came up with the proposal for the loan write-off, suggesting to the province's council meeting at Naravuka that if the State could write off the Momi loan then it can do the same for Macuata.
However, the motion was nullified when it reached the resolution stage after the Tui Macuata Ratu Aisea Katonivere said it wouldn't augur well for future financial commitments of the province.
"If we ask for a loan in the future the bank might not be so willing to support us because of our desire to write this off now," he said. "We have to continue with repayments and seek alternatives in securing cash for other capital projects."

6000 Cakaudrove People Missing from Fijian Registry

Fiji Times - Wednesday, June 09, 2010

A DRIVE for indigenous registration in the Vola Kawa Bula is being done in Cakaudrove after it was seen that not all villagers were listed in the indigenous registry.
A survey discovered around 6000 of the 49, 000 indigenous persons in the province were yet to be listed.
Roko Tui Cakaudrove Ro Aca Mataitini said the lack of registration often caused problems when resolving lease issues.
"The person not listed cannot enjoy mataqali rights because he is not identified as an indigenous Fijian," he said. "Some make claims for mataqali land but they are not listed."
A provincial office team is visiting villages in the province gathering birth certificates.
"We intend to get everyone that is supposed to be listed by year end," he said.
"A 34-year-old man recently came in to get registered. They should be registered soon after birth."

Comments posted on Matavuvale.com

  • This is a very serious case indeed because if people are not registered it might give the illegal Regime ideas of how to defraud the Taukeis of their land rights under the land reform that is being proposed.With the idiot Leweni as the PS for the Lands Department anything can happen and I am sure people who have brains are already making plans to expolit Leweni's foolishness and stupidity.

Border Villagers Unite

by Theresa Ralogaivau

Fiji Times - Wednesday, June 09, 2010
ONLY one conch shell will now sound in Batiri Village on the border of Cakaudrove and Macuata outside Seaqaqa following a resolution to its provincial allegiance crisis.
The village until Monday had two of almost everything from village headmen, development plans, village meetings and two conch shells as one side swore allegiance to Macuata province while the other to Cakaudrove.
For the first time since 1929 the whole village gathered in the meeting hall to be informed by the Roko Tui Cakaudrove Ro Aca Mataitini they belonged to Cakaudrove province.
Ro Aca warned villagers to unite and to gracefully accept they were part of Cakaudrove.
"There was confusion because from the period up to 1929 they were part of Seaqaqa, which falls within Macuata province," he said.
"But when provincial divisions were made they became part of Cakaudrove yet one side of the village, especially those that belong to the Yavusa Batiri continued to pay allegiance to Macuata.
"It caused divisions in the village, caused verbal confrontations and almost ended in physical assaults with those from the Yavusa Seaqaqa.
"It can't be this way because the Government will only recognise one village headman and if the differences continue then development will bypass Batiri."
Tears flowed freely as the villagers were told to unite.
Headman Peni Tagiteci said decision had saved the village from future trouble.
"It was two villages within one, around 10 homes counted themselves as part of Macuata while around 80 homes belonged to Cakaudrove.
"A house divided cannot stand so we are glad the provincial allegiance issue has been clarified," he said.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Get Licence, says Tui Macuata

Fiji Sun News - 6 June 2010
Macuata villagers, who wish to engage in fishing and harvesting of marine products for commercial gain, are advised to get a fishing licence.This was the advice of Tui Macuata, Ratu Aisea Katonivere, during the Macuata Provincial Council meeting in Seaqaqa.
Ratu Aisea said, he was aware of concerns raised by fishing grounds owners in his province over protected fishing grounds or i qoliqoli.
“There will be a submission endorsed by the Macuata Provincial Council and it will be sent to the Commissioner Northern to address the issue,” said Ratu Aisea.
He said the issue was discussed because of fishing rights under the regulations of the Fiji Islands Maritime Safety Administration.
He said the administration would conduct awareness programmes next month in Macuata to train, register and certify boat owners and operators.
“FIMSA has decided to have a four-day awareness programme next month at Naduri and Udu.”
“Before this awareness programme, boat owners need to have all boat requirements-like life jackets, and fire extinguishers.”
He said boat owners had to spend a lot of money to travel to Suva to buy equipment required by the administration.

NLTB Crackdown on Arrears

Fiji Times - Sunday, June 06, 2010

THE Native Land Trust Board has warned tenants in arrears that it will get court orders to evict them and dismantle their houses if they fail to pay up.
NLTB general manager, Alipate Qetaki said in a public notice issued yesterday that in the past 15 months the board had worked hard to reduce rent arrears and served notices, filed writs of summons in court and published names of tenants in the newspapers.
Mr Qetaki had earlier said that rent owed in January was around $25million.
He said the number of tenants who had rental arrears reduced from 17,779 to 15,757.
However, he said some people had not taken any notice of the efforts and had not responded to it.
Mr Qetaki said it was a clear indication of such tenants' complete disregard of their legal obligations to the NLTB, the landowners and the law-abiding relationship between a landlord and a tenant.
He said the attitude shown by some tenants had prompted the NLTB to take such drastic action.
Mr Qetaki said if tenants continued to disregard the notice to pay their arrears the board would get court orders to disconnect utilities such as water and electricity, get court orders for vacant possession that would result in tenants losing their properties. He said the board would continue to load names of tenants in arrears in the Data Bureau to prevent them from obtaining credit or loans from credit institutions.
He said the board would also get court orders to seize personal assets and properties of defaulting tenants.
Last month NLTB had served 1,166 arrear notices and 569 cases had already been filed writ of summons in court and another 292 cases expected to follow soon.
Mr Qetaki had confirmed that NLTB had filed 20 cases for bankruptcy in court and tenants were to expect more of these actions if they fail to settle rent arrears.

Macuata to kKep their Culture

by Theresa Ralogaivau

Fiji Times - Sunday, June 06, 2010
TO avoid a situation where they become strangers in their own land, Macuata chiefs have resolved to take cultural preservation to a new level.
Following the footsteps taken by the people of Bua, Macuata is also proposing to stage a festival to showcase different cultural dances and songs, and other traditional habits unique to its 12 districts.
Roko Tui Macuata Sitiveni Lalibuli said cultural erosion had reached a state in the province with many habits fast dying out due to non use.
A provincial office delegation led by Mr Lalibuli attended the Bula Re Festival of arts and culture in Bua
"The Fijian race is the most unique in the world because when a baby is born he already belong to a certain mataqali, vanua, province and will inherit certain amount of land and so forth," he said.
"Additionally the habits and cultural practices clearly set the indigenous race apart. "But the distinction is becoming blurry as most indigenous live the modern way and have forgotten their traditions and cultural practices and very soon will become strangers in their own land."
Sevu or offering of the first crop to chiefs and traditional rulers is also being enforced in the districts.
Mr Lalibuli said these were habits that were once religiously practised but were hardly observed these days.