The second phase of the Turtle Project has started off well with the Paramount Chief of Malolo district, ‘Na Turaga na Tui Lawa’ showing his full support and the green light to implement this project to his region and to his people.
Ratu Sevanaia Vatunitu, the current paramount leader of the district of Malolo was traditionally approached on Wednesday the 26th of February at his home in Balawa, Lautoka, to be informed on the start of the second phase of the Mamanuca Sea Turtle Conservation Project and also he was asked to be the patron of the organization towards the project.
He is the traditional leader to four villages and to the whole of Malolo and Mamanuca islands, the targeted project site.
The process is part of the consultation component of the project whereby the communities are informed on the beginning of the second phase and to clarify their roles in the project.
Seru Naitau (Mana Island Resort Assistant General Manager) and Ratu Jerry Nasusu (Yanuya community rep) were part of the group. The organization presented whales tooth and yaqona to inform the Turaga Na Tui Lawa about the purpose of the visit.
The visit was successful when the spokesman of the Tui Lawa spoke on his behalf replied that the paramount chief has traditionally accepted our request and he has showed his full support to the project. This was confirmed by a welcoming tradition which is the presentation of a mixed bowl of kava to the society as an indication that they have welcomed our visit and accepted the request.
This was a great start to the project since the communities are the most targeted group and the society has already gained the support from the paramount chief of the district. After the traditional presentation, MES project officer, Soro Seru presents a brief introduction on the project and what will be done as part of phase two.
Also the Tui Lawa was highlighted on key aspects of the projects and how will the community be engaged to help achieve the vision of the project and most important to preserve the natural resources in the region for its future generation.
The society looks forward to prosper community engagement with the four villages and hopes that it will gain the community’s full commitment towards sustainable management of their marine resources. The project involving the community is part of its strategies to turn vision into reality.
MES is also calling on all nearby communities from the Yasawas to Vuda district and the Nadi area right to coastal areas of the province of Nadroga, to be compliant to the regulation and abide by the law that is put into place for the sake of Turtles not only in the western region but throughout Fiji.