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By Lusi Banuve
A call has been made for the strengthening of the ‘Vanua’ economy in the villages and its importance in the framework of indigenous living.
And former secondary school Principal and author on indigenous living, Ratu Semi Seruvakula, said that with the ever-evolving world we live in today, the need to teach and show this way of living to the younger generation is now at an all-time high.
“Vanua Economy is about a relationship of care and support in the vanua and among kinsmen.” Ratu Semi told the conference, an initiative of a partnership between the University of the South Pacific, Fiji National University, Pacific Theological College and the Pacific Islands Association of Non-Governmental Organisation (PIANGO), which aims to revive traditional knowledge as the answer to the social problems brought on by westernisation.
“Our economy differs from money economy. Ours is not about figures or about profit and increase in income. Our economy is about sharing things with each other.
“Such concepts as veidovi, solisoli, loloma, veiqaravi, are revered and respected and are deemed more noble and worthy of praise compared to hoarders who do not distribute their rich.” he said.
The Sau mai Nasautoka from the chiefly village of Nasautoka in Wainibuka in Tailevu said that such practices included one of sharing and looking out for one another.
“We always share our resources. Our economy is not about figures or about profit and increase in income. Our economy is about sharing things with each other.”
“Our people go to funeral gatherings to manifest their bereavement for the death of a close relative through the offering of mats, tapa, tabua (whale’s tooth), cash, dalo, kumala, fish, pigs, cows (bulumakau). Only a few of those mats and tapa will be buried with the dead.”
“Only a part of the food, kakana dina and the kena icoi will be used for lunch. What is left over will be shared amongst the relatives who come to the funeral. What is important here is not so much about the enormity of the offerings that is left over but more about how much of that will be shared to all the people who contributed in kind or cash to the funeral. The elders of the clan would want to ensure that more of what’s left be shared to their relatives who come from other villages.”
“They think more about the lives of others and little about themselves. What is paramount to them is the maintaining of harmonious relationship and blood ties including relationship with the vanua.”
“To them, the vanua is the chief, the people, the land, the sea, the animals, the fish, the birds and the sky. The elders always speak to the younger generation against the evil of selfishness when dealing with the sharing of the resources.”
Ratu Semi spoke of his village and how they are trying to instill these synonymous ways of living in their own village.
“The vanua of Nasautoka according to the elders will be put to shame if the people who share the resources only think of themselves, buroburogo, without thinking of the consequences to the vanua that always tries to foster better and harmonious relations amongst its people.”.
Lusi Banuve is the communications support officer for PIANGO
Pacific Islands News Association
Who & What is PINA?
International News Safety Institute (INSI)
Media Helping Media