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Fiji Time: 7:36 PM on Friday 25 April

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Impact of climate change threatens chiefly island

Shalveen Chand
Wednesday, January 08, 2014

THE effects of climate change and global warming is staring Fiji right in the face, with the most common problem faced by smaller islands in eroding shorelines.

Bau is one of those islands where a new sea wall is being built and gabions constructed to power down the waves crashing on to the eroding shoreline.

The eroding shoreline is also threatening a house with historical significance.

The wooden house was built just for Queen Elizabeth II when she visited the island in 1982.

Bau Village headman Josua Dainiteri was 32 years old when the Queen and Prince Philip visited the island to open a sitting of the Great Council of Chiefs. He is now 64 - years - old and has spent all his life on the island.

"The house was built just for her. I clearly remember the day," said Mr Dainiteri.

"Our small island became even smaller. Apart from the chiefs, most of Fiji was on the island.

"There were people everywhere, although I did not get too close, I did catch a glimpse of the Queen.

"The house was built for them and since that day, nobody has stayed in the house.

"I guess there is some historical significance for this place."

He said it would be a sad day if the village was to relocate.

Bau Island has been significant in Fiji's history.

"It was home to Ratu Seru Cakobau, the chief who ceded Fiji to Britain."

The great grandson of Ratu Seru, Ratu Epenisa Cakobau, believes Bau can be saved but what can be seen now is the eminent dangers of climate change and global warming.