THE formalisation of 1170 native residences around the country to be officially gazetted and endorsed by the government as iTaukei villages is well in progress.
Officiating at the opening of the Bua Provincial Council meeting in Nabouwalu yesterday, Ministry of iTaukei permanent secretary Savenaca Kaunisela said this initiative started in 2012.
The project started in Bua last year where officials from the ministry visited villages in the province to conduct the exercise.
"There are six provinces in the country whose villages are yet to be implemented with the exercise and this includes the province of Tailevu, Ra, Rewa, Lomaiviti, Lau and Naitasiri," he said.
"The ministry is also continuing its work on the visitation and mapping exercise for iTaukei land around the country.
"This will ensure that iTaukei land boundaries are formalised and kept as records for the future."
Mr Kaunisela said the mapping exercise would include surveying and mapping of native lands not in the ministry's records.
"With the aim of preserving culture and the iTaukei heritage, the ministry has also started on a cultural mapping exercise throughout the provinces and their respective districts around the country.
"The ministry feels that our culture, art forms and language are slowly diminishing and with this view it will carry out the cultural mapping exercise in all provinces around the country in an effort to preserve them."