Naiqamu pays tribute to late minister

Minister of Forestry Osea Naiqamu planting a tree with teachers at Tiliva District School in Kadavu last week. Picture: SUPPLIED

MINISTER for Forestry Osea Naiqamu has paid tribute to former foresters that include the late Konisi Yabaki.

Mr Naiqamu said the late Mr Yabaki, who is from Tiliva Village in the district of Nakasaleka, Kadavu, played a crucial role in the forestry sector, especially in the establishment of the Nakasaleka and Tiliva Pine Schemes.

“I must commend the late Mr Konisi Yabaki and all that he has done for the forestry sector. I can now see where he got the passion for his work. He started right here in his Jerusalem (his island home),” Mr Naiqamu said.

Mr Yabaki became a forester in the 1970s and rose through the ranks to become Fiji’s first local Conservator of Forests.

He took on the role of general manager when the Fiji Pine Commission was established to operate as a commercial entity.

He later joined politics and became the Minister of Fisheries and Forests from 2001 to 2006.

Tiliva Village chief, the Turaga na Tuinidau Manieta Yabaki, 71, is the younger brother of the late politician and he was present to meet the two Government Ministers – Mr Naiqamu and the Minister of Fisheries Semi Koroilavesau.

“I felt very emotional hearing Minister Naiqamu pay tribute to my brother and the work he has done in the forestry sector,” Mr Manieta said.

“It shows Minister Naiqamu appreciated the work my brother has done and he is continuing the great work in the forestry sector.”

Mr Manieta said his late brother’s hard work was felt in the village because he was one of the first to introduce and plant teak in the village.

“The teak trees he (the late Mr Yabaki) planted are still standing today in the village after 30 years and I know it is of value if and when we harvest it.”

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