Re-introducing canoes back into village life

Participants of the three-day workshop “Outrigger Canoe Paddling, Canoe Practical, Sailing/Shunting, Theory and Paddle Making” with the president of the Uto ni Yalo Trust Colin Philp on Moturiki Island. Picture: JOVESA NAISUA

VILLAGERS from six villages on Moturiki in the Lomaiviti Group now don’t need fuel to go out fishing for their daily livelihood.

This, after they received traditionally-designed wind sailing canoes (camakau) from the Uto ni Yalo Trust yesterday.

The villages are Savuna, Navuti, Yanuca, Uluibau, Nasesara and Wawa.

The traditional fishing grounds of these villages are declared marine protected areas (MPAs).

The canoes were given to support the ongoing efforts of community fish wardens who monitor the marine protected areas.

Nasesara Village headman Ilaisa Ualoki thanked the Uto ni Yalo Trust for enabling them to experience how their forefathers lived their lives.

“This takes us back to our ancestor’s time,” he said.

“At the moment one of the challenges we face is paying for our fares to get to Suva or to get to Levuka.

“Today we look back at how our ancestors lived in their days and this is one way we can learn about how we can stop using fossil fuel and travel to places like how our ancestors did it.

“We haven’t been able to provide surveillance for our traditional fishing grounds because of the unavailability of fossil fuel and because it’s expensive too. But with the camakau, we won’t need fuel or anything. We will be able to secure our fishing grounds better.”

Uto Ni Yalo Trust Fund president Colin Philp said yesterday’s handing over of the canoes was all about reviving our ancestral past in voyaging, sailing and in building canoes.

“It’s about re-introducing canoes back into the village life so that when they want to go fishing, they don’t have to wait for enough money for fuel. They can go fishing anytime. That in itself is sustainable,” he said.

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