Registration of births and deaths among issues raised by Lau islanders

Women of Ogea Village in Lau preparing lunch during Minister of Fisheries Semi Koroilavesau's visit last week. Picture: MELA KATONIVUALIKU

SECURING fishing licenses, finding markets for their locally hand-made products like virgin oil and masi, and registering the births and deaths of loved ones are just a few issues that villagers of Vatoa, Ogea, Fulaga, Namuka, Kabara, Komo, Oneata and Moce are experiencing.

And villagers raised those issues, among others, with the Minister for Fisheries, Semi Koroilavesau, during his visit to villages in the Southern Lau group last week.

Women from all the eight villages requested Mr Koroilavesau help them secure markets for their virgin oil and masi since the seasonal fishing ban had impacted on their source of income.

Luisa Matoga, the secretary for Senivono Women’s Club in Namuka, said they were selling their virgin oils to those customers who placed orders for it and their masi.

“We are far from Suva and other towns and it is difficult for us to sell what we have made with our hands,” Mrs Matoga said.

Ministry of iTaukei Affairs representative Josaia Waqaivolavola also stressed to villagers about the importance of registering their children at birth, and also doing the same in the Vola ni Kawa Bula (VKB).

“Please register the birth of your child and get their birth certificates but don’t only stop there, register them in the VKB as well so they have a sense of belonging,” Mr Waqaivolavola said.

He also stressed the importance of registering the death of loved ones.

“We know that these islands are far from Suva but they can do these during the provincial council meetings when representatives are readily available or they can arrange to have their village headman travel to Suva to carry out these duties on behalf of the villagers.”

During the visit, more than 100 villagers registered their names for fishing licenses because they had been fishing for commercial purposes without a proper license.

More on this story in tomorrow’s edition (September 4, 2018) of The Fiji Times and in our e-Edition.

Watch the students of Oneata in the Lau group sing a song during the government official visit.

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