Safeguarding iTaukei Culture

WEEKEND READING. •Allen Lockington column • Changes in Constitution-Making:Aftermath of 1977 by Subhash Appana • One Man One Vote One Value: How Many Seats? by Crosbie Walsh

It is important to acknowledge the quiet and unheralded activity announced in this press release because it puts a lie to claims that the Bainimarama government is undermining iTaukei rights and culture.



Officers of the iTaukei Institute of Language and Culture at the Ministry of iTaukei Affairs, are currently documenting Traditional Knowledge & Cultural Expressions in the province of Macuata.

Commonly known as the Cultural Mapping program, the exercise includes documentation of tangible and intangible cultural data using modern information gathering technology.

Data collected includes phonetic or verbal expressions such as stories, legends, words, signs & names; tangible expressions such as material expression of art, handicrafts, carvings, sculptures and pottery; and visual and performing arts or expressions by actions such as dances, plays, ceremonies, rituals, sports and traditional games.

This is later analysed and stored in the Traditional Knowledge & Expression of Culture (TK&EC) Database, at the iTaukei Institute of Language & Culture. The database is the first software to be developed in the iTaukei language and is able to store cultural data in the form of audio recordings, transcribed scripts, and digital and video footages.

The Ministry of iTaukei Affairs permanent secretary Mr Savenaca Kaunisela said that the Cultural Mapping exercise which started in 2006 is geared towards the safeguarding and promotion of iTaukei traditional knowledge and cultural expressions. It is part of Fiji’s commitment to various international regimes such as the UNESCO 2003 Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage that Fiji ratified on 7th January 2010. He added that Fiji is taking a lead role in this important area and has contributed significantly towards development of similar programs in other Pacific Island countries.

A team of eight field researchers started work in the province in June this year following the completion of the same program in all villages in the Naitasiri province. So far the Cultural mapping team has completed 16 villages in the District of Macuata and will commence mapping of villages in the district of Dreketi from Monday 3rd September. It is envisaged that all villages in Macuata will be completed by June 2013.

It has so far been concluded in the provinces of Serua, Namosi, Rewa, Tailevu, Lomaiviti, Ra, Bua, and Naitasiri.    --  MOI press release.

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