Pn13. President of the Soqosoqo Vakamarama, Adi Finau Tabakaucoro says that they would like to see equal rights for i-Taukei men and women when it comes to registering children in the Vola Ni Kawa Bula.
When questioned by Fijivillage on the concerns raised by some parents on this issue, Adi Finau says it is about time that this regulation is reviewed and changes are made.
An urgent call has been made to the authorities to relook at the process of registering children in the VKB.
Concerns have been raised on why children who have an i-Taukei mother and non i-Taukei father cannot be registered in the VKB.
These children can only be registered if the father’s name is not on the birth certificate.
Some of the parents have said that this is not equal rights as i-Taukei women cannot get their children registered in the VKB if they marry a non i-Taukei however i-Taukei men can get their children registered if they marry a non i-Taukei woman.
Permanent Secretary for iTaukei Affairs, Naipote Katonitabua says the current regulation only allows i-Taukei children to be registered under their legitimate father or mother if their father is i-Taukei.
Katonitabua says the father’s name has to appear in the birth certificate.
In cases where the father’s name is unknown, then the children should be entered in their mother’s Tokatoka, Mataqali and Yavusa.
He says that the “Instructions for Entries in the Register of Native Landowners” as stipulated in the iTaukei Lands Act Cap 133 and the order by the Governor in 1926 clearly states that registration in the VKB automatically qualifies an i-Taukei to be a native landowner under the Tokatoka, Mataqali and Yavusa under which he or she is registered.
When questioned on whether any changes are planned in the future, Katonitabua said that a draft on the VKB regulation is currently with the Solicitor General’s Office for a review.
Meanwhile we have received confirmation that i-Taukei parents cannot register their adopted i-Taukei children in the VKB.
Some of the parents from Naitasiri have raised concern about this, saying that they have adopted children and they want them to be registered in the VKB.
They have told us that they do not see them as adopted children as they have grown up with their family and do not regard anyone else as their parents.