The Fiji Times » Point of Origin: The Land of Plenty

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The villagers of Nadavaci in Natewa are known to never run out of crops and fruits except in the event of a natural disaster.

Their farms are known to always bear fruit in abundance throughout the year.

According to village elder and traditional leader Joji Mainukubati, their ancestors first settled in Mataloa near the village of Vusasivo before moving to a new site, known as Na’eli.

From Na’eli, their ancestors moved to the existing site of Nadavaci village.

He said that the blessings of fruits and harvests started in the time of their ancestors and they continue to reap the fruits today. It all started with a visit paid to them by a beautiful woman from Taveuni.

“The stories passed down to us describe the woman as a beautiful woman who traveled from Lovonivonu to Taveuni,” he said.

“She had crossed the bay from Taveuni and visited villages along the coasts of Tunuloa and Natewa.

“When she came she had brought a basket full of fruits and crops, most likely for her food while she was visiting our side.”

During her stay in the coastal area, Mr. Mainukubati said, she visited many places with her fruit basket.

“Wherever she went, she took the basket with her and it was always full of fruit, never empty.

“But one day, during one of her trips to the mountainous region, she slipped and died. “Our elders say that when she died she was actually in a seated position, more like crouching at the bottom of the hill where she died.”

As she slid down the slope, Mr. Mainukubati said, the fruits and crops all fell and were scattered along the sloping area. This, he added, resulted in the abundant fruit blessings they enjoy today.

“Our elders told us that when these fruits and crops fell in the area, they grew and spread in this village area.

“That’s why today we have a lot of different types of fruit trees and crops and we never run out of them.

“At all seasons of the year, the fruits bear at the right time and we have been blessed as it has generated income for many families.

“Taveuni is known not only as the beautiful island, but also rich in fruit and everything they plant grows very well.

“So we linked the abundant supply of food that we have in Nadavaci to Taveuni because the fruits and crops came from there with this woman.” Knowing about such legends, he said, was also important.

“These kinds of stories identify us and we continue to tell the younger generation so that they know why our region is so rich in food.

“We have noticed many changes over the years due to technology, but I have always told our children never to let go of their cultural values ​​which include such stories.

“In this village, we have also encouraged parents to pass on the stories of our ancestors to children, because it would be sad if the younger generation forgot.”

Mr Mainukubati said the bountiful fruits and crops were also used to bless those in need. Meanwhile, research around Natewa Bay by the Wallacea Trust found that the Natewa Peninsula encompasses around 55,000 hectares of the southeastern part of Vanua Levu, Fiji, and retains large tracts of rainforest. plain and hill.

The survey revealed that the biodiversity of the peninsula has an extremely high conservation value.

To date, a total of two species of native mammals, 48 ​​species of birds, 10 species of herpetofauna, 13 species of butterflies, 61 species of gastropods and 84 species of trees have been detected in the area of study.

This diversity was remarkably representative of species assemblages throughout Fiji, given the size of the study area.

“Many species are also very locally endemic to the study area. These notably include the Natewa Silktail (Lamprolia klinesmithi) and the Natewa Swallowtail (Papilio natewa), both of which are entirely restricted to the study area,” the survey found.

“Six other species and five subspecies found in the study area are endemic to Vanua Levu and its offshore islands.

“Natewa’s forests also provide valuable ecosystem services, both locally to communities living on the peninsula via flood prevention, soil protection and crop pollination, and also to global society through the carbon stocks that they sequester.

“The initial analysis estimated carbon stocks in the study area at 20,732,148 metric tons. The diverse ecological communities of the Natewa Peninsula are, however, highly threatened by anthropogenic pressures.

“The urgent state of conservation of biodiversity here (and of the Fijian archipelago in general) is demonstrated by the number of threatened species found on the Natewa Peninsula.”

Particularly notable examples of endangered species in the Natewa area include the endangered Fijian fruit bat (Chaerephon bregullae) and vulnerable Natewa Silktail (Lamprolia klinesmithi) and Shy Dove (Alopecoenas stairi).

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