Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Qoliqoli - a cultural view

from Wendy
I found an excellent website from a Convention on Bio-diversity in the South Pacific and here are some excerpts that provide a cultural view of qoliqoli.

For Pacific Island peoples, the land and the sea are an extension of each other. As one commentator has noted: “The marine environment is viewed conceptually as forming part of the land, and the principles of marine tenure differ little if any from land tenure. …land and all that grows upon it, together with the people who derive their sustenance from it, are one and indivisible in many South Pacific Island communities. Adjacent reefs and intervening lagoons, mangroves and estuaries are seen as integral components of that land, not as distinct entities separated from land from a certain tidal level”...

The Sea has always been a source of food for many Fijians but until recently activity was generally confined to the in-shore areas of the main reefs, and has been subsistent in character (Ravuvu, 1983:34). For thousands of years our ancestors have lived off the ocean whose reefs have been and still are home to a wide range of marine life. The people affinity with the land is, therefore, not merely land-based, but literally extends beyond the shores to encompass the ocean and the reefs that surrounds Fiji (ibid, 1-3). The reef is an essential element that ensures the very survival of the indigenous Fijians.

The picture of Fijians fishing near the shore was taken from a Fiji calendar.


Peceli and Wendy's Blog said...

You commented on a blog that is months old so I'll answer your comment here. Thanks for visiting our site.
Yes, it was your letter I quoted way back in August 22nd.
Seems like you write lots of letters to the Fiji Times, so maybe it's about time you created a blog site from Lautoka eh? It is easy to do with google.

tooners said...

seems like a gentle way of living there... i like the "being one w/ nature". very down to earth type of mentality, and there seems to be an easiness w/ it.

Pandabonium said...

I agree with the concept of integrating the marine environment with the land.

In Hawaii, Kamehameha divided the land in the "Great Mahele" by sections that went from the mountain top into to the sea in pie shapes, so that each section included an entire ecosystem.

But, if this concept is to have meaning, then those who demand payment must be deriving something from the sea. Property rights come from use. If one is not using something, then one loses rights to it. To lease land to a hotel and then later demand payment for use of the reef for snorkeling (for a hypothetical example) seems ridiculous. It should all be addressed in one agreement.

To introduce such things as an after-thought, after the fact, is grossly unfair in my humble opinion.
And to use a new law as a way of changing the rules of the terms of an agreement is unfair as well.

I agree with the concept, but not the way people are going about trying to implement it. It looks like a money grab to me.