Wednesday, October 24, 2012

A tree grows in Suva town

from w
From the Fiji media today and down below further discussion about the tree.

 Suva city's most historic landmark, the Ivi tree located in the heart of the capital will be preserved although numerous complaints have been lodged by ratepayers for its removal. Special Administrator for Suva, Chandu Umaria confirmed Suva City Council's decision to FijiLive today and said SCC will meet with environmental experts from University of the South Pacific, namely Professor Randy Thaman to seek professional advice on the future of the Ivi tree. “If the experts feel that the tree is dangerous to public and will harm them during the next cyclone season then we will just trim the branches of the tree but we will definitely not remove the whole tree as this is a very historic tree in the city,” Umaria added. He also said that this removing this tree would mean removing the essence of Suva city as it has witnessed many ups and downs faced by the people of Suva and Fiji. 

·         Posted by Robert F. Kay on April 26, 2011
At the centre of Suva is a tiny wedge-shaped park called the Triangle, with a great ivi,or native chestnut tree, at its apex. Wooden benches encircle the massive bole, and these were filled by substantial Fijian gentlemen, possessed of the same venerable calm as their setting, reading the Fiji Times. An office tower's morn­ing shadow had not quite withdrawn from nearby palms; birdsong invaded each lull in the traffic roar.

Ivi trees stand tall  Sunday, June 03, 2007
 IF only trees could talk, then these two trees would tell us tales of the makeovers the capital city has gone through and the countless people who have rested under their shades over the years. The two ivi (Inocarpus fagiferus) trees, one near Sukuna Park and the other one at the Lord's Triangle in Suva are two of the major landmarks of the capital city and they also happen to be the oldest trees in the area too. They have stood on their spots and seen the beach being reclaimed to make way for Sukuna Park, the Suva Civic Centre and other buildings like the Westpac Bank.
The transition from Rickshaws to automobiles which gave way to the modern cars of the day has been witnessed by these trees. Records kept at the Fiji Museum indicate that these trees are about 100 years old and have stood on their spots, withstanding natural disasters and other forms of weathering and development.
Fiji Museum Education Officer Tevita Seru said at the turn of the century, the ivi tree at the Triangle was surrounded by a picket fence and a seat for travellers. "We also know that there were tram rails for hand trucks carrying goods to and from the wharf and Victoria Parade ran beside it," he said.
He said it was not known who exactly planted them but they have been there since the 1800's and it was a miracle that they still stood in their places and were not sacrificed in the name of development and progress of the city.
The ivi tree was the focal point at the triangular reserve lying between Thomson Street and Renwick Road.
Some very old pictures of Suva, prior to being the capital of Fiji, shows that most parts of where the Westpac Bank building stands today, used to be sea and people used to enjoy themselves on the beach. Rickshaws could be seen parked near the Triangle with people waiting for their rides to take them around the place.
Mr Seru said during the 1880's the whole area where the Suva Handicraft market is today, used to be the beach but the land was reclaimed to make way for further development of the city. "We have pictures in the Museum Library showing people walking along the beach and some just sitting on the seat around the tree, enjoying the scenery and the beach air," said Mr Seru.
The other ivi tree which stands near Sukuna Park along Victoria Parade was the spot for local indigenous farmers to sell dalo and rock melons and other vegetables from.

Michael Heatley, 70, can still recall his days as a young student of Suva Grammar School and playing at the beach near the ivi tree which stands at the edge of Sukuna Park today. "Although I cannot remember in detail, I do recall that there used to be seats around the tree and people would come and rest there after shopping or after taking a walk along the beach," said Mr Heatley. "This was in the early 1940's and the Sukuna Park was not built then. The area where the Park is now used to be the beach and we would come after school and just jump in the sea and enjoy ourselves." Mr Heatley said even though things have changed quite a lot over the years in the capital city, seeing the ivi trees standing tall bring back memories of the old times and the simple pleasures of life like walking on the beach and enjoying the shade of the tree.
Arbor week was celebrated in the country from May 29 until June 1 with the theme "watersheds the natural heartbeat of the nation".
And the organising committee has recognised the presence of the trees by draping the trunks in orange sash with the words "100 years old and still going strong". Trees are the providers of life and things like shade, timber and fruits and should be treated with the care they deserve and not butchered down in the name of development.

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