Fiji: Prime Minister Sitiveni Ligamamada Rabuka this morning (Wednesday), July 19, 2023, delivered a vital address at the Rewa Provincial Council meeting held at the Navuso Agricultural Training Institute, emphasizing the significant contributions of the Ministry of iTaukei Affairs, Culture, Heritage, and Art.
“The Ministry of iTaukei Affairs, Culture, Heritage, and Art plays a crucial role in providing robust policy advice on matters related to good governance and the well-being of the iTaukei people,” said Prime Minister Rabuka.
“This includes traditional leadership, land ownership, socio-economic development, and natural resource management. The Ministry coordinates various cultural agencies to promote, preserve, and safeguard Fiji’s diverse cultural and natural heritage.”
Prime Minister Rabuka acknowledged the importance of iTaukei culture, customs, traditions, language, and indigenous rights, stating that the Ministry plays a vital role in supporting the Government’s commitment to preserving these essential elements of Fiji’s identity.
During his speech, Prime Minister Rabuka expressed the Government’s continued support for the iTaukei Institution, which includes the iTaukei Affairs Board and the 14 Provincial Council offices.
“These institutions have received government grants to carry out their respective missions and contribute to the overall advancement of iTaukei affairs,” said the Prime Minister.
“To facilitate efficient land management and dispute resolution, the Ministry provides administrative support to the iTaukei Land Fisheries Commission, which oversees registers documenting iTaukei land ownership, customary fishing grounds, village boundaries, and traditional titles, including the Vola ni Kawa Bula.”
Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka highlighted the Ministry’s ongoing efforts in various provinces, including Rotuma, Rabi, and Kioa.
“These efforts focus on the demarcation and survey of unsurveyed iTaukei lands and the digital mapping of village boundaries.”
These endeavours said the Prime Minister would align with the Government’s vision to enhance traditional governance and contribute to the development of Vanua, fostering a modern outlook for the iTaukei community.
Public consultation remains a pivotal aspect of the Ministry’s work, ensuring that strategies and initiatives effectively address the needs and concerns at the community level.
PM Rabuka also emphasized that with these various programs, including iTaukei road shows, cultural mapping, and traditional leadership training, the Ministry seeks to engage and empower the community while preserving and promoting intangible cultural heritage.
The Ministry also actively participates in international endeavours, such as the UNESCO 2003 Convention on Safeguarding Intangible Cultural Heritage. This involvement focuses on minority groups within Fiji, such as the descendants of the Solomon Islands and Ni Vanuatu, and the preservation of Natural and Cultural Heritage Sites.
“In line with its mission, the Fiji Museum continues to receive support from the government, facilitating the conservation of cultural artefacts and museum collections for future generations,” the Prime Minister further said.
In the 2023-2024 budget, the Ministry of iTaukei Affairs and Culture, Heritage, and Arts has been allocated $ 38.6 million, demonstrating the Government’s commitment to preserving and advancing Fiji’s vibrant cultural heritage.
Prime Minister Rabuka’s address highlighted the critical role of the Ministry of iTaukei Affairs, Culture, Heritage, and Art in preserving Fiji’s cultural tapestry, empowering its communities, and fostering sustainable development.
The Fiji Government remains dedicated to preserving the essence of Fiji’s identity and ensuring a prosperous future for all its citizens.