Friday, February 09, 2007

Going Native.

Survivor Fiji was launched by CBS last night and already there is a first victim of the tribal council, described by WCBSTV article. The reviews of the first episode was made available by BuddyTV article.

There is also a similar thread between the Tribe Wanted project on Vorovoro and the reality show-Survivor Fiji on a nearby island.

It would be interesting to the see Survivor group meet and greet their Tribe Wanted members. Perhaps a real detour from the script, a detour that will inevitably discover and form some ethnological theory of tribes and their interaction.

(Above image: Islands off Macuata coast.)

(Above image: Macuata coast with a North-South view of Fiji Islands.)

Both venues are in the Macuata province and the parallels between the two genres is a simple premise: bringing together different people with different backgrounds and attempting to create a tribal identity. An identity that binds each member's strengths and weaknesses, with the objective of creating a society, forming their own ethos.

Regarding the audit of Native Lands Trust Board, investigators may have to re-visit the complaints raised by the Macuata landowners who claim that, the NLTB acted unilaterally to approve the filming, with little market priced compensation given to the landowners.

The sentiments of these landowners in the Survivor case, add to the litany of other complaints, legal actions made against N.L.T.B, despite the efforts to use their website to add a special page to downplay such accusations by landowners.

One such case, was the land mark ruling by Suva High Court which gave the landowners clearance to apply for logging licenses on their own land. NLTB have annouced in an article by Fiji Times that, they will pursue an appeals proceedings against the ruling.

This is the excerpt of the Fiji Times article:

Right of redress in timber case: NLTB Mahogany

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

FIJI Hardwood Corporation Limited and government still have the right to pursue redress on the ownership of mahogany, says the Native Land Trust Board.

NLTB deputy general manager Semi Tabakanalagi said this was not even considering that if a licence was issued under thelaw, theForestry Department or the Government would be the regulator tomonitor or manage the harvesting measurement of logs before they were taken to the mills.

Mr Tabakanalagi was commenting on a High Court ruling allowing a landowning unit of Serua to be issued a license to harvest mahogany planted on their land by the FHCL.

"NLTB through the approval of its Board in 2005 had put in place a mahogany way forward roadmap to regularise or correct theirregularity that was made in the issuance of 99-year lease in the 1960s rather than 50- year leases,'' Mr Tabakanalagi said.

"We had tried to implement this for Atunaisa Tiva's Mataqali Naua, who decided to log the mahogany themselves. WhenNLTB refused issuing the licence, it resulted in the court caseand hence the recent decision by the High Court. NLTB has always been of the position that through leasing it will create a sustainable economic and environmentalprovider to landowners rather than just one off harvesting with no guarantee of replanting in the future," Mr Tabakanalagi said.

"With the recent High Court ruling we will relook at our position again and inform the NLTB Board in its next meeting for its direction on the next step from here.

"It will either be complying with the recent ruling to issue a licence to landowners or appeal the decision to the Fiji Court of Appeal," he said.

With regards to the Nukurua mahogany plantation in Tailevu, Mr Tabakanalagi said mahogany reafforestation was a government policy initiative in the 1960s.

He said it was undertaken with noble intentions as an investment that would generate business not only for the landowners but to the national economy as well during harvesting.

"The said mahogany (in Nukurua and Serua) are now ready for harvest and the past administrations have tried their utmost best in addressing the competing issues in particular from landowners leading to the setting up of FHCL and Fiji Mahogany Trust and provision for 10 per cent shareholding in FHCL by landowners," he said.

"All the mahogany leases have not been surveyed and leads to certain irregularities in the lease boundaries, whether some leased land are in reserve and in the case of Mataqali Rara in Naimasimasi their claims for the return of their old village site or Yavutu," he said.

Mr Tabakanalagi said the recent ruling now again gave another new dimension to all the issues relating to the mahogany leases in the country.

Meanwhile, Native Land Trust Board is trying its best within thelaw to collect arrears or lease rentals from tenants.

Mr Tabakanalagi was reacting to threats made by Tamavua villagers who were going to evict tenants with lease arrears.

Deputy General Manager Operations Semi Tabakanalagi said NLTB had established a new Department late last year to deal with arrears.

"The Department has put in place strategies in how best to curb this recurring probleminclusive of visitation and discussion with tenants, liaison with employers and Fiji National Provident Fund for deductions, part payments, incentives such as writing off interests, joining the Credit Bureauand other ways to tackle the problem in this short term," he said.

"We are looking at putting extra effort both manpower and resources this year 2007 to boost our drive for collection of arrears.

"Other ways include strengthening our powers within the Native Land Trust Act (NLTA) to empower NLTB on rental collection as similar to Municipalities (rates) and FIRCA (tax payments).

"In the long term we are looking at getting the best clients on board which means proper screening of applicants for future lease contracts," Mr Tabakanalagi said.

This view was based on the Fiji Sun article that was published on this website for fans of Survivor Fiji. The excerpt of the Fiji Sun article is as follows:

$10 million demand on TV series

Note that filming has begun on Oct. 30, 2006 for Survivor 14 in Fiji.


Landowners want $10 million to allow filming of the renowned television series, Survivor. And if they don’t receive the money, they say they will halt production.

Members of the Mataqali Walana in Macuata have demanded that the Native Land Trust Board make a $10 million payment if it wants the series to continue filming on their land.”We are seeking legal advice on the matter and we are also checking ownership of other areas involved as the filmmaking of this series involves seven islands,” said mataqali member and spokesman Asaeli Tuicakau.

“The NLTB just claimed the areas without requesting any consent from the landowners,” he said.

“How can we just sit by and watch them lease our land without following the proper procedure?” Mr Tuicakau said the landowners were not told how much money had changed hands between the filmmakers and the NLTB.

“They have offered us $30,000 for a period of three months but we want $10 million for the three months that they want to use our land. If our demand is not met, we will close the site tomorrow,” he said. Mr Tuicakau said the landowners had chacked with officials from the NLTB once and no documents had been issued to them for approval of lease to the series production company.

A total of 170 tents have been set up in the area to accommodate the cast and crew in the series and filming began yesterday.

However, the climate of corruption within such Fiji native institutions, have attracted alot of scrutiny into the transactions made by N.L.T.B as this Fiji Time article reporting the audit of a particular contract to use SAP software purchased at an astronomical price of $F16 million paid over 11 years.

Froogle has a list of SAP software and listed prices, the most expensive platform is actually a fraction of the million dollar mark paid by NLTB.

Another attention spotlight on Fiji, was a unique take from a contributor to Rhode Island's Brown University, publication and his satirical opinion article, advocated the U.S Government to invade Fiji, as a political jibe at President Bush's decision to invade Iraq in 2003.

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