Fiji Research Visit
Dr. Tristan Pearce, Dr. Patrick Nunn, Rosie Kumar and Petra Nunn together with Mereoni Camilakeba from the Fiji Museum, spent two weeks in Fiji in September discussing research opportunities with community representatives. The proposed research will examine how traditional livelihoods in Fiji communities are vulnerable to climate change. The project will focus on the role of two variables in influencing how communities experience and respond to these stresses, ethnicity (Indigenous Fijians and Fijian Indians) and peripherality (core and outer islands). A complementary project will map hillforts (koronivalu) and liaise with communities to document oral traditions of the sites.
The group visited rural villages on Vitu Levu, the main island. Each visit required formal offerings of kava roots to the Chief and when accepted, participating in a kava ceremony. The kava roots are pulverized, wrapped it in cheesecloth and drained with, creating a muddy looking liquid that has a mild relaxant effect. Everyone sits crossed-legged on woven straw matts and one by one is served a coconut shell bowl of the kava. The Arctic Geographer was treated to ‘tsumani’ style (full bowls) of kava to test his might in a playful welcoming. The group plans to return to Fiji in January together with USC undergraduate students funded through the Columbo Plan.