To'abaita Authority for Research & Development (TARD)

[P.O Box 13, Honiara, Solomon Islands/ Email: Tel:+677 7424025]

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Monday, August 21, 2006

TARD holds its 3rd meeting in a unique way

The To'abaita Authority for Research and Development (TARD) has successfully held its 3rd meeting of the year in a unique way yesterday evening at the University of the South Pacific, Suva.

The recent TARD meeting was unique because all family members including spouses and children of the North Malaita students are invited to participate in the meeting and a fellowship meal after the meeting. This was made possible through cooperation and support of all TARD members which resulted in families bringing cooked food while single students brought juice.

The 3rd TARD meeting was chaired by TARD Vice Chairman, Mr Peter Fairamoa and minutes were recorded by TARD Secretary, Mr Steven Filiomea. The meeting was opened with a word of prayer by Paul Ramson, who is a To'abaita student at the Fiji Institute of Technology (FIT). After that there was a word of welcome from the TARD Vice Chairman to all members, families and visiting guests.

During the meeting proper, the TARD Chairman (Mr Exsley Taloiburi) gave updates on the latest achievements and current community development projects that TARD is currently pursuing with potential donors and international volunteer organizations throughout the Pacific. The Chairman also briefed new participants and visiting guests about the background of TARD and its goals and vision.

Next in the agenda was the financial reporting of the current status of TARD finances which was presented to members by the Treasurer, Mr Hubert Baselo. After that Peter Fairamoa and Luke Mani raised an agenda regarding other alternative fundraising sources such as a potential cultural performance in several resorts throughout Fiji. However the idea is still pending as TARD member and USP student representative to the Fiji Council of Tourism, Mrs Joyce Maetoloa, is assigned to determine if there is a demand for such initiative.

Later in the meeting, members were priviledged to hear from the Acting Commissioner of Solomon Islands Forestry and To'abaita leader, Mr Gordon Konairamo who spoke on the background, challenges and future outlooks of the nation's forest resources.

In his presentation, Mr Konairamo stated that the difference between log extraction in the past and currently is that in the past they use the "selective felling" method where as nowadays they fell trees anyhow. He also revealed that forestry covers about 78% of the total land mass in Solomon Islands.

It was also stated that from figures last year, the country has exported a record of more than 1million cubic meters of commercial logs, which is alarming and if not controlled now will have a huge impact on the future of forestry in the Solomon Islands within the next five years.

Mr Konairamo also elaborated on the functions, importance, and major challenges that currently face the Forestry Department in Solomon Islands. He concluded by saying that there is a great need for the introduction of a new Act to address the issues as the current Act which was enacted in 1969 is very old. He also alluded that community awareness and vigorous replanting of forests is vital if we are to maintain our forests in the near future.

Finally, the meeting was ended with a physical fellowship dinner whereby members and their families were allowed to share together with each other. Encouragements and suggestions were given by individuals, whilst others were pleased with the involvement of families and children in the meeting.

Therefore, the TARD Executive would like to sincerely thank all TARD families and single students from USP, FIT and FSM who participated in the 3rd meeting yesterday. Appreciation is also extended to our guest of honour, Mr Gordon Konairamo, and his working colleague Mr Terrence Titiulu.

Pictures were taken by Mr Lenny Konamauri

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