To'abaita Authority for Research & Development (TARD)

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Tuesday, October 03, 2006

North Malaita student climbed the highest mountain in Fiji

A North Malaita student studying at the University of the South Pacific in Suva is part of a geography class that captured the top of the highest mountain in Fiji, recently.

He is Mr Johnmark Maefiti who comes from the Baegu Asifola Constituency in the North Malaita region.

The research expedition took place from September 26 - 29, 2006 as part of a geography class field trip around the main island in Fiji, known as Viti Levu. According to Mr Maefiti, the field trip started from the university through the Wainibuka River Valley and along the Kings Road in the north east of Viti Levu to Navai village and Mt Tomaniivi. Mt Tomaniivi is the highest mountain in all of Fiji with an altitude of about 1320 meters above sea level. The students spent three nights in the village and climbed the mountain on the second day.

The field work was divided into two parts:
1. The first part was aimed at studying the Landscapes, Ecosystems and Biodiversity of Viti Levu: Present Status and Value to Fiji as a Small Island Developing State. This involves focus on the nature, conservation status and the use and value of these ecosystems and biodiversity to the people and communities of Viti Levu and Fiji Islands as a nation. They also studied the nature of terrestrial, freshwater and nearshore ecosystems and biodiversity, along with the use and value of biodiversity to humans.

2. The aim of the second part is to undertake a survey through questionnaires on aboreal and animal resources by interviewing separate groups of male and female respondents both in their homes and in the field. This includes a list of important species, with vernacular and scientific names, uses or cultural value, and abundance or endangerment status.

On the final night, students were hosted to a Fijian style social night in the village where the villagers performed various cultural items for the student guests while students from different Pacific Island countries in the class also performed respective cultural items for the villagers.

The Solomon Islands students who are part of the class performed several local dances and sang the famous Solomon song “Waka baoti long China Town”. After that they returned to the university in Suva around the western side of Viti Levu through the Queens Highway.

Reports and pics from JM, USP, Fiji.

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