FIJI OFFERS TONGA SUPPORT FOR KALIA CANOE PROJECT

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NUKU‘ALOFA, Tonga (September 30, 1998 - PACNEWS/Amy)---Fiji President Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara has offered his support for Tonga's traditional Kalia canoe building project.

Ratu Sir Kamisese responded favorably to a four-member Tongan group who sought assistance from the chiefs and government of Fiji for the Kalia, which will be launched January 1, 2000 and then sail throughout Tonga in celebration of the new millennium.

A member of the group from the Tonga National Centre, Afu Taumoepeau, said Ratu Sir Kamisese's support enabled them to confirm the Kalia project, which will cost about 150,000 pa'anga ($US 88,000).

Arrangements were also concluded with two Fiji timber mills, Fijian Forestry Industry and Fenning Pacific Limited, to prepare the timber required for the Kalia project.

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