Indigenous Fijian Population Urged To Register As Native Landowner

Unregistered iTaukei will have no say into land leases, traditional leadership

By Serafina Silaitoga

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, Oct. 20, 2016) – The Ministry of iTaukei is concerned that many iTaukei were still not registered in the Vola ni Kawa Bula or the native register of landowners.

Ministry for iTaukei Affairs permanent secretary Nepote Katonibau estimated 12,000 iTaukei people living in villages were not registered in the Vola ni Kawa Bula while those who died in the 1950s and 1960s were still registered.

This is a concern and has prompted the ministry to visit the 14 provinces.

Mr Katonibau said the visit was to confirm through an oath taken by relatives of the deceased people recorded in VKB that their loved ones had passed on.

"We will have one for Macuata this Saturday where relatives will take an oath to confirm with the team from the ministry that their relatives have passed on. Only then will we remove the names of the deceased from the VKB," he said.

"For those who have not registered with the VKB, out of the 1171 villages in Fiji, we have seen an average of 10 in every village has not registered."

Mr Katonibau urged iTaukei parents to register their children.

If this is not done, then iTaukei children would have no authority over lease money or traditional positions that are only and legally recognised with the VKB records.

"We have also noticed that some iTaukei men who have children are not registered with the VKB," he said.

"So we have urged them to do so because their children won't get registered if their fathers are not registered and neither will their grandchildren."

The digitalised records of the VKB should be available by December this year.

Mr Katonibau said iTaukei people don't need to travel to Suva to check their VKB records.

"They can now access it in the provincial offices around the country. We are encouraging them to check their registration. If they are not registered, then get registered for the sake of their children and grandchildren."

Fiji Times Online.
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