Saturday, October 9, 2010

This Fiji Day: The Truth About Indigenous Fijians As Opposed to Hogwash Theory Given By Two 'Palmy' Massey University Staff in their Paper in Fiji.

Date: Sat, Oct 9, 2010 at 12:54 PM
Subject: PNJ can you please assist in defining what this means?
We will research who these two people commenting. Thanks


I don't know who the two authors of this story are, nor do I understand what they are basing their facts on. Currently, the only international regulations concerning Fiji and indigenous peoples that has been ratified by Fiji is ILO Convention 169. This was ratified in 1998 and recognizes people of Fiji as indigenous. The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples does not make any mention of "dominant group" in its criteria. It states:

Article 3
Indigenous peoples have the right to self-determination. By virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development.

Article 33
1. Indigenous peoples have the right to determine their own identity or membership in accordance with their customs and traditions. This does not impair the right of indigenous individuals to obtain citizenship of the States in which they live.
2. Indigenous peoples have the right to determine the structures and to select the membership of their institutions in accordance with their own procedures.

Obviously, these authors do not know what they are talking about.

I think Article 32 also pertains to this article:

Article 32
1. Indigenous peoples have the right to determine and develop priorities and strategies for the development or use of their lands or territories and other resources.
2. States shall consult and cooperate in good faith with the indigenous peoples concerned through their own representative institutions in order to obtain their free and informed consent prior to the approval of any project affecting their lands or territories and other resources, particularly in connection with the development, utilization or exploitation of mineral, water or other resources.
3. States shall provide effective mechanisms for just and fair redress for any such activities, and appropriate measures shall be taken to mitigate adverse environmental, economic, social, cultural or spiritual impact.

Peter N. Jones, Ph.D.
Director: Bauu Institute and Press
Editor: Indigenous People's Issues & Resources

Subject: luvei-viti-thinktank-at-vuw[] PNJ can you please assist in defining what this means? We will reserach who these two people commenting. Thanks

Fijians don't meet indigenous criteria

Friday, October 08, 2010

Children brave the rain to put on a cultural dance at Albert Park in Suva yesterday as experts discuss tradition and culture at a workshop on social policy, social welfare systems and human security. Picture: JONACANI LALAKOBAU

Children brave the rain to put on a cultural dance at Albert Park in Suva yesterday as experts discuss tradition and culture at a workshop on social policy, social welfare systems and human security. Picture: JONACANI LALAKOBAU

FIJIANS may not be considered indigenous under the United Nations definition of indigenous people, a paper on social policy has revealed.

In their presentation on whether development was really a freedom or a cost to cultural heritage, authors Litea Meo-Sewabu and Wheturangi Walsh-Tapiata said Fijians failed to be identified as indigenous because Fijians remained the dominant group.

By United Nations standards, indigenous people developed on their own territories and formed non-dominant sectors of society. Indigenous people were determined to preserve their ancestral territories.

"We need to encompass the learning of the new while not forgetting the knowledge of our ancestors and the cultural practices of our societies," they said.

"The influences of politics, education and media apparent in our villages and communities raise questions about development as freedom.

"Social policies aspire to achieve wellbeing.

"These polices are often imposed on those at grassroots community level and yet it is these very people who often face the brunt of globalisation and pluralism, and not protected culturally or socially."

Social policy, they said, were often based on European philosophies and values with indigenous communities expected to conform to them. "International declarations and conventions are only relevant to villages if they know about them, if they know how to effectively use them and if they see them as having any relevance to their communities," they said.

"Development needs to occur but is it at the cost of people's freedom? Freedom in this context meaning the ability for villagers to enjoy life and fully participate within their social structures," the pair said.

And more...


TRADITIONAL practices can evolve but if it is economically viable, then it needs to ensure that people are liberated, said authors Litea Meo-Sewabu and Wheturangi Walsh-Tapiata. Speaking on social policy at a three-day conference, the duo said eventhough income was generated, women felt oppressed. Women earned income but did not feel liberated. Development programs should ensure people live the life they truly value.

Under siege

TRADITIONAL leadership is under threat because of the imbalance in the village structure, participants from Massey University in New Zealand said. Litea Meo-Sewabu and Wheturangi Walsh-Tapiata said villagers were taken for granted in the face of development projects. In their paper on social policy, the pair expressed concern at the continued rapid loss of cultural heritage in the name of development. "Whose development," the two said.


  1. It would be a great place to start rebuting these twos hogwash by addressing the criterion of what "indigenous peoples" means under the relevant UN Convention cited and to look back at the text of debates by the signatories to the convention in the general assembly as well as international customary norms in other areas of Int Law, quite apart from the recognition of this fact that we are indigenous pursuant to all our purportedly abrogated Constitutions and even the Deed of Cession. Go for it, address the root, it will solve the fuzziness of their views. Don't let this go there isn't anyone else on cyberspace that has an genuine interest in this area let alone appreciate the grave consequences of not challenging the hogwash.

  2. These two hogwashers should read:

    ON BEING FIJIAN by Taina Woodward

  3. This has all been taken out of context. The paper is pro indigenous and about the need to protect indigenous rights instead of some hogwash theory. The paper questions the UN definition of indigeneity as it does not incorporate those who still remain the majority of their population such as many of the Pacific Islands but very relevant to minorities in their own countries such as Maori and American Indians, etc. The title given by FT was misleading !!! It is not a question of being indigenous it is about the need to protect and maintain indigenous rights regardless if you're a minority working towards self determination and reclaiming indigeneity or majority indigenous group maintaining indigeneity.

  4. Vinaka Real Fiji Xanga & Tears for Fiji,
    It is indeed sad when both the Massey personnel & The Fiji Times in Fiji have put a spin to this story.

    We did a preliminary checks on a few points;
    The two women cited; authors Litea Meo-Sewabu and Wheturangi Walsh-Tapiata - Litea appears to be either a Polynesian of sort she is an assistant lecturer and may pass for being a Fijian. The other W. Walsh-Tapiata had written some pieces on Tangata Whenua or 'i Taukei e'' Aotearoa. She appears to be a Maori.

    The shocking part now which is being denied @anon 10/10/2010 is that it has been taken out of context?? Perhaps between them, USP's seminar organizer in Suva including academia there like Vijay Naidu must be called to comment for such blatant low-level attack & 'hogwash reporting'on such a sensitive issue. Who sponsored them to go and run Fijians aground in their home turf- thats the question we would like to ask. A formal complaint is being drafted to be sent to Massey University and Global Indigenous as well as Mahendra Patel [Fiji Times BOSS]

  5. Notwithstanding the supposed misreporting, the answer is found in the construction of the relevant Convention and if the authors had any idea of how international law is interpreted Internationally including Fiji when we had a competent independent effective judiciary they would have discovered that the meaning of the term “indigenous people” and its application to indigenous Fijians or any other population for that matter has to be interpreted in good faith in light of the purpose and spirit of the Convention, taking into account among other things, the history of its creation in accordance with the 1960 VC on the Law of Treaties and in particular Arts 31(1) and 32(2), which merely codified customary international norm prior to that. You cant read law like a primary school kids story book about Tom and Anna and take things literally especially Int treaties.

    In so far as their views on protecting indigenous rights, thanks for the breakthrough research!!!, we had that entrenched in our 1997 Constitution BEFORE the UN Convention was adopted by the UNGA and ratified by Fiji.

    In a NUTSHELL everything they said is Academic we had it already entrenched in our laws in 1997, we were trying to legislate indigenous fijians rights such as the qoliqoli laws under our lawful government but no one RESPECTED THAT RIGHT and thats why are were we are. We were very very advanced, more advanced then the UN but our people failed to see this to defend to protect and to preserve our supreme law because of its wilful misinterpretation.

  6. Chn of Fiji, I know as a fact that Litea is Fijian..she is probably the Rev. Meo's daughter and is wife to Koli Sewabu...a former Fiji rugby rep.

    And so true Real Fiji Xanga..this is like old news, their "academic" thinking of protecting indigenous rights. We have been working on that premise all along until the high-school FAiLURE Voreqe came along and is trying to sell one the very asset that makes us indigenous and one which other indigenous people like the Maoris are crying foul over now - OUR LAND!

    This kind of "academic" talk can be very dangerous esp. when it gets misinterpreted by illegals like the IR if they want to spin it to suit their purpose.

  7. I think I spotted the two women in town last week, they look nothing close to hogwash.Too much drama in here sweethearts, let's not do a waste-of-time typical indigenous 'agent vinod' into their backgrounds, shall we? and keep the focus and our twitchy noses on the issues that they've raised in their discussion paper.

    To Litia Meo - I've noted your comments on and I agree with you, the reporting is sketchy at best. Could you send your complete paper discussed at that forum to one of these freedom blogs (na dina or luvei viti) so we can read both your propositions in its entirety? Vinaka.

  8. @ Real fiji xanga - I'm surprised at you - jumping up and down like a clown in here. Your blog is so unimpressively one-sided, unlike the rest of these freedom blogs that allow people to comment on their posts. Ah well, that's your precious right to choose what's good for you, eh?

    Real fiji xanga said :

    "In so far as their views on protecting indigenous rights, thanks for the breakthrough research!!!, we had that entrenched in our 1997 Constitution BEFORE the UN Convention was adopted by the UNGA and ratified by Fiji".

    So tell us o learned one, when exactly did Fiji ratify the UN 'Convention' that you refer to that promotes indigenous rights?

  9. @Anon thats for me to know and for you to find out and when you do then you will know that Aiyaz did not cast Fiji's vote on the first round, but then if I keep talking about this then people like you will think I have something against Muslims.

  10. LOL. Not at all Real fiji xanga, wouldn't even dream of calling you an anti-muslim.

    So enlighten us - when exactly did Fiji ratify the UN Convention you've referred to that promotes indigenous rights? You can't - since you've lied and won't admit to it. So who cares about about Aiyaz? Don't even talk to that bugger of an illegal AG!

  11. Litea Meo-SewabuMonday, October 11, 2010

    Ni sa bula vinaka !! Please allow me to send you a copy of the paper so that we can put stop to this discussion. The attack on who I am and who's daughter I am and who I am married to is irrelevant. O au na kai viti botoboto susu mai viti-mai Cakaudrove vasu i Lau, vuli mai Merika, worked in Fiji in community developement,FSM, MOH, in research and currently work at Massey in Pacific development and pursuing my PhD.

    What is being debated is the how indigenous people are defined. The definition is a highly contested one-the paper included the UN definition to illustrate how limiting and non inclusive it is for those of us who were colonised but yet remain a dominant part of our countries.

    The paper used several defintions of indegeneity-the UN definition was used to reflect how limiting it is...refer to UN fact sheet
    We used a definition by Mason Durie which is inclusive and acknowledges our connection to the land, etc...

    The title in the Fiji times made everyone jump including myself as that was not the point of the paper.

    We need to challenge such definitions !!! That is only a tiny bit of the paper and I am just disgusted at how it has all been taken out of context. O keda vata tiko la qo !!! eda vinakata kece me vinaka na nodra bula na wekada mai Viti plus our global communities-I would never write or even attempt to write anything that goes against my identity as a itaukei-it was rather to create discussion on using definitions that are relevant to being Fijian and reflect what we truly value !! Hope that clears the air a bit-write directly to me since you have googled me already you will have my email so I can send a copy of the paper-let's stop attacking each other and discuss things that matter and will take us forward as Fijians or itaukei...I am not watering down being Fijian nor am I a hogwash theorist and I agree and wished that Netani Rika who I grew up with in Davuilevu was still the editor of the FT as he would have perhaps titled it "something pro Fijian" (think !!!)-such as the need for our indigenous groups who are still dominant to challenge such defintions so that they are inclusive !!!!

    Kalougata tiko-sa rauta na veiba and give me a chance to send you the paper so you can read it before responding as it has all been taken out of context-and please leave my family out of this-if you need more information contact me directly !!! For more on the discussion go to matavuvale-I have included some of the definitions there but send me your email so you can read the whole paper.

  12. @Anon It is sad that you had to restort to name calling and over an argument of semantics (Convention/Declaration), I understand where you are comming from, but the fact of the matter is that it was endorsed by the Fiji Junta on the 17th of September 2007 but was always protected by our Constitution in 1997, 10 years prior to that declaration and the academic arguments can easily be solved if its entire history is reffered to, to construct meaning from its purpose, but at the end of the day it is still academic and a waste of time.

  13. Litea Meo-SewabuMonday, October 11, 2010

    Bula vinaka,
    O au na goneyalewa ni Cakaudrove, vasu in Lau-who my father is and who I am married to is irrelevant to this discussion. Susu mai Viti, vuli mai Merika, worked in Fiji in community development, MOH, FSM, research and currently pursuing PhD and work in Pacific development at Massey (write me if you need more)
    What is being debated is the definition of indigeneity. The UN definition was used to show how non inclusive it is to those of us who were colonised yet remain a dominant part of our We used a definition by Mason Durie that acknowledges our connection to the land rather than being colonised-the whole point of the paper is about strengthening indigeneity rather that watering it down !! I agree that if Netani Rika who I grew up with in Davuilevu was still the editor it would have been a totally different title-since you have googled me send me an email and I will send the paper so you can read it entirely and not the cut and paste version in the FT !! Sa rauta na veiba we all trying to do what is best for our people to move forward !! Leave my family out of this-o keda eda dau veidokai-let's keep it that way and don't believe everything you read-check with the source first !! Vinaka -kalougata tiko !!

  14. So now it's 'endorsed' - before that it was 'ratified'. Ieee... No, this is not simply an argument of semantics when a learned person like you intentionally uses words that have deep implications : the words 'endorsed' and 'ratified' in the context you're using are not merely interchangeable, neither are 'convention' and 'declaration'... or are they??
    Hmmmm... And did Fiji's junta really 'endorse' the UN Declaration on the 17 September 2007?? I only know of the UN General Assembly adopting the DRIP (Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples) on 13 September 2007.

    Btw I didn't resort to name-calling - you lied, full stop.

    Vinaka valevu Litia Meo, I will email you but wouldn't it be great to have the paper posted here so we can have a full and frank discussion on it, oti meda cegu yani. Kalougata tiko na vuli.

  15. @Anon Care to comment on our abrogated Constitution and the substance of my comments or do you want to still go on with dates ie 13 or 17th?

  16. If the article does not refer to our FIJIAN HISTORY and LAWS and INSTITUTIONS including all our CONSTITUTIONS that were established to protect Indigenous Fijian Rights Tradition Culture Custom then apart from the defect in taking a literal interpretation of all relevant UN Conventions/Declarations the Paper itself is flawed.

  17. Hmmmm....@ xanga - getting very evasive, aren't we? Substance tale ni waci! I've just unravelled your lying little posts for the 'lack of it', what's your agenda? LOL.

  18. @Anon no you haven't you spoke about a label and a date not the substance because it is the truth and it is you who has evaded the issue of FIJI having incorporated into domestic law all the hogwash theory.

    My agenda is simple I have lived, breathed and fought for the protection of indigenous Fijian rights decades before this label and date which is the essence of your comments.

    You cannot address the substance of my comments because you know I have been right from the start.

  19. Oh dear! Go back and read my threads, I think you were deliberately misleading with your use of 'labels'...labels that I think you fully well understood i.e. its legal implications... and yet, when questioned about it, tried to dismiss it as an argument of semantics. The short of it is that you've lied and was caught out, period. Why can't you admit your nonsense?

    Frankly, I really don't care how long you say you've fought for indigenous rights, so what, you're not the only one.

    Looking at the bigger picture - our current struggle against this tyrannical regime has nothing to do with the rights of the i-taukei (as we're now 'labelled')... but this thread isn't about that, it was about Litea's paper which you've already labelled as 'hogwash' without having read it in its entirety. Some learned person you are.

  20. @Anon the paper would have reached a real conclusion had they taken a purposive approach to its interpretation as opposed to a literal primary school approach, that is the essence of my comments from the start, ie the methodology, and because of the lack of depth in their research taking into account our history and our laws they got what they put in which was hogwash.

  21. Fine, you're entitled to your opinion. Speaking of approaches, I think i'll take a cautious approach and wait for Litea to post her paper.

    @ Luvei Viti - possible for you to post the discussion paper on your blog so we know we're all reading the same 'hogwash theory', word for word? Vinaka.

  22. @anon,
    Oi auwe e vaka e katia beka na kadi na nona moimuri ola qo!! Esa qai vaka na wamekemeke ka viavia vuku ka mani sega!!

    Vinaka Tears of Fiji & Real Fiji Xanga - thanks for your valued contribution as always.When one reads the @anon comments it sounds like a 'na koli yalewa'!! lol.

    Thanks Litea Meo-Sewabu for your comments and suggest you take your case with Mahendra Patel -new Fiji Times chief. This robust discussion will indicate to you that one has to bbear in mind the consequences of their academic papers particularly when delving into sensitive issues as such. Its a bit of a too late the hero case for you knowing fully well that there will be a reactions to the spin given to your presentation at USP. It is becoming clear that @anon(ms) may have a hand in perhaps the funding of your trip??? [lights out..]

    Oh by the way...we are not i taukei thank you very much, we are Fijians!! 'Taukei' just means aborigines - it removes the essence or the Spirit of Fijian-ness!!

  23. Final comments-I have yet to receive an email for the paper so let me just summarise that the intention was never about the little definition because if you look at all the artciles under the Declaration it is inclusive of us as indigenous Fijians-what it highlights though is the need for us to be represented at international forums instead of neo-colonialist representing us which often do not reflect who we are. We funded ourselves and did not have any kind of agenda whatsoever but wanted to create discussion as it has done but in the wrong way, we have also written to FT about this-the FT sensationalised it to appear as such, if you read our paper you will understand the context of what we were trying to highlight. The purpose of the paper was 3 folds one was to advocate for social policies that reflect an indigenous framework rather than a western which is current, two to discuss that we can have all these declarations and conventions but they are only relevant to vilages if they know about them and how to use them effectively and if it applies to their communities, to do this we provided examples of how local issues can be taken into a global terrain and highlighing however that the Pacific has not always actively participated in these forums as we are often represented by those who do not know our discourses. Madraiwiwi best states this when saying “Unless we collectively commit ourselves to reconstructing or re-fashioning our own epistemologies, the risk is that others will define us”. Finally, we looked at how developments which are often dictated at village level are done at the cost of cultural heritage, etc impacting on the breakdown of our social structures, material culture, etc. My last point is that we can't keep hiding behind aliases and expect that things will change, Fijian or itaukei regardless of minor definitions what matters is how we contribute to the wellbeing of our people whether you in academia or law, politics, medicine, etc, whether you're at Victoria or Massey or wherever, we need to stop allowing people to write about us, define us, etc-if we can't be bold and do it who will!!! I leave you with another quote from Madraiwiwi....“If we are to make the wise decisions and choices that will benefit generations as yet unborn, we need to be firmly rooted in our own cultures “
    Kalougata tiko na qaravi tavi !!

  24. Vinaka vakalevu Litea for your final comment although I probably wouldn't waste a second justifying a single thing to these ulu kutu's, oops, i meant ulu vuku's. Anyone with an ounce of intelligence would know better than condemn you personally & deliberately lie, just based on a mere paragraph or two of selected extracts that were obviously being sensationalised by the compromised Fiji Times. We've never met or communicated before and although I was curious about your paper given the reaction of the shrieking mynahs in here plus what I had read on, I thought perhaps its best to let these superintelligent maramas make that request, post the paper up here and have their discussions on the issues you've raised.

    @ the Anonymous who called me a b!tch, tut..tut.. would have been better if you said it to my face. Otherwise its fine to just spell it out in English for the whole world to read - for that's exactly the extent & depth of your 'robust' discussions on Litea's paper. lol.

    Ia, ni kalougata tiko Litea, this sorry lot should only make you more determined to pursue your goals! You Go Gal!

  25. @anon hmmmm you sound very aggressive!! Did you have snakes for breaky huh??? ouch....of course we can suss out you're another one of those coup apologist or just soooo jealous that people can blog and say what they believe should be said on issues that matters to them. i.e in this instance the Spirit of Fijianess - 'kevaka o kila vinaka tiko na katuba o curu mai kina'. Keimami qo keimami kila tu na vei tikina lailai me baleta na veika e keimami mosita tu ni vaka ga ni keimami lewe ni Vanua o Viti ka sa mai tu oqo e vavalagi. Kevaka esega ni vaka raitaki na dina ocei ena qai vala taka vei keimami na mosi tu na veika me baleta na noda i rogo kei na veika matai lailai me baleta na dui vei vanua eda dui gole mai kina. Na leqa gona ni so era sa via kai vavalagi ka mani sega sara. Era qai tu ena kena vei mama, era sega ni noda Vasu. Eda rawa ga ni raica na nodrai moimoi kei na nodrai vosavosa eda na kila sara na kedra roka. Rairai oiko edua vei ira.

    Litea, vinaka na tukuna mai vaka dodonu na nomu tikina ena tabana oqo. qai email taka mai ena : Secretariat.

  26. Litea Meo-Siwabu,
    Great that you have responded as we would also like a copy of your paper please. Heres our email:

    Whilst we do not want to get tangled with the low level comments that Ms/Mr Anonymous, Wednesday, October 13, 2010 & various threads posted, we must however, indicate our disapproval of her comments. There are few points we would like to make;
    1. Anyone posting as such gets little credibility no matter how well or vice versa their posting is.
    2. Luvei Viti forum has been in existence for two years approx blogging about issues that it finds of interest. Why has Anonymous suddenly jumped on the bandwagon dictating what must be done in this forum. Further more her viscious attacks on TFF & RFX & LV are filled with anger,arrogance,low-level, up-oneself etc. We smell de rat!!
    3.A question - has your article been peer-reviewed? We are also keen to know.

    The reason most Fiji bloggers write with pseudo-name is to protect themselves from evil canutes like Anon posting here. These are elements who borders on being coup apologist which we have no time for!!


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