Tagimoucia Festival Tavueni

FESTIVAL with a difference is paving the way to a greener future. And it aims to make Fiji a postcard tourist destination once again with a clean environment, clean beach and beautiful sunset.
In its second year, the Tagimoucia Festival, which will be held next month on Taveuni, is expected to attract locals, tourists and also businesses. The festival symbolises what a group of Taveuni businesses and residents feel is the most important thing in the world: “To conserve, protect and clean up our beautiful Fiji islands.” The theme of the event this year is Keep Taveuni Clean.

Taveuni and tourists
Taveuni is the third largest island in Fiji, after Vanua Levu and Viti Levu with a cigar shape. It belongs to the Vanua Levu group of islands and is part of the Cakaudrove Province in the Northern Division. Taveuni has an abundant flora and is known affectionately as the Garden Island of Fiji. Tourists are attracted to the excellent diving opportunities, prolific bird life, bushwalks and waterfalls.

Keep Taveuni clean
Island Spirit director and Tagimoucia Festival organiser Kirsty Barnby said it all started a few years ago with an eco-minded collection of folks, both young and old, who were concerned about the increasing effects of rubbish on the local Taveuni environment. “Rubbish ended up in the ocean, foreshore, rivers and beautiful vacant land areas. “Taveuni is one of the most beautiful and unspoiled islands in all of Fiji and to see the degradation of the vanua was heartbreaking.” The group, along with other stakeholders, established a rubbish dump and pilot recycling program. About twice per month clean-ups are organised around the island. A recycling program was also given a jump-start by the Australian Government’s direct aid program which funded the island’s first recycling bins.

Preparation

Keep Taveuni Clean Education volunteer Lena Mataitoga has been working with school groups on the island leading up to the festival. Students have been involved in creative recycling projects and learning ways to help keep Taveuni clean. Merlene Salzon, a local artist on Taveuni, has been mentoring students with their art development. “There are a number of very talented children who create beautiful works of art” Ms Salzon said.

Tagimoucia Festival
Music and dance performances from renowned artist such as Vou, KKU, Tom Mawi and others with art, photography, oratory and open mic competitions with cash and prizes given by local Taveuni businesses are part of the event.

The festival will also feature a fashion show, acoustic song writing and performance with Steve McComber, Sassy, Makarita and Leone, oratory sharing with Taveuni schoolteachers, Ocean Ambassadors will do an interactive presentation on how they can make usable products from their waste and eco bricks with Sally Williams — building using recycled plastic bottles and plastic wrappers.

There are many more activities that the festival will offer. “We could learn a lot for Taveuni from organisations like POETCom and local producers such as Samoan Women in Business who are reaping the rewards of hard work and farming in a way that will care for the environment for future generations,” said festival committee member Robin Kelly.

Ocean ambassadors
The Ocean Ambassadors will be joining the festival to present two different types of solutions to waste plastic in Fiji. They have an onboard their boat a small processor that converts waste plastic into a light sweet crude oil, that can be used in any diesel engine straight out of the machine. They also have an emerging clothing line made from recycled materials focusing on PET (drink bottles). Ocean Ambassadors captain Adrian Midwood said they were not looking at staying long in Fiji but the people and businesses in Fiji had opened their arms and provided their team with an opportunity of a lifetime.

“Let’s make Fiji the postcard destination I remember from when I was a child, once again,” he said.

Ms Barnby said the festival was also supported by some businesses and resorts such as Pacific Building Solutions, Clay Energy, Paradise Resort, Coconut Grove, Nakia Resort and Island Spirit.

The Fiji Times, August 17, 2014

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