A blog maintained by Tevita Kete, PGR Officer
Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), Suva, Fiji Islands
This weblog documents the activities of Pacific Agricultural Genetic Resources Network (PAPGREN), along with other information on plant genetic resources (PGR) in the Pacific.
The myriad varieties found within cultivated plants are fundamental to the present and future productivity of agriculture. PAPGREN, which is coordinated by the Land Resources Division of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), helps Pacific countries and territories to conserve their crop genetic diversity sustainably, with technical assistance from the Bioversity International (BI) and support from NZAID and ACIAR.
SPC also hosts the Centre of Pacific Crops and Trees (CEPaCT). The CEPaCT maintains regional in vitro collections of crops important to the Pacific and carries out research on tissue culture technology. The CEPaCT Adviser is Dr Mary Taylor (MaryT@spc.int), the CEPaCT Curator is Ms Valerie Tuia (ValerieT@spc.int).
PAPGREN coordination and support
Mr William Wigmore
Mr Adelino S. Lorens
Dr Lois Englberger
Mr Apisai Ucuboi
Dr Maurice Wong
Mr Tianeti Beenna Ioane
Mr Frederick Muller
Mr Herman Francisco
Ms Rosa Kambuou
Ms Laisene Samuelu
Mr Jimi Saelea
Mr Tony Jansen
Mr Finao Pole
Mr Frazer Bule Lehi
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Tuesday, June 14, 2005
Posted 2:29 PM by Luigi
Pandanus weaver keeps artwork alive
Fiji Time, Tuesday, 14 June, 2005
IT is unusual to find women living in villages on the mainland still enjoying the art of weaving mats these days.
On the outskirts of Tavua is Drauniivi Village where most of the inhabitants depend heavily on income from the Yaqara Pastoral Farm and the Fiji Water.
There is no stress over employment.
But among the coastal village is a hardworking woman who supplements the family's income by weaving mats which she sell.
Age has crept in for Makereta Raisole but the tireless mother-of-two takes pleasure in what she does every day.
Weaving is a daily chore for the 49-year-old and she says it means extra earning to supplement what her daughter earns at Yaqara.
"I enjoy weaving. I've known how to weave since I was a little girl and selling mats has been helpful to our daily living," she said.
"At the start, I thought of making mats to sell to help my daughter who works at Fiji Water.
"Now over the years, it's been very helpful to the daily needs of our family," she said.
Like other women in the village, Makereta also goes out fishing to sell but weaving is her main source of income.
She earns more from selling mats.
Some of her orders come from long distance for special traditional occasions.
Her day usually starts with the daily housework before she sets out to collect pandanus (voivoi) leaves.
After collecting the leaves, she piles it in a heap and walks back to the village along the King's Highway with the pandanus leaves on her back.
The hard part is the preparation of the voivoi leaves. It is cooked and left in the sun to dry.
After that, she prepares the leaves before she starts weaving.
It takes several days or a week or two for a mat to be weaved, depending on size.
"It's not an easy task and requires a lot of patience.
"You have to have the passion for it in order to make it through," she said.
"I usually receive orders from women around the village if they are preparing for special events such as a wedding or a birthday," she said.
Apart from the usual mats, she also weaves a variety of special mats such as the Vakabati, Coco, Katu-dua and the Katu-rua. Makereta is one of the few women in the village who is still utilising her talent well and reaping great rewards at the end of the day.
She says young Fijian women should not forget their roots.
They should be taught in the art of weaving mats and other handicraft.
It is an asset for a young Fijian woman and can earn her money.
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