Opinion

iTAUKEI Funerals Here Cost Around $30M: Study

Money has become a driver of change to cultural practices, not only in Fiji but around the world. A preliminary finding has found that the annual cost of iTaukei funerals
14 Aug 2016 15:00
iTAUKEI Funerals Here Cost Around $30M: Study
Infor on Ron Vave research

Money has become a driver of change to cultural practices, not only in Fiji but around the world.

A preliminary finding has found that the annual cost of iTaukei funerals in Fiji is around the $30 million mark.

This is calculated on the basis that an average of 3000 iTaukei people die every year.

This preliminary finding is part of Ron Vave’s Doctor of Philosophy research study at the University of Hawaii.

Mr Vave is a marine biology student and his interest in funerals is because of the protected areas that are established after one is being buried.

Fiji in fact has 466 community based Marine Protected Areas (MPAs).

Mr Vave said these MPAs have been established by villages themselves for the purpose of ensuring food security and also to leave a better environment for future generations.

Before joining the University of Hawaii, Mr Vave worked at the University of the South Pacific. During this time, he worked with the iTaukei Affairs Board in conducting leadership and management training around Fiji.

Mr Vave again emphasised that these figures were a result of a preliminary finding only.

He arrives in Fiji next week for a year-long field research.

“The preliminary findings are based on a very small dataset (30 funerals so far). Thanks to those who have contributed funeral financial data for their loved ones and to those who have assisted in connecting me with those who have managed funeral finances,” he said.

“It’s also important to note that these preliminary findings contain only a very small part of my research on iTaukei funerals. The economics chapter of my dissertation will cover more than just monetary contributions and include non-monetary contributions as well (such as those from condolence or ireguregu). It will also look at what funds are used for.

“Other chapters of my dissertation look at the iTaukei funeral socio cultural practice (and the changes, drivers of change etc); on the changes that occur in tabu areas (what I’m calling “Funerary Protected Areas”) that are established on the reef, river and/or plantation, following the burial of a loved one.

“This is practiced in only some parts of the country, something that I’m still mapping, and on the harvest of the Funerary Protected Area. So, the important point here is that, while I’m only presenting preliminary results of ‘costs of iTaukei funerals’ in this infographic, it is but a very small piece of this research and will, in the next few years be connected to the social and ecological aspects, that will make the story, somewhat whole.”

 

 

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