NEWS

Vola Ni Kawa Bula (VKB) Change Coming Soon

A proposed regulation will soon be presented in Parliament to ensure that registration of children in the Vola ni Kawa Bula (VKB) is vetted by the mataqali. The Permanent Secretary
04 May 2017 11:05
Vola Ni Kawa Bula (VKB) Change Coming Soon

A proposed regulation will soon be presented in Parliament to ensure that registration of children in the Vola ni Kawa Bula (VKB) is vetted by the mataqali.

The Permanent Secretary for iTaukei Affairs, Naipote Katonitabua, said the aim was to ensure that only iTaukei were registered.

The VKB or iTaukei births and deaths registry contains the genealogy of the iTaukei.

It has been discovered that foreign names or non-iTaukei had appeared in the VKB without the knowledge of the mataqali.

iTaukei women can take the birth certificates of their children straight to the iTaukei Lands Commission (TLC), which administers the VKB, and registers their children.

Mr Katonitabua said when some women were asked at TLC they answered that the children had been named by friends who were not necessarily the fathers.

He made the clarifications after concerns were raised about the alleged haphazard registration of iTaukei women’s children at the Rewa Provincial Council meeting at Nabudrau Village, Noco, Rewa.

He said the VKB was only for iTaukei.

Mr Katonitabua said the criteria for registration was:

  • If the iTaukei couple are married, the child will registered under the father’s mataqali.
  • Any iTaukei child who is adopted into an iTaukei family cannot be registered under the family’s mataqali. The child can only be registered under the mataqali of the biological iTaukei father.
  • If the iTaukei couple are not married, the child can be registered under the father’s mataqali provided the mother agrees to enter the father’s name in the birth certificate.

For solo mothers, children will only be registered if the fathers are iTaukei and approved by the mataqali.

The issue, has in the past, caused debate and emotional distress among iTaukei women.

Mr Katonitabua was responding to a question about the need to ensure that iTaukei blood ties are maintained.

The question was asked by the District Representative (Mata ni Tikina) of Dreketi Jimilai Wainibalagi. He requested if the laws of the VKB could come under the village by-laws or the lawa ni koro.

Mr Wainibalagi said this was critical because there was a great need to preserve the iTaukei culture, tradition and customs especially the need to protect the iTaukei identity.

He said he had seen a lot of family who had adopted children or those children who have been brought up in a family being registered under the VKB.

He said there were children who had just been brought up in the family, but with no blood relation.

Mr Wainibalagi said it was also a critical issue especially for the importance of indigenous rights and there should be a criteria under the law to remove names already registered

Mr Katonitabau encouraged the heads of the mataqali to write formally to the iTaukei Lands Commission chairperson. He suggested they should discuss the issues with the households and families first.

Mr Katonitabua has advised parents to remind their daughters, especially those who are not married to get the approval from the mataqali before they entered the names of their sons and daughters in the VKB.

He said the issue could cause disputes later when the mataqali found out that the child’s father was non-iTaukei.

Edited by Jonathan Bryce

Feedback: losirene.lacanivalu@fijisun.com.fj

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