Business

Domoika Hike Opens

Tourism Fiji has offered hearty congratulations to Domoika Hike, Waterfall, and Rock Climbing Adventures, as the business opens this weekend.
11 Jun 2022 12:16
Domoika Hike Opens
As the push for sustainable tourism ensues at a national level, Domoika Hike, a communal-based eco-tourism project, almost slipped under the radar with its launch at Waivaka Village, Namosi this weekend. Matelita Katamotu (pictured) spearheaded the final chapter of the development, that has led to this weekend’s launch.

Tourism Fiji has offered hearty congratulations to Domoika Hike, Waterfall, and Rock Climbing Adventures, as the business opens this weekend.

Chief executive officer, Brent Hill, said Domoika Hike was exactly the kind of product and experience that Fiji needed more of.

“We are so pleased for the team,” he said.

The success of the venture followed over two decades of trying to put together a communal concept to the project.

Social media

On a social media handle, Domoika Hike, wrote: “Two days ago, Tourism Fiji did not know who or what Domoika was.

“Today, Tourism Fiji CEO is more excited than I am about the launch.”

A four-member team from Tourism Fiji will join the launch, in a show of support.

The team will build on publicity of the project through social media channels, and use global reach to get the tour noticed, Mr Hill said.

“Our team will be on site this weekend to help lend a hand with advice, experience the tour first hand, and then develop the experience further with the team,” Mr Hill said.

The successful launch of Domoika Hike, a new eco-tourism adventure company that operates out of Waivaka Village, in Namosi, follows over two decades of trying to incorporate it as communal concept

The successful launch of Domoika Hike, a new eco-tourism adventure company that operates out of Waivaka Village, in Namosi, follows over two decades of trying to incorporate it as communal concept

“We’re so excited that the growth in tourists is giving rise to new businesses.

“This is particularly so for communities and villages that are finding ways to bring tourists to their beautiful areas.

“I have no doubt that anyone going with Domoika adventures will love it.”

For my elders: Katamotu tributes the success of the venture to her clan

The roads to Waivaka Village are expected to be busy this weekend, as scores of people join in the celebration of the launch of Domoika Hike.

The communally-owned sustainable eco-tourism project, in the interior of Namosi, offers three types of adventure packages.

The Domoika Challenge is a two-hour trek inland, over rivers and streams, and rugged terrain, to Domoika waterfall.

It is the most challenging of the three packages.

The Wainabi Rock Climbing Ad­ventures and the Waivaka Begin­ners Hike are the less strenuous deals.

To get to Domoika from the Nabu­kavesi junction on the Queens Road, is an hour’s drive uphill and inland to Waivaka Village.

From Waivaka, the walk begins at a modest pace that allows you to take in the lush, sprawling surroundings.

On certain parts of the trek, you will wade through ankle-deep moun­tain-cool streams, and tread over a lofty, lengthy hanging bridge.

The trek runs along river gorges to a peak that was once used formin­eral exploration purposes.

Trekking and rock climbing aside, guests get to experience traditional protocols of a village setting, Ms Katamotu said.

“We are advocating for wildlife con­servation,” she said.

Potential investors, and there have been many, have indicated interest in developing the area, Ms Katamo­tu said.

But the people of the mataqali ­Nadakunibure are champions of sustainable practices.

It took them some 30 years to get here.

And it will take them a lot more to be swayed by the strength of any for­eign currency.

Sacred land

Owned by the members of the mataqali Nadakunibure, in the vil­lage of Waivaka, Namosi, the pro­ject will assist the clan in funding the mataqali’s scholarship fund.

By nature, the itaukei are commu­nal, a reality that is not confined to village setting.

In urban centres, this would be evi­dent in extended family members sharing the same living space.

They sustain themselves through a yalovata, dei, and tosovata modus operandi.

The land is sacred.

“Because the land is communally owned, the concept of communal ownership, to operate and own this project is ideal,” Ms Katamotu said.

“Individual ownership will deter growth, and continuous communal peaceful living, in traditional village settings.

“This project employs every youth who provides tour guide services, the women who provide the meals, the men who provide the grog for the sevusevu, itatau, and social drink after lunch.

“Every dollar paid by guests is al­located; no profit is made.

“The underlying notion be­hind the initiative is to create a space for mataqali youths to fund creative projects in the future.”

No Easy Feat

Communal-owned projects are no easy feat, Ms Katamotu said.

“It takes a different level of com­mitment where time, resources and networks, are concerned.

“It had to be set up at a communal level, before it came to life.”

Ms Katamotu was behind moves during the development stage of the project, holding widespread consul­tation with elders of the mataqali.

Her mission was to secure approv­al and blessings to proceed.

It is customary with the itaukei that such protocol is followed to a tee.

The traditional supposition about going against the grain could result in doom, and sometimes even uncer­tain death.

The project will also serve as a training ground for youth to be certified in the field of service they provide.

There are talks of expanding the business plan to incorporate back­packers and homestay units outside the village.

How She Successfully Pulled It Off

For Ms Katamotu, it was about following up with her ancestors’ dream.

“This has always been my elders dream, but no one was able to ex­ecute it, to bring the project to life,” she said.

Ms Katamotu is a graduate of the University of the South Pacific, with a Bachelors of Commerce in Ac­counting and Economics, under her belt.

She has a certificate in Post Gradu­ate studies in Professional Account­ing.

“For this project to be successful, I had to convince and bring in guests unexpectedly, create eco-tourism market awareness at the mataqa­li level, through social media, and community levels.

“There were continuous requests for approval from the elders, before proceeding to the next level,” she said.

Word Got Around

And word got around from the 18 guests who had experienced the ad­venture, Ms Katamotu said.

“They provided guest reviews of the product we were going to sell to the market,” she said.

“Within the ensuing weeks of a visit by the 18 friends, the initiative took off through marketing mate­rial, flyers and templates.

“We had drone footage and videos from our international guests who had arrived earlier from Dubai.

“We received our banners, provid­ed an objective, a vision, and a direc­tion, that has brought us to this day.

“We have achieved what we set out to do – our mataqali will steer into the future with on the back of this sustainable project.”

Feedback: frederica.elbourne@fijisun.com.fj



Fijisun Ad Space


Get updates from the Fiji Sun, handpicked and delivered to your inbox.


By entering your email address you're giving us permission to send you news and offers. You can opt-out at any time.


Fiji Sun Instagram
Subscribe-to-Newspaper