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Villagers Celebrate Community-Owned Eco-Tourism Project

Resource owners need to uphold the practise of reinvesting profits for the long haul.
13 Jun 2022 13:42
Villagers Celebrate Community-Owned Eco-Tourism Project
The mataqali Nadakunibure (pictured) will now run Domoika Adventures, believed to be Namosi’s first communal-owned and operated eco-tourism project, which features three types of day-adventure packages, at Waivaka Village. Matelita Katamotu, seated far left in a printed grey dress, pushed through several frontiers to get the company to where it now is. She refuses to take credit for her achievements. Photo: Laiseana Nasiga

Resource owners need to uphold the practise of reinvesting profits for the long haul.

The message from Opposition member, Lenora Qereqeretabua, was made at the launch of Domoika Adventures in Namosi. where she was Chief Guest.

She comes from a background rich in tourism.

 

Speaking from experiences in Kadavu, Ms Qereqeretabua said resource owners wanted lease monies and royalty divided among individual owners.

“When villagers in parts of Kadavu suggested that the monies be divided among individuals, their chairman thought otherwise,” she said.

“The money was used as an investment where it is making good on returns, while the balance was used to buy seven fishing boats.”

 

Domoika Waterfall.

Domoika Waterfall.

Domoika Adventures

Over 200 feet above sea level, stands the mighty Domoika waterfalls, a powerful force cascading over three tiers of rock.

For resource owners of the mataqali Nadakunibure, in Waivaka Village, Namosi, the site is a holy grail, not easily accessed by many of their own.

The jury is still out on talks of a hydro-dam development taking shape at Domoika falls.

 

Launch

The mataqali Nadakunibure launched Domoika Adventures at the weekend, a hike and rock-climbing day-long experience, where the most extreme challenge spans close to two hours of hiking to one of Namosi’s highest waterfalls.

Tucked away from passers-by, not many in Waivaka Village have seen the falls.

“The elders who had never seen the falls did not realise its magnitude, until they saw drone footage,” said mataqali member, Matelita Katamotu.

 

Yaqona and fiddlehead fern farms pave the rocky, and sometimes thin and steep trail up- stream.

The quiet village of Waivaka, believed to be home to Namosi’s first communal-owned eco-tourism project, is about to get a lot more busy, following the launch.

Bookings are pouring it, a villager said. The mataqali comprises close to 100 people, as most have moved to urban areas, in pursuit of better education, and better paying jobs.

 

However, that may soon change as mataqali members start trickling back home to lend a hand in furthering the eco-development project.

Waivaka Village has a population of just over 200 people.

 

Matelita Katamotu

The industrious Ms Katamotu takes no credit for the milestone achivement.

She spearheaded decades of efforts that culminated in the successful launch the project. “I have not slept for the past three days,” she said.

The project was her brain child.

 

She worked tirelessly over the years to finally deliver on her personal mission to provide a more sustainable means of living for her clan.

“I like to see things through; I won’t rest until it is done,” she said.

The eldest of her five siblings, she is a single mother, now betrothed to a gentleman of Yasawa.

Ms Katamotu is in her 30s, and works as an accountant.

 

The Deal

Guests find their way to Waivaka Village, where they are served refreshments, before they embark on the hike.

Upon their return, a meal – comprising mainly organic and home grown food from the mataqali Nadakunibure harvest – is served.

Domoika Adventures operates on Saturdays, where the hike takes place anytime between 9am to 2pm.

 

The village is 60 kilometres inland from Suva, on Sawani, off Princes Road, and less than 20 kilometres from Nabukavesi, on the Queens Road.

Domoika Adventures offers three types of packages, which include the Beginners package suited for all ages, and the Domoika challenge.

 

Feedback: frederica.elbourne@fijisun.com.fj



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