Climate Change Impacts Fiji’s Traditional Arts

The Fiji Times Online has recently reported that climate change has had an impact on trees and plants that are raw materials for traditional assets such as masi (tapa) and mats.

Director Heritage and Culture for the Ministry of Education, Lusiana Fotofili, said the impact of climate change on these raw materials had been felt and seen on islands around the country. She made the comment at the “Introduction to iTaukei Culture through traditional handicraft” workshop for about 100 students in Labasa (the the north-eastern part of the island of Vanua Levu) yesterday.

Fotofili exclaims, “In some of our islands we are beginning to see the effects of climate change due to sea level rise, which impacts on the growing of raw material. These are the mulberry trees and its bark which is used for masi making and the growth of pandanus leaves and even knowing which soils are the right soils to use for pottery making.”

She encourages that everyone must be mindful of the need to plant more raw materials, have the knowledge to choose the appropriate materials and to keep the skills alive, and look after the environment well.

Please visit the Kivunature site to learn more about Fijian traditional culture and knowledge, particularly the woven mat, the tapa cloth, and kava ceremonies.


The making of Fijian mat (photo from

About islandculturearchivalsupport

Island Culture Archival Support (ICAS) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation of records pertaining to the cultural identity of island peoples in Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia whose national and public archives, libraries, cultural centers, and business organizations are underprivileged, underfunded, and understaffed. The specific purpose for which this nonprofit corporation was formed is to support the needs of these South Pacific cultural heritage institutions by helping to preserve and make accessible records created for business, accountability or cultural purposes. The organization will endeavor to add value by providing resources or volunteers to advise, train, and work among island residents to support their efforts in building their future and preserving their collective memory through the use of modern archival techniques.
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