In 2014 the i-Taukei Affairs Board enlisted conservation officers to increase on the ground resources required to work in the fourteen provincial councils to champion sustainable management and conservation of their natural resources.

Bua’s Conservation Officer Eferemo Kubunavanua enters the scene.

In little over a year Eferemo walks freely through the village green in Raralevu where the provincial office is located cheerfully greeting community members and providing advice on how we can better protect nature in Bua.

Having graduated with a Bachelors Degree in Geography and Marine Science from the University of the South Pacific, he is currently pursuing a Post Graduate Diploma in Geography.

Mr Kubunavanua says that in his second year at University, Professor Randy Thaman encouraged him to be appreciative of nature and the traditional of stewardship and conservation in our lives as Fijians. Having a keen interest in animals and plants saw him adapt quickly to life in rural Bua after completing his studies in Suva.

Since beginning work in Bua, he has undertaken numerous community consultations, including on disaster risk management and climate change across the province. As part of his role, Mr Kubunavanua is also contributing toward a resurgence in traditional green approaches.

“I have been able to provide advice to communities on environmental issues relating to gravel extraction and these communities have been receptive which indicates that people are trusting enough to take on board some of my recommendations”, he remarked.

Mr Kubunavanua adds that his vision for the province is to be at the forefront of natural resource management in Fiji especially as communities continue to share and practice traditional conservation practices supplemented by national efforts to better protect our natural wealth.

Around a tanoa bowl, Eferemo shared that perhaps his most memorable contribution has been in assisting a Bua community set up a Yaubula (Environment) Management Plan that would see better management practices within the village. “This is just one of the very rewarding experiences that make waking up in Nabouwalu everyday worth it.”