Mesake Drawaitu

Mesake Drawaitu in Navuniivi Village at the Fiji Locally Managed Marine Area Network annual general meeting. ©Dwain Qalovaki

Ovalau is the sixth largest island in Fiji and is where the former capital of Fiji was based. Last December I met Mr. Mesake Drawaitu, a representative from Lomaiviti Province and a divisional representative for the Fiji Locally Marine Managed Area (FLMMA) network. Mesake was telling me about how on Ovalau, they have been using a 3D model of the island to identify and plot development over the past 10 years. The 3D model was constructed by the people of Ovalau and was used to develop an island-wide natural and cultural resource use management plan.

Mesake proudly told me “In 2007 the model of Ovalau won a World Summit Award on e-culture and has aided in the inclusion of Ovalau Island and its surrounding waters as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.”

“Using the 3D model as a management tool, we have also set up eight marine protected areas that help protect important qoliqoli or fishing grounds that communities on Ovalau rely on for food. This model has helped our community members across the island actively participate in protecting our natural resources.”