Traditional leaders gather in Fiji to discuss the Pacific Traditional Leaders Forum 2024

Four traditional leaders from New Zealand, Fiji, Samoa and Hawaii are meeting in Suva ahead of the first-ever Traditional Leaders Forum to be held this year.

Māori King Tūheitia Potatau Te Wherowhero VII and Samoa’s Tui Ātua Tupua Tamasese Tupuola Tufuga Efi arrived in Fiji over the weekend. They are being hosted by Ratu Epenisa Cakobau, the Paramount Chief of the Kubuna Confederacy of the island of Bau.

A delegation from Hawaii, comprising the FestPAC Commission Chair Kalani Ka‘anā‘anā, FestPAC 13th Festival Director Aaron Salā, and Chair of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, Carmen Hulu Lindsey, is also in attendance with the blessings and endorsement of HRH Prince David Kaumūali’i Kawānanakoa.

“The significance of this talanoa for traditional leaders and its importance has yet to be realised.  Ever so thankful to the core of Oceania’s traditional leaders for supporting this initiative and, more so, to those who made it to this talanoa despite other commitments. This is a first!” said the Turaga na Vunivalu Ratu Epenisa Cakobau.

While in Suva, the leaders will participate in discussions centered around important topics for the Forum. These include defining objectives, roles, and protocols, as well as considering the significance of regional platforms for traditional leaders in promoting cultural exchange and mutual understanding.

The collective efforts of the Pacific Traditional Leaders Forum and FestPAC will serve to bolster regional unity and cooperation, address shared challenges such as climate change and sustainable development, and the vital role of traditional leadership in contemporary society. 

The gathering coincides with Fiji’s 2-day Great Council of Chiefs meeting which starts tomorrow at the Yatu Lau Lagoon Resort, Pacific Harbour.

The gathering is supported by  Pacific Community’s Culture for Development unit, and Kami Pasifiki.

Photo: Supplied

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