Government of the Republic of Fiji
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
A Better Fiji through Excellence in Foreign Service
June 19, 2013: Fijian Prime Minister and outgoing chair for the Melanesian Spearhead Group has today emphasized on the need to keep Melanesian cultures and traditions alive.
The MSG leaders were today given a traditional welcome by the FLNKS ahead of the 19th MSG leaders summit.
FLNKS traditional leaders presented gifts and clothes including traditional wood carvings to MSG leaders at the Customary Senate in Noumea to show appreciation for hosting the leaders summit.
PM Bainimarama who was chief guest at the event thanked the traditional leaders of New Caledonia for keeping their traditions alive.
“This indicates to me that our rich Melanesian cultures and tradition has been sustained through generations and provides the cohesiveness that holds our people together,” PM Bainimarama said.
“It is both a privilege and an honour for me personally and I speak on behalf of all the delegates here today, that you have allowed us to share in your distinct and special kanaky cultural heritage by according us this customary welcome.”
PM Bainimarama highlighted that the culture and tradition of Melanesians is what sets it apart from the rest of the world. He added that work is currently being undertaken by the MSG to protect and preserve traditional knowledge of Melanesia.
“The MSG has developed initiatives under the treaty for the protection of traditional knowledge and expressions of culture to put in place measures that will protect and conserve our cultures and traditions whether it be expressions through folklore, song and dance, knowledge, art or flora and fauna,” PM Bainimarama said.
The head of government stressed the need to impart traditional knowledge to the younger generations in order for Melanesian cultures and traditions to thrive.
“The onus is on us to ensure its sustainability and the future generations will be able to proclaim that they still have a distinct culture and tradition,” PM Bainimarama said.
“Elders must impart traditional knowledge to your people and younger people should hear and keep it deep in your hearts.” “I emphasis here that traditional knowledge is intellectual property and one that cannot be learnt at an institution,” he added.
PM Bainimarama said the Melanesian Arts Festivals and other national initiatives has been designed with culture and tradition in mind.
“The Melanesian Arts Festivals and other initiatives are to capture cultural information. It is where traditional knowledge is acknowledged and encouraged,” PM Bainimarama said.
“We now have technology to do this and must full utilize this to our benefit so that our rich culture and tradition remains alive for many generations to come.”
Ministry of Foreign Affairs P. O. Box 2220 Government Buildings Suva, Fiji