THE Government acknowledges that cultural heritage provides an irreplaceable identity for communities and individuals as it holds an intrinsic value for both the present and future generation.
Ministry of iTaukei Affairs permanent secretary Naipote Katonitabua said language, food, festivals, rituals, arts and traditions are important features of a community and must be safeguarded.
Speaking at the National Craft Exhibition 2018 in Valelevu, Nasinu today, Katonitabua praised the Fiji Arts Council for providing such platforms to local artisans so that they can continue making the crafts rooted in the indigenous culture.
He called on the youth, especially those in urban centres, to take note that the indigenous cultural ways were becoming extinct with transfer of traditional knowledge becoming a major challenge.
Katonitabua asked the younger generation to “take pride and allow” themselves to learn about their culture, origin- “who you are as a member of a Bitu, a tokatoka, Mataqali and Yavusa”.
On the exhibition, he said, “These events are held within the Central/Eastern, Northern and Western Division, and are an addition to the National Fine Art Exhibition, and the Regional Festival.”
Katonitabua said the most resounding success for the council was in relation to its work with the Ministry of Industry and Trade whereby 301 crafters had been issued a licence.
These licences, he explained, were “the establishment of benchmarks of quality and excellence for artisans as a stipulation of a Fijian made licence”.
“It is envisioned that through the development of the council website, you as artisans will be able to trade your artifacts online, this is an indication of many greater things to come,” Mr Katonitabua said.
The permanent secretary also handed over certificates to winners of the craft competition that was held yesterday and artisans from all over Fiji participated in the various categories.
British American Tobacco Company has been providing financial support to the council over the years.