Ana Karavaki’s Personal Experience with NatureFiji-MareqetiViti

Ana thought work with MareqetiViti would be just be another job. Two years later and she realized it has opened her eyes to a whole new world.

Ana Karavaki started work as housekeeper with NatureFiji-MareqetiViti in early 2011. She was recently interviewed by Kelera Macedru, MareqetiViti’s Membership Secretary.

When asked about her experience working with MareqetiViti, Ana was quick to explain how surprised she was to have learned so much about things she had had only the slightest idea about. She had never realized how unique Fiji’s animals and plants are.

In fact she had never really realized that Fiji had any animals and plants which are not found elsewhere in the world. The idea of an endemic species was quite new, and she was happy to learn that Fiji is recognized globally for its endemic flora and fauna.

Ana Karavaki with Swee Kok, NFMV Member and volunteer at the Garrick Reserve
Ana Karavaki with Swee Kok, NFMV Member and volunteer at the Garrick Reserve

This understanding was especially significant coming from Ana, an indigenous Fijian who has spent all her 45 years of her life living in Fiji. Most of what she knew about Fiji’s wildlife was learned through small talk around the grog bowl and other get-togethers and it was hardly worth a mention. But today Ana values Fiji much more highly because she has a better understanding of its special biological diversity.

One of the many species that fascinates her is the Fiji Petrel, a bird that she had only heard about via various social gatherings, as well as through a locally composed song about the bird, often played through the local radio station. Now, while working with MareqetiViti she been able to learn first hand from the researchers all about the significance of this species as Fiji’s only endemic seabird and its very vulnerable survival status. Also significant to her now, as an indigenous Fijian, is the apparently limited traditional knowledge that is now available to the present generation about Fiji’s wildlife.

Ana Karavaki (left) with the NFMV team
Ana Karavaki (left) with the NFMV team

Ana has been keen to assist with projects when she can and recently she was in the Garrick Reserve with MareqetiViti members weeding the stand of Soga – the endangered Fiji Sago Palm which has been established there.

She has developed a keen interest in the bat projects undertaken by MareqetiViti which she has learned about through discussions with the project officer and reading the awareness material which the project has produced.

Ana’s general interest enable her to learn quickly about MareqtiViti’s programmes, and she is fast becoming a very valuable ambassador of MareqetiViti to the general public.

As a membership conservation organization, MareqetiViti has had the support of over 400 members during the first 5 years of its existence, providing information, practical activities, volunteer opportunities to as a large a number of people as a developing organization with very limited resources could possibly have.

Feedback received from members and friends such as the story with Ana, has been one of the biggest strengths that has kept MareqetiViti going and growing since our establishment in 2007. To all members and friends of MareqetiViti, Vinaka vakelevu for your continued support!