High chance of Makogai to become a heritage site

January 30, 2024 12:27 pm

Makogai Island

The Department of Heritage, under the Ministry of Heritage, and Arts, is still in the process of researching and collecting information about Makogai Island, in the Lomaiviti Group.

This has been highlighted by the Director for Heritage, Sipiriano Nemani, saying there is potential for Makogai to become another heritage site in Fiji.

This is because of the island’s rich historical landmark from the remaining Pacific leprosarium from the 1900’s.

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However, Nemani says it is not an easy job, as it requires continuous research and strategies to mitigate potential threats.

“You know Levuka took 20 years to be listed as a World Heritage Site, but that’s at the world level. At the national level, it might be less strict, but we need to do our background research because of the many things that can impact the site. For example, climate change, sea level rise”

Nemani says currently, the Fiji Museum, under its POAPI Act, has the right to submit to its board the declaration of the site but work is still in progress.

[Makogai Island]

“So that act it gives power to the minister responsible for the museum sites that are of archeological and paleontological significance, and currently Makogai fits that category, so the museum is currently doing background research, among other things, to get that through its board first. Once the Fiji Museum Board approves, we can submit it to the minister for declaration.”

The Department of Heritage will be working closely with other relevant stakeholders and the government on Makogai Island to declare it a heritage site in the near future.