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Suliasi Vunibola

Doctor of Philosophy, (Development Studies)
Study Completed: 2020
College of Humanities & Social Sciences


Thesis Title
E da dravudravua e na dela ni noda vutuni-i-yau’ - Customary land and economic development: case studies from Fiji.

There is an assertion within Pacific island culture and customs, that communally held land is an impediment to development. Mr Vunibola’s research sought to challenge this by determining how indigenous Fijian communities have been able to utilise their customary land to establish models of economic development. The qualitative methodology involved a novel combination of culturally aligned research approaches based around the Vanua Research Framework and action research. Three case studies were conducted on businesses involved in agriculture and tourism. The study found that customary tenure and cultural values can support socially embedded economic activities in the Pacific. It reinstates the inherent value of customary land as an intergenerational resource aiding self-determined and inclusive development, including economic activities that provide holistic returns to communities.

Professor Regina Scheyvens
Professor Nick Roskruge
Dr Litea Meo-Sewabu