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It’s Summer in Aotearoa, as we start to experience changes in the weather. There is sunshine and rain, filling the atmosphere with warmth and humidity. Time for outdoors activities of planting, camping, picnics, cycling and sightseeing. The surroundings natural world is buzzing with life filled activities, as birds flock together, rivers are filled with water and plants start to grow. It is a time for holidays and travel for families, to visit and reconnect with loved ones. But we must remember our roles as stewards of the earth, and the Tangata Whenua creation story of Papatuanuku as mother earth, and who created earth, its living creatures, and its people. We have evolved, and through our domination, power, and progress and in the name of growth we have created changes to nature.

Rekindling the Va of the Papatuanuku, is understanding and recognizing what are the real root causes of climate changes. As a Church we have decided to stand up and face its realities by forming a committee known as the Climate Justice Working Group. The group has been meeting and last year we formulated a plan with the approval of the Conference. It is a 10-year strategic plan for the Church to deal with Climate change issues. The first 2 years we are now focusing on the topic of “Zero Waste”. Parishes and Rohe are working toward this theme with their own implementation plans. The group is also working on a Climate Justice Calendar which is now being distributed. It is in English/Te Reo, Tongan, Samoan and Fijian languages and will sell through the connexional and Mission Resources Offices for $15 per copy but for bulk orders of more than 10 copies it will be $10 each.

On the World stage, weather changing in desert Countries of the United Arab Emirates is causing chaotic disaster. Recent floods in Dubai, Qatar, and Oman last October, signified the changing pattern of the weather. As I watched the news, it occurred to me how luxury cities with tall buildings, highly technological, and sophisticated cannot evade the changing of weather. Severe weather occurs as we disturb nature and its stability. The World Leaders have been meeting through COP 26 but “there are a lot of talks but no actions” as former Fijian Prime Minister, Mr Frank Bainimarama and former President of the Group puts it.

There was a recent presentation by Dr Maina Talia of Tuvalu at Trinity College with the topic GOD IS NOT GOOD SOMETIMES. In a video clip he shared it showed ocean waves crossing the island from one shoreline to another. These are normal waves when there is a high tide. I was stunned and sad at the time, remembering, our islands are much bigger back in Fiji. Fijian Islands the size of Tuvalu is usually uninhabited. I am glad the Fijian Government is offering assistance for climate change migration. But Climate Change migrants ask an important question, “Why should we leave our island where we have lived since our beginning?” Is this injustice their fault?

Well, it was great to hear that Pacific Leaders in their recent forum at Rarotonga. They had formulated a few key resolutions to address Climate Change issues in the Pacific. A framework known as the Pacific Partnership for Prosperity provides a platform for bringing changes to the region through the Pacific Resilience Facility for donors and contributors. The World Bank has been quick to step in to provide soft loans to island nations of the Pacific. This is to address Climate Change issues or major development for basic resources.

Last week, Cyclone Mal struck the Fiji Islands, as it is the cyclone season from November to April. There was no major damage, but some hotels and tourist accommodation received minor damages. The Nation was closed for 2 days, to restrict movement and travelling. On the local scene, the Wasewase ko Viti kei Rotuma, has agreed earlier to celebrate “Green Sunday” in March, as it is harvesting season. We will allocate a Sunday, to gather all our harvest from our backyard gardens for a thanksgiving service. All these produces are later distributed to the poor, elderly, and Church elders. For Zero Waste, each Parishes have their own plans which we will revise in our next Executive Meeting in March next year.

The Climate Justice group would like to remind you all, to continue rekindling that Va of Papatuanuku. We wish you all a merry Christmas and Prosperous New Year.

Tomatoes plants nurture for Green Sunday in March 2024