Coral Coast, Fiji, 31 July 2015 – Shangri-La’s Fijian Resort and Spa in partnership with the National Trust for Fiji Islands (NTF) will hold a charity benefit in August to raise money for the Sigatoka Sand Dunes National Park.
Shangri-La’s Fijian Resort & Spa General Manager, Craig Powell, said it was an honour to be involved in the project as the Sigatoka Sand Dunes represented such an important part of Fiji’s archaeological and national heritage being the site of what is now regarded as one of the first landing spots and settlements of Fiji. “It is a privilege for us and we are so proud to be involved with this project as this not only represents an important landmark for our district but also an important heritage site for our destination,” Mr Powell said.
With a theme of “Sands of Time” the event will pay tribute to the rich archaeological history of the Sigatoka Sand Dunes which was declared a national park in 1987 and it remains Fiji’s only national park to date.
“In planning this event with my team we would like our guests who attend this to take a journey back in time with us to experience a feast of authentic Fijian culture and culinary delights,” Mr Powell said. “Without giving too much away we will include quintessential Fijian things such as a full yaqona ceremony and as far as possible our culinary team are looking at the evolution of Fijian food in our communities from some very simple dishes to more complex presentations and techniques in food preparation. “While we do have a very specific goal in mind to raise much needed funds for our national park we would also like people to walk away with a greater awareness of the richness and diversity of Fijian culture and history. “In this sense we feel very connected to this project as our hotel has been from the outset essentially a Fijian product, and we strive to continue this tradition of an authentic Fijian experience for all our guests as the world has become so homogenous in outlook,” Mr Powell said.
The Sigatoka Sand Dunes National Park has been shortlisted as a World Heritage Site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation. The much need funds will go towards essential upgrading such as the construction of proper perimeter fencing around the Sigatoka Sand Dunes. Most recently the Sigatoka Sand Dunes received a donation of F$30,000 from the Bilo Bar Club Trust the members of whom are returnee guests at Shangri-La’s Fijian Resort & Spa. “Our Bilo Bar Club members decided at their Annual General Meeting late last year that they would pledge the money towards this project and for that we are extremely grateful,” Mr Powell said. “Our Bilo Bar members have been coming to Fiji for decades and have made an immense contribution to our community here on the Coral Coast and to the economy of Fiji. “They are like family to my team and consider this place their second home.”
The National Trust for Fiji Islands currently protects a total of 14 heritage sites within Fiji. Of these 14 sites, five are natural and four are cultural, while the remaining five are community conservation projects facilitated by the NTF. The NTF is a statutory body jointly funded by the Government of the Republic of Fiji, as well as independent and multi-lateral donors. It was established in 1970 to provide for the protection of Fiji’s natural, cultural and national heritage and works closely with its other counterparts, the Fiji Museum and the Fiji Arts Council.
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