Sustainable Forest Industries Limited
of Fiji

Genuine Big Leaf Mahogany (Swietenia macrophylla) from the well managed plantations of Fiji

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SFI, Ltd.
PO Box 1119
Nabua, Fiji Islands

Meet Peceli Tuisawau

My fathers held the land in trust for me, 
and I must hold it in trust for my children.  

I have to respect the land and the resources there.  
It is an opportunity for my family and my people.  

I want to make sure that this gift from the land 
is enjoyed by many generations to come.

--Peceli Tuisawau

We would like to introduce you to Peceli Tuisawau, chief of the Sema clan.  The Sema clan consists of 43 families, nearly 200 people in total.  About 30% of the clan is scattered around Fiji, but over 70% still in live in the village or in the communally held forests.  The clan territory includes both coastal and forest land, with the village near coast.  Mahogany logging employs 23 people at this time.  Other villagers work in local resorts, but most rely on subsistence farming and fishing. 

Peceli Tuisawau was born in 14 July 1957, in the countryside of Fiji.  His father was a solider as well as the clan chief.  

He was the second of  8 children and had to stop his education after high school because they had no money for him to continue.  He joined the police force in 1975 and served 8 years.  

He left the police to assume the role of his clan's investment counselor.  He wanted to develop the clan resources better, particularly in the areas of tourism and forestry.  

In 1989 he joined a Taiwanese logging company and worked for them for two years and then moved onto other logging work.  

In 1998, he set up the national landowners association for the development of the Mahogany resources, and headed it until the fall of 2002 when he was hired by Fijian Hardwood Corp (FHC) as Landowner Liaison.  He was recently appointed a director of FHC.  As Landowner Liaison, represents the interests of nearly 80% of the Fijian landowners, a very important role.

Peceli is married with two children and has two grandsons.  His eldest daughter works as a clerk, while his son heads to college to study business.  His personal interests include rugby (he once played against the New Zealand All Blacks as part of Fiji's National team) and diving.  

He says that the first priority for using the money from the Mahogany will be for health care.  He says, "we need better sanitation in the village; clean running water and a septic system.  I would also like to get a doctor closer, or at least to visit regularly.  The nearest doctor is 30km away."  He also hopes to repair some of the communal buildings and houses.  
He also promises that some of the money will go towards educating the village youth.  He spoke seriously, "they need more education then I have.  My son will be chief someday and he is going to college to learn business.  This is the new world and they need new and better skills.  We need to educate our children.  We have a good teacher in the village, but without funds, no one will get more education then the village school."

When asked what message he had to the world, he replied, "Thank you for appreciating the Fijian Mahogany.  The Mahogany will help build up my country and my village.  You can know that it will help at the lowest level.  It is not a product where the profit stays at the top, it comes down to my people and makes a real difference to the quality of our lives.  

"Please come to Fiji and see this for yourself.  You are welcome in our village."

Click here to see pictures of Peceli's village.

SFI, Ltd.
PO Box 1119
Nabua, Fiji Islands
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