Environment and development
in coastal regions and in small islands
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Coastal region and small island papers 10
Chapter 6

A proposal for data gathering and needs analysis

by David Choulai 
and Kaia Varona

After 120 years of Western-style development in the National Capital District, the Motu Koitabu people find themselves in a situation where they are no longer the custodians of the land, no longer fully involved in the economy of the day, and where they no longer govern themselves.

In pre-contact times the community gave its help and support to clan members; this ranged from the construction of a house to the sharing of food. Coupled with the systems of marriage payments, mortuary rituals and peace ceremonies, social development was well advanced. Social services included herbal and spiritual healers, and schooling for young males and females to learn the legends, rituals and laws governing society as well as practical survival skills. By all accounts, Motu Koitabu life during pre-contact time was well organized. People had natural resources that they extracted from their land, and the clay for the Motuan cooking and storage pots is one example. This enabled the people to take part in economic activities such as the annual Hiri trading voyage, as well as trade between Motu and Koitabu, and with the Hula people. Traditional native spirituality recognized spirits of the land as well as ancestral spirits together with magic rituals and practitioners: spiritual development existed prior to the arrival of ‘nao taudia’ (the Europeans).

Woman washing on the pier, Hanuabada village

With the coming of the Western cash system, Motu Koitabu involvement in the economy and their participation in the development of the NCD were marginalized. At the heart of this issue is the question of land. The little land that has been left to the original inhabitants is either under dispute, inhabited by squatters, its ownership in the hands of a few, or it is of such poor quality that it is unusable. With little land, few ideas for its utilization and limited access to finance its development, the Motu Koitabu people are merely spectators in the development process.

The presenters conducted an interactive session with the participants whereby they asked them to visualize their own communities in the past, how they are now and how they might look in the future. Some of the visualizations were then discussed and analysed. The need for partnerships in future development, between the Motu Koitabu, city planners, government bodies, private developers and others, was emphasized and a proposal was outlined (see Box 2).


Project proposal: development plan for the Motu Koitabu living in the National Capital District

The objective of the project is to conduct a data collection and needs analysis survey and to formulate a development plan for the social, political and economic development of the Motu Koitabu people living within the boundaries of the NCD.

The project beneficiaries include all Motu Koitabu people living in urban villages; city planners who are responsible for the delivery of social services such as water, sanitation, garbage collection, healthcare and education; and local, district, provincial and national government bodies, investors, business owners, tourists, researchers, aid donors and consultants.

Phase 1. Data Collection

Trained data collection teams will visit each councillor’s area to conduct population surveys, socio-economic surveys and ‘Needs and Problems’ identification sessions with the people. These will include health, education, law and order, youth, women, economic, land, sports and recreation issues. Teams will also visit appropriate government departments and institutions to gather data, reports, studies and surveys on community issues. Part of this exercise will involve the inspection of existing health, education, law and order, and sporting infrastructure to identify maintenance needs and costs.

The outcome of Phase 1 is the production of a socio-economic database on the Motu Koitabu.

Phase 2. Preparation of a Strategic Plan

The formulation of a strategic plan for the development of the Motu Koitabu people will include data entry and analysis using a software package such as Access; the formulation of strategies and actions based on the ‘Needs and Problems’ identification sessions with the people; and the preparation of plans.

The outcome of Phase 2 is the production of a document on Motu Koitabu development strategies with specific plans originating from and approved by the people and their representatives, the Motu Koitabu Council. The document will include a cost estimate and an implementation schedule.

Phase 3. Securing Funds

Various institutions will be approached including the Motu Koitabu Council, the NCDC, Tabudubu Pty Ltd, the Department of Provincial and Local Government Affairs, aid donors, the Tainui Tribe and the local community.

Once funding is secured, project implementation will commence.


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