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Rabi islanders are proud of their traditional canoes which they still use today as a mean of their livelihood.
They continue to use canoes for fishing in a bid to keep their culture alive.
More than 50 Rabi islanders who are Banaban descendants spent the Diwali long weekend in Savusavu.
They were part of the three-day Consort Outrigger Regatta.
It was a weekend full of fun, paddling and sailing competitions at the infamous Savusavu Harbour.
Savusavu Town skies were lit up with fireworks from the Diwali celebration and in front of the harbour at the Savusavu marina, there were feasts of entertainment and spectacular island night dances to entertain participants at the regatta and members of the public.
Savusavu stood true to its name as the ‘Hidden Paradise’ and everyone united in festivity.
Meanwhile, the Rabi islanders brought with them two traditional canoes for the regattas which were shipped by Consort Shipping Services on board the MV Sofi.
Group spokesperson, Biara Touakin said Banabans came across from their island with a group of dancers and two canoes to showcase at the regatta.
Mr Touakin said it’s important to revive the traditional arts and skills of building canoes and maintaining them.
He said the younger generation should be taught these art and skills including the traditional way of navigation.
“We are privileged to showcase our culture through this regatta and the group was happy.”
“Since this is the first time for us to attend such a regatta, we intend to be better prepared in other shows like this one,” Mr Touakin said.
The canoes exhibited by the Banabans are only used for fishing activities and not for sports competitions.
“Such canoes have built our island’s economy as people rely heavily on it for fishing and transportation.
“It is also environmentally friendly because we do not use fuel and do not spend money on fuel,” he said.
Nakama Bay Savusavu Outrigger Paddling Club president Susan Wiek said spectators had the rare chance to see the traditional paddling and sailing canoes from Rabi for the first time in Savusavu waters.
“The Banabans showed their beautiful costumes and dances with island food, music and entertainment,” Ms Wiek said.

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