4 May 2006

Call for laws in Pacific to protect artefacts

1:49 pm on 4 May 2006

A New Zealand-based Fiji archeologist is urging Pacific countries to consider passing legislation to protect valuable cultural artefacts.

Tarisi Vunidilo says New Zealand's Antiquities Act that protects Maori treasures could be a model for Pacific nations.

She says and in Fiji there is a policy under Home Affairs that's aimed at protecting artefacts.

But she says customs and immigration officials need to understand the policy and recognize those cultural artifacts leaving the country and being onsold overseas at premium prices.

"So in the case of Fiji we do have something similar to the antiquities act here, but I think it needs strengthening. And I think a lot of legislation in the Pacific needs reviewing, and needs to be enacted more strongly."

New Zealand-based Fiji archeologist Tarisi Vunidilo.