New bylaw: Villages must approve for any new church


A proposed village bylaw in Fiji which is in draft form sets out a number of conditions to be fulfilled before a new church can be established in a village.

  1. The request must e submitted to the  village head man and discussed by the bose vanua (meeting of elders).
  2. The teaching  and beliefs of the proposed church must be in conformity with the iTaukei and the Crimes Decree.

The new law also requires that every registered village establish a religious committee which will consist of representatives from religious denominations within the village.

This bylaw is one of a number which are being proposed. The Permanent Secretary for iTaukei Affairs, Naipote Katonitabua disclosed them during the Tailevu Provincial Council meeting in Nausori on October 26.

Katonitabua said there were 20 subtitles of the village by-laws and would include a dress code and attending a village meeting.

The village bylaw is focused on safeguarding traditions and culture within the iTaukei communities, particularly within villages. In accordance with iTaukei Affairs Act, Cap 120, the By Law is enacted to:

  • Ensure that traditional leadership is upheld, respected and protected;
  • Maintain law and order, harmonious and peaceful living in the village;
  • Ensure that hygiene, sanitation and environmental standards are maintained; and
  • To preserve, safeguard and strengthen leadership, culture, tradition and the vanua to encourage community responsibility.

Katonitabua said they will ensure everything within a village boundary was regulated.

“Any person may enter the village as an individual but once they come within the boundaries of the village, they are bound by the bylaw,” said Katonitabua

Over the next eight months a nationwide consultation to discuss the content of the village by-laws will take place.




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News category: Asia Pacific.

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