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PNA mourns Fijian journalist Robert Matau

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by October 11, 2016 Billboard

The Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PNA) is sad to learn of the passing of respected journalist Robert Matau from Fiji.

(Friday 7 October 2016) Robert Matau started reporting on regional fisheries issues in 2010, as a journalist with regional magazine Islands Business, under the leadership of the late Laisa Taga. He was intrigued by the PNA as a Pacific organization run by Islanders and about the ongoing battle of the Pacific Islands to negotiate a fairer fishing treaty with the United States. His series of articles interviewed leaders from the Pacific and foreign fishing nations and he was the first to publish on several controversies and policy changes regarding regional fisheries. [restrict]

From 2014 until his passing, he worked for the PNA to compile Tuna Market Intelligence, the first fisheries economic news service written by Island journalists, and acted as PNA reporter during key international meetings such as the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission.

Robert Matau also encouraged other journalists to report on fisheries and economic issues and to stress the human costs of mismanagement of fisheries. He provided memorable talks to colleagues about his own family’s experience of fishing and the consequences of the decline of fish stocks in Fiji, relating this experience to developments at the regional level.

At a PNA-sponsored media workshop in Fiji in 2014, Robert not only contributed significantly to the formal sessions, but hosted the participants by providing a round of kava at the home of a friend with a spectacular view of the ocean and surrounding Lami, Suva producing a memorable occasion for all participants.

He is also known for his reporting and commentary about Fijian culture and social issues such as climate change and has written for the Fiji Times, Fiji Post, and others during his distinguished career as a journalist.

PNA CEO Ludwig Kumoru said: “We are shocked and dismayed to hear of the passing of Robert Matau, who worked with the PNA up until his last days. He will be remembered for his excellent writing and investigative abilities, his camaraderie with fisheries and media colleagues and his sharp wit. On behalf of all those working with the PNA, I would like to pass on my deepest condolences to his wife and children at this sad time.”

“We will remember Robert Matau for his writing, which encouraged Islanders to protect culture and their environment, and his personal integrity. He had said that the Fijian culture had values of humility and generousness and he certainly embodied that in his relationships with his colleagues and friends, being humble despite his numerous achievements. He will be sorely missed.” [/restrict]

 

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