Fiji is noted for its beauty and benign climate, its history of religious pluralism and tolerance, and its freedom from some of the worst excesses of environmental disturbance. Naitauba Island, located in the Northern Lau island group, is blessed with great natural beauty and tranquility.
When Avatar Adi Da Samraj first arrived in Fiji in 1983, he was struck by the signs of cooperation in the way Fijians lived. From the day of his arrival, Avatar Adi Da expressed great respect and appreciation for the traditional cultures of Fiji, which exemplify many of the values that Avatar Adi Da embraced. Avatar Adi Da asked his devotees to study the traditional customs of respect in Fiji, and to meet and approach our new neighbours in the traditional way.
While Adidam devotee residents from around the world serve the island’s sacred functions and attend to the needs of visiting retreatants, local staff also play an important role at Naitauba. The island is a significant employer and contributes substantially to the regional economy. The roads, buildings, farm, gardens and utilities are maintained by staff from neighbouring islands and villages in Cakaudrove province and elsewhere in Fiji. Skilled positions such as mariners, carpenters, electricians, mechanics, plumbers, farmers and other trades are much in demand on Naitauba. Local staff include Fijians of various ethnicities and religious faiths, who live together in an atmosphere of tolerance and harmony that is often remarked upon by visitors to the island.
Local permanent staff and their families number about 120 people and are accommodated in a village-like residential complex a short walk from Naitauba’s retreat facilities. Amenities provided include a church, a large community hall, and a new school building which doubles as a cyclone refuge. All buildings are well-constructed, with electricity and running water. The primary school enables the children of our employees to obtain an education without leaving their homes to attend schools on larger islands.
Read more about the new Naitauba school
Naitauba has a resident medical doctor and a professionally-staffed medical clinic that caters to the needs of all residents and staff and helps victims of medical emergencies from neighbouring islands when possible.
The worldwide membership and sacred organizations of Adidam have invested considerable resources in Naitauba since 1983, and the economic benefits to Fiji are felt well beyond the island.
Due to the regular flow of visitors from around the world to transit points such as Taveuni, Suva, and Nadi, Naitauba rivals sizable resorts in the money Adidam members spend on their visits to Fiji.
To support the continuous construction and maintenance on the island, materials, equipment, and specialized skills are sourced from throughout Fiji, and an office employing as many as ten local staff members is maintained in Suva for purchasing and shipping.
In addition to the benefits Naitauba offers as employer and source of visitor revenue, local communities in Northern Lau receive regular support from Adidam members on behalf of Naitauba. Particular emphasis is on schooling for children and on projects that support traditional values and customs. Since 2005 Naitauba has supported a much-valued scholarship program to enable students from Naitauba and Kocoma village in Qamea to attend secondary schools elsewhere in Fiji. In addition, the Dau Loloma Scholarship Fund, established in Avatar Adi Da’s name, helps needy secondary students in Vanuabalavu with school expenses. Many textbooks have been donated to Vanuabalavu schools, and annual awards for scholastic and sporting achievements, traditional crafts, and home gardens are given to both primary and secondary students. Over the years, donations and technical expertise have helped develop village water supplies, purchase a community boat, and construct new school buildings on neighbouring islands.
Naitauba’s agricultural facilities include reservoirs and irrigation systems as well as large vegetable and ornamental gardens, greenhouses and extensive fruit orchards. Naitauba’s steady demand for fresh produce also benefits farmers in Taveuni, where Naitauba staff have helped train and support more than twenty-five farmers to convert to organic farming methods and to provide produce for Naitauba as well as local resorts.
After Cyclone Winston caused extensive destruction in 2016, Adidam members and friends donated funds for the construction of a reinforced school building on Naitauba, engineered to Category 5 cyclone standards, which doubles as a cyclone shelter for staff and their families. Naitauba also made donations to the Prime Minister’s National Disaster Relief and Rehabilitation Fund after cyclones Winston and Tomas and to the Fiji Red Cross Society after cyclones in 2020-21.
In anticipation of rising sea levels due to climate change, all significant new buildings on Naitauba are being constructed at higher elevations. As an example, the new school / cyclone-refuge and a large new storage building were recently constructed well above sea level. A New Zealand engineering firm has been assisting with infrastructure design and site planning at higher elevations.