Archival preservation methods will soon be used by traditional crafters to preserve masi. This development emerged when Veitinia Lesuma Chung and Mereoni Chung visited the National Archives of Fiji (NAF) to get a better understanding of what we do. Originally from Somosomo in Taveuni Mrs Chung says that the Archives has allowed her to become more aware of how she can better maintain her masi (bark cloth)collection. “I call myself a traditional artist and the processes, the ideas I got from your Conservation Unit using the Japanese paper, distilled water, and the drying rack I will try this on refined masi. If I can try and preserve it for longer that will be so good! Just amazing, you people do such great work here.”
She will be using the archives to build her knowledge of masi, and is eager to bring other masi experts to learn what NAF has to offer . “I work with masi and I am always interested in learning about other masi designs. Your library has some books that I have not read and I will be back for them. I will definitely bring back other women to visit the Archives.”
Daughter Mereoni Chung an Anthropology student at the Australia National University echoed her mother’s sentiments saying that after all that she had witnessed it gave her a sense of hope and inspiration. “After completing this tour I have this feeling of hope, hope that the talanoa sessions we usually have can be backed with evidence, there are materials here that can verify claims to things that have happened. We can connect the dots. The records provide the back up to history.
“My last visit here was in in high school and I thought the place only held political records. I didn’t realise what you had here. After meeting up with Opeta and Jim in Canberra and the discussions we had on their work, I made it a point to visit when I was in Suva. It is just amazing to know that we have avenues to research on what we need to know.”