1 year of fieldwork

Just got back into Fiji on August 23rd 2016. Here for one year of fieldwork, till August 2017. This could be extended to December 2017 which naturally hinges on progress in fieldwork. Specifically, on my ecological surveys of Marine Protected Areas that are established for 100 nights following burials. 100 nights is a little over three months and I need to survey at least five of these Funerary Protected Areas (FPAs).

First things first. Before starting fieldwork, I had to have a catchup of local, fresh food. This called for a trip with my wife to the local market in the capital on Saturday  (August 27th at around 6am). Oh the abundance of fresh food which are way better priced than in Hawaii. 

Things we got:

  1. Lumi wawa (seaweed) that will be blanched in hot water, doused in coconut milk and topped with chilli. To be had with cassava.
  2. Lots of vegetables 
  3. Also got ready made kokoda (raw fish that had been marinated in lemon juice, now swimming in coconut milk with chilli). A container of ready made octopus lunch, similar to the kokoda was next to it. So, can’t buy one without the other. Lol. Also got cooked cassava to go with it 
  4. Underground oven (lovo) baked Grated cassava for breakfast

The meals that followed this market trip was some of the best meals we’ve had in a while. It takes getting us out of the country for 2 years to 


Research in Fiji’s newspaper

News article below was in Fiji’s newspaper, The Fiji Sun (August 14th 2016)

Page 22

#cost, #data, #death, #economics, #fiji, #funeral, #indigenous, #itaukei, #phd, #research, #ron-vave, #somate

First infographic release

Attached is an infographic containing preliminary findings of my research on ‘costs of indigenous Fijian (iTaukei) funerals in Fiji’.

Goals of this infographic are to:

  1. raise awareness on my research on funerals till 2018 or 2019 which can often be quite awkward,
  2. generate discussions and gather feedback and comments on infographic
  3. and equally important, to gather more iTaukei funeral financial data from across Fiji, from those who managed financials for their loved ones funeral. No pressure 🙂 If you’re willing to share funeral financial data with me, your name and the names of your loved ones will be, by and large, kept confidential. The only exception to this confidentiality clause is with the Universities Institutional Review Board and my Primary Adviser. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to email me at ronvave@hawaii.edu.

Given the possibility that images posted on Facebook, such as this infographic, often end up with a lower resolution and could therefore be unclear, I have uploaded a high resolution version of this inforagphic which can be downloaded from https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B7XJ8syUUvF8SWRvRm53dldMRFU/view?usp=sharing

Special Notes:

  1. These are preliminary findings
  2. They are based on a very small dataset (30 funerals so far). Thanks to those who have contributed funeral financial data for their loved ones and to those who have assisted in connecting me with those who have managed funeral finances.
  3. Very important, this preliminary findings contain only a very small part of my research on iTaukei funerals. The economics chapter of my dissertation will cover more than just monetary contributions and include non-monetary contributions as well (such as those from condolence or reguregu). It will also look at what funds are used for. Other chapters of my dissertation look at the iTaukei funeral sociocultural practice (and the changes, drivers of change etc); on the changes that occur in tabu areas (what I’m calling “Funerary Protected Areas”) that are established on the reef, river and/or plantation, following the burial of a loved one (Note: this is only a practice in some parts of the country, one that I’m still mapping); and on the harvest of the Funerary Protected Area. So, the important point here is that, while I’m only presenting preliminary results of ‘costs of itaukei funerals’ in this infographic, it is but a very small piece of this research and will, in the next few years be connected to the social and ecological aspects, that will make the story, somewhat whole.

Vinaka vaka levu, Mahalo and Thank you. God bless, ron

#cost, #culture, #economics, #fiji, #finance, #finding, #funeral, #indigenous, #infographic, #itaukei, #phd, #preliminary, #reguregu, #research, #result, #ron-vave, #somate, #vave, #viti

Government research on itaukei funerals


Yippee!! Finally got IRB approval on revisions

Finally received approval from the Universities Institutional Review Board (IRB) yesterday (Thursday, July 28th 2016, 3:33pm), on changes to my research methods/protocol which was first approved on October 23rd 2015. Changes include the use of an infographic and my blog to raise awareness on my research and through that process, find willing research participants and gather data as well. Mediums of sharing include Facebook, email and of course, via the blog itself.
Infographic has frequently undergone numerous transformation over the past 3 weeks and contains preliminary findings on ‘costs of indigenous Fijian funerals in Fiji’.
Over this past 3 weeks, the infographic was sent out to select people in Fiji and abroad, for feedback and comments. To those who had provided data for this infographic, Vinaka vaka levu, Mahalo and Thank you. Some of the feedback was used in the revision of the infographic while others were taken as advice on things to think about for improving dissertation (either in the data collection stage, analysis and/or writeup).
Infographic will soon be available for release.

#blog, #change, #funeral, #infographic, #institutional-review-board, #irb, #research, #research-protocol, #university-of-hawaii


Since finishing my Comps last Friday (July 1st) and passing (Woohoo!!!), Thank you Lord, I got straight into two things:

  1. Physical exercise in preparation for the qualifying tests for the Universities Scientific Diving course and
  2. Developing an infographic (my very first) on one small component of my dissertation chapter on indigenous Fijian funeral economics

The goal of this infographic is to visually share preliminary results (based on only 13 funeral financials) and in that process of sharing, generate awareness, interest and discussions. In this infographic, I’m also requesting for more financial information on indigenous Fijian funerals.

Examples of infographics.

Why am I resorting to an infographic?

  1. Because it seems like images and videos are shared widely via social media and I could get more reach that way, than blog only and/or directly communicating with people.
  2. Because visually presented information may stick better in peoples minds

The process now

  1. Draft 1 of infographic has been sent to my Dissertation Committee members and select people in Fiji to gather their feedback and comments.
  2. Infographic will be revised based on comments, followed by one more final round of feedback and revision
  3. Final infographic with explanation of revised  process for raising awareness and information collection, will be sent to the Universities Institutional Review Board (IRB) as an amendment to my previously approved research protocol
  4. Once approved by IRB, I’ll then post it here on my blog, share it on social media and email it widely to relatives, friends and former colleagues. Then it’s a waiting game in which I’ll start to draft other infographics.

#culture, #death, #fiji, #funeral, #indigenous, #infographic, #itaukei, #phd, #process, #research, #ron-vave, #vave

My steps to making a poster

I’m sure there’s many processes out there to making a poster. People have their own styles and preferences too which could make their process slightly different. Here’s my process and a web link to my poster.

Before starting on the poster, make sure to read the guidelines as given by the conference organizers. These would include things such as size or dimensions of poster, preferred format, fonts etc.

As to the software for making posters, it’s possible to make them in Microsoft PowerPoint and save them as JPEG or PDF. For this poster, I used Adobe Photoshop CS 6.

Okay on to the process for making my recent poster:

  1. Knowing my research and the audience, what are 1 to 2 key messages I’d like people to get from the poster?
    1. wrote this out in short bullet points
  2. Develop a catchy title based on key messages
  3. Using key messages (the bullet points), what visuals (graphs and images) do I need that could relay the key messages thereby reducing the amount of text I need
  4. Insert visuals into poster
  5. Start drafting text for each visual
  6. Each major change in text and visual, I saved as a new version. My original was version 1 and had v1 in the filename. 2nd version had v2 and so forth. I created many such versions because there has been instances before where, for example, I’m on 12th version of poster and figured that version 6 was probably better. So, it’ll be easier to revert back to that version. This would not have been possible if I only had one master file and kept on overwriting any changes made. For my recent poster, there was 13 versions.

By the 11th or 12th version, a draft was sent around widely for comments. Lots of great feedback was received so there was some more revision done. The looming deadline to print poster and have it put up in conference venue will help, push people like me, to wrap up changes and print.

Lastly, there is no one way to make a poster. They are as diverse as we are so choose whatever works for you.

Good luck!!

#condolence, #conference, #cpue, #cultural, #culture, #dalo, #diver-operated-video, #dov, #ecological-resilience, #economic, #fiji, #fiji-locally-managed-marine-area, #fijian, #flmma, #food, #fpa, #funeral, #funerary-protected-area, #harvest, #itaukei, #locally-managed-marine-area, #mats, #mpa, #natural-resource, #pacific, #phd, #plantation, #poster, #process, #reef, #river, #social-resilience, #socioeconomic, #south-pacific, #taboo, #tabu, #taro, #tradition