File name: Journeyman




Nav: You can get the police; there is an injunction on this land.




Developer: Doors!




Male: All without permits, no foreshore permits. No, no nothing.




Nav: Mate just get away, get away, just get away!




Nav: I didn’t come here for this. I’m living in Fiji.




Mel: The crystal clear waters of Malolo Island Fiji.




Mel V/O: We’re going to the site of Fiji’s biggest resort development. A development that’s caused serious environmental damage.




Nav: Last year we heard that the Chinese developers had, um, sort of bought the land next to us, and moved in and um…




Mel V/O: Australian Navrin Fox and local Fijian Jonah Jasiva, and another surfing mate, own the land alongside the Chinese development.










Navrin (off): You know when we rocked up we weren’t really ready, Jonah had filled us in a little bit, but along here, like we are here at high tide right now, but yeah was two or three excavators out here, were just digging up the reef. There was excavators in where our beach used to be um with like hydraulic fluid going everywhere and um, just going hell for leather.


… All without permits, no foreshore permits, no nothing, you know, Fiji’s Prime Minister is so strong on um his stance against the environment being wrecked, you know, he’s really big in the UN, and it’s awesome what he’s doing, it’s just that in his own back yard I don’t think he really understands how much Fiji is getting wrecked by what these developers are doing.



Mel:  And tell me about the channel that they’ve dug out here?









Nav: We worked out it was about five thousand square meters of reef that they’ve dug out and they’ve stock piled it over on their land. And then they’ve also, you know, built this make shift sort of piece of land in front of what used to be our beach, about thirty meters of illegal reef is there.


And then they’ve made a road through the mangroves around the corner to access their land and make a road base, because it used to be all mangroves and mud. Cause their land has no access, they’ve bought land with no access.




Mel: So what did they do about that?




Nav: They’ve just taken over our land.




Mel: And did you hit them up about it?




Nav: Yeah, yeah, I spoke to Dickson Peng a while ago and…




Mel: And he is the um, head of this development?




Nav: He is the Director of the company, Freesoul Real Estate Limited. Basically he told me, you know, fuck you we are taking it anyway. We are taking your land.




Mel: Ok, so this is it hey?




Mel V/O: The surfers own the land on the other side of the red gates and behind the black mesh fence to the right, this is what it looked like before Freesoul claimed it.




Mel: So the high tide mark was here, is that what you’re saying?




Nav: Yeah the high tide mark was here. And that’s illegally dumped reef.




Mel: So they’ve just come in and done a full take over?




Nav: Full, full takeover, full goliath takeover. Yeah.




Mel: So tell me how they can put this fence up there? And say no trespassers?




Nav: They shouldn’t be allowed to do it; they’ve got no approval to do that.




Developer: What?




Mel: After being here for, well, not very long, a Freesoul representative came out, to confront us.




Mel: Have you met Nav? Nav? This is Nav; Nav owns the land beside here.




Representative: No.




Mel: Yes, he does.




Nav: So let’s go over onto out land which is on the road over there.  So can we go through the gates to our land?




Rep: No photo. No. No.




Nav: But this here is our land.




Rep: This here, this here.




Nav: This is not your land. This is not your land.




Rep: No.




Nav: But this is not your land.




Rep: This here? This is Dickson.

Nav/No it’s not. It’s not Dickson.

Rep: No.




Mel: Dickson is Dickson Peng, the Director of Freesoul Development.




Nav: Don’t! It’s not Dickson land.

Rep/ You come here, Police.

Nav: You can get the Police. This is there, you can get the Police, there is an injunction on this land.




Rep: Come (to colleague)

Nav: I’m allowed!




Rep: Close! (Scuffle)




Nav: its ok, we go around now.




Mel: The Fijian courts have now deemed that Freesoul is not entitled to have this fence and gate because it blocks public access to the foreshore. For Navrin Fox the only way through is around the back.




Rep: Policeman will come.

Nav: You get off our land. You get off our land.

Rep: No! No!

Nav: You get off our land. You get off our land. Get off our land.

Rep: Why!




Nav: Get off our land.

Rep: Why you come here?

Nav: This is, this is our land.

Rep: No our land.

Mel: Stop it!

Nav: This is our land. Go away, get off. Get away. Get away.




Nav: So this is the kind of shit we’ve got to deal with.




Mel: You’ll notice to the left, the black stakes, that’s the boundary of the surfers land. Freesoul has also chopped down most of their trees here.




Mel: Ironically this part of their land is behind the Freesoul gates.




Mel: You ok Nav?




Nav: Yeah I’m fine. You know, that’s full on but it’s, it’s our land, like…




Mel: So to come here, and have this guy push and shove you?




Nav: It sucks, you know? It’s, you know. What do you say? You know? I didn’t come here for this, I’m in Fiji. You know I’ve come here to have a look at the land that we’ve invested in, and doing the right thing with a Fijian family, it’s devastating.




Nav: And he’s standing over there now with a metal bar, like, what’s that all about? What’s he going to do? Like come onto our land and start hitting us with it? Like, he’s, like, what the fuck?




Nav: Like, look where they’re, look we’re on our land now, and look where their fence is.




Mel: Yes, you can ask me.




Local Fijian: I wanted to ask you back in New Zealand if you own the land, does anyone have the right to stop you from going to your land.




Mel: Of course not. I don’t know anywhere, if you own the land that someone can stop you going on the land you own.




Mel: So what do you think about this Jonah?




Jonah: Doesn’t look so good eh?




Mel: So this is the dead reef is it?




Nav: Yeah this is the dead reef. So you can see it, you know, it’s all…




Mel: Wow.




Nav: You know, that’s, there’s just tons, hundreds and tons of dead reef further in in their property, um, where they’ve just got it stockpiled to, to, I guess extinguish the mangrove forest. And build biurets for tourists.




Nav: Just devastated, devastated for the Fijians and for Fiji, foremost. Just thinking how can this happen? How can, you know, a company just come in from any part of the world and do this?




Nav: I guess I feel like I’m living next door to a lawless monster. Someone with no respect for anyone else accept for money. You know? Greed governs.








Subs voice: The land got eyes, got mouth, got nose. If you play up on the land, the land is going to play up on you.




Mel: The local people of Fiji’s Malolo Island want the world to know they are crying for their land.




Mel: The only way to get a good look at that land, the site of the massive resort development, Freesoul, is from the air. Three hundred and fifty bures were planned here, many of them to sit over the water.




Mel: Obvious is the illegal reclamation of the foreshore and beach.




Mel: The dredging and smashing of an estimated five thousand square meters of reef to build a boat channel. Then illegal roads built on the foreshore using that dead reef.




Mel: There’s the gashes through the mangroves, destabilization of the hillsides causing excessive silting, and raw sewerage and rubbish going into protected seaside areas.




Mel: A few drones previously flown over the site have crashed and there are rumors that the developer has an electronic jamming system, but the threats to our drone was less sophisticated.




Mel: Workers try to knock it out of the air by throwing rocks at it.




Mel: It’s seven thirty pm and the chief has called, having navigate the reefs in the dark we arrive at Solevu Village, for a meeting of the elders.




Mel: It’s a big deal to get this invitation.




Elder (with subs): We heard your voice from the telephone.




Mel: Telephone.




Elder (with subs): So in reality you’re sitting in front of us. So thank you very much.




Mel: Thank you for having me.




Mel: The chiefs at Solevu Village are from the land owning unit Yavusa Tom Berry.




Elder (with subs): We’ve got our papers here, from the order from the court.




Mel: They too have a court injunction against Freesoul over the land ownership and sale to the Chinese as well as to stop Freesoul working on the site, to stop the damage to the environment.




Elder (with subs): we thank you so much for coming. It’s the things have been coming from the court, and they never respected it for three times. Court order has been given to them, they they never respect it.




Mel: they’re referring to Freesoul ignoring stop work orders, and the government is not doing anything about it.




Elder (with subs): Regardless of the three still they, disobey. So they walk over us.




Mel: they walk over you?




Elder (with subs): Tomorrow is the big day that we’re going to go to the site.




Mel: The plan set, they’re going to front up to Freesoul and they’ve invited us to go with them.




Mel: And the ladies?




Elder (with subs): The ladies too are going to go to show the world that we are really crying for our land.




Elder (With subs): We will do it tomorrow. For the sake of our generation coming up. We want justice.




Mel V/O: Early morning we meet the boats from the village. They say Freesoul has no right to stop them going onto the site. Nor should there be any gates blocking access to the foreshore.




Elder: We’ll see them with the leader here.




Mel V/O: Armed with placards and documents from the court, the people from the village want to re assert their ownership of this land and ensure that any further desecration of the area is immediately stopped.




Elder: These Chinese people who stopping people who come for getting crabs, fishing, shh, fishing, yeah, they are stopping the right of the people from the village.




Mel V/O: Collecting crabs has also become a health hazard.




Fijian Woman: Where they put their toilet, is right on the mangroves where the ladies go and catch crabs.




Mel: Ok. So the raw sewerage is going into the mangroves where the crabs are?




Fijian Woman: Yeah.









Elder: They’re rubbish and they are dirty, they shit everywhere, they don’t even use the, when they come to the village they shit everywhere in the bush. They never use the toilet, it was ah, which was ah, given to them. In the school area, and on the other side of the village. They do that.


They chose there next to people.




Mel V/O: The people here are met by locked gates, and Imani, he is the local Fijian Director for Freesoul.




Male: We don’t have time for him; he’s the only one, look around.




Imani: I don’t care, you can go.










Mel: I’m not going because my information is…

Imani: Oh you want the police come here?

Mel: My information…

Imani: You want the police to come here?
Mel: Yeah and I’ll give them this.

Imani: Arresting you?

Mel: Do what you like; I’m not worried about the police.




Imani: We know the law Fiji, you don’t know the law Fiji, you white man.

Mel: I don’t think you know the law of Fiji.

Imani: No.




Mel V/O: Imani is also the man responsible for selling the Chinese developers the lease. to say his right to do that is under contention is an understatement.










Mel: How have you got the right to dig this channel out?

Imani: The law says that, the piece of land? No, no, no, this is not your place. You’re not, not a Fijian. I know Fijian law. You don’t know Fijian law.

Mel: I’ve learnt a lot about Fijian law.

Imani: You don’t respect this law.

Mel: No. I think that you don’t know Fijian law.


Imani: My land, my law says, my piece of land, and the foreshore, the fishing area is mine, it’s mine.

Mel: No.

Imani: That is mine.

Mel: That is not what I said.

Imani: That is mine, go back, go back to New Zealand.







Mel: Tell me why Freesoul is being prosecuted?

Imani: You talk to the lawyer.

Mel: No but why are they being threatened, why is Freesoul being prosecuted?

Imani: He’s got money, he’s got money, he is going to pay everything.

Mel: Who has got money?

Imani: We have money.




Mel: Oh, so that’s all about the money.

Imani: Yes. This lot got money.




Mel V/O: As became quite typical on the story, Freesoul was doing as much if not more filming than our film crew.




Mel V/O: The police eventually arrive and calm the situation down and the villagers agree to leave without going onto the site, and wait for the court’s decision.




Mel V/O: We continue filming but are constantly harassed by Freesoul staff in boats.




Mel V/O: This was repeated later on when our cameraman Hayden Aull went under water to film damage to the reef. A Freesoul boat went over the top of him. You can hear it.




Mel V/O: Hayden retreated to a pole just in case.




Mel V/O: While the man working for Freesoul security asked for our ID.








Mel: Pardon?

Security: ID card yeah.

Mel: ID card? For what? Swimming?

Security: For taking photo.

Mel: Yeah but not for you. I don’t need to give you an ID card.




Mel V/O: And on it goes.




Security: Yesterday you guys were…

Mel: Listen, I don’t have to tell you anything I do.




Mel: Then the usual Freesoul threat of involving police.

Security: The Police will come.




Mel V/O: Who we would in fact encounter the very next day.








Mel V/O: After three days if filming on Malolo Island we head back to the Mainland.




Mel V/O: Our attempts the damage being caused by the construction of Fiji’s biggest tourist resort have proved eventful.




Rep: You get off here.

Nav: Mate, mate, get away. Get away!




Mel V/O: Employees of the developers Freesoul had tried everything they could to prevent us filming.




Imani: Oh you want the police to come here?

Mel: My information…

Imani: You want the police to come here?

Mel: Yeah and I can give them this.

Imani: Arresting you.




Mel V/O: We take a small boat instead of the Ferry to the Mainland to avoid attention.




Mel V/O: And then travel three hours to Fiji’s capital, Suva.




Mel V/O: First stop Freesoul’s head office in Fiji.  It’s a public office in Suva’s main street.




Mel V/O: Previous attempts to get hold of its director Dickson Peng have ended in the phone being hung up, so we are hoping to find him here.




Mel V/O: There is no one in the reception area so we pop into the office.




Mel: Hi…we are trying to find um, Dickson Peng. Is he here?















Staffer: Mam?

Mel: We are here to see Dickson Peng about the Malolo Island development? And the environmental damage that’s being done there?

Staffer 2: No I’m sorry but you will need to make an appointment.

Mel: Ok.

Staffer 2: Then you can ah, you can see him.

Mel: When will that be?

Staffer 2: I think he’s, he’s not here.

Staffer (off): He’s not here for meet you.

Mel: He’s not here? He’s not in Suva?
Staffer: Yeah, that’s all I’m, ah, I can tell you.

Mel: Cause we just wanted to talk to him about the situation there.



Staffer: What’s, what’s the situation?

Mel: Well the all the work that’s been done without environmental approval.

Staffer: I think the matter is in court. And, ah, we’ll leave it as it is.




Mel V/O: Take particular note of this man, a former Fijian Army officer who worked for Freesoul, he’ll play a further part in this story.




Staffer: We will not answer any more questions on that. As we might be breeching a court order.

Mel:… Ok.




Army Office: Staff only.




Mel V/O: We leave the office in what seems pretty much a nonevent, but as they say anything can happen in Fiji. And that nonevent will soon become a rather big event.




Ken Chambers: So the court will make a determination on those issues.




Mel V/O: We interview kiwi lawyer Ken Chambers. Who is representing the Solevu Village and the surfers with the land adjoining Freesoul.




Mel V/O: When there’s a knock on the door.




Mel V/O: Outside is the man from the Freesoul office, he watches as a policeman tells us we need to go to the station. The allegation, criminal trespass.




Mel V/O: We are being taken in by police for asking questions at the Freesoul office a few hours earlier.







Mel: Ok, so the police are down there, you’ve been down, I’m just coming back, I’ve just told them to wait because I’ve got to pack up all my gear. So they are saying I’ve got to go to the police station for criminal, criminal what is it? Trespass.

Ken: Trespass. Trespass yeah.

Mel: Ok. So, ha, welcome to Fiji.

Ken: Yeah.




Ken: It’s, what they’ll do is they’ll assess his evidence, and yours and I’ll guarantee you’re charged.








Mel: What does that mean?

Ken: You’ll be charged with criminal trespass.

Mel: And I won’t get out of the country?

Ken: Well you might end up in, for, in police lock up for overnight. Could happen.

Mel: Right.




Mel: This is a bit silly…




Mel V/O: Back downstairs, the policeman who has been patiently waiting with our producer Mark Jennings wants to get going. Notice the Freesoul guy is still creeping around across the road. No prizes for figuring out who got us arrested.




Mel: But we are not in trouble?

Policeman: (Laughs) Not much, not much.

Mel: No not much.




Mel V/O: This is Suva’s Totogo Police Station. Which we’ll see a lot of over the next thirteen hours.




Mel: Cameraman Hayden Aull secretly records what he can, initially we are aloud our phones so I text newsroom and get hold of the New Zealand embassy in Fiji.




Police Officer: … after that you’ll sit down on that side.




Mel V/O: We’d be in this room for hours on end as police interview Freesoul staff.




Mel V/O: Eventually we are taken to a holding room where we spend the night on the floor.




Mel V/O: Early the next morning things move pretty fast, our first visitor is the commissioner for police himself, he’d had a phone call from none other than Frank Bainimarama and we are released.




Mel V/O: An hour later we are picked up by a police motorcade, and taken to parliament because the Prime Minister wants to apologies to us for being detained.




Mel V/O: The unanswered question was why did police act on such a self-serving complaint from Freesoul and why had it attracted the most important people in Fiji?




Mel V/O: Our meeting with the Prime Minister starts with him asking how we knew about the Freesoul development story.














Mel: Because my son is a surfer.

Prime Minister: Oh, Ok.

Mel: So he goes there surfing. And he stays at the village. And they say we are in big trouble with all these bad things with the environment happening.

Prime Minister: Anyway, that’s not really what I want to talk to you about, the Minister for Environment and I are sorting that out.

Mel: I hope so.

Prime Minister: Oh yes yes yes.

Mel: I’m very worried about it.

Prime Minister: Don’t worry, let…

Mel: Let you worry.

Prime Minister: In good hands. Let me worry.

Mel: Promise.

Prime Minister: Promise.









Prime Minister: I have made a statement last, I think about two months ago… I don’t know.

Mel: Tourism Awards.

Prime Minister: Tourism Awards ah!

Mel: Yes. I know.

Prime Minister: Oh, ok.

Mel: Very good speech.

Prime Minister: Yes.




Mel V/O: This is that speech.




Prime Minister (with subs): The any developer from anywhere in the world, let me say this, if you intend to destroy or forever degrade our environment, you are not welcome in Fiji.













Mel: What was it you say, if you don’t abide by the Fijian laws…

Prime Minister: Out. You’re not welcome.

Mel: Yes. You’re not welcome here.

Prime Minister: And that’s why there are two cases in court.

Prime Minister: All I wanted to tell you this morning is how disappointed I am, and the people of Fiji, we are outraged by what transpired, because we want assistance of ah, the help of ah, our allies in press reporting, about what has been happening in Fiji with regards to environmental issues.

So ah, before we leave, I want to take you down and have some morning tea. But I just want to apologies on behalf of the people of Fiji. For what transpired.





Mel: Thank you.

Prime Minister: Thank you. Thank you.




Mel V/O: Within one day of that morning tea the Fijian Government has effectively stopped the Freesoul resort dead.




Mel V/O: Government officials have revoked Freesouls environmental permits because of the repeated breeches of its conditions.




Mel V/O: And then this week at the high court hearing an injunction at the high court in Suva, an injunction to stop Freesoul working at the resort site became something entirely different.




Mel V/O: Instead with the environment permits gone, the High Court ordered Freesoul to pay the costs of restoring the land and foreshore, the mangrove forest and the reef to its original condition.




Mel V/O: So after more than a year of fighting, the voices of the people have finally been heard after just a few days of extraordinary activity.




Mel V/O: The Chinese resort is highly unlikely to proceed ever.






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