Story | 19 Feb, 2024

Kiwa: Guardian of the ocean inspires project name

Buried under the Pacific Ocean, there lie hidden worlds of wonder and surprise.

Like the Kiwa Initiative, which aims to build resilience of Pacific Island communities from the impacts of climate change, the volcanoes and hot vents beneath the waves remind us of nature's power and the importance of caring for our environment.

Kiwa, the divine protector and guardian of the ocean and its mesmerising inhabitants, according to Polynesian mythology, tenderly cares for everything dwelling below the surface, from colourful coral reefs to fascinating marine creatures.

As a manifestation of the profound bond between the people of the Pacific Islands and their environment, Kiwa sets an outstanding example of guardianship and responsibility.

Pacific Islanders as Environmental Caretakers

Pacific Islanders have always maintained a profound connection with their environment, inherited from their ancestors. This bond finds expression in the form of traditional ecological knowledge, practices, and beliefs that dictate sustainable interactions with natural resources.

Examples of these traditional ecological practices include rotational agriculture, managed reef fisheries, and sustainable forest management. Rotational agriculture involves alternating crop cultivation and fallow periods, allowing nutrients to replenish naturally and preventing soil erosion. Similarly, controlled reef fisheries use geographic closures, size limits, and gear restrictions to maintain the sustainability of fish stocks and marine ecosystems.

Inspired by the name Kiwa, protector of oceans, the project name ‘Kiwa Initiative’ was established. The project aims to help Pacific Islanders take care of their environment and deals with problems caused by climate change. They make it easier for communities to access money for projects that protect nature and share knowledge about the best ways to manage climate change issues.

People in the Pacific Islands have always had a special connection to the ocean and its creatures. By learning about Kiwa and the Kiwa Initiative, they can remember their duty to protect the environment and its resources. Stories about people who make a difference can inspire everyone to do their part and become better caretakers of the land and sea.

Just like the guardian Kiwa, we can all work together to keep our world healthy and strong. By learning from each other and sharing ideas, we can build a better future for ourselves and the Pacific Islands.

About the Kiwa Initiative

The Kiwa Initiative – Nature-based Solutions (NbS) for Climate Resilience aims to strengthen the climate change resilience of Pacific Islands ecosystems, communities, and economies through Nature-based Solutions (NbS), by protecting, sustainably managing, and restoring biodiversity.

It is based on an easier access to funding for climate change adaptation and NbS for local, national authorities, civil society and regional organisations of Pacific Island Countries and Territories including the three French overseas territories.

The initiative is funded by the European Union (EU), Agence Française de Développement, Global Affairs Canada (GAC), Australian Government Department of Foreign Affairs and (DFAT) and New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT).

The Kiwa Initiative has established partnerships with the Pacific Community (SPC), the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) and the Oceania Regional Office of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

Kiwa Initiative logo and donors and partners