Tribewanted Goes Live as First-footers Land on the Fijian Island

Only 5 months after launching Tribewanted, the first members have landed on the island and are now living and working alongside the real life indigenous Fijian tribe.

(PRWEB) September 28, 2006 — In April of this year 2 young entrepreneurs from the UK began www.tribewanted.com, a global search to create the world’s first online and offline tribal community. Only 5 months later, and with nearly 1000 members already joined, 13 first footers from the US, the UK and New Zealand recently landed on Vorovoro Island and took part in a historic ceremony as two tribes were united in paradise.

One of the founders, Ben Keene, commented from Vorovoro Island: “Today has been like nothing I have experienced before. It is difficult to put into words. The traditional ceremony that was led by the Mali people here in Fiji to welcome and accept the Vorovoro tribe, represented today by 13 first footers, was full of passion and belief in what we are doing and achieving. To see over 100 local people and tribe members link arms and celebrate this unique partnership was incredible. To be able to present the tambua (whales tooth) to Tui Mali as our sevusevu (gift) was the greatest honour of my life. On the basis of today’s experience it is set-up to be an adventure of a lifetime for all involved”

Shortly before the welcoming ceremony began, and within minutes of the First Footers landing on Vorovoro beach, the elected tribal Chief, Warren Wright (tribal name ‘Poques’), from London, opened the island’s first composting toilets and asked for 3 willing volunteers to ‘christen’ them! The design of the toilets were voted for by the tribe just 2 weeks ago and the local team finished putting the seats on just 30 minutes before the first footers landed.

Chief Poques then presented Tui Mali with a wood carving of Vorovoro Island on behalf of the tribe before his elected deputy, Doug from Arizona, presented a selection of books that each tribe member had brought with them for the local school. The aim is to have created a library by the end of 3 years.

After the traditional kava ceremony and meke dance, the first footers and local Fijians ate a Lovo, a feast of pork, chicken, beef, fish and vegetables that was cooked in an underground oven. The rest of the afternoon was spent chatting with new-found tribal friends and setting up the camp. Cold beers at sunset ended a perfect day, and signified the beginning of a new kind of partnership; one between an online tribal community and an indigenous tribal community.

Warren Wright as elected tribal chief, in his speech to Tui Mali: commented “Thank-you for an opportunity of a lifetime. We promise to protect your island environment and respect your traditional culture. We embrace your hospitality and feel part of your family. We are one tribe!”

Tui Mali in his response to the first footers landing commented: “Normally there is a line in the sand. On the one side are tourists and on the other are Fijians. On Vorovoro today there is no line. We are one community and we will live, work and play together. You are generating employment in our communities, education in our schools and happiness in our homes. Bula Vinaka (you are very welcome)”

Ben Keene continued: “September 1st really does see the culmination of so many peoples hard work and when I look back now at what we started in April I still have to pinch myself to truly believe what we have achieved so far. The great thing is that when I came to Fiji to start preparation work the local communities had all heard about what we are trying to achieve and have been amazingly supportive, from skilled building work right through to guidance on how to best get things done, they have been fantastic. Even though many of them don’t understand the internet, they understand what it means to be part of a community more than any of us. I hope we can show the world the respect and tradition that these people uphold.”

Jo Tuomoto is the marketing manager of the Fiji Visitors Bureau, who have been supporting tribewanted since April said the following about the 1st September launch, “It is very exciting and it is all now about a dream turning into a reality, we’re extremely excited for the North of Fiji where tourism is sparse”.

The whole purpose of Tribewanted is for the online tribe to work in partnership for 3 years with the neighbouring island tribe to build a sustainable island community. At the end of the 3 years, Tui Mali and his people decide on the future of the project, they will own the entire infrastructure on the island. The www.tribewanted.com website now has a full community section where voting takes place on every aspect of what goes on.

The launch in April was a huge success with media from around the globe wanting to know more to the extent that Ben was flown out to the USA to appear on a number of TV shows including NBC Today, Reuters News and Good Morning America.

Tribe members are joining all the time from around the world. This week Ben Fogle, castaway star, adventurer and island-lover, got in touch with Tribewanted and said he would like to join the tribe and come out Fiji.

Ben Fogle commented: “Its fantastic to see what these guys have achieved. I can’t wait to get out to Vorovoro and help out. It’s a brilliant project!”

Membership to the tribe is still available and is being sold on a first come first served basis via www.tribewanted.com and tribe members are now able to reserve their stay on the island using the online community section.

There will be no more than 100 people on the island at any one time and the joining fee will cover food and accommodation on the island for the period of their stay, pick-up from the local airport in Fiji, and access to the www.tribewanted.com community throughout their membership.

The money will also support local education and environmental projects in the island’s neighbouring villages. There are 3 types of membership to choose from:

Nomads – 1 years membership of tribe + 7 nights stay on island> £120
Hunters – 2 years membership of tribe + 14 nights stay on island > £240
Warriors – 3 years membership of tribe + 21 nights stay on island > £360

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