Mai Kana hover

Mai Kana — 2019

Fostering climate change awareness through food.

Fiji, along with its Pacific neighbours, is already experiencing the worst effects of climate change. While grassroots efforts have rallied local communities to create climate change resilience, regional cooperation is needed to ensure these efforts are successful.

I had the privilege of participating in an Unbound study trip to Fiji, where I worked in a small team to research and generate ideas for an initiative targeting the issue of climate change in the South Pacific. Over two weeks we visited the villages of Waivaka and Namatakula, meeting with grassroots activist groups Kai Ni Cola and Rako Pasefika, as well as the Pacific Island Development Forum. The project culminated in a final report, video and competitive pitch.

Drawing on community engagement and our own experiences, we prototyped and tested a cultural dining experience called Mai Kana – meaning 'come eat' in Fijian. The event was designed to foster cross-cultural awareness, empathy and collaboration to address climate change in the region.

Challenge

Fiji, along with its Pacific neighbours, is already experiencing the worst effects of climate change. While grassroots efforts have rallied local communities to create climate change resilience, regional cooperation is needed to ensure these efforts are successful.

Approach

Drawing on community engagement insights and our own (brief) experiences, we designed a dining experience called Mai Kana – meaning 'come eat' in Fijian. It aimed to foster cross-cultural awareness, empathy and collaboration to address climate change in the region.

Prototype

We tested the concept with a prototype dinner, where we prepared meals with local ingredients and facilitated an open conversation around five topics. Each topic foregrounded the present and emerging impacts of climate change in Fiji and the South Pacific, highlighting insights from the individuals and groups we spoke to.

The experience gave us a blueprint for facilitating our own conversations about climate change, and communicating our learnings to people in our own communities with the view of mobilising further action on the issue.

Watch the project video by Chelsea Abbott

Mai Kana
Mai Kana slideshow-1
Acknowledgements

Supported by
Unbound & the New Colombo Plan

Thank you
To our new friends in Waivaka and Namatakula for welcoming us into their homes and sharing their knowledge.

I acknowledge the Cabrogal people of the Darug Nation, the traditional custodians of the land where I live and work. I pay my respect to their Elders past, present and emerging.

© 2021