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Senimili Dainaki hails from Saqani Village in Cakaudrove Province, on Fiji’s second-largest island Vanua Levu.

The village’s low-slung location along Natewa Bay is picturesque but rising seas have led to painful discussions within the Saqani tribe about the possibility of relocating into the highlands.

For Senimili, connections to the environment and connections to her ancestors are intricately linked: “My elders taught me to always think of others and not only about me. They taught me to take care of the marine environment for the sake of those who depend on it.”

This dynamic is most clear in the interrelationships between her forebears and the village’s youth: “A good elder is one who have good values in all aspects of their life and teaching the younger people of the importance of these values.” 

At age 27, Senimili’s dedication to the marine environment takes the form of a degree in marine science, and work with an international volunteering organization called ‘Projects Abroad’, based in Pacific Harbour.

A good ancestor to future generations