The Garrick family donated 430 ha of rainforest in the Wainikavika creek catchment to the National Trust of Fiji in the early 1980s. Research in the Garrick Reserve has shown that it has a remarkably diverse lowland rainforest flora and is one of Fiji’s most important, but least recognised protected areas. The Reserve is situated 7km inland from Navua Town, in Namosi province. The National Trust of Fiji was entrusted to protect the Reserve as a significant part of Fiji’s natural heritage, and to develop the area for recreation.
With NatureFijiMareqetiViti, NTF have carried out extensive research on many native forest species and created protected populations of critically endangered species such as the Nanai (Fijian Cicada), Soga (Fiji Sago Palm) and the Niuniu (Navua Palm).
The lack of a public road access and lack of resources has meant that the NTF has never been able to open the reserve to the public. Today the reserve is under increased pressure from illegal entry, free roaming cattle and invasive weeds.
In an effort to access resources to be able to actively manage the Garrick Reserve and protect the surrounding ecosystems, the NTF together with partners NatureFijiMareqetiViti and the Department of Forestry Fiji, have proposed a new concept for a national Park in the area.
Nanai (Fijian Cicada)
Wainikavika National Park
A NATIONAL TREASURE
Freshwater ecosystems are a precious resource as less than three percent of earth’s water is fresh water, and less than half of that is available as a liquid, the rest being stored as ice in polar caps and glaciers.
Fiji’s forest and its associated freshwater wetland habitats hold over 99% of Fiji’s endemic biodiversity. It is vital that Fiji takes responsibility for the protection and conservation of its biodiversity which are ‘to precious to lose’.
The proposed Wainikavika Rainforest National Park will protect over 800 hectares of significant lowland forest flora and three important terrestrial habitats – lowland rainforest, freshwater streams and freshwater wetland. The concept was first presented by the National Trust for Fiji and NatureFiji-MareqetiViti in 2011, with the proposed National Park extending the Garrick Memorial Reserve southwards to the Calia Dam above Navua town.
Forestry Department has commenced discussions with all landowners of the properties adjoining the Garrick Reserve. This provides an opportunity for the inclusion of private and itaukei landowners for a more sustainable configuration of the National Park. Active management will address pressures from illegal entry, free roaming cattle and invasive weeds.
The Navua East Reservoir – left – view from spillway; right – upper reaches cloaked in water lilies in a spectacular forest catchment.
The proposed National Park will enable public access to the Dam and Reserve, forming a rare opportunity for the public to engage in hands on forest conservation and enjoy recreation activities. With the high rate of cruise liners to Suva, the National Park will provide a major attraction for cruise liner passengers.
The principal recreational attractions of the Park will be:
- water based recreation on and around the dam
- camping sites
- trekking and nature trails in the rain forest
- rain forest interpretative and educational centre
- elevated picnicking sites with magnificent coastal and inland views
The Garrick Reserve is not open to recreational visitors.
Research requests may be submitted on the Research Permit Application Form.