The Fiji government and the High Court have halted a major resort development on a Fijian Island after extensive environmental damage was revealed by a Newsroom investigation. The Chinese developer was brought to his knees by the efforts of local landowners, two Australian surfers and a Kiwi-born lawyer.
They thought they had bought their own piece of tropical paradise.
In 2015, Australian surfers Woody Jack and Navrin Fox purchased a 99-year lease on an acre of land on Fiji’s beautiful Mololo Island.
They gave a share to a friend, Ratu Jona Joseva, a local who runs a business ferrying surfers out to the world-renowned Cloud break. Joseva lives in the island’s main village and is from one of the three clans that own land on Malolo.
Jack and Fox had surfed the break many times and fell in love with the area. They were in no hurry to do anything with the land which could only be accessed by boat at high tide. Longer term they had plans to build a small number of eco-friendly houses, and maybe offer accommodation to surfers.
Last year they got a phone call from Joseva saying something was up. A Chinese developer had moved onto the land next door and was ripping the place apart.
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