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The Lau lagoon is home to a number of different villages, the largest of which is Forau. Forau has around 1500 permanent residents but can swell to three times that number during important local feasts or religious holidays (e.g. Christmas, Easter). The Lau Lagoon is accessible only by sea, it has no roads or airstrip. The closest road ends at Manu some six kilometres south of Forau.
There are six tribal chiefs who share the responsibility of governing the lagoon in cultural matters. One of these chiefs is considered the 'paramount chief.'
The people of Lau Lagoon were forced from the hills by one of the many aggressive tribes located in the highlands, and their land rights in the area are heavily disputed. Because they do not have an ancestral claim to this land many families live on man made islands. These islands were formed literally one rock at a time, and they are an amazing sight to see. A family would take their canoe out to the reef which protects the lagoon and then dive for rocks, bring them to the surface and then return to the selected site and drop the rocks into the water.
Most people living in this area are subsistence farmers, growing small crops of taro, kumara (sweet potato), bananas, coconut and kale. Seafood was once plentiful, but it is becoming harder to come by due to pressure from international fisheries. The Lau Lagoon is locally known for its annual harvesting of the dolphins. The dolphins are used as a food source, and only select tribes may participate in this activity. The dolphins are driven onto the beach by men who surround the pod in dugout canoes and interfere with the dolphins ability to navigate by banging specially shaped rocks together under the water. When the dolphins are beached men and women slaughter them and process the carcasses. None of the dolphin is wasted, even its teeth are used in highly valued 'red money' necklaces and headbands.
The Lau Lagoon has a number of churches, and is in the Anglican Parish of St Marks. In the southern end of the lagoon is a small village called 'Odo' which is strictly Roman Catholic.
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