Mr. Mark Belvedere has been funding “Rebuilding and Resorting the Kings’ Millennium Kalia Project” since 2004 and has invested up to $300,000.00 U.S. dollars in materials and expenses to maintain the project thus far as government unfortunately could not afford to honor the allocation nor the monetary deductions promised in order to support the project. The world economy, unforeseen and inevitable series of unexpected set-backs have occurred which all have added to the delay of the project. The search for the original long sized logs to fit the ancient design have been costly, all funded by Mark, and also a considerable amount of time has been lost due to the logs’ remote location in Fiji.
Changes to key Ministerial positions since 2004, the new democratic system of 2010 and vote of no confidence on the Prime Minister in 2012 all added to the delay of the project.
The Tongan government supports the completion of the Kalia project but lacks monetary funds. The cancellation of the TOP $10 million pa’ anga Aid by the NZ government to Tonga Tourism Bureau in 2013 completely put the project in jeopardy and to add to this, there were also other projects planned for the Tu’ imatamoana Waterfront, which is the area where the Kalia was located, as bought to our attention by the Ports Authority where the Kalia had to be removed and transported to another area in July 2013.
During 2013 until today, because of the many changes and growing pains of a new government system, the agreement celebrated by Mr. Belvedere and government is not being honored.
By finishing the project of rebuilding this cultural Kalia, Mr. Belvedere believes that he can expose the Tongans’ highly advanced sailing characteristics, as well as his theory that the Tongans, with their Kalias, were responsible for the great migration of the Polynesian people precisely because of their ability of sailing against the wind. And so, that the world can acknowledge and understand Tongas’ historical significance and maritime achievements. Furthermore, Mr. Belvedere wants to take this a step higher by, in the near future, entering the Kingdom of Tonga into the most prestige yacht race in the world, “The America’s Cup” with a high-tec version of a modern Kalia which his prototype has already proven to be viable as a serious challenge for the Cup.
Time is most valuable now because the Kalia needs sailing time preparation as Mr. Belvedere would like to see it participate in the South Pacific Games of 2019.
The people of Tonga will be the main beneficiaries as we believe that the”Rebuilding and Resorting the Kings’ Millennium Kalia Project” will have great impacts on improving Tonga’s economy; The America’s Cup mass media coverage will increase worldwide attention in Tourism; the realization of Tongan cultural identity; increase in historical and educational interests; and the introduction of a new innovative sailing technology. The world will discover the sailing history of Tonga, inviting them to partake in its’ maritime history for future use.
World interest towards Tonga will flow from tourists, sailors, ship building industry, historians, archeologists, green environmentalists, sustainability agents, cultural heritage agents and maritime educationalists among others.
It is now 2016 and Mr. Belvedere and all the persons involved in the Kalia Foundation have not lost faith in the current Tongan leaders as they are still determine to rescue this magnificent vessel.
The Kalia Foundation is now seeking funding to finish rebuilding the Kalia.
The budget estimated to complete this cultural Kalia project is NZD $200,000. With stable funding plus good weather, the project is estimated to take 12-14 months to complete.