$260k facelift for traditional house

Families from Levuka, Nabukelevu and Kadavu who have traditional ties to Viseisei, Vuda celebrate after the opening of the Nakelo House behind them. Picture: BALJEET SINGH

Families from Levuka, Nabukelevu and Kadavu who have traditional ties to Viseisei, Vuda celebrate after the opening of the Nakelo House behind them. Picture: BALJEET SINGH

VILLAGERS of Viseisei, Vuda last week witnessed the unveiling of yet another piece of history; the opening of the refurbished Nakelo House.

This traditional house, which belongs to the tokatoka (family unit) Nakelo, is more than 100 years old and cost $260,000 to rebuild.

Those belonging to tokatoka (family unit) Nakelo are the traditional kingmakers of the Tui Vuda.

Fijians with traditional ties to Viseisei from Nakelo, Naselai and Natogadravu in Tailevu, and those from Levuka, Nabukelevu and Kadavu gathered at the chiefly village to witness the opening.

The house is also known traditionally as Na Were Ni Vibuli (the traditional house of chiefly installation).

The original Nakelo House has traditionally installed eight paramount chiefs of Vuda, with the current chief Ratu Eparama Kitione Tavaiqia being the latest before the house was damaged by Severe Tropical Cyclone Winston two years ago.

During the official opening last Friday, Ratu Josaia Tavaiqia, from the chiefly clan in Viseisei, who was also the chief guest, highlighted the importance of maintaining the building which was considered a piece of history of Viseisei.

The house consists of a master bedroom which solely serves the chief during the four days and four nights traditional installation process where he will be under the full guard and service of his traditional kingmakers (sauturaga).

The opening of the house was a special occasion for the people of Viseisei.