CLIMATE change has forced the reunion of a tribe once separated by tribal wars and gruesome cannibalism 135 years ago.
Rising sea levels over the past two decades which has affected settlements in the Yasawa and Mamanuca groups have sent more than 80 families from Malolo, Waya and Viwa islands to Namotomoto in Nadi, reuniting families divided by tribal warfare.
Land space issues at Namotomoto have also forced some of the climate-affected families to move into temporary squatter settlements at Vitogo and Tavakubu in Lautoka.
According to yavusa Nadi member of Namotomoto Village in Nadi, Tomasi Naulumatua, the effects of climate change faced by their blood ties in the Yasawa and Mamanuca had brought them back together.
Mr Naulumatua said relatives in the islands approached them for a place to settle as a result of rising sea levels caused by climate change.
“We, the Botiluvuka clan of Namotomoto, cannot sit back and relax while our blood ties, the Vucunisai clan of Malolo, Waya and Viwa islands, are facing problems,” said Mr Naulumatua.
“Because of this issue we have planned for the reunion and relocation of our brothers and sisters from the islands to our ancestral yavutu (land) in Nadi.
“Our relatives in the islands have approached us saying they want to settle in Nadi because of the impact of sea level rising and the lack of space in the islands.
“We are looking forward to the day when all the clans will settle at our ancestral home near Denarau Island.”
Mr Naulumatua said members of the yavusa Nadi were scattered during the dark early days when tribal warfare was rampant and cannibalism rife.
“This is a reunion after 135 years. Although it is being brought about by climate change, we believe it is in the best interests of our people that we reunite and welcome our family members back to their original home,” he said.
“The yavusa Nadi scattered during the colonial era after being clubbed and driven from our land by the conqueror of Kuilau tribe, Navula, before the land was sold to foreigners.”
A letter of confirmation from the iTaukei Land and Fisheries Commission stated yavusa Nadi consisted of the Botilivuka clan of Namotomoto and the Vucunisai clan who now reside on Malolo, Waya and Viwa.