NAWAKA has lost a true and humble leader with the passing of its chief, Ratu Manasa Qoro Naevo, on Sunday morning.
Earlier this year, this newspaper published an article about the late chief who defied racial barriers and adopted two poor children of Indian descent.
The two — Mohammed Fazil,10, and his eight-year-old stepsister, Shazia Nisha — are treated like any of the late chief's grandchildren and spend time at the chiefly bure at Nawaka.
Ba Provincial Council chairman and Taukei Navo Ratu Meli Saukuru said Ratu Manasa's death was a huge loss to the vanua of Nadi and for the Ba province as whole.
He said the late Nawaka chief was a humble leader who never discriminated against anyone, regardless of their race or religion.
"He accepted people of all races in his village and he led by example in everything he did," Ratu Meli said of the late chief.
"The Tui Nawaka never questioned or neglected any calling or request made by the vanua of Nadi or the Ba Province.
"He will be sadly missed by his people likewise by those who personally knew this great chief."
In an earlier interviewwith the late chief's wife, Viniana Qoro, she said the late Tui Nawaka was humble towards the poor children who became their own.
"I am so glad that my husband, the Tui Nawaka, agreed to my request of supporting these children," Mrs Qoro said.
"We look after their education, we drop them in the morning and in the afternoon we pick them up and we also provide them with everything we give our real grandchildren.
"It is unusual for a commoner to enter the chiefly compound in Nawaka, even the village kids are told by their parents not to enter the chiefly compound anyhow unless authorised because it is against our culture. We are so thankful to the villagers for supporting these two kids. They are now residing with us and they don't want to go back to their families."
Ratu Meli said the province would present its reguregu this week before the burial next. Wednesday.