THE people of Vuda performed an emotional traditional ceremony at Nadi International Airport early yesterday which brought tears to the eyes of relatives of the late Adi Sainimili Tuivanuavou.
The coffin of the half sister of the late statesman Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara and famous champion golfer arrived on a flight from Los Angeles and people from all walks of life were at the airport to witness the traditional i vakasobu, led by Taukei Sawaieke, Ratu Tevita Momoedonu.
He later explained the vanua of Vuda had traditional ties with the people of Lau.
Ratu Tevita said Adi Sai and her family had contributed immensely to the development of Fiji.
"We the people of Vuda express our deepest sorrow on the passing away of Adi since the vanua of Vuda has close traditional links to the Tui Nayau family," he said.
"We are here to pay our respects and strengthen our family ties."
Adi Sai's youngest son Ratu Edward Tuivanuavou thanked the people of Vuda, saying he was touched by the ceremony.
He said his mum had left a vacuum that could never be filled but he was glad to have made her proud.
"I am saddened but I know I made her proud after successfully graduating with my commercial pilot certification to repay her love and struggle during my school days," he said. Adi Sai was 66 and is survived by her three children.