A CEREMONY of strengthening blood ties and a renewing of kinship took place between the Lee Wai family and their maternal relatives from Valelevu Village in Batinikama outside Labasa this week.
The solemn iTaukei ceremony of the kau mata ni gone was an emotional event as the fourth generation members of the Lee Wai family renewed ties with their maternal cousins who are related to them through their great grandmother.
Against the backdrop of the Three Sisters Mountains outside Labasa, the Lee Wai families from as far as Hawaii, Australia, and around the country were at Valelevu for the ceremony.
Valelevu family representative Ilisoni Waqa said the visit was a sign of the existing strong blood ties.
Mr Waqa, 59, said the event was a joyous one for the mataqali Raranimeke since it was their second reunion.
"The Lee Wai family are related to us through marriage since their mother, our aunt Meliki Vuniwaqa, married their father and grandfather Lee Wai Chung whose descendants have gathered here to renew their blood ties with us," said Mr Waqa.
Proud Lee Wai family representative and former soccer star Gordon Lee Wai said he felt at home seeing his siblings from across the globe enjoy the ceremony with their children.
"It is so good to be home again among my own people," said Mr Lee Wai.