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Fiji and the first landing

Avinesh Gopal
Tuesday, January 29, 2013

IT has been taught to students and others alike for ages that the first Fijians landed at Viseisei.

But the people of Vuda District in Lautoka now say they have evidence that Viseisei was not the first landing spot for Fijians.

Viseisei is located in the district of Vuda and is a chiefly village, which houses the Tui Vuda.

The people of Viseisei Village and Vuda believe that the first Fijians landed some distance away from Viseisei.

However, there is still no solid evidence yet on the origins of the first Fijians to Fiji — where they really came from.

While not saying anything on the origins of the first Fijians, Vuda district spokesman Nemani Driu said Viseisei was not the first landing spot.

"According to our records, we are the descendants of Lutunasobasoba, who came with his family, close relatives and other people," he said.

"The first landing of the first Fijians, that is Lutunasobasoba and his group, was at Lomolomo (near Lautoka) and not in Viseisei.

"The first village was established in a swampy area and was called Lomolomo Navuda."

Mr Driu said Lutunasobasoba had six children, with the eldest being Sagavulunavuda and youngest Daunisai.

He said after living at Lomolomo Navuda for some time, Lutunasobasoba, his family and others with them decided to disperse to other places.

"Viseisei means to disperse and that's how Viseisei Village got its name, as some of them came and settled here.

"After deciding to disperse, Lutunasobasoba's siblings decided that Daunisai who was the youngest stay behind in Lomolomo to represent him in the west.

"Lutunasobasoba disagreed because he wanted Daunisai to go with him as he was the youngest.

"The eldest, Sagavulunavuda offered to stay back and he remained in Lomolomo while the others moved on through the mountain ranges."

Mr Driu said Sagavulunavuda had five children, with the eldest being Draulunavuda.

He said one of Sagavulunavuda's sons moved to Nadi, one to Rakiraki, one to Malolo and one to Nadroga while Draulunavuda stayed back in Lomolomo.

"Lutunasobasoba and the others moved through the mountain ranges for other places and he went to Magodro, which means the voice is not clear.

"In Magodro, Lutunasobasoba bore a child and named him Rokovatu. Lutunasobasoba later died in Magodro."

"We have only four yavusa - Sabutotoya which is the Tui Vuda's yavusa, Koilomolomo which is the Taukei Vunativi's, Koivuda which is in Lauwaki Village and Tububere.

"One faction of the Tububere yavusa is in Viseisei while the other faction is in Lomolomo.

"We are all descendants of Draulunavuda, the eldest son of Sagavulunavuda who was the eldest of Lutunasobasoba's."

Mr Driu said the first village formed by the first Fijians was Lomolomo Navuda and the second was Korovatu which is between Lomolomo and Viseisei.

He said the third village formed by the settlers was Naibasagarua.

"Sagavulunavuda promised his children that they will be chiefs in the areas that they will occupy but he didn't tell them why," he said.

"He promised one of them the white sandy beaches of Malolo.

"One of them was given Nadi and told that the place will get people from the four corners of the world.

"This was long, long before the Nadi International Airport was made, which is now getting tourists in from all parts of the world."

Mr Driu said one of Sagavulunavuda's son was told that he would get a place where there would be light and energy.

He said Draulunavuda moved from Lomolomo, Navuda to Naibasagarua, which is close to the Fiji Electricity Authority's power station in Vuda.

He said the first Tui Vuda was the descendant of Draulunavuda.

"Fiji's economic base is in the northwest of Western Viti Levu and Sagavulunavuda's descendants are contributing heavily to the national economy now."

Mr Driu said this was how Lutunasobasoba, his children and grandchildren moved to various parts of the main island and the outer islands after he landed in Fiji.

Many Fijians believe their ancestors came from the shores of Lake Tanganyika in East Africa and landed in Fiji about 3500 years ago.

Lake Tanganyika is estimated to be the second largest freshwater lake in the world by volume and the second deepest.

Recently, some studies suggest that the first Fijians arrived in Fiji from Southeast Asia, with one even suggesting South India or Tamil Nadu.

Some websites say the first Fijians moved from Africa to the southern tip of India before making their way down to Indonesia and the Pacific and Fiji.

According to Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, Austronesian people are believed to have settled in Fiji about 3500 years ago, with Melanesians following around 1000 years later.

"Most authorities agree that they originated in Southeast Asia and came via Indonesia," said the free encyclopedia.

"According to oral tradition, the indigenous Fijians of today are descendants of the chief Lutunasobasoba and those who arrived with him on the Kaunitoni canoe. Landing at what is now Vuda, the settlers moved inland to the Nakauvadra mountains."

The free encyclopedia states that though this oral tradition has not been independently substantiated, many tribes today claim to be descended from Lutunasobasoba's children.

However, the debate on the origins of the first Fijians to arrive in Fiji continues with various assumptions by researchers.

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