THE late Na Kalevu's ambition during his school days was to become the aide-de-camp to the Governor General.
So said Taitusi Lulusini, one of the late turaga bale Na Kalevu, Ratu Sakiusa Makutu's former classmate, and now the turaga ni yavusa in the vanua Yavuhahuna in the tikina of Cuvu.
Mr Lulusini recalled during his school days at Cuvu District School, he was one of Ratu Sakiusa's best mates as they used to do mischievous things in the school compound which was usually followed by tough corporal punishment from the strict teachers of that era.
"Almost every weekend, we would go horse riding in nearby Hovuna hills and take our horses to Cuvu beach as well as to Yanuca Island as there was no hotel at that time," he said.
The 66-year-old was always fascinated by The Fiji Times photos of the Governor General's aide-de-camp in the late '50s and early '60s.
"When the Governor General would pay an official visit to the Kalevu at that time, Ratu Timoci Vosailagi, the aide-de-camp's military uniform, the shining sandals and buttons and his disciplined manner really captured Ratu Sakiusa's young heart.
"He told me he would go to Queen Victoria School, join the army, become an officer and apply for the aide-de-camp's position.
"He approached his father, the late Ratu Tevita Makutu II, for his approval of his plan but Ratu Tevita, a former military officer himself during the Second World War, had already mapped out a plan for his only son."
Mr Lulusini said Ratu Tevita told his son he would not join the army because he was already an officer of the vanua, "serving the vanua, know how the mechanism of the vanua works as the vanua is very powerful because one day, the vanua will be serving you".
He said Ratu Tevita's vision and prophetic words became a reality 40 years later.
"When Ratu Sakiusa become the Kalevu in 2000 following the death of the Marama Bale Na Kalevu Bulou Eta Vosailagi, the vanua and the province of Nadroga Navosa was greatly divided.
"The Kalevu dispute in 1989 was so bad that the chiefly yavusa Louvatu, vanua Yavuhahuna and the Kalevu's warriors clashed which led to bloodshed.
"But during Ratu Sakiusa's reign, he made it his personal mission to reconcile these fragmented parties. It wasn't easy but he never gave up.
"He forgave all those who opposed him, but he was a straight shooter. If any of us the turaga ni yavusa would err on his traditional duty, he would give us a good tongue lashing and he would also straighten up any government official that he believed was not up to the standard of a good civil servant."
Mr Lulusini said even though the late Na Kalevu never joined the army, he was a born disciplinarian — he was always on time, from tikina, provincial or any type of meeting. If any delegate came in late he would almost certainly meet the full brunt of the Na Kalevu's anger, regardless of who was in the room.
"He was a fearless chief. He supported the present government on developmental matters but also publicly made his stand against them on any issue that clashed with the vanua.
"But he was a very generous chief, he would give money freely to the tikina of Cuvu, various organisations and even anyone regardless who sought his financial help personally, he was the people's chief."
Mr Lulusini added the late Na Kalevu reconciled the vanua and the province of Nadroga and Navosa and this was reflected in the huge amount of money collected every year during the Adi Nadroga/Navosa festival, his 23 years as chairman of the provincial council and the achievement of the provincial rugby team which Ratu Sakiusa was patron of.
"The 22 tikina and chiefs of Nadroga/Navosa in return fully supported him and gave him the highest respect he rightfully deserved.
"Just when he enjoyed the loyalty from all walks of life within the province, the Almighty made his call.
"We, the vanua Yavuhahuna and the people of Cuvu tikina, bow our heads in thanking the Almighty for giving us his chosen man in Ratu Sakiusa Makutu to lead us faithfully for the last 13 years.
"He broke our hearts and he will be sorely missed."