THE importance of a relationship and the heart for the vanua was the legacy left behind by the late Nadroga Navosa paramount chief, Ratu Sakiusa Makutu, for the paramount chief of Burebasaga, Ro Teimumu Kepa, to emulate.
These were the words of Ro Teimumu, who has close traditional ties to the late chief, during an interview with The Fiji Times after the funeral yesterday.
She said the late chief was a man of wisdom who cared for all people.
"I have known him for many years and we have come through together during good times and difficult times," said Ro Teimumu.
"He was just a small village boy who came into this position and left a legacy for me to follow.
"He was a man of wisdom who always listened to village elders for advice and support.
"I have seen Ratu Sakiusa as a leader who sees the vanua from his heart. He cared for all races, religion and creed and he is a person with a very kind heart.
"Ratu hardly says no to any requests made, this includes money, land and resources.
"He saw the wider picture of things and we have learnt so much from him."
Ro Teimumu said the death of her cousin ended their lifelong friendship.
At the same time, she said they had forged new relationships for her children and the children of the late Na Kalevu.
"Ratu Sakiusa always stressed the importance of relationship.
"This is what I am trying to instil in my children. It is the end of one relationship and the beginning of many new relationships for our children and our grandchildren to treasure in future.
"That is perhaps the legacy he has left behind for me."
Ro Teimumu, who is a vasu and a first cousin of the late chief, also elaborated on her last discussions with the late chief before his passing.
"In one of our last discussions, Ratu Sakiusa always wanted a forum for chiefs where all chiefs could learn from each other about leadership.
"He always wanted the chiefs coming together to learn from one another and he was looking forward for something such as a chiefs forum to be established."
Ro Teimumu added the legacy left behind by the late chief would be treasured until her last days.