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Fiji Time: 4:09 AM on Friday 25 April

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Man of the vanua

Ana Madigibuli
Sunday, January 05, 2014

TURAGA na Tunitoga, Ratu Sakiusa Veiwilitamata Komaitai had a dominant voice in upholding the traditional protocols in the chiefly vanua of Bau.

Ratu Sakiusa, 72, who was laid to rest yesterday, was the herald to the Vunivalu of Bau and was admired for his contributions to the development of the vanua of Bau.

Ratu Sakiusa held many important positions in the country during his time apart from his traditional role of herald to the Vunivalu of Bau.

He worked in many organisations like the Native Land Trust Board, Public Works Department, the Catholic Church, land resettlement unit and he also enlisted with the Republic of the Fiji Military Force.

Bau chief Ratu Epenisa Cakobau said losing Ratu Sakiusa was indeed a great loss to the chiefly family and to the vanua of Bau.

Ratu Epenisa said the late Tunitoga was a man who took his responsibility to the vanua earnestly and that he shared a close bond with the people of Bau.

"He was a man who carried out his role diligently and was always happy in doing so," he said.

"All discussions and events that took place, the late Tunitoga would be present, because he strongly believed in maintaining the strong protocols of the vanua."

Ratu Epenisa said the late Tunitoga taught him so much in the past, saying they shared a close bond.

"We would spend hours talking on the phone about things that involved the vanua," he said.

Ratu Sakiusa's niece Adi Eci Nabalarua said her uncle was a man who respected the vanua, the church and government.

Adi Eci said Ratu Sakiusa described his position as a custodian of the traditional protocols and the processes which made Bau unique.

"Ratu Sakiusa said that our role was to advice, facilitate and we are the shield between the vanua and the chiefs," she said.

"His grandchildren and nieces described him as humble, nurturing and caring, someone who was always there for them.

"The chiefs of Kubuna always felt safe when Ratu Sakiusa was around."

Those present at the funeral service at the Centenary Church were the President, Ratu Epeli Nailatikau, and First Lady Adi Koila, Nailatikau, family and friends.