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The adopted and youngest son of Tui Sinu

Serafina Silaitoga
Monday, July 17, 2017

FROM the mountain range of Delaisetura in Bua, a chief by the name of Mainadala travelled towards Cakaudrove with his newly wedded wife, Adi Melasiga.

According to Waisale Veikoso, a descendant of Mainadala and Viani villager, the Delaisetura chief was the eldest son of Buatavatava.

"He left Delaisetura with his wife and they travelled by boat to Salt Lake in Vatudamu but this area was known as Sinu, in those days," Mr Veikoso said.

"They settled there and the name of their settlement was Tavobale. They started their own family in which they had one daughter, four sons and an adopted son as the youngest.

"The eldest child was a girl and her name was Adi Vunitiko, then a son Qicatabua, third son was Rakuita, then Draveisau and Maru was the fifth child."

Their dad, Mainadala then became the chief of the coast which includes the area of Nasinu and Viani and was installed as Tui Sinu. Elders of Viani Village, Mr Veikoso said, used to share traditional stories about Mainadala and how his children protected him and looked after him well during their time at Salt Lake.

"Other villages in Cakaudrove have their own version of the Tui Sinu but for us at Viani, this is our story as told to us by our forefathers," he said.

"So while at Tavobale, Tui Sinu's children made sure that he was served well and they always go out to get food for their father while their mum would go fishing or collect seafood.

"Then one day, the Radini Sinu (Tui Sinu's wife) went out to sea to collect mussels for the chief because he loved eating seafood and while out there, she saw a basket."

Terrified and afraid of what could happen, Adi Melasiga approached the basket she found sitting on the shores at the foot of Tavobale, Salt Lake.

Mr Veikoso said Adi Melasiga, after gaining strength to check out the basket, then called out "noqu soqo ula".

"That word 'noqu soqo ula' is where the word 'Ai Soula' is originally from and this is our version and story of the people of Sinu," he said.

"There are similar versions for other villages in Cakaudrove and we respect that but we also have our evidence to support our version.

"Anyway, Adi Melasiga then found a child lying inside the basket, a baby boy, safely cuddled with huge leaves and after seeing the baby, she returned home to inform her husband about what she found." Tui Sinu then told her to return to the shore and take the child to them because he would become their sixth child.

"This is the adopted and youngest son of Tui Sinu and Adi Melasiga, who was brought up with the other five children," Mr Veikoso said.

"After years of staying in Tavobale, the children were all grown and became adults so their dad thought of giving them pieces of land around the area to settle in and start their own families.

"But before he could do this, they received news that the army from Nu'ubolu in Koroalau were going to stage a war against them."

Nu'ubolu sits on one side of Natewa Bay facing Salt lake area.

The five sons then approached their dad and Tui Sinu, Mainadala, to ask him for advice.

"Their dad told them he had his own people to fight for him because he, as the eldest son of Buatavatava and now the chief of Sinu could not go to war," Mr Veikoso said.

"The youngest and adopted son, Ro Kevu, then told their dad that they should do something because anything could happen and they would all be defeated as a family and people of Sinu.

"Tui Sinu gave them the authority to do whatever they wanted to do as long as they returned to him alive."

The sons then planned their strategies against the army of Nu'ubolu and although history does not mention the involvement of other people, it states that they returned home victorious.

"The five sons then made their way to a hill called Nabola, (where Lomalagi Resort currently sits) overlooking Natewa Bay where they sat with their two simple weapons — the breadfruit skin and kaikoso (Anadara antiquate)," Mr Veikoso said.

"When the army from Nu'ubolu arrived, Tui Sinu's sons had already burnt the shells and the breadfruit skin and they threw it at them, as they tried to climb up the hill at Nabolal.

"And in those days, they had huge sized kaikoso shells so the sons used the sharp edge to injure the soldiers from Nu'ubolu and some died while some returned home. The shells were also hot from the fire."

Today, the villagers of Viani are known to be the best suppliers of kaikoso for the Tui Cakau during traditional or provincial functions that is attended by the paramount chief.

"There is a lot of kaikoso in this area and when the Tui Cakau wants kaikoso or we have to supply kaikoso for a traditional function of the Tui Cakau, we will camp at a ground, near Salt Lake and spend days collecting the kaikoso," Mr Veikoso said.

After the victorious war, the sons returned home and informed their dad about their achievement.

Mr Veikoso said the Tui Sinu was so happy that he promised to divide the surrounding areas where his sons would settle with their own families.

"He also promised to do a traditional thanksgiving ceremony traditionally known as 'qusi ni loaloa' to celebrate the victorious win from the war," he said.

"Tui Sinu also divided the areas for his sons where they would finally settle with their families while Tui Sinu and his wife and their eldest daughter remain at Salt Lake."

* NEXT WEEK: Find out where the sons settled, what happened to the youngest adopted son, Ro Kevu.

* Their eldest sister Adi Vunitiko gets married and the chiefly title of Tui Sinu was changed.

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