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Finding his origins through a wedding

Sikeli Qounadovu
Sunday, August 13, 2017

SOMETIMES in our journey of discovery, mysterious things happen, events occur that later in life one will realise that all that had happened was merely part of a grand master plan, or mere coincidence.

For as long as he can remember Epironi Silimainabure, the traditional priest and elder of the yavusa of Namoce at Daku Village, Kadavu had long been wondering about their origins and closest traditional ties.

It was not until attending his daughter's wedding at Maloku Village on the island of Moala in Lau that he discovered their origins and closest traditional relations.

Daku Village is registered under the district of Naceva on the island of Kadavu.

The village is only accessible by boat. From Vunisea, the main centre the village it is about a half an hour boat ride to the village.

Daku is located on the eastern side of the island from where Viti Levu is very visible

Children of the village attend the Vunisei District School, which is a 10-minute boat ride from the village before a steep climb to reach the school. This is also the access point when trying to get to the other side of the island and the remaining villages that make up the district of Naceva.

There is only one word that can best describe the location of the village — beautiful.

The village is tucked away under the magnificent Uluinasonini, Nalesi, Vunidoadoa, Sorokalogo and Uluinakorotu mountain range.

The sing-song of the waves soothes the soul as the waves ripple gently. On the horizon where the sun meets the water, the sea glitters like a sea of diamonds. The sign that you are closing in on the village are the golden sands that garland this beautiful village.

Something else makes this village unique, it's the grass. Believe it when I say this it is just like carpet grass, smooth and comfortable that will make you just want to lie down.

In 2012, Senimili Ravono approached her father that she was planning to get married and her husband to be, originated from Maloku Village in Lau.

"Ena yabaki 2012 keitou a gole vaka vuvale e Maloku mai Moala. Na koro o Maloku, keitou veiwekani vakavoleka sara tu ga. Ni tukuna tiko qo na veiwekani dodonu me tiko na kena ivakadinadina. (In 2012 we travelled to Maloku for my daughter's wedding. In saying that we are closely related to Maloku village because there are mount of evidence to prove this)

"Oi ra na wekada e liu era sega ni volavola era vakatoka yaca tu ga me muria na vanua era gole kina. (Our ancestors did not write but our relationship is known through the names of places and person which they gave.)

"Noqu lako tiko ekea e rua na ka au lai cakava -au vakaraitaka talega vei ira mai Maloku, na imatai au lako tiko mai na vakamau nei luvequ kei na kena ikarua au via mai taura na vu ni neitou veiwekani. E matata tu na noda veiwekani e sega ni macala a vu vakacava." (I told the Maloku village elders I was there for two reasons, one to attend my daughter's wedding and second to discover and confirm our traditional ties. While we know we are related, we really do not know how it originated,) said Mr Silimainabure.

He found time, despite the busy wedding schedule, to go through the historical records of the people of Maloku as given by the Native Lands Commission.

He said according to the records, they originated from Verata and were descendants of Rokomautu the Ratu mai Verata.

He added their ancestor Tuivanuakula (grandson of Rokomautu) was the ultimate winner of the chiefly race, known locally in Fijian mythology as the Veitaucici ni turaga.

Legend has it that Rokomautu was growing old and was looking for a replacement to the chiefly title of Ratu mai Verata.

He organised the race and the winner was to be given the tabua basoga ni mana (the chiefly two-pronged tabua that is said to hold all the mana), which once belonged to Lutunasobasoba his father. The winner also was to be granted the chief of the vanua of Naisanokonoko.

He had organised the race after his eldest son Buatavatava was banished from Verata, for being disrespectful. Buatavatava (known in Bua as Naulumatua), later settled in Bua.

The 17 grandsons of Rokomautu participated in this chiefly race for the title of Ratu mai Verata, which was ultimately won by Tuivanuakula (also known as Kubunavanua), the youngest of the grandsons.

The legend has it that Rovarovaivalu (son of Rokomautu and father to Tuivanuakula) was the first to meet his son at the finish line and congratulated him.

But the sour losers (who were older than Tuivanuakula), did not accept the defeat because they would not accept the young chief to lead them.

Mr Silimainabure added that according to the record books he read, at the completion of the race when Rokomautu searched for the tabua basoga ni mana it was missing, and assumed one of his 16 grandsons had taken it without his knowledge or approval.

Ashamed over what had happened, Rovarovaivalu advised his disheartened son they would leave Verata and search for another place to live. When Tuivanuakula left he vowed to never return to Verata

O Rovarovaivalu, e ra vakayacana koya tiko mai Moala o Rova. Sa qai biubiu mai Verata, ratou qai vamuria na savu ni cagi koya na south east trade winds tiko qo. Qai toso tiko na waqa me biubiu mai Verata ratou sa raica na ulunivanua mai Moala. Sa qai tukuna va qo o Rova, "mua-i-la," kena ibalebale oya "me gole ekea." (From Verata they could see Moala so Rova told them mua-i-la "lets go there." The south east trade winds took them from Verata to Moala.

Mr Silimainabure added Rovarovaivalu and his family, including Tuivanuakula, landed at Daku on Moala island, before relocating to Delaidaku.

He said Tuivanuakula had three children, the eldest a girl and two sons.

According to the records he read, the elder siblings remained in Maloku, while the youngest Dauvakalaca journeyed to another island, which according to the villagers of Maloku they were trying to determine where he finally resided.

"Na i tuvaki ni koro makawa mai Maloku na gauna au lai raica kina, au qai mai vakadinadinataka na i sema oya ni tautauvata sara tu ga kei na i rairai ni neitou koro makawa. Sega ni dua na kena duidui. Ulunivanua wavoki, qai tiko na qakilo e loma, na koro. Na baravi, mataqali vata sara tikoga qo vei keitou." (When I visited their old village site and I saw its layout, there was no difference at all to our village site, the same layout, and physical surroundings. The old village site is located on a valley surrounded by mountains and the beach is similar to ours.)

He added the name of their old village site was Maloku.

Yet he was still not convinced and there was still an air of doubt.

"Au sa qai tarogi ratou mai Maloku, tou biuta vata mada na yaca me tou rawa ni vakadinadinataka kina na i talanoa. Na yaca ni vanua mai vakatokayacataki tu ena vanua oqo. E tiko mai kea na Wailevu, Navala, Daku, Muaninuku, Navatukalovi. (I then told them let's compare the names and to my surprise there were similarities; Wailevu, Navala, Daku, Mauninuku and Navatukalovi are some names we both have.)

"Dua tale na kena i vakadinadina qo; oi ra kece na kawa qo, ena laurai tiko ena nodra ilakolako na drua, dau basika vei ira na mate ni kuli qo na rama, vata kei na ulumatua yalewa." (The other similarities that we found, twins are always found in both families, a sort of skin disease known in Kadavu as rama and in most cases the eldest in the family is always a girl.)

He said it was here that he confirmed that they were descendants of Dauvakalaca. It was not after Dauvakalaca settled in Kadavu, that people from Yale and Soso also settled at Daku.

Meanwhile Tuivanuakula later journeyed to Tonga and then to Nayavu in Wainibuka where he married Daviko. Together they had Ratu Drua and Mekemeke.

Ratu Drua's son was Roko Seru I.

A flu outbreak then threatened to wipe out his family and because he had only one son he advised Roko Seru I to search for medicine at Viria.

At Nasimasima, the location of Wing Zhong Wah building in Nausori Town, women of Rewa heard of his presence and stature, thus they would be looking for freshwater mussels at the banks of the Rewa River closer to the home of Roko Seru I.

One woman, Adi Qoliwasawasa, captured his attention. His second wife Ketekaisi was from Natogadravu. Together with his family they moved to Bureitu. It was at Bureitu that the people of Kaba requested that they move to Kaba so it would be easy to serve them, to which they agreed

It was at Kaba that he married Adi Savusavu, a direct descendant of Vueti. Adi Savusavu was mother to Ratu Banuve and grandmother to Ratu Tanoa. Ratu Tanoa had two sons Tubuanakoro and Ratu Seru II (Cakobau).

Fast-forward, self-proclaimed King of Fiji Ratu Seru Cakobau is the direct descendant of Tuivanuakula, and the traditionally rivalry between Bau and Verata is believed to have originated from the events following that chiefly race.

Vueti one of the 17 grandsons who participated in the race was later installed by the Vunivalu Ratu Nailatikau as the first Roko Tui Bau. Vueti was the son of Vula and Adi Buna Naitokalau. Vula is the son of Buisavulu (Rokomautu's sister), while Adi Buna was the daughter of Rokomautu.

His descendants held on to the Roko Tui Bau title until the rise of Ratu Tanoa and his son Ratu Seru Cakobau.

? Next week in our final segment from the island of Kadavu, we look at the arrival of Christianity on the island and the final resting place of Reverend Paula Vea. We will look at Ma'afu's failed attempt to gain the trust of the converted Kadavu people in his quest to challenge Cakobau. We will also look at a site for sorcery and witchcraft which today has been converted to a place of worship since the arrival of Christianity on the island.

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