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History of Macuata

Serafina Silaitoga
Monday, December 11, 2017

MACUATA was the name of the first village site on the island of Galoa in the province of Bua as a result of a victorious traditional war.

According to village elder Jone Ravouvou, the village name Macuata on Galoa Island was an initiation of their elders after they imprisoned a great warrior of Macuata and returned him to Macuata-i-Wai, the chiefly island.

But before this tribal war, Mr Ravouvou explained the history of his elders and how they moved to Galoa Island.

He said their ancestors travelled from Kavula, on mainland Bua, and their settlement at Kavula was known as matani ta'arilevu.

The migration to the island of Galoa, Mr Ravouvou said, happened during the days of tribal war.

"Our ancestors had two escape routes through the mountains and they used it to hide from the enemies," Mr Ravouvou said.

"The two escape routes have mountain caves and our ancestors used it and we are told that it protected them well.

"The names of the two caves were na beleti and oroida'u and it faces Galoa Island which was discovered by our ancestors from the caves."

When the ancestors of the Galoa villagers moved to the island, Mr Ravouvou said, they were led by a chief called Rasaraqia"

Rasaraqia had a great warrior by the name of Rakuka, who rose to the duty of protecting his people.

"He became powerful and enemies who came to this island couldn't do much because he defeated and killed them," Mr Ravouvou said.

"So one day, they sailed up the coast towards Macuata and they saw another boat approaching them, sailing down the coast.

"When Rasaraqia saw the boat approaching them, he told Rakuka to lie down at the tip of the canoe and they covered him with taba'u, a blanket made from coconut leaves."

At that time, Macuata was also known for its brave warriors that won many tribal wars in the North.

Mr Ravouvou said strong and well-known traditional warriors of Macuata were on the canoe that headed towards the Galoa chief and his warrior, Rakuka.

"The canoe from Macuata didn't move to the side, but headed straight for the canoe that our chief and his warrior were in," he said.

"And as they got closer, Rasaraqia removed the coconut leaves from Rakuka who jumped on to the other canoe and arrested the Macuata warrior.

"So our warriors from the canoe joined Rakuka and tied up all the other warriors on the canoe from Macuata.

"Then the Galoa fighters took them back to Macuata-i-Wai island and presented them to their chief, the Tui Macuata."

Mr Ravouvou could not remember the name of the Tui Macuata in those days, but said that what transpired following the arrest of his warriors resulted in the name of the first village on Galoa — Macuata.

"Our warrior Rakuka took the Macuata warrior to his chief (Tui Macuata) who then surrendered and as a sign of his surrender, he dug some soil and gave it to our ancestors to bring back and bury on Galoa," he said.

"That is why our first village site on this island is called Macuata because the soil, given by the Tui Macuata, is buried there.

"The Tui Macuata also gave us a daughter as his sign of surrender and her name was Dilikuilagi who joined the journey back to Galoa."

"But while on Macuata-i-Wai island, before the departure for Galoa, the Tui Macuata asked our ancestors not to leave because they wanted to have a feast to acknowledge our presence."

However, Mr Ravouvou said the Tui Macuata had a different intention.

"He wanted our ancestors and chief killed on Macuata-i-Wai so he started contacting all his fighters in Macuata for them to surround the island," he said.

"But our ancestors left Macuata-i-Wai earlier then expected so the Tui Macuata told his warriors to move to Raviravi (coast of Seaqaqa in Macuata) because our Galoa fighters were heading there.

"When the Galoa warriors got to Raviravi, they were surrounded by the Macuata warriors but under the leadership of Rakuka, they won the battle at Raviravi."

From Raviravi, the chief also gave Rakuka his daughter, signifying the victorious fight.

Mr Ravouvou said the woman's name was Disivoki.

"So when these two women of Macuata left their shores, the women of Macuata who farewelled them said: Isa sa boi rugurugu ni'ua a lomai Galoa, ni sa la'atu o rau a marama ni Macuata. (The scents of Galoa Island as these two women of Macuata are there)," Mr Ravouvou said.

"To prove these events, we still have the names of boi rugurugu exist on this island including the names of Disivoki and Dilikuilagi, which our grandmothers also bore.

"So Galoa Island has a very interesting history and we are always proud to share this story."

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