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Warriors of Naduru

Luke Rawalai
Sunday, February 11, 2018

THE mention of war automatically reflects an image of chaos, strife and carnage but for the people of Dogotuki Village in Macuata this is not true because war had brought to them Christianity.

This all happened because of the Dogotuki brave warrior, Ratu Koliloa, who also fought the Cakaudrove war between the Tui Cakau Ratu Goleanavanua and the Tongan chieftain Ma'afu who tried to get Cakaudrove under his rule.

A direct descendant of Ratu Koliloa, Mareko Tugia who is one of the remaining elders in Dogotuki Mareko Tugia said his people descended from the vanua of Vuna in Naduru, Dogotuki.

Mr Tugia said according to stories passed to them his elders who were chiefs from Vuna in Naduru had moved down the coast and settled in Nayaroyaro.

"The group was led by our great great-grandfather Tamaisai the husband of a woman from Raviravi, Nabubu in the district of Namuka," said Mr Tugia.

"At that time our people used to pay tribute to the chief in Vitina gathering seafood for him.

"However, this food never reached the chief because Tamaisai used to steal the food and keep it at the riverbank of a place called Nabinivonu.

"Later the people of Nayaroyaro turned against their leader and decided to kill him because of his misbehaviour."

Since the people of Nayaroiyaro could not kill their own chief they then took a tabua and food to the the people of Namako asking them to assassinate their leader.

"The people of Namako refused this offer since they said Tamaisai was their chief and the people of Nayaroyaro proceeded to the people of Vitina who assented to killing Tamaisai," said Mr Tugia.

The death of Tamaisai

"They then approached Tamaisai who warmly welcomed them into his house before they informed him of their intention.

"Tamaisai then met his fate through the clubs of the Vitina people.

"After the incident Tamaisai's only son Tagituba literally meaning 'to cry outside' then left Nayaroyaro and proceeded to his mother's village in Nabubu."

Mr Tugia said while making his way to his mother's village, Tagituba cried along the way earning him the name Tagituba.

"On his way, the young noble of Vuna in Naduru was accompanied by members of the clan of Naisogolaca who were residing in Nayaroyaro too," he said.

"When the royal company reached Tokaleka, the original settlement of the people of Naduru, the villagers then decided to prevent the young chief from proceeding further to Nabubu because if he reached his mother's people, he would then learn of the real instigators of his father's death.

"Most importantly, if the young noble of Naduru settled in Nabubu then the whole of Dogotuki would automatimaticaly be amalgamated to the district of Namuka.

"They told the young noble to sleep for the night and prepared a feast for him, and upon knowing that he was drunk with yaqona they led him to a house where a noble woman had been rolled up in a mat and offered to him as his wife."

Mr Tugia said Tagituba then married the woman called Adi Ana Vuakayalewa, whose name still exists at Lagi Village in Dogotuki to this day.

"Straight after this night, the people of Naduru then prepared a feast for the young chief and presented it to him with a sample of soil from the area as sign that the land and the people of Dogotuki was his now," he said.

"He then became the first Tui Vuna. After his installation, Tagituba was given the village of Dogotuki as his seat.

"The group that accompanied him from Nayaroyaro were appointed as his curucuru ni raurau or his customary war braves.

"Therefore, we were placed closer to Naduru, the land of our ancestors."

Tagituba's child

Later as the years progressed, Adi Ana bore Tagituba a son named Ramoala.

Another Dogotuki Village elder Filipe Jone said Ramoala married and had two sons named Ratu Bativuaka and Ratu Koliloa.

Mr Jone said when they came of age, the two young men became strong warriors whose reputation in war was known throughout Dogotuki.

"Ratu Bativuaka then proceeded to Nakalou in Macuata where he stayed while his brother Ratu Koliloa stayed back in Dogotuki, defending his father's land," he said.

"Ratu Koliloa defended Dogotuki well from its enemies, earning the highest ranks in the land.

"It is Ratu Koliloa who later heard the cries of the Tui Cakau, Ratu Goleanavanua and proceeded with men from Dogotuki to Somosomo as an ally in the war against the Tongan noble Ma'afu."

The Cakaudrove war

As the vanua of Cakaudrove and their allies prepared for their war against Ma'afu, they sought support from a neighboring area on Vanua Levu and one of them was Dogotuki.

"According to stories passed down to us, Ratu Koliloa answered this call and stood forward to fight beside the Tui Cakau," said Mr Jone.

"We are told by our elders that he had slain the Tongan warrior Wainiqolo or the Tongan Vainikolo.

"Once Wainiqolo was slain, the Tongan warriors scattered and ran for their lives.

"This victory is the very reason that Dogotuki has close links to the vanua of Cakaudrove through their veitauvu relations of traditional rivalry."

Mr Jone said according to stories passed down to them, Ratu Koliloa then stayed back in Somosomo where he had an alleged liaison with one of the Tui Cakau's wives, bearing him a son.

"This strengthened the ties between Dogotuki and Cakaudrove further," he said.

"When Ratu Koliloa left Somosomo to return home the Tui Cakau then gave him with the Ua Taletale and the name of Vuna which has remained with our chiefs who are known as the Tui Vuna.

"The Tui Cakau then promised Ratu Koliloa to visit him too but which he never did.

"However, the greatest gift that he returned with from Somosomo was Christianity as he had been baptised with a new name Mikaele or Michael."

Mr Jone said on his return Ratu Koliloa converted the whole of Dogotuki to Catholicism, adding it remains a Catholic stronghold to this day.

"After Ratu Koliloa, his heir Ratu Uliano Togamalo, was traditionally installed as the Tui Vuna. After his installation, yaqona was mixed in the Vatu ni Vaunu, literally meaning the drinking rock whose shards still remain in our village to this day," he said.

Origins of the name Dogotuki

In the days of old, our women had this custom of dyeing their hair and dreadlocks with the red ochre produced from the mangrove plant.

According to Mr Tugia, women would sit at the shoreline of the village and produce the dye which would turn their hair red.

Mr Tugia said women would sing chants pounding the bark and roots of the mangrove plant along the shoreline.

"To this day their remains a pool that women used to bail out in the olden days to pound the mangrove plants in," he said.

"Visitors to this village would have this sight greet them at the shoreline — of women tuki (pounding) dogo (mangrove) at the seashore.

"Thus, they named our village Dogotuki in memory of these beautiful maidens."

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