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Tale of Naimasimasi

Luke Nacei
Monday, January 29, 2018

IN the early days, many iTaukei ancestors moved from one place to another in search of a new home for many reasons.

And for the villagers of Naimasimasi in Tailevu, their elders left their initial home at Verata Ucunivanua in Tailevu because of a disagreement with other elders.

This marked a new beginning for their elders, who made their way down and settled at Naimasimasi Village.

The village is made up of one yavusa (tribe) known as Yavusa o Nacou.

According to the head of the tribe, Akuila Vuakaca, his forefathers journeyed down to the place they now called home during the 1800s.

Mr Vuakaca said during this journey, their elders, which included his great great-grandfather, stopped at several other places along the way, but eventually stopped at the site of the village because they found it to be the best for them.

He revealed the village was named "Naimasimasi" by their elders after a group of women were found washing their clothes near a creek that ran through the village soon after they settled at the current village site.

"We are the fourth generation. When our elders left Verata, there were only about 80 of them," he said.

"We relocated to this place in the 1800s. When our elders left Verata Ucunivanua, there were other places that they looked for before finally settling here."

The village is made up of five mataqali (clans) — Waimanu, Nabalabala, Rara, Nukurua and Makubuinagone — that make up the Yavusa o Nacou.

Mr Vuakaca said their tribe was one of the things that made their village unique compared with other neighbouring villages.

Another unique aspect of the village is their language.

The people of Naimasimasi speak a mixture of the Bauan dialect, Naitasiri dialect and part of the Tailevu South and Tailevu North dialect.

Mr Vuakaca said no other village in Tailevu or in Fiji spoke the same dialect as the people of Naimasimasi.

"This village is only known for its dialect. There is no other language in these villages in Tailevu that speak the same dialect we speak," he said.

"For example, for the people of Vugalei (neighbouring village) the colour black for them is pronounced as lala whereas for us, we say degidegi. And when we say tomorrow we say nisovau while others say ni mataka.

"We are trying our best to revive the language."

Naimasimasi Village is situated along the Kings Rd, next to Vugalei Village.

It is part of the district of Vugalei, but the villagers have always appreciated their roots and close ties to Verata Ucunivanua where their ancestors originated from, Mr Vuakaca said.

The village now comprises 136 households.

Mr Vuakaca said many people in their village were school leavers, which was why they always organised educational workshops to help improve the knowledge of their children.

"Majority of the people here are school leavers," Mr Vuakaca said.

"That is why the elders in the village have set up some workshops and other education programs to help these youths secure jobs and not just roam around the village."

For the village of Naimasimasi, their elders have played their part in their relocation.

Now that they are situated at a place that is easily accessible for transportation and communication, the current village elders believe it is now time for them to ensure that the younger generation received the best.

They believe this is what their 80 or so elders wanted for their future generation when they made their initial journey down to the spot where the village is situated more than 200 years ago.

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