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Keep the bure alive

Matilda Simmons
Saturday, February 24, 2018

THE village of Denamanu on Yadua Island strikes you for its scenic traditional iTaukei home or bure which line its beaches.

The remote island is located towards the west end of Vanua Levu in Bua Province. It is home to two villages, Denamanu and Korovou. The latter being a new village following the aftermath of Cyclone Evan which wreaked havoc on Denamanu Village back in 2012.

According to Ratu Jone Cakautavatava the head of the vavusa (clan) Raviravi in Denamanu Village, Korovou was set up to relocate some of their fellow villagers after their homes were destroyed by the cyclone.

With winds reaching a maximum speed of 270km/hour, Cyclone Evan devastated many villages from northeast Vanua Levu all the way to northwest Viti Levu with more than 8000 people taking refuge in evacuation centres.

"Korovou is now a separate village with half of our people staying there," said Ratu Jone. "It operates just like any other village."

While visiting Denamanu Village, we came across a gentleman, Seremaia Soata. The 58-year-old is owner of one of the beautiful bure on the island.

Built with wood, thatch with walls of woven bamboo, the hut had three doors which allows sufficient breeze from the sea to cool its inhabitants.

"We used to live in home made from corrugated roofing iron," said Mr Soata. "But it was always hot and I wasn't comfortable living in it. So I built the bure."

Mr Soata says he grew up living in a bure and it was something he was used to.

"I couldn't bear living in a corrugated or wooden home, it made me feel weak all the time.

"When the cyclone destroyed our house, I thought why not return to the old ways.

"Today, most young people wouldn't know how to build these traditional structures," he says. "It's slowly dying out as people are moving towards modern homes.

"I'm glad that we're still doing this and it's still being practised among our people."

Denamanu Village is home to about 50 households. Their main source of livelihood is fishing.

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