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War in Cakaudrove

Luke Rawalai
Sunday, March 04, 2018

PASSING Nawi in Buca Bay as they set off in haste towards Taveuni, Tui Cakau Ratu Golea saw a whaling boat anchored in front of the village.

While enquiring about the origins of the boat, a Catholic priest by the name of Father Favre, who was visiting believers in the village, appeared at the shore.

Ratu Golea then ordered his herald to jump into the water and go tell the priest that he did not have time to stop at Nawi wishing to meet him at Korodogo that same evening.

Meanwhile the chief continued his journey and reached Korodogo at sunset just to meet his brother Ratu Koila who was also there scouting the area.

As soon as Ratu Koila saw Ratu Golea, he took off with his men to tell Wainiqolo that Ratu Golea had returned.

Rt Golea meets Father Favre

Later that evening, Father Favre arrived at Korodogo where he had a long meeting with Ratu Golea, in which Ratu Golea informed the French priest of the Tongans' plan to overthrow him and his brother Ratu Kalou, to replace them with Ratu Koila, the assassin of their father.

Ratu Golea also informed Father Favre that the Methodist ministers were aware of the enterprise.

The two also discussed the battle at Raviravi, of Ritova and Koliloa.

Missionaries record that after the conversation, Fr Favre assured Ratu Golea that if he would accept a cross, he needed have no fear of his enemies as he would undoubtedly defeat them.

It was here that Ratu Golea and other high chiefs of Cakaudrove accepted the holy emblems and they were all heartened.

Ratu Golea ended by saying to Fr Favre: "Remain at Nawi until after the battle. After the battle is over, come and visit me in Wairiki. If I am victorious over the Tongans, I shall be Catholic, and all Cakaudrove with me."

Having said that, Ratu Golea stood up, and Father Favre returned to Nawi, his heart full of hope.

After this talk a Tongan arrived approaching Ratu Golea respectfully informing him that he was being sent by Wainiqolo who wanted to make a deal that instead of a battle, he wanted to make an agreement with the Tui Cakau.

The messenger informed Ratu Golea that Wainiqolo had proposed that he meet him at Viani with 10 of his chiefs while he would wait for them with 10 Tongan chiefs too.

"Very well", said Golea," tomorrow I shall go to Viani with 10 of my chiefs."

The messenger stood up and left. When he had gone, Ratu Daunavavana, younger brother of Ratu Golea said to his brother, "What have you done? Don't you know that all Tongans are treacherous? Who knows if tomorrow Wainiqolo might surround you with part of his army hidden in the bush and massacre you without pity?"

"That makes sense", said Ratu Golea "send someone after the messenger, and tell him that I have changed my mind, and that I am going to Wairiki."

Someone ran after the messenger, caught up with him, and gave him the new decision of Ratu Golea.

Several hours later Ratu Golea and his warriors left for Wairiki, where they arrived before daybreak.

Young chief Rt Lala is

freed from the Tongans

After his warriors had rested for several hours, Ratu Golea called the old chief of Tunuloa and said to him: "Tui Tunuloa, you know that my son Ratu Lala is at Wainikeli where he is being held by force.

"Take your warriors, go to Wainikeli, and see that before sunset today my son will be in my arms."

That evening before sunset, Ratu Lala (a one-year-old child) was in the arms of his father.

During the time that Ratu Golea was in Macuata, Ratu Koila, who had come with Wainiqolo to Laucala, had renewed his former alliance with Wainiqolo.

Since being at Waikava, he had grown in stature renewing his following on Vanua Levu.

Two days after the arrival of Ratu Golea at Wairiki, there could be seen out to sea Wainiqolo with his canoes.

He was followed by Ratu Koila and the people of his party who all went to Somosomo and found it empty as all were at Wairiki.

Three days afterwards someone came to tell Ratu Golea his enemies were going to advance on Wairiki, the Tongans were coming inland and the Fijians with Ratu Koila at their head would come along the coast.

Ratu Golea told the messenger to let the enemies come knowing he had 3000 warriors around him at Wairiki.

Ratu Daunivavana then spoke to Ratu Golea and asked him to take care of himself because Ratu Kalou was in the hands of the Tongans adding that if he was not dead, he was certainly half-dead.

Ratu Daunivavana told his brother that there was no one else capable of being Tui Cakau, therefore he must rule Cakaudrove. He instructed Ratu Golea to give a command to the warriors adding that victory was already theirs.

Meanwhile, Ratu Daunivavana was named so because he was a perfect marksman because when he shot at something he never missed his target, always hitting the smallest bird in the highest branch of a tree with his first shot.

Having confidence in his brother, Ratu Golea then asked him to be the general of their army.

Ratu Daunivavana then divided his army into two: he took the first group under his command, and gave the second group to Matakitoga, his other brother.

Then, addressing the warriors of his first group of the army, he said to them: "Because the Tongans are coming by the interior, we will take the interior.

"Matakitoga can have the assassin and his followers who are coming along the shore."

Having said tha Ratu Daunivavana wasted no time as he hurried to meet the enemy who were heading from the interior of the island.

Soon he met them, overcame them, and their dead covered the ground.

The terrified survivors fled as fast as they could, and disappeared into the bush.

? (Next week : The actual war)

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