A proud moment

The Duke of Sussex Prince Harry receives a bowl of kava from Semi Nagatarogo of Nawaka Village at Nadi International Airport last week. Picture: BALJEET SINGH

IN the build-up to the arrival of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex to the country, a few months ago, Semi Nagatarogo was given a noble role to perform at the traditional farewell of the British royal couple.

He was just an ordinary Nawaka, Nadi villager who had performed at a few traditional ceremonies in the country.

But being approached by his elders to be the official cup bearer for Prince Harry came as a shock for the teenager because from his young days, he had always heard stories of the British royal family’s visits to Fiji but had never encountered one.

“It took me a while to think about it… I was shocked thinking of the number of people that would attend the ceremony,” Mr Nagatarogo said.

“To perform the traditional yaqona ceremony and be the cup bearer for a prince from England is a very huge thing and I was so blessed to have being given the opportunity to do so.

“Thousands of Fijians wanted to get a glimpse of the royal couple and I am so blessed that I actually had those few seconds to present Prince Harry’s last bowl of kava from Fiji before they left our shores.”

At the traditional farewell ceremony last Thursday, Mr Nagatarogo was dressed in masi kuvui (brown tapa) — worn only by those of chiefly status and his body draped in oil.

The firm look on his eyes could depict the pride for his vanua as he danced away to the tune of the traditional meke performed by the men of Nawaka before he officially handed over the yaqona to the Duke of Sussex.

The 25-year-old said this was one of the most proud moment of his life having to be part of a noble traditional performance and officially handing over the kava to the Duke of Sussex.

“It is quite emotional because I don’t know if I’m going to do this again,” Mr Nagatarogo said.

“I am proud and I feel honoured having to do the honours at such a royal visit.

“Whether I will do it again or not, I am humbled that I have been able to perform this duty and having to see one of the royal family member face to face.”

The Nawaka native said his recent traditional engagement would always go down in his family’s history books and he would always treasure it, a story he would also reveal to his children in the future.

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