Batisaqato the great warrior

IN Fiji a name can carry weight.

A name has the ability to tell an event and give meaning to the unknown.

American author Edward Deluzain wrote: “The truth is that names are a part of every culture and that they are of enormous importance both to the people who receive names and to the societies that give them.

“In cultures with a keen sense of ancestry, children get their names from the totems and family trees of their parents. In some cultures, names are taken from events which happen and in others, names are divined through magic and incantation. In some cases, the name given at birth is only the first of several names a person will bear throughout life. When this happens, the new names are given either to mark important milestones in life or to ward off evil spirits by tricking them into thinking that the person with the old name has disappeared.”

Such is the case for Fiji, we have people named after certain event — here in Fiji we have names like

Qalobulamaiwasawasa — meanining to survive a sea ordeal and swimming to safety

Tikomailepanoni — meaning living in Lebanon. (Person who was born while a parent was in Lebanon)

Then there are names of places like

Waimate St in Lami — the dead water. History has it the Lomaivuna army was killed in a river nearby, by the army of the Natodre people when they were trying to take over the people of Lami.

Bua — Legend has it that Buatavatava who first settled in Bua was given the branch by his mother when he was exiled from Verata. His mother had told him to plant the branch at the place where he would call home.

This week is a journey of discovery and finding out the origin of the name “Nacolase” . It is not the name of a person but the name or traditional term used when addressing the vanua which is owned by the Tui Tavuki. Nacolase, when directly translated means “the coral grass”.

In a traditional presentation in Tavuki, Kadavu, the address is: “Nacolase vua na turaga na Tui Tavuki.”

Nacolase is the traditional cavuti of Tavuki.

“Regardless of when, why, or how often it happened, the giving and receiving of a name is an event of major importance,” Deluzain wrote.

Such is the case for the word na-co-lase (the coral grass or grass coral when directly translated). The word signifies a moment, it speaks of a chapter in the history of the relationship between the people of Tavuki and the people of Naceva, more precisely the vanua of Natawalevu, the tribal warriors of the Tui Dravuwalu, who were led by one Batisaqato — a fierce warrior.

For it is also through this war, that Batisaqato realised he was up against one of his own. A relationship found in the heat of battle.

Readers must take note that this article does not mean to create discontent or severe relationship. In addition, because of geographical locations and time constraints we were not able to travel to Tavuki Village. Hopefully this will be done on our next trip to Kadavu.

According to the Tui Naceva, Ratu Jona Donumaitoga, and as earlier published, Ratu Manuqalo (seventh son of Ratu Levu) was installed as the first Tui Tavuki.

Ratu Jona said that one evening at Soso Village, a young prince by the name of Ratu Naidusidodonu from Tavuki and with maternal links to Soso arrived and was seated at the door way.

“Dabe toka ena tuka ni vale, vanadaku toka mai ra sa qai kaya mai o Tui Naceva. Ei dou taroga na gone qori baleta ni mai dabe tu ga na tuka.” (He had his back to the village elders and did not utter any word. The Tui Naceva asked an elder to talk to their vasu and ask him what was the problem.)

The young Ratu Naidusidodonu said that he ran from Tavuki to Soso after Yawe had waged war on them.

“E wilika vaka co okoya na lase, na gauna sa ciciva mai kina me sa mai kere i valu.” (To him running on coral was like running on grass to seek the assistance of the Tui Naceva in battle.) The coral was grass to him — this is believed to be the origin of the word na co lase.

Everyone in Tavuki relied on this young man, the quicker he reached Soso, the higher the probability of them being saved. They were never mistaken

Ratu Jona added the following day the army of the Tui Naceva prepared for war and boarded their canoes for Tavuki

“Sa qai lako o koya sa qai buki na druadrua sa qai lai valuti o Yawe. Rawa. Ratou sa lesu mai qai kaya na gonedau ‘dou vacegu mada me dua na qusiniloaloa. Ratou qai kaya ‘sega sa kua ni dua na qusiniloaloa, me buli ga na neitou vasu me Tui Tavuki’.” (The Naceva army achieved just that, they were able to protect the people of Tavuki. They were set to return, when the traditional fishermen of the Tui Tavuki requested for them to remain until the traditional qusiniloaloa had been performed. They declined and instead told the men of Tavuki the best form of thanks they could give them was to install their vasu, Ratu Naidusidodonu, as Tui Tavuki.)

According to Ratu Jona from that day on the chiefly Nadurusolo clan, which is in Tavuki, is named after the chiefly mount of the Tui Naceva in Soso.

The qusiniloaloa is the traditional presentation of food and other treasured traditional items to warriors after returning from war. It is performed by the yavusa, in this case the vanua of Nacolase.

Ratu Jona Dulakonaceva, the Rokotunivono of the yavusa Natawalevu in the village of Dravuwalu, gives a more detailed account of the war in Tavuki. A war that ended after the two rival warlords found out they were related.

Ratu Jona said because the army of Natawalevu was under the rule of the Tui Naceva, it was also part of the great army of Naceva that protected Tavuki from the wrath of the Yawe army.

“Sa qai yaco na gauna me rau sota na qaqa mai Natawalevu o Batisaqato kei na qaqa mai Yawe. E tukuni e na kena i tukutuku ni rau valu mai na bogi, lai siga lai yakavi tale, rau dui dradra sega ni dua vei rau e dabe, se me dua soro.

“Sa qai tukuna o Batisaqato, ‘Noqu weka tukuna mada mai iko mai vei. Sa qai sauma koya na qaqa mai Yawe. O yau mai Yawe.

“Sa qai tukuna na qaqa mai Dravuwalu ‘sa voleka saraga ni au vakacalaka taki iko, sa vinaka o sa tukuna vei au, baleta ni kedaru veiwekani. Sa na cava eke na i valu.” (Batisaqato the Natawalevu warlord came up against warlord of Yawe. According to stories shared by our forefathers they fought all throughout the night and the day and neither of them gave up.

“Where are you from,” asked Batisaqato.

“I am from Yawe,” was the response.

“It’s good that you told me that you are from Yawe as we are related, this war will not continue, we shall both return to our own vanua.”

That was the end of the war against Yawe and as the great army of Naceva prepared to return, Ratu Dulakonaceva said the Tui Tavuki spoke to the Tui Dravuwalu and uttered the words,

“Turaga na Tui Dravuwalu, na vei ere taucoko, e vakatabui e Nacolase e vakatarai vei iko. Ya na kena vakadinadina je na kena sautabu mai Tavuki, kevaka e caka na veibulu, na gone ni Dravuwalu se gone ni Tabanivonolevu e rawa ni lai butuka na sautabu oya.” (Tui Dravuwalu — chief of the army of Natawalevu, everything that is of taboo here in Tavuki does not apply to you. You can do whatever you want to do, when you want to and how you want to do it. The evidence is today at the sacred chiefly burial ground of the Tui Tavuki, anyone from the yavusa o Natawalevu or any kai Tabanivonolevu can walk on it without being policed.


Isoa Loanakadavu, also the Rokotunivono of the vanua of Natawalevu while sharing an account by one Napolioni Yatevatu and recorded by the Native Lands Commissions, stated descendants from three migrations comprise the vanua of Natawalevu.

The first migration by the kai Naibalebale were the first to arrive. Then there was a delegation from Nakoroisoso that now belongs to the chiefly clan, another was from Taka in Totoya, Lau,

According to the record their (Naibalebale) great ancestor Seuta left Nakauvadra with Tui Kadavu and Ratu Kulamia in search of land. It was at Naiqoro when they separated – Ratu Kulamia went to Navadra near Nakasalakea.

“Ena gauna sa lai tawa toka kina na buca ko Nasovu sa qai yaco yani vei ira ko Ratu Cokabalavu na luvena na Tavai Vunibua mai Soso. Sega ni dede na nodra tiko vata, a sa buli o Ratu Raikiwasa na luvei Ratu Cokabalavu me nodra turaga. Yacana buli o Tavai Natawalevu. Na veibuli oqo e yaco mai Vunimocelolo mai Natawalevu. Oti sara qai toki taucoko me ra tawani Natawalevu. Sa qai tekivu kina me kedra i cavuti me ko Natawalevu.” (They were still at Nasovu when Ratu Cokabalavu, son of Tavai Vunibua, from Soso arrived. His son Ratu Raikiwasa was installed as the Tavai Natawalevu. It was at the conclusion of this installation that the vanua decided to move and reside where they reside today. Together they make up the vanua of Natawalevu.

? Next week read the arrival of the third migration from Taka in Totoya, Lau and how the chiefly title of Tui Dravuwalu was handed to them. Also read the amazing “Battle of Ono” and the reason why the vanua of Natawalevu will have the head of the pig, and the vanua of Naisogoceva will have the ear as their share.

More Stories