Birth and rise of Queen Victoria School – Part 4

Ratu Jiale Vuiyasawa (closest to camera) and Charles. H. Nott, Secretary for Fijian Affairs 1958 (to his right) during the chapel groundbreaking ceremony. Picture: SUPPLIED


The acting principal was H. McMillan (NZ), and the student body was led by Inoke V. Tabualevu. Tabualevu was also the captain of the school’s First XV rugby, First XI cricket and athletic teams. The Deans trophy left the hills of Davuilevu and travelled down the dusty road of the Tailevu coast. After the Deans rugby finals, a Fiji Secondary Schools team toured Tonga with Tabualevu as the captain and Suliasi Cavu (Lelean) as vice-captain.

Successful NZUE candidates 1957

Emori Naqova was the dux of the school. He passed the NZUE with Jeremaia Nacoke, Neori Cama, Mosese Tuisawau, Radike Qereqeretabua, Seru F.Dewa, and Tomasi N.Vuetilovoni. In 1957, the Boys Grammar School (BGS) in Suva started what was called an Interracial High Education course (Form 6 and Form Upper 6). Three sixth formers from QVS joined BGS towards the end of term one and two of them, Mosese Qionibaravi and Peni Q.Tukunia were successful in the NZUE examination.


1958 saw the arrival of a new principal, Arthur Hurrell, who would serve for three years. Teachers who joined the school were: Joseph D. Gibson, W. Graham Leggott, Peni Waqanicakau, Penisoni Ralulu and Tomasi Bagaga (Tech). The head boy was Jone D. T. Vuiyasawa, and Joeli Kalou Sovaki his deputy. Successful NZUE candidates Members of the team were Vuiyasawa, Kalou, Joveci Tuinamuana, Laisenia Qarase, Laisiasa Naulumatua, Mosese Vunimakolevu, Mua V.Wilson, Nemia Drauna, Sakeasi Rokovucago, Savenaca Siwatibau (dux) and Solomone Matau.

First XV team

Captain was Joeli Naucabalavu, Paula Rokotuiviwa, Akuila Vuira, Fatafehi Daunivuka, Aca Soqosoqo, Rovereto Kunaleqavatu, Matau, Kalou, Vunimakolevu, Aisea Luveniyali, Asiveni Lutumailagi, Kaliova Sagrugu, Leone A. Sevudredre, Kitione Toroca, Mesake Nacola, Isireli Sema, Nemia Drauna and Waisale Waqa. Coached by the senior master, Semesa Sikivou, the First XV team was unbeaten in the elimination matches but it was a great disappointment that the Deans final (against Lelean) was cancelled in 1958 because of a polio outbreak. 1959 The principal had two senior masters/ first assistants in S. McKendry and Semesa Sikivou. New arrivals for the staff were Mr. and Mrs. F.R. King (NZ), Ratu Mosese Varasikete Tuisawau and Penaia Drauna (Tech) in a staff complement of eleven. The head boy was J.Leca and his deputy was Mesake Nacola.

Successful NZUE candidates

This following students sat for the exam: Apolosi Seiya, Epineri Vula, Jiujiua Leca, Kafoa Arone, Leone Aragamudu, Makrao P. Faktaufon, Manasa K. Seniloli, Mosese Vunivutu, Mosese U. Velia, Rigamoto Taito, Sekonaia T. Malekai and Viliame Gonelevu (dux).

First XV team

The team included J.Leca (captain), Sekonaia Mailekai (vice captain), Aisake Dukuno, Bulumakau D, M.Nacola, Ifereimi Tamanivalu, Aca Soqosoqo, Esira Rabuno, Sakeo I.Varea, Leone A and Vilitati Togavou. The coach was Mr Sikivou. The schools rugby finals were held at Lelean Memorial School. Midgets and the juniors brought trophies home, but the intermediate and seniors lost in the finals, both to Lelean. Joe Nacola stood out as a key member of the senior team. Unfortunately, he was injured and could not take the field again against Lelean in the final match. On form, QVS was a clear favourite but Lelean, playing at home, made nonsense the predictions and won 12-6. The QVS coach, the late Mr Sikivou, was livid but did not say a word. A stern taskmaster, he hardly smiled for several days after that. “No one is indispensable and the boys could have won without me,” Nacola said. “We took the loss in our stride and the following week we beat Lelean, 14-6, in a curtain raiser to a Fiji trials match.” Did the coach smile after that? “Well, he nodded…a little.”

Shakespearean plays

After a successful production of “Macbeth” the previous year, the “Merchant of Venice” was produced by the school under leadership of Mr Leggott. The first performance was held in front of the main school with the audience seated on the lawn under the stars. The next three performances were held at the Suva Town Hall. Part of the following review, written by Christopher Venning of the Fiji Broadcasting Commission, appeared in The Fiji Times: “Shakespeare’s play, The Merchant of Venice, presented under the stars, delighted an audience of about 600 people at Queen Victoria School on Saturday evening. It was the second play produced by Graham Leggott to use the natural beauty of the school setting to advantage.  “The audience was seated in a wide curve on the lawn in front of the school and as dusk fell spotlights revealed the cast in colourful costumes in a tableau. “A prologue unfolds the story for the benefit of the Fijians present and then the play began.  “The produce had devised a simple yet effective set. Using the main steps and columns of the school entrance for some scenes, and a side stage for more intimate scenes, he achieved an easy flow from scene to scene which maintained a brisk pace and kept the story moving. “The play stands or falls by the performance of two characters, Shylock and Portio, and Vilitati and Mosese brought both of them to life to an amazing degree.”  “Shylock, probably due to long and patient rehearsing, had acquired a bearing and voice that rang completely true throughout and to see the anguish in his eyes during the court scene was to see acting far exceeding the standard one expects from ‘school” Shakespeare.”  “Portia, too, in bearing and voice was completely right – dignified but warm and in the court scene a compelling figure. Mosese’s voice was a delight to listen to – cool and clear with never a wrong inflection.”


The school welcomed Mr and Mrs G Krippner, R. Fricker and Mr and Mrs C. Jacka, all from Australia, into the teaching complement of 13. Joseph. D. Gibson and Mr Krippner were promoted to be senior masters after Mr Sikivou joined the education headquarters in Suva and S. McKendry (Chemistry and Maths) returned to New Zealand. Rev Peni Nasemira who had been school chaplain for the last two years was replaced by Rev Viliame B Liga. Rev Liga had taken part in the 1958 Empire Games in Cardiff, Wales, in the javelin throw and was placed fifth. During the year, head boy was Esira Rabuno while his deputy was Atunaisa Bani Druavesi


After the departure of Mr Hurrell, Mr Gibson, one of the school’s two senior masters, was appointed acting principal. Mr Gibson quickly rose up the ranks and by mid November 1971, through the localisation policy of government, was appointed secretary for education. His former boss, J. G. Rodger, who had been director of education from 1957 to 1971, was made one of the two under-secretaries.

Head boy was Ratu Epeli Nailatikau and deputy head boy was Atunaisa Bani Druavesi.

• EMITAI L. BOLADUADUA is a former senior civil servant and retired diplomat. The historical views shared in this article are the author’s and not necessarily of this newspaper.

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