Harry and Meghan Fiji visit: Traditional ceremony omits acknowledgement of confederacies

Men of Vuda participating in the traditional ceremony of the royal couple, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. Picture: SUPPLIED

THEIR Royal Highnesses, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, were accorded a full traditional Fijian ceremony this evening by the vanua o Vuda.

But the presentations of the ‘i vakasobu’ , ‘vakamamaca’, ‘sevusevu’ and ‘qaloqalovi’ to the royal couple omitted the acknowledgement of the three confederacies or the three Matanitu Vanua of Kubuna, Burebasaga and Tovata.

Instead, it was replaced with reference only made to the President, the Prime Minister, the 14 provinces and the people in Fiji.

Unlike past royal visits where chiefly members from the three confederacies are acknowledged and are part of the traditional ceremonies, this royal visit had nothing of the sort.
Former Great Council of Chiefs (GCC) member Ratu Semi Seruvakula was upset with the omission and said the practice was new to him.

“E tovo mai vei? (Where is this tradition from?). E ka vou vei au. (It is new for me.) E cava e vakavuna na ka e yaco oqo.” (What is the cause of these changes in our tradition?)’ Ratu Semi asked.

Attempts are being made to obtain comments from Ministry of iTaukei Affairs permanent secretary Naipote Katonitabua.

* More on the royal visit coverage in tomorrow’s edition of The Fiji Times and in our e-Edition.

(This report was also contributed by MELA KATONIVUALIKU)

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