How the first Tui Cakau was named

AFTER the victorious win of Tui Sinu’s sons at the war against the people of Nu’ubolu from Koroalau, he promised to do a traditional thanksgiving ceremony for the boys.

He promised to divide the surrounding coastal areas to his four sons.

But his traditional ceremony, to thank his sons, known as qusi ni loaloa in the iTaukei manner, was delayed.

And according to Viani villager Waisale Veikoso, Tui Sinu or Mainadala’s adopted, son Ro Kevu got disappointed and left home – Tavobale – at the Salt Lake.

“He broke his dad’s rule of boundary for fishing along the coast. Their dad always told them that wherever they go out fishing or to spear fish by the coast, they are to only reach Wailevu, Tunuloa and not to go beyond the point at Napuka,” Mr Veikoso said.

“If they do fish on the other side of Natewa Bay, then they are to reach the Vaturova coast only and not go on to Saqani or to Udu Point.

“Their father, Mainadala, gave them this instruction because he knew how dangerous it was in those coastal areas and he didn’t want to lose his sons.”

But Ro Kevu broke this rule, out of disappointment, and walked beyond Napuka point.

“He walked along the coast and because he was so angry, he didn’t realise that he had gone beyond Napuka and had walked down to the Buca Bay area,” Mr Veikoso said.

“This walk took him beyond Dakuniba Village and our forefathers used to tell us that Ro Kevu didn’t want to return to Salt Lake because the Tui Sinu had failed to perform the qusi ni loaloa ceremony.

“He had just one spear which he used to catch the fish and whenever he could, he would rest and cook his fish to eat.”

Mr Veikoso said Ro Kevu was described by their forefathers as a talented and gifted young man.

In those days of walking the coastal area of Cakaudrove, a traditional chiefly ceremony was being conducted at Vunisavisavi Village, not far from Dakuniba Village.

Mr Veikoso said the ceremony was to install the first Tui Cakau of Cakaudrove province.

“By this time, the people of Vunisavisavi were preparing to install the chief so three men were seated at the top, facing a huge crowd,” Mr Veikoso said.

“Ro Kevu was still by the coast, making his way towards Vunisavisavi Village while the ceremony was underway.

“And in those days, our chiefs and elders used to respect each other so when the chief’s matanivanua (traditional spokesman) gave the first bowl of kava to one of the three men seated at the top, he hesitated and asked for the second man to drink first.

“Then the second man asked for the third man to drink the bowl of kava and this was done out of respect for each other.”

But by this time of passing the bowl of kava around, Ro Kevu arrived at Vunisavisavi Village and stood by the back door of the house, in which the ceremony was being held.

“He entered the house quietly, looking all tired and exhausted from the days of long walk and sat at the entrance of the back door,” Mr Veikoso said.

“Then the matanivanua saw him and told the man mixing the grog to pass that first bowl of kava to Ro Kevu, who was seated at the door.

“They gave him the bowl of kava and he drank it, without hesitation. The matanivanua then declared him Tui Cakau and he was the first paramount chief of Cakaudrove.”

Ro Kevu’s legacy has remained in Cakaudrove which is obvious in times of traditional ceremony.

The buli or cowrie shell, tied to the end of the magimagi or fibre of coconut husk and attached to the tanoa, is turned towards the back and not towards the chief who is seated from the front.

“This is because the first Tui Cakau Ro Kevu accepted and drank the first bowl of kava while seating at the back of the room by the door,” Mr Veikoso said.

“Ro Kevu remained at Vunisavisavi with his people and this village was the first and original site of the Tui Cakau’s residence.

“And while Ro Kevu remained there with his people, his dad, Tui Sinu, then divided the coastal area to his other four sons.”

The eldest son, Qicatabua, remained at Sinu or Tavobale where they first settled at Salt Lake.

His two younger brothers, Rakuita and Draveisau, settled at Nasinu Village and Maru headed for Viani Village.

Rakuita’s ancestors today belong to the mataqali Vunisawana while Draveisau’s descendants are members of mataqali Veiqa. Maru’s descendants at Viani Village are members of mataqali Sinu.

“Their eldest sister Adi Vunitiko then got married to a man from along the coast, near Vunisavisavi and they settled on the Viani coast,” Mr Veikoso said.

“So the brothers came together one day and decided to give the title of Tui Sinu to their brother-in-law because his wife, Adi Vunitiko, was their only sister.

“Their dad had passed away and they wanted to do this to protect their sister because her husband would have people looking after them.

“They agreed and decided to change their father’s title of Tui Sinu to Tui Navadra meaning, the blood of the four brothers who are sons of Tui Sinu. Today, the chief of Nasinu and Viani is Tui Navadra.”

One of the four brothers, Maru, who settled at Viani Village, has his gravesite near the village which villagers clean every now and then.

Tui Navadra, Ratu Jope Tuitoga said when villagers cleaned the grave of their ancestor Maru, they would have abundant fruition of breadfruit.

“The breadfruit would bear from the branches of the breadfruit tree and in abundance and I have seen this. When this happens, it means our ancestor Maru is happy with us for cleaning his grave,” he said.

And it was the burnt breadfruit skin that helped Maru and his brothers defeat the people of Nu’ubolu from Koroalau during the war.

NEXT WEEK: Final part of this series: Signs to the people of Sinu and Navadra when the Tui Cakau Dies

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