War in Cakaudrove

The war in Macuata

UNDERSTANDING the urgency of the call for support from his kinsmen, the Tui Macuata, Ratu Golea wasted no time and gathered at Somosomo all the warriors on Taveuni.

The next morning, he left with them for Tawake, taking as he went the warriors of Mabuco and Tunuloa, sending messsengers in all directions to his tribes on Vanua Levu, commanding them to come by land from all directions, and to go and wait for him the next day.

In his work based on the writing of old missionaries Father John Crispin of Wairiki said in the evening of the same day, Ratu Golea arrived with his canoes at Tawake where he rested all his followers.

According to the missionaries, he was then informed of the whereabouts of the Tui Macuata, Ratu Ritova, who was taking refuge at the island of Druadrua off the Macuata coast.

Ratu Golea also learnt that the allied armies of Bua would gather the next day at Raviravi to surround Ritova during the night at Druadrua.

Hearing of this, the Cakaudrove chief cried: “Very well, we have arrived in time.”

The next day at the break of dawn, he gave his men the signal to leave.

Church records state his warriors were already on the move when a Tongan messenger arrived.

“Where are you coming from?” Ratu Golea asked him.

The messenger informed him that he came from Laucala to which Ratu Golea responded asking of news from the island.

Threat from Wainiqolo

The Tongan messenger then told Ratu Golea: “Wainiqolo sent me to tell you that if you march against Ma’afu and his Tongans, he will be obliged to march against you in Taveuni when you return.”

As the blood in the Cakaudrove chief’s veins boiled with anger from Wainiqolo’s threat, he turned to the messenger and said: “Go and tell your master that before Ma’afu can encircle Ritova, who is taking refuge at Druadrua, I shall have burned Raviravi where Ma’afu, Ramasima and Bete are staying.

“Tell your master that when I have burned Raviravi I shall have people light a big fire on top of the highest mountain.

“Tell your master also that when I shall return I shall respond to the war that he wishes to declare. Go!”

After this conversation Ratu Golea rejoined his warriors who had taken the lead for Raviravi in Macuata.

It was still daytime when he reached Raviravi where he saw the canoes in which Katonivere, Tui Bua and the Tongans had come to encircle Druadrua where Ritova had taken refuge.

Burning of Raviravi Village

Golea then divided his army into two groups; while one attacked Raviravi and burned it, the other seized the canoes and burned or destroyed them with hatchet blows, then rejoining to do battle, they put to flight the army of Ma’afu, of whom they killed at least half.

After this almost inhuman feat, Ratu Golea then returned to the island of Druadrua where Ritova was, and slept there with all his army.

Not content with the carnage he had caused, the Cakaudrove chief pursued Ramasima and went with Ritova to burn all the villages which had followed Bete and his party, including villages on the coast of Macuata.

Katonivere was taken prisoner and was taken back to Macuata-i-Wai where Ritova was re-establsied into his territory.

Meanwhile, in the Tongan camp Ma’afu was no longer proud considering that he had lost half of the Tongans, and his canoes had been destroyed.

However this was the only start of his many troubles which would lead to his defeat.

When all had been restored, Ratu Golea then returned to Taveuni, first through Tawake and from there to Wailevu in Tunuloa.

At Wailevu, he learnt that Wainiqolo and his warriors were at Waikava with Ratu Koila his brother and their party.

Cakaudrove warriors

ordered to gather at Wairiki

Church records have it that while addressing the Tui Tunuloa, Ratu Golea said to him: “Send messengers to all the tribes, all warriors are to go as quickly as possible to Wairiki.

“We will fight with Wainiqolo, and we shall see if Cakaudrove is afraid of the Tongans.”

Ratu Golea also learned at Wailevu that Wainiqolo had been in communication with the people of Natewa, who had promised to kill him (Ratu Golea). As a result, he had to be on his guard.

Not shaken by this threat, Ratu Golea went straight to Natewa with all his warriors and sent word to let the people there know of his arrival. When he arrived all the men of Natewa came quickly to meet him, he counted them, and when all were in his presence he surrounded them with his warriors and said to them: “I know that you have promised to kill me.

“Very well, if by a certain time you have not finished this alliance, I will massacre you all.”

Trembling, the people of Natewa all obeyed, and when they had finished, Ratu Golea mocked them, got into his canoes with all his men and departed.

After a necessary rest, Ratu Golea left for Koroivonu and there, without leaving his canoe, he sent for the chief of the village.

The chief then informed him that, “Wainiqolo has gone to Somosomo and removed your brother Ratu Kalou, and taken him to Lau.

“He has also taken your son to Wainikeli, where he is being held.

“Ratu Koila has gone to search for the Methodist minister who was at Wairiki, and has taken him to Waikava.”

“Very well,” said Ratu Golea to his men. “Let’s get going, we shall sleep at Korodogo.”

Hearing of this bad news Ratu Golea set off in haste to get to Taveuni fearing for the safety of his son and brother who were in the arms of the Tongans.

* Continued next week.

* Editor’s note: It is not our intention to cause divsion or tension between different tribal and vanua groupings but only to relay accounts of history as told to us. If your account differs, please contact us.

More Stories