My feet, my only carriage ... Dr Paul Geraghty in Suva yesterday
LINGUIST and Fijian expert Doctor Paul Geraghty says the "barefoot rule" being enforced in rural villages is new.
Dr Geraghty said Fijians in the pre-colonial era normally did not wear shoes.
However, the word "vava" or shoes does exist in the Fijian vocabulary. He said Fijians, or probably their children, wore shoes made of halved coconut shells, which he believes was probably for a particular game.
A man who walks barefoot himself, Dr Geraghty said it was nothing to do with wanting to be "Fijian".
"If I wanted to be a Fijian, I will wear shoes because all Fijians wear shoes," he said.
"I walk barefoot because I don't think shoes are of any use. It is only useful in cold countries. I don't wear shoes and I am a very healthy person, I hardly get sick," Dr Geraghty added.