Friday, October 29, 2010

Saunaka Chief Keeps Taukei Naua Title

by Maciu Malo

FIJI TIMES - Saturday, October 30, 2010
RATU Ponijese Lou is the official title holder of the Taukei Naua after the Native Lands Commission appeal tribunal ruled in his favour at Saunaka Village on Thursday night.
Photo: Courtesy Fiji Sun
Ratu Ponijese's chiefly position was challenged by his fellow mataqali (clan) member but of a differenet tokatoka.
The appeals committe, which included former magistrate Aminiasi Katonivualiku, Ro Epeli Mataitini and Ratu Inoke Seru, met the two parties and handed down its decision after careful consideration.
A relieved Ratu Ponijese said through his spokesman, Tukai Lagonilakeba, that he was satisfied the decision had been reached amicably and looked foward in continuing from where his older brother and the late Taukei Naua, Ratu Josateki Sovau, had left off.
Mr Lagonilakeba said the two factions reconciled after the ruling and the people of Saunaka were satisfied. He said the matter had been a drawback in their daily village life and the ruling marked a new begining in the village.
"We are very happy with the outcome of the Appeal Tribunal ruling and I beleive that the 'vanua' of Naua are satisified," said Mr Lagonilakeba.
"It was a good hearing as both parties co-operated with the tribunal team.
"It's a new start for us and the Taukei Naua is looking foward to leading his people well."
Mr Lagonilakeba said the Saunaka chief's main aim was to safeguard the welfare of his people.
The yavusa Naua is one of the biggest landowners in the country, receiving substantial lease monies from their land. Some big business located on their land include the Nadi International Airport and hotels along the Wailoaloa beach.
Ratu Ponijese is a retired senior fire officer with Airports Fiji Limited.

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    Tuesday, October 26, 2010

    How Tui Cakau Ratu Golea Became Catholic

    Cross finds resting peace

    Serafina Silaitoga
    FIJI TIMES - Wednesday, October 27, 2010
    A CROSS given to a high chief of Cakaudrove by a French Catholic priest 148 years ago remains a valuable treasure for the Catholics of Cakaudrove.
    The cross was given Ratu Goleanavanua Lalabalavu, who held the title Tui Cakau, in 1862 by Father Laurent Favre to help them overcome the struggles of war against the Tongans led by Ma'afu.
    The cross now kept at the Catholic Church in Wairiki, Taveuni has drawn tourists and locals who cannot believe that a century later, the cross is still safe and well preserved.
    The cross is kept in a glass box and has details of the events written at the bottom of the box. It states that the crucifix was given to Ratu Goleanavanua by Fr Favre in 1862 and their fight was a victorious one where the Cakaudrove men defeated Ma'afu and his men.
    It also states that after the war, Ratu Golea gave the cross to Tui Tunuloa for safe keeping and the cross was kept at the Napuka Catholic Church.
    Catholic assistant parish priest Father Petero Tagidrau said that in 2005, the current Tui Cakau Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu asked that the cross be returned to Taveuni.
    Fr Petero said the cross was returned in 2005 in a pilgrimage which sailed from Napuka to Wairiki where the cross was presented to Ratu Naiqama.
    He said Ratu Naiqama gave it to the then head of the Catholic Church in Fiji, Archbishop Petero Mataca, who recommended that the cross be kept at Wairiki.

    7 May 2007
    The story behind the Holy Cross How the crucifix came under dramatic circumstances to Wairiki

    Margaret Snider

    The Holy Cross church... in Wairiki since late 1800s.
    Holy Cross Church sits on the hillside among the classrooms and dormitory of its schools, above the rugby field, looking out over the Somosomo Strait at Wairiki on Taveuni Island.

    There since the late 1800s, the church presents a peaceful scene now. But its presence is related to an exciting story: the story of the Holy Cross. For there really is a Holy Cross.

    The crucifix came to Wairiki under dramatic circumstances during the war with the Tongans around 1862. Father John Crispin, who is at Wairiki now and has served the Catholic Church in Fiji for 26 years, says of the background of the war: "The way they would do it when there was a local fight they (the Tongans) would ally themselves with the weaker side and would help them to win, so they would overcome the more powerful ones and the weaker ones would be beholden to them."

    Such was the case in the mid-1800s. Ratu Koila had assassinated Ratu Golea's father and now had allied with the Tongans to defeat Ratu Golea, who was a chief on Taveuni. Ratu Koila's general was Wainiqolo.

    "Send messengers to all the tribes," ordered Ratu Golea. "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."

    The Cross
    "Sir," he was told, "Wainiqolo has gone to Somosomo and removed your brother Ratu Kalou (Chief of Cakaudrove) and taken him to Lau. He has also taken your son."

    Ratu Golea's son was just one year old.

    "Very well," said Ratu Golea to his men. "Let's get going."

    As they passed in front of Nawi, Ratu Golea saw a Catholic priest on shore. "Jump in the water," Ratu Golea told one of his men, "and go tell the priest that I don't have time to stop here, but I need to talk with him. Ask him to come and see me this evening at Korodogo."

    Ratu Golea had a long meeting with the priest, Father Favre, and told him about the assault by the Tongans.

    Father Favre assured him that if he would accept this cross, he would not need to fear; he would triumph over his enemies. Ratu Golea and several other important chiefs were encouraged and accepted the cross.

    "After the battle is over," Ratu Golea told Father Favre, "come and visit me in Wairiki. If I am victorious over the Tongans, I shall be Catholic and all of Cakaudrove with me."

    After arriving in Wairiki, Ratu Golea gave a charge to Tui Tunuloa. "You know that my son Ratu Lala is in Wainikeli," he said, "where he is being held by force. Take your warriors, go to Wainikeli and see that before sunset today my son is in my arms."

    "He will be there, sir," said the old warrior. That evening before sunset, the child was in the arms of his father.

    Ratu Golea had a younger brother, Daunivavana, who was so named because he was a marksman: he never missed his target and he always hit the smallest bird on the highest branch of a tree with his first shot. Ratu Golea assigned Daunivavana to be the general of his army.

    Daunivavana had received information that the Tongans would attack from the interior while Ratu Koila and his followers would come by the shore. Therefore, Daunivavana and his army took on what they thought were the Tongans coming by land and defeated them, after which they realised it was the Fijian enemy. Then he knew that the Tongans must be coming by sea. He rushed with his army to Wairiki and when he was almost there saw four Fijian chiefs bearing his brother, Ratu Golea.

    "Are you fatally wounded?" Daunivavana asked.

    "No," said Ratu Golea. "But I have perhaps a broken arm."

    The men of Cakaudrove attacked the Tongans and when the deed was done only one in fifty Tongans had survived and Daunivavana himself had killed Wainiqolo.

    Ratu Golea's older brother, Ratu Kalou, was returned and he addressed all the assembled chiefs: "I don't have much longer to live," he said. "Agree together and name Ratu Golea chief of Cakaudrove."

    Ratu Golea became Tui Cakau (Chief of Cakaudrove) in place of Ratu Kalou. Concerning Ratu Koila, he said, "Let Ratu Koila be my second in command, so that he will remember that I have pardoned him and above all that he will never forget that he is obliged to me for that."

    Ratu Golea, now Tui Cakau, addressed his chiefs and leaders of his three thousand warriors. He instructed those who wished to be Catholic to join him the next day with Father Favre.

    At that time, he said to Father Favre, "Father, all of Cakaudrove is Catholic, I beg you to receive us all today into the Catholic religion and to reunite us all for prayer."

    The very cross that was the hope and inspiration in the war has been cared for over the years and is now in a glass case at Holy Cross Church in Wairiki, Taveuni Island. The plaque says the following:

    "This crucifix inspired the Tui Cakau to defeat the Tongans under Ma'afu led by his warrior Wainiqolo. The crucifix was given to Tui Tunuloa for safekeeping by Ratu Golea and in 2005, after 143 years, the Tui Tunuloa, Ratu Igenasio Loaloa returned the crucifix to the Tui Cakau, Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu, in Wairiki, on Friday, 14th September, Holy Cross day. The Tui Cakau then traditionally handed it over to His Grace Archbishop Petero Mataca D. D. for safe-keeping. His Grace ordered that it be kept in the Church of the Holy Cross, Wairiki, for veneration by the people of Cakaudrove."

    The above account of the war in Wairiki is derived from the narrative compiled by Father John Crispin of Holy Cross Church in Wairiki.

    He, in turn, has obtained his information mainly from Historical Notes on the Catholic Mission of Wairiki, Taveuni, Fiji, by Father Fabiano Terrien, who spent 27 years in Wairiki from 1895 to 1922; and History of the Catholic Church in Fiji, by Father Alfred Deniau, written about 1887.

    With Father Crispin's kind permission, his account has been paraphrased and/or quoted in this telling of the story.

    "It's quite unique," says Father Crispin, "to have so much contemporary history written.

    Especially (Father Deniau's history) is not well-known and it was only last year that we found this in Rome..."I found a reference to this writing in a French book and then it was supposed to be in Suva - and it wasn't there."

    He goes on to say that the Pope gave a commission in 1836 to evangelise the South Pacific and the general archive in Rome is the place to look for records on the early part of the church in Fiji.

    "Sure enough," he says, "they had this original document."

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      The tale behind the cross

      Serafina Qalo

      Tuesday, August 28, 2007

      -There are some inaccuracies in this account in relation to names. Ratu Koila (in fact Ratu Kuila) is not from Macuata but a close relative (cousin) of the Tui Cakau who had sided with the Tongans as related in the above story.
      APPROACHING the Garden Island of Taveuni by boat toward the wharf, any first-time visitor will notice a white cross standing on the hill overlooking Wairiki Catholic parish.
      The cross has a history and an interesting one.
      It dates back to the time of tribal wars between Fijian ancestors of Cakaudrove and the King of Tonga, Ma'afu who won battles in every province he fought in.
      The history, written by Catholic priest Father Fabiano Terrien in 1922, talks about the war between Ratu Golea, who led the battle of Taveuni against Ma'afu and defeated the Tongan king and later installed the Tui Cakau.
      Father Terrien spent 27 years at Wairiki parish from 1895 to 1922 and the existence of the cross today is believed to have been a result of an event that happened during those years.
      History says that before Ratu Golea went out to battle against Ma'afu and his people, he approached the Catholic presbyterian at Wairiki asking for God's blessing to guide his men of Taveuni during the war with the Tongans.
      This resulted in another Catholic priest known as Father Favre, giving a small cross to Ratu Golea who told him that the cross was their weapon.
      And history says that the cross that took Ratu Golea and his men of the Garden Island to war defeated the great Ma'afu and his Tongan men. And the province of Cakaudrove, according to history, was the first and only island to defeat the Tongans and ended their reign.
      The battle which took place at Wairiki in the 1860s saw the men of Cakaudrove attack the Tongans like lions.
      Before the battle, Ratu Golea, who was passing by Natewa Bay on his boat on his way to Taveuni, saw a whaling boat anchored on the shores of Nawi Village, where Catholics lived.
      "It was Fr Favre who had come to the village to visit the Catholics at Nawi and Ratu Golea told his mata ni vanua to jump into the sea and tell the priest that they needed to talk.
      "At the meeting, Ratu Golea told Father Favre that the Tongans were on their way to the island to overthrow him and his brother, Ratu Kalou, and replace his chiefly position with another chief from Macuata known as Ratu Koila," the book says.
      "Fr Favre assured Ratu Golea that if he accepted the cross, he need have no fear of his enemies and that he would undoubtedly defeat them."
      Ratu Golea and the other chiefs accepted the emblem and took it to war.
      According to the story, Ratu Golea and his 3000 warriors assembled on the shores at Wairiki and watched the Tongans approach the island.
      Seeing the Tongans sailing toward Wairiki, Ratu Golea said: "Let them come."
      He then divided his men into two groups with one going into the dense forest while the other remained by the seashore, both groups led by his brothers, Ratu Matakitoga and Ratu Daunivanavana.
      His elder brother, Ratu Kalou had been captured by the Tongans and kept in Lau. After the war, which lasted almost a week, there were only 46 Tongan survivors, who with other Fijian chiefs and warriors from parts of Macuata were granted pardon by Ratu Golea.
      "Two days after the war, Ratu Golea sent his 46 Tongan prisoners back to Lau and sent a message with them: "Take back your Tongans and send me my brother, Ratu Kalou.
      "If in 15 days my brother is not on Taveuni, I will come to Lau with all my warriors and I will wipe you out to the last man."
      Six days later, Ratu Kalou arrived and Ratu Golea called together the province of Cakaudrove that assembled in the presence of Fr Favre and told the congregation: "Father, all Cakaudrove is Catholic. I beg you to receive us all today into the Catholic religion and to reunite us all for a prayer."

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        Additonal entry from wikipedia
        The Tui Cakau's Army was an alliance of armies allied to the nobles of Cakaudrove, in northern Fiji. These included the armies of the Tui Tunuloa and other armies from the Natewa Peninsula. Namuka tribe in Macuata, to the north of Cakaudrove, were allied to the Tui Cakau's Army also, and contributed to its defeat of the Tongan army at Wairiki in the Tongan War (I Valu ni Toga) in the late 1860s. Namuka tribe warriors slayed Vainikolo (known as Wainiqolo in Fijian), the right-hand man to the Tongan warlord Enele Ma'afu.

        Land Disputes top Ba Chiefly Talks

        by Sera Whippy

        FIJI TIMES - Wednesday, October 27, 2010
        LAND and title disputes are a major issue today for the country's largest province because it has divided families and brewed hatred in villages.
        This finding, according to the Ba Provincial Council, is linked to money รน and the matter will be the subject of intense discussion today at the Bose ni Momo being held at Viseisei Village in Vuda.
        Roko Tui Ba Vananalagi Vesikula said he was concerned about the trend.
        He said discussions today would focus on ways to repair damaged relationships and reconciling affected parties.
        He said that land and title disputes have been a prevalent problem in the province because of the link to money.
        He said in most of the disputes, a lot of money was at stake.
        With the assistance of the Native Lands Commission chairman, Ratu Viliame Tagivetaua, Mr Vesikula hopes to discuss this problem at length and to agree to a sustainable solution.
        "A survey was conducted and we narrowed down on the main problems like land and title disputes which bring about a lot of hate and disunity within the villages," said Mr Vesikula.
        "Many cases involve families fighting over titles or two tokatoka having a dispute over who is to become the title holder.
        "All this stems down to the money issue.
        "One such case that was quite unsettling was the Tui Vitogo case where the tribunal had to have two sittings in order to come to an agreement for all parties involved."
        Mr Vesikula also emphasised the roles and responsibilities of chiefs.
        "We will have short-term plans and long-term plans to aid us in successfully developing our land," said Mr Vesikula.
        He hopes that this will be the beginning of an annual tradition where instead of having to discuss their issues for only a few hours at the annual provincial council, they will now have two days to discuss in detail their problems and find relevant solutions.
        This will also act to strengthen links between the I-Taukei Affairs board and the Ba Province.
        The chiefs' meeting ends today before they prepare for the opening of the Salusalu Festival tomorrow, to be hosted by Vuda this year.
        More than 20 chiefs are attending the meeting which is focused on the promotion of good governance, traditional culture conservation, village by-laws, reconciliation and the role of the church in villages.

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          Wednesday, October 20, 2010

          Witchcraft Warning

          Sai's Comment:

          • This story depicts some of the practices that form part of living in a village. I grew up in my village learning about the existence of witchcraft and those identified to be practising it would often be ridiculed and abused. It is a past practice in my country of Fiji associated with our traditional gods before the arrival of Christianity in 1835.

          • The article below indicates the persistence of the practice in modern day Fiji, especially in villages. In this article, my High Chief is clearly wanting its eradication from village life to ensure people can get on with daily life without the curse from the effects of witchcraft hindering their progress. It is also contrary to the active and widespread practice of Christian worship in my village and province in Fiji. I am therefore fully supportive of the call by my high chief.
          FIJI SUN NEWS - 21 October 2010

          A paramount chief wants people practising witchcraft in his province to be identified.Tui Cakau Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu yesterday said it’s time to publicly expose devil worshippers.

          “I want people to know which part of Cakaudrove these people come from,” Ratu Naiqama said. He said people practising witchcraft had painted a very bad picture about the province. “This is a major concern to us and it should be taken seriously. “The people need to know the number of people practising witchcraft in the province and the villages they come from.” Ratu Naiqama said Cakaudrove would not be blessed by God, if people continue to worship the devil.

          The outbursts came after concerns were raised during the Cakaudrove Provincial Council meeting at Somosomo, Taveuni yesterday. Council chairman Emitai Boladuadua has urged the people to refrain from this evil practise. Mr Boladuadua said whoever was found practicing witchcraft should be stopped because it has a huge negative impact on people’s commitment towards nation building.

          He said there was a great need for the people to work together and create an atmosphere that would be safe for the children and the people of Cakaudrove. 
          A representative from Tunuloa, Samuela Qolikoro said the province would not succeed in terms of developments if they allow people practising witchcraft to live among them. He said people who practice witchcraft do exist in the province and everyone should work together to stop it. “People will not be blessed if they continue this practice. Not only that our land and efforts to succeed will be cursed.” Mr Qolikoro said.

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            Monday, October 18, 2010

            Ex-president attacks Methodist church leadership

            FBC News - 19 October 2010
            Report by : Savaira Tabua

            Former Methodist Church President Reverend Josateki Koroi has attacked the current church leadership for lacking vision and failing to develop effective plans for the future. 

            In a sermon at Davuilevu last Sunday Reverend Koroi called on church members to look into the church vision and direction, and the way it is collecting and spending money. 

            He pointed to the decision by the church to collect $600,000 for the upgrade of Baker Hall in Davuilevu as sign of the lack of vision and inability of church leaders to develop future plans. 

            Reverend Koroi says there were many church elders and talatalas driving around in 4 wheel drive Pajeros worth hundreds of thousands of dollars – and asked what was the vision they had for the church – and what foundations they were laying for the future. 

            Rev Koroi says taking money from church members will only make them suffer. 

            He says a vision was required to ensure the effective management of church affairs.

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              Sunday, October 17, 2010

              NLTB targets debtors

              FBC News - Monday, October 18, 2010

              Taken from / By: FBC News

              The Native Land Trust Board is now taking people who owe the institution lease money to court.

              NLTB General Manager Alipate Qetaki says they have written to their debtors urging them to come forward and make their payment – and now moving to the second step in their bid to collect their money. 

              In January 2010 NLTB was owed $25 million in arrears but a intensive collection effort has seen them reduce the amount to $18.7m. 

              Qetaki says they have filed 930 cases worth $2.6m to be heard in the Magistrate Court and 625 cases worth $687,700 to be heard at the Small Claims Tribunal.

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                What it Means to be Fijian

                In touch with his Fiji roots

                * adopted from Sydney Morning Herald - Monday, October 18, 2010
                PETERO CIVONICEVA is a Maroons and Kangaroos hero, but as he prepares to represent Australia at the Four Nations tournament, he knows just how much his success means to people in his native Fiji.
                Civoniceva was born in the capital, Suva, but when he was young his parents moved to Brisbane after his father was made an offer to play rugby.
                However, Civoniceva still has family in Fiji and regularly sends back money to help out the community.
                "I send money back home to my family about once a month and then, through them, things get done," the Panthers prop reveals.
                "My grandmother is very prominent in her local church and she does a lot of things with the money I send.
                "I don't have a direct hand in what gets done with the money. I just know that it gets used well.
                "'A lot of people have come to Australia from other countries to try to make a life for themselves and I think in the back of my mind there's always a sense of gratitude that I've been lucky enough to come to this country.
                "I've been very fortunate. Australia has provided so many wonderful, unbelievable opportunities for me and my family.
                "I don't think there's a day that goes by that I don't feel some sense of how lucky I am. Through the success that I've had here I have the chance to give back and this is my way of helping my family back home."
                There has been a strong Polynesian influence at the Panthers for some time and the players regularly put together shipments of playing gear and equipment which they send to South Pacific communities or local charities.
                "It's a good thing we've got going at our club," Civoniceva says.
                "A lot of the guys who come from the islands send stuff back to their families to help out. Frank Puletua sends stuff back quite often.
                "You'll find that a lot of the boys from Polynesian backgrounds try to do a bit to help out. The rest of the team is great like that, too.
                "I try to do as much as I can, put things together and send money back home and put little packages of football boots, shoes and clothes from the boys. All those things help.
                "We have a bit of a get together here when we get all our gear from home that we don't need any more and pool it together and give it to Aboriginal communities or other people who could do with it.
                "Each couple of months now we pick out a different charity or destination to send out stuff to. It might be to Fiji, or Samoa, or maybe Tonga."
                Whenever Civoniceva plays, he has in the back of his mind the knowledge that he's making people happy in Fiji. ''I think they get a lot of pride from watching guys like Lote Tuqiri, Jarryd Hayne or a Wes Naiqama playing well," he said. ''The standards of living aren't the best in Fiji. It's amazing that it doesn't faze them too much, they are still the most beautiful people you could meet."

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