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Degei’s Descendants: Spirits, Place and People in Pre-Cession Fiji

10. Polities of Nadi Tikina

The New tikina of Nadi is bounded on the north by the Milika River which divides the Sabeto part of the New tikina of Vuda (see Chapter 9) from Vuda. To the east and the south, Nadi is bounded by the New tikina of Nawaka (see Chapter 11) and the province of Nadroga, of which the Old tikina of Vaturu lies along the eastern part; the Old tikina of Nawaka bounds the south-eastern part; and the hills of the Old tikina of Rukuruku as well as the New tikina of Malomalo in the province of Nadroga border the southern part. The sea and the mangrove swamps of the extensive Nadi River delta form the western mainland part of Nadi. Also within the boundaries of Nadi tikina are several islands, including Yakuilau, Yavulo and Sonaisali. The terrain is mostly easy for communication. The highest spot in the presently inhabited coastal area is 37 m at Rasusuva, and in the whole region is 117 m at the spiritual centre of Namarasa to the south and 176 m at Nagado to the north.

Nadi New tikina comprises the Old tikina of Nadi and Sikituru. The administrative area which later became the Old tikina of Nadi included at Cession in 1874 the Old tikina of Nadi and the Old tikina of Buduka.

Three groups who became the three yavusa, the Tukani, Noi Naiqoro and Botiluvuka, known together as the Kovacaki, were the first to settle in the Nadi area. The collective name for these three and the fourth, the Vucunisai, was Vanua o Nadi. Other groups arrived later and developed socio-politically to form the basis of three other yavusa, the Navatulevu, Yakuilau (Nabati) and the Sila. The term Nadi then included these newcomers and their leader achieved paramountcy of all these yavusa. The paramount, titled the Momo Levu of Nadi, was from the Nakuruvarua family (from Nadroga) of the Navatulevu yavusa. Much later, thanks to the energy of Navula, the war chief of Navatulevu, the polity of Nadi was considerably expanded to include the other neighbouring polities commented on in this chapter. My main sources for this chapter are the accounts of the 1913 Native Lands Commission (NLC) investigations, and more particularly my own investigations in the area since I first lived there as District Officer in 1971, and which continued until 2003. My explorations involved extensive discussions with members of all the groups, visits to all sites except the evasive and most sacred site of Nasaumomo (an account of my unsuccessful endeavours would fill a separate chapter), and some limited excavations.

A study of the origins and development of descent and socio-political complexes which duly came to be registered as yavusa by the NLC under the Nadi area, together with the various explanations for different reasons given at various times, is a completely absorbing exercise which could be continued ad infinitum without final and omni-satisfying conclusions. This situation is sometimes deliberately involved, in order to support conflicting arguments about leadership; and also, particularly nowadays, in order to confuse the Native Land Trust Board and the Fijian Administration concerning the allocation of moneys derived from land rents or from other income derived from the very extensive tourism continuing to develop in the area.

The situation is also very involved and open to close investigation, using every technique available to anthropologists, linguists and archaeologists, to determine the overt and often covert origins of the various groups who make up in fact what are by myth and legend nicely compact yavusa. Finally, the Nadi area is ideal for exploring the bases of relationships between neighbouring polities, especially by marriage or spiritual connections; and also between polities without such connections but using such diplomatic devices as the calevu ni matamataraki or diplomatic channel of communication.

A feature which distinguishes Nadi from other areas in the Yasayasa vakaRa in the west is the fact that many of the polities are either simple yavusa or groups of a few yavusa. We are dealing with mini-socio-political situations compared with those in the extreme cases in the east or the intermediate cases in Rakiraki. But they are every bit as fascinating, and also, at least geographically, more easy to cover completely and in great detail in the time available.

The main polities: Nadi tikina—a snapshot of structure

The main polities in the area covered in the course of my research project in Nadi New tikina comprising the Old tikina of Nadi (including the original Old tikina of Buduka) and Sikituru, are currently recognised as follows:

Name of polity

Leading yavusa

Title of paramount

No. of levels

No. of yavusa

No. of villages

Nadi Old tikina (including Buduka)

(i) Nadi vanua



Momo Levu




The Momo Levu (now commonly referred to as the Tui Nadi) is paramount chief of the major polity of Nadi, which includes the following six dependent and associated polities.

(ii) Nakovacaki, formerly Buduka Old tikina later amalgamated with the Old tikina of Nadi



No paramount




The three yavusa comprising the polity known as the Nakovacaki regard themselves as equal. These three individual yavusa now heed the authority of the Momo Levu of Navatulevu, Nadi. Their ancestors were evidently among the first people to settle in the Nadi area, but the paramountcy was given to the Navatulevu who came later from the hill country. The original position of the Nakovacaki was acknowledged after Cession in 1874, when they were recognised as comprising the Old tikina of Buduka. The yavusa Vucunisai was once associated with the Kovacaki but is now dispersed.

(iii) The Naua independent yavusa



Momo Levu Naua or iTaukei Sawaieke




The Momo Levu of Naua now respects the Momo Levu of Navatulevu, Nadi.

Name of polity

Leading yavusa

Title of paramount

No. of levels

No. of yavusa

No. of villages

The Sikituru Old tikina

(i) The Saunivalu independent yavusa



No paramount




Formerly associated with the following two yavusa (now extinct or dispersed): Kai Loa (extinct); and Vucunisai (dispersed, see under Kovacaki). The Saunivalu now heed the authority of the Momo Levu of Navatulevu, Nadi.

(ii) The Ketenavunivalu vanua



iTaukei Naqwaranivualiku




The three yavusa of Natutale, Sauvana and Nacaqaru comprise the vanua of Ketenavunivalu. Formerly an independent vanua and heeding the paramountcy of the iTaukei Naqwaranivualiku, they now show respect to the Momo Levu of Navatulevu, Nadi.

iii) The Yavusania vanua


Noi Vulani

iTaukei Nakauvadra




The two yavusa of Noi Vulani and Neilavutu comprise the vanua of Yavusania. Formerly an independent vanua and heeding the authority of the head of the Noi Vulani, they now show respect to the Momo Levu of Navatulevu, Nadi.

(iv) The Noi Navo vanua

Noi Navo

Noi Yaro

iTaukei Nakauvadra




The five yavusa of Navo, Digilo, Noi Yaro, Noi Takuci and Eloto comprise the vanua of Noi Navo. They are an independent vanua and heed the authority of the iTaukei Nakauvadra, now of the Noi Yaro yavusa. They currently show respect to the Momo Levu of Navatulevu, Nadi.

Kovacaki (Vanua o Nadi)

The Kovacaki, now comprising the three yavusa of Tukani, Noi Naiqoro and Botiluvuka, live at present in the villages of Namotomoto and Navoci on the north side of the Nadi River just to the north of the main urban area of Nadi town. The fourth yavusa of Vucunisai live at present in the Mamanuca islands and the Yasawa islands of Waya and Viwa.

Myths of origin and first settlements

The NLC of 1913 recorded that these four yavusa were each descended from children of Tutuvanua, whose full name according to what I was told by the Vucunisai and some Noi Naiqoro representatives, was Waicalanavanua Lutumailagi Tutuvanua. The NLC account of the myths of origin stated that:

Tutuvanua lived at Nasaumomo, sited in the middle of the mangroves at the mouth of the Nadi River near Vunatoca beach. He was living there before the arrival of the Kaunitoni, the canoe which according to the myth of the Vuda people brought the progenitors of the Fijians from somewhere to the west of Fiji. [Modern accretions to what could well be a myth of considerable antiquity place the origins in Tanganyika and before then in Turkestan (see Chapter 9).] When the Kaunitoni arrived off Nadi, the crew saw smoke rising from the mangroves and decided to sail on to Viseisei. Tutuvanua married a woman of the Leweiwavuwavu, the original inhabitants of Betoraurau, the Sabeto lands; and they had three sons who settled and who had descendants as follows:

  • • Ulinadi at Nasau, and his descendants were the Tukani;
  • • Masiwale at Naiqoro near the river, and his descendants were the Noi Naiqoro;
  • • Leawerenalagi at Dra opposite the present village of Narewa, and his descendants were the Botiluvuka.

The Botiluvuka spokesman told me quite a different myth of origin of the Botiluvuka. He said that Tutuvanua had married a woman of Nawaka, called Leawerenalagi, and that they had a son, Ulinadi, whose sons were the progenitors of the Botiluvuka. This was agreed to by the senior member of the Tukani, although others of the Tukani said that Ulinadi was their progenitor. The Botiluvuka spokesman also claimed that the Botiluvuka people came from Malolo, and were settled by the Tukani in an area in between the Tukani and the Noi Naiqoro. Therefore they became known as the Eluvuka, the people in the luvuka or middle.

The NLC myth of origin went on to claim that:

Tutuvanua also had a daughter called Lewaturatjeke. Her descendants first lived at Dra with the Botiluvuka and then moved to Maqalevu which was divided into three parts, one for the descendants of each of the sons of Lewaturatjeke who were at first known collectively as the KawaiLewatu or the Nadi. Later they were known as the Vucunisai, as will be explained below.

This is similar to the myth of origin of the Vucunisai which was given to me by their representative who claimed, however, that the Vucunisai were descended from Tutuvanua through a son whose name was forgotten, but that Lewatu was their war spirit.

There are other myths of origin of the Vucunisai which were recorded by the NLC. One claimed that the Vucunisai were part of the Botiluvuka yavusa, and that though they were descended from Lewatu, Lewatu was not a child of Tutuvanua. As one account claims that the Botiluvuka and the Vucunisai came from Malolo, it is interesting to speculate whether this Lewatu was the same as Lewatulekeleke who went from Vitogo to Vuda where she married Tuilevu. They then went on to Malolo, and Tuilevu became the original ancestor of the LeweiLawa people of Malolo, whose paramount had the title of Tui Lawa.

Another account amplified this connection with the Botiluvuka. It claimed that the Vucunisai, the Botiluvuka and the Kai Loa, another yavusa, now extinct but once associated with the Saunivalu of Sikituru (see under Sikituru), were vu vata or of the same origin, but not descended from Tutuvanua and that they came to Nadi from Malolo. They moved together from Malolo to Denarau, at the mouth of the Nadi River. From here the Vucunisai went to settle at their first Viti Levu settlement, at Maqalevu.

The Tukani: the Naobekwa, Weilulu, Nadakia and Vuralosi mataqali

I was told by the Tukani people that the only Tukani du/dina or true Tukani descended from Tutuvanua through his son, Ulinadi, were the mataqali known as the Naobekwa. The Weilulu were originally a part of the Nabau people who lived in the Nausori highlands. The Nadakia came from Nawaka, probably from the Vunatoto yavusa with whom they have a common kai or tree symbol of unity. The Vuralosi are regarded as strangers but I could not find out their origins. Although the whole yavusa has a common kai, the titi or mangrove (Bruguiera rheedii, Rhizoporaceae), each mataqali has, as well, its own kai. This supports the account that the Tukani are a composite polity rather than a descent group.

While the Botiluvuka were at Dra, they put a tabu on the land in the Nadi area. The Vucunisai attacked the Tukani, and though a number were killed, the rest escaped. The Naobekwa remained on the coast at Vunatirikoturase, but the rest of the Tukani took fright and occupied land called Buduka near the present village of Narewa. After a long time they moved to Lotoiqere, near the mangroves seaward from Buduka. Here they were joined by the Naobekwa.

On one occasion the paramount Navatulevu chiefs of Nadi became arrogant and oppressive, and the Yakuilau (see later) refused to heed their authority and drove them away from Nadi. Rokomatu, the Navatulevu chief and vasu of the Noi Naiqoro (see below) and the Navatulevu went and joined with the Tukani at Lotoiqere. Here they stayed with the Tukani until Mataitoga, chief of the Sabeto, came and took them to Koroiqawa, being Sabeto territory on the banks of the Milika River (the boundary of Sabeto/Vuda lands). The Tukani remained at Lotoiqere.

After a number of years, the Yakuilau who had become paramounts of Nadi proved to be as arrogant as the Navatulevu had been. Rokomatu and the Navatulevu saw their opportunity to return and asked the Nadroga chiefs to send an army to suppress the Yakuilau. The army, known as the Tola (or mangrove lobster, mana in Standard Fijian), arrived, and defeated and scattered the Yakuilau at Koroiqawa. Their supporters, the Tukani, fled from Lotoiqere; and some went to Sabeto, while others took refuge in the Nabau defended site at Naqwavula, below the present village of Nausori.

When Rokomatu came back from Sabeto territory and was installed in Nadi as paramount, he brought back the Tukani from Sabeto and Naqwavula and settled them in Lotoiqere. They remained here until floods drove them to Korokoro. After a hurricane had destroyed Korokoro, they moved to Buduka where they stayed until they moved to Namotomoto.

The Noi Naiqoro

The Noi Naiqoro representatives told me that their first settlement was at Naiqoro, on the banks of the Nadi River. The elder son of Masiwale (son of Tutuvanua) gave the leadership to his younger brother, Wetula, who was duly installed as Momo.

On one occasion the Saunivalu people of Navosa (the Colo part of Nadroga/Navosa) quarrelled about a pig; and a group of them under Qio came down to the coast and were invited by the Noi Naiqoro to join them at Naiqoro. The Voreivaga (vore means pig in the communalect) as they became known were strong warriors and helped the Noi Naiqoro in two battles. Out of gratitude the Noi Naiqoro gave Qio a high-ranking woman as his wife, and gave the Voreivaga land at Sikituru and made them independent. The Kai Loa (now extinct), the Vucunisai and the Voreivaga were settled together at Sikituru and they installed Qio as Momo.

The Noi Naiqoro then moved the Vucunisai to Naiqoro, to settle with the Botiluvuka. However, the Vucunisai became arrogant, building their yavu higher than those of the Noi Naiqoro, and putting a tabu on the gardens of the neighbouring Navo people (see below). The Navo removed the fences put up by the Vucunisai and complained to the Noi Naiqoro. The Navo killed a number of the Vucunisai who scattered to Yanuya in the Mamanucas, and to Waya and Viwa in the Yasawa group. The Noi Naiqoro and the Botiluvuka were afraid of the rage of the Navo, and scattered to various places in the mangroves. The leading mataqali of the Noi Naiqoro went to Vunamasei and the others to Nasavusavu. They were proposing to install the daughter of Wetula as Momo, but the leading chiefs of Nadi asked for her to go to them, so she married the Navatulevu chief and bore a son, Rokomatu. Her younger brother, Veqa, was installed as Momo in her place.

Taking advantage of this marriage relationship, the Navatulevu asked that Limasa, the Noi Naiqoro war spirit, should be sent to the Navatulevu as their war spirit. In the event, Limasa's son, Rukuse, was sent to the Navatulevu, together with Votuku as his mouthpiece and the Natogo as his protectors.

After a long time the Noi Naiqoro moved to join the Tukani at Lotoiqere. When the Yakuilau, the arrogant Navatulevu and their chief Rokomatu were driven away from Nadi, Rokomatu went to Sabeto territory at Lotoiqere to the Noi Naiqoro as his vasu. Lotoiqere became overcrowded, and the Noi Naiqoro returned under Veqa to Vunamasei.

The Botiluvuka quarrelled with the Navo and asked Veqa for help. The Botiluvuka, the Noi Naiqoro, the Tukani and the Vucunisai attacked and burned Navo and the Navo fled to Korolevu (Rukuruku, see below) in the hills between Nadi and the Sigatoka River. On the occasion when the Tola arrived at Nadi, these four groups scattered, and went to the defended site in the hills at Naqwavula.

When Rokomatu returned from Sabeto to Nadi, he recalled the Noi Naiqoro and settled them at Vunamasei. Some Botiluvuka and some Tukani went back to Nadi with the Noi Naiqoro, and were settled at Duiyata/Vunaividamu and at Lotoiqere respectively, and others went to Sabeto. The Vucunisai went with the Noi Naiqoro.

Before they had all gone to Naqwavula, the Tukani were the leaders. On their return, after the Vucunisai had gone from Nadi (as explained above), Rokomatu gave the paramountcy of the Kovacaki to Lewavai, son of Veqa, of the Noi Naiqoro. Meanwhile Rokomatu himself was installed as paramount of the three Nadi yavusa (the Navatulevu, the Yakuilau and the Sila), as well as the three Kovacaki yavusa (the Tukani, Botiluvuka and Noi Naiqoro).

The Navatulevu and the Yakuilau quarrelled again because the Yakuilau tried to take over the leadership. The Yakuilau asked the Tukani to join them, and Rokomatu asked the Noi Naiqoro who persuaded the Tukani to change sides. The war village of the Yakuilau at Nadroumai was burned, and they scattered to Yavulo, and to Malolo.

Following the introduction of Christianity, the establishment of the 1871 Cakobau Government and presumably the spreading of the fame of the French Emperor (or one of his descendants), the younger son of Rokomatu, Navoleone Ragiagia, was installed as the Momo Levu of Nadi in succession to his elder brother Naigaga. On behalf of the Kovacaki, as original landowners, Lewavai acknowledged Ragiagia’s paramountcy and presented him with baskets of earth, and the chiefs of all the associated groups swore allegiance to Navoleone on the Bible. On the death of Lewavai, Ravetale took his place as leader of the Kovacaki. After Cession in 1874, the Noi Naiqoro went to Kovaci land at Buduka to join the Tukani; and out of respect for the Kovacaki as the original Nadi landowners their traditional territory was referred to under the Colonial administration as the tikina of Buduka under Buli Buduka. Later the Noi Naiqoro went from Buduka to their present village of Navoci; and following the 1945 amalgamation of tikina, the Old tikina of Buduka became part of the present tikina of Nadi.

The Botiluvuka

The NLC recorded the first settlement of the Botiluvuka, being the descendants of Leawerenalagi (third son of Tutunavanua) as at Dra, opposite the present village of Narewa. Here the Botiluvuka were later joined by the Vucunisai. I was told (see above) that the Botiluvuka came originally from Malolo, and were settled between (luvuka) the Tukani, then living at Buduka, and the Noi Naiqoro, then living at Dra. They settled there together with the Vucunisai; and one account said that the Vucunisai were in fact part of the Botiluvuka. The Botiluvuka name was originally Nadi, but was changed to Botiluvuka at the time of the Commission in 1913, presumably out of recognition that the Navatulevu were by then paramounts in Nadi and it would have been inappropriate for the Botiluvuka to retain the toponym.

After the Vucunisai had moved to Bilaki (later Nakavu), they became arrogant towards the Noi Naiqoro, and also put a tabu on Nadi land. The Noi Naiqoro asked for help and an army came from Namosi and smote the Vucunisai, killing many – the rest fled to Malolo. The Botiluvuka became frightened and took refuge in the mangroves at Duiyata and Vunavutu.

On the later occasion when the Yakuilau rebelled against the arrogance of the paramount Navatulevu and drove them away from Nadi, the Navatulevu asked the Nadroga people for assistance. The Tola, the Nadroga army, came and burned the Botiluvuka villages, and the Botiluvuka scattered to Naqwavula and to Vuda. Some of the Botiluvuka had previously fled to Sabeto, having stolen some women to whom they were not entitled.

When Christianity came and Navoleone was installed as Momo Levu of Nadi, Lewavai of the Noi Naiqoro brought the Botiluvuka back and settled them in Buduka and Dra, though some remained at Vuda and their descendants are still living at Viseisei as members of the Sabutoyatoya yavusa. The Botiluvuka, together with the rest of the Kovacaki, agreed that Lewavai of Noi Naiqoro should be recognised as their leader, and he heeded the authority of the Momo Levu, Navoleone Ragiagia of the Navatulevu (see above).

The Botiluvuka moved from Dra and Buduka at the time of the Cakobau Government, and settled in the present village of Namotomoto.

The Vucunisai

Whatever their origin and relationship (be it by common mythical descent with, or as part of, the Botiluvuka, or indeed if any), it seems to be generally agreed that the Vucunisai and the Botiluvuka were at first together at Dra, and that the Vucunisai then moved to Maqalevu. Here they may have been known at first by the descriptive name of Kawa i Lewatu (Lewatu's family) or perhaps by the name of Nadi (meaning, in the communalect, ‘mature’ as of oysters or crabs). It is equally likely that the common name for the Vucunisai and the Botiluvuka was LeweiLewatu. It is, however, still problematic whether the name Nadi was originally used to cover all four (or three, if the Vucunisai were then simply part of the Botiluvuka yavusa), so forming the Vanua o Nadi or Federation of Nadi; or whether the Vucunisai alone were the Nadi and the other three are the Kovacaki; or whether the Vucunisai and the Botiluvuka were one, known as the Nadi, and the Tukani and Noi Naiqoro were the original Kovacaki, later to be joined by the Botiluvuka; or whether the Vucunisai and the Botiluvuka were one grouping, perhaps known by the common name of Nadi, and the others were known as the Tukani and the Noi Naiqoro respectively. It was only later that the term Vanua o Nadi (comprising the four, later three yavusa) was replaced by the term Kovacaki. This term may have been introduced to refer to the three remaining groups after the departure of the Vucunisai; or even after the arrival of the Navatulevu and the Yakuilau, when the Navatulevu were recognised as paramount and it would have been inappropriate to refer to the three original yavusa alone as the Nadi.

Be that as it may, the traditional responsibilities of the Kawa i Lewatu, the Vucunisai, were to act as bai ni valu or war fence for the protection of the Kovacaki in Buduka or in the war village of Nadroumai. They acted with powers given them by Limasa, the very powerful war spirit, through the mediation of the bete or priest who was a member of the Noi Naiqoro.

Perhaps because of their special warrior status and their special relationship with Limasa, the war spirit, the Kawa i Lewatu became very arrogant towards the Noi Naiqoro, and also marked out the Nadi gardens as tabu (implying for their control only). The Vucunisai representative went on to tell me that:

The Noi Naiqoro sent a large tabua to the Sabeto people asking for help against the Vucunisai who at the time were living at Bilaki (Nakavu) and three other adjacent sites. The tabua was passed on to the Nawaka, the Nadroga, the Navosa and finally to the Namosi people who accepted it and sent an army which smote the Kawa i Lewatu at their four settlements. After their defeat, they buried their weapons (voco ni sai means ‘burying the spears’ in the communalect) and so became known as the Vucunisai. Having taken handfuls of earth which they left piled as a memorial at Dela i Bua (at Bilaki, now Nakavu), they then went to Denarau (dei na raurau means ‘the leaves were thrown away’ in the communalect) where they threw away the leaf baskets used for the food for their last meal together. Here Ratu ni Yawe, the chief of the Vucunisai, died. One of his daughters went to marry the Kwa Levu of Nadroga, and the other daughter went to Kadavu and named an area there Yawe in memory of her father. When the Vucunisai left their land at Maqalevu, it was given to the Noi Sikituru (presumably the Voreivaga referred to above).

From Denarau, the Vucunisai returned to their place of origin on Malolo. From here they split up and some went to Yanuya (Mamanucas), some to Viwa, some to Waya and some to Natubasa on Yasawa Island. Others went to Vanua Levu, to Nadivakarua (Kubulau Point), to Nacavanadi (Savusavu) and Vuinadi (Natewa Bay). Wherever they settled they heeded the authority of the local chiefs.

It is interesting to speculate whether they were forced to leave Malolo because they maintained their arrogant behaviour. Indeed it may have been this unfortunate trait which forced them to leave Malolo in the first place.

Nowadays the Vucunisai at Yanuya, Viwa and Waya foregather at Bilaki for special ceremonial occasions requiring their joint presence. This may be for sentimental reasons—indeed I was told that they would like to return to the land at Maqalevu which they still regard as their own. Alternatively, they may consider that if they foregathered at Malolo, they would not be regarded as personae gratae by the Malolo people; or it may simply be more convenient and simpler for all concerned to travel to Nadi.

The newcomers (Vanua o Nadi)

Three yavusa, the Navatulevu, the Yakuilau (Nabati) and the Sila, were newcomers to Nadi. They are based at present in the villages of Narewa, near to the town of Nadi, and Nakavu. On the road to Lautoka at least two groups of people arrived in succession and the first group were given land by the Noi Naiqoro. They were the first of the newcomers to arrive, and they became the Navatulevu. Then several other groups came in succession and the first of them was given land by the Tukani. They became the Yakuilau, having first been known as the Nabati. Finally came the Sila who settled between the other two. In course of time and in spite of continuous inter- and intra-yavusa quarrelling, the leader of the Navatulevu became recognised as the paramount of these three yavusa and of the Kovacaki. The polity continued to be known as the Vanua o Nadi. The paramount was installed with the title of Momo Levu of Nadi, and was a member of the Nakuruvarua family of the Navatulevu yavusa. Much later, thanks to the energy of Navula, the war chief of Navatulevu, the polity of Nadi was considerably expanded to include neighbouring polities.

This account is based on what I was told in the 1990s by the people concerned, and the details differ appreciably from the NLC accounts. Perhaps I should record that the head of the present NLC office told me that the NLC accounts were confusing and suspect and asked me to see if I could shed some light on what the local traditional authorities on the affairs of Nadi could throw on the situation. Alas, almost anything to do with Nadi affairs and leadership is controversial, especially now that there is so much tourist development on Nadi lands and the chiefly share of rent money and other income flowing from dealings with hoteliers is very significant. There was a dispute about who should succeed to the position of Momo Levu, when Ratu Dawai the then-paramount died during the course of my investigations, and the Assistant Roko Tui Ba who had responsibilities for Nadi affairs asked me to restrict my enquiries to non-controversial matters. The dispute, revolving round the question of what was the traditionally acceptable basis of succession, was taken to the High Court which did not consider it appropriate to adjudicate on the matter. In 2003, I heard that a successor had been formally installed as Momo Levu, but I was also told that the installation was not recognised by all the Navatulevu chiefs or by all the vanua of Nadi.

Myths of origin and first settlements

The NLC recorded different myths of origin for the Navatulevu, whose progenitor was Duwaka, and for the Yakuilau (progenitor, Tanitaniulu) and Sila (progenitor, Tunaqai), especially as to possible relationships and associations between the respective progenitors. The Navatulevu myths include reference to Tutuvanua, the progenitor of the Kovacaki people, but exclude reference to Tanitaniulu, progenitor of the Yakuilau. The accounts also said that there may have been a fourth relative or associate, Lewatu(tjeke), who was the original ancestral spirit of the somewhat elusive Vucunisai; some of whom are nowadays on Malolo Island. The NLC accounts of the myths of origin for the Navatulevu and the Sila claimed that:

Du(w)aka and some others went from the Nakauvadra mountains to Nadi on Vanua Levu where he stayed with Tunaqai as well as with two other spirits, Tutuvanua and Lewatu. Later all four left Nadi and sailed west to the Liwaliwa reefs near the Mamanucas. They separated at sea, and Duwaka and Tunaqai landed at Nasaumomo at a time when, the Navatulevu claimed, all Nadi was unoccupied.

The Navatulevu claim differs from that of the Kovacaki people who say that the Nadi area had been occupied by Tutuvanua, their progenitor who had settled at Nasaumomo before the arrival of the mythical first vessel, the Kaunitoni (see the Kovacaki account).

Duwaka married a woman of the Natuvulevu group of the Naua people, now at Saunaka (see separate account). They had two children who became human and went to settle at Navatulevu.

The elder son had two sons, whose descendants were the Navatulevu and the Valemagimagi mataqali respectively. The elder of these two sons had five children including Raisiko (the eldest) and Raimoqe. They all lived at Navatulevu.

Duwaka's younger son, Kubu, settled at Nadurumai, and married Turuva, a woman of the Botiluvuka (Kovacaki). His descendants were known as the Nadurumai.

Nasaumomo is a site in the mangrove swamp opposite to Yakuilau Island. It is visible as a group of coconut palms, but despite my best endeavours I have not been allowed to visit this very tabu place. Navatulevu and Valemagimagi were the names of the two original yavu situated near to each other inland to the left of the road to Denarau and which have been identified to me. Navatulevu is a very impressive and elaborate mound. Three areas known as Navatulevu, Valemagimagi and Nadurumai formed what was described to me as a rara balavu or long village, of which the three integral parts were divided from each other by ditches. Separate from these three areas was that of Nakinimai, the settlement of the bete or priests of Duaka.

The NLC accounts of the myths of origin for the Yakuilau claim that:

Tanitaniulu, together with Duaka and Tunaqai, went from the Nakauvadra to Nadi, but they separated at sea. Duaka and Tunaqai went to Nasaumomo. Tanitaniulu landed at Yakuilau where he stayed for a while before going on to Nasaumomo and married Neileqe, daughter of Tutuvanua, the Kovacaki progenitor. One account, later corrected, said that he married Nabure, the eldest child of Tunaqai. It is not known how many children they had, but they are said to have had four grandchildren, the second of whom was called Tuitoga.

Tanitaniulu having settled at Nasaumomo, Tunaqai left Nasaumomo and went to settle at Naqaya. He married Lewanicugitu, and they had one daughter and one son. The son in turn had four children, and they all lived at Naqaya.

These myths of origin given to the NLC are interesting in providing the basis of a spiritual relationship between the three groups which they wanted to maintain in order to demonstrate their sense of unity to what they regarded as an interfering outside Government organisation set on registering them in groups of landowners in accordance with principles they claimed did not accord with their local traditional practices. Not only that, they gave me every impression that they were united, at any rate as far as other federations were concerned, and that their local strength was based on this ideology of unity. The concept of unity and the confidence and comfort derived from it far outweighed the fraternal and internal bickering and rivalries which may perhaps be regarded as perfectly normal in any family or association, however close the bonds may be. As evidenced by my study of their symbols of unity and identification such as the kai or tree, a different account of the origins of these people emerged from my explorations. Local representatives of all three yavusa told me in the course of discussions in the 1990s that:

The first elements of the group now known as the Navatulevu came from the islands of Yasawa and Naviti, and they formed the Valemagimagi sub-group which include divisions named Sawailau and Natubusa. These two names are reflected in the place name of Sawailau, an islet off the south-east tip of Yasawa Island; and the kinship group name of Natubusa found presently in the village of Tamasua, Yasawa. These Valemagimagi came to Nadi and were given land by the Tukani who claim to have been in the area before the arrival of the first canoe. At some stage some people came over, probably from Naviti, and their origin is reflected in the name Suelevu by which the Navatulevu were first known. Suelevu is a kinship group on Naviti, and the word sue is a word in the Naviti communalect meaning ‘house’, whereas the Nadi word for house is were.

The next to arrive were some of the Navatulevu from Nagwagwa on the northern slopes of the Tualeita range. They had left their original settlement at Navatulevu on the southern slopes of the Tualeita and crossed the range after attack by an army from Bulu, a mountainous inland part of Ba. The Valemagimagi recognised the strength of these hill people and invited them to settle with them on land near to that already inhabited by the Yakuilau (then known as the Nabati after their land) and the Sila, and be their leaders. The overall name of the Valemagimagi and the Navatulevu then, as a matter of courtesy, became Navatulevu, though it was still being referred to sometimes as Suelevu when the NLC were carrying out their investigations.

The exact origins of the breakaway Naduruniu are not clear.

Later came some members of the chiefly family of Nakuruvarua from Nadroga, and they were invited to stay and were made leaders of the Navatulevu. The Momo Levu of Nadi is still appointed from the Nakuruvarua, although there are still bitter arguments about the succession, reflecting the quarrels and rivalries that occurred throughout the recorded period of development of the three yavusa, or rather of the Navatulevu and the Yakuilau.

There is evidence that these newcomers to Nadi proceeded to validate and strengthen their position of leadership in two spiritual ways. First, they claimed Duaka as their nitu or originating spirit. Duaka is also known as the sea sibling of three inland siblings associated with the interior of Nawaka (see account of the Le Va, the four sibling spirits in the account of the Nine Yavusa). Duaka manifested as a dadakulaci or sea snake which acted as the defender (sasabai) of the entrance through the reef at Momi, with its head at Malolo Sewa Island and its tail at Beqa Island. It was regarded as a nitu of great strength and with an extensive personal sphere of influence and close blood relations with the strong folk of the interior.

Secondly, they requested from the Noi Naiqoro of Kovacaki that the powers of their very strong war spirit, Limasa, be made available to the Navatulevu. The Noi Naiqoro sent the son of Limasa, Rukuse, to the Navatulevu people, together with a man of special power of communication with Rukuse and a group called the Natoga to go and look after his requirements. Later they apparently sent Limasa as the war spirit for the Navatulevu and the federation of Nadi.

The development of the Nadi yavusa

A characteristic of the development of so many Fijian polities and federations throughout Fiji is the extent to which continual jealousy (vuvu) and rivalry (veiqati) within and between descent groups led to quarrels and fighting. This in turn led to socio-political fission from, and fusion with, existing polities or to the creation of new groups. Such quarrels were often concerned with the position of a leader who might have been a member of the group involved or might have been a stranger to the group invited to lead or accepted as leader. They are also concerned with the reaction of subordinates if the paramount behaves in an un-chiefly manner, especially in being overbearing or dominating with unreasonable demands on the goods and services of the subordinates. The traditional accounts may ascribe quarrels to some breach of etiquette in a yaqona ceremony or in the distribution of particular pieces of a pig or a fish at a feast. It is often apparent that, underlying such breaches, feelings of rivalry or jealousy are the root causes of quarrels.

The development of the Nadi yavusa reveals this situation as prevailing to perhaps a greater extent than elsewhere, especially in my study areas. For this reason in particular, a detailed investigation of Nadi is important for the understanding of the procedures and mechanics of the development of Fijian polities generally. An exploration of the development of Nadi is really a determination of the relationships within and between the Navatulevu and the Yakuilau yavusa, and their relationships with the Kovacaki and the neighbouring polities such as Vuda, Sabeto, Nawaka, Naua, Navo, and Sikituru (these polities are described elsewhere).

The development of the Nadi yavusa: Navatulevu

The NLC accounts of even the earliest stages of the development of Navatulevu reveal internal quarrels within the Naduruniu part of the Navatulevu yavusa. These were manifested in a quarrel over an area of sugar cane (tovu, which had ceremonial value apparently approximating that, later, of yaqona), and resulted in some of the Naduruniu going to join with the Yakuilau while the rest remained loyal to the Navatulevu.

It is not clear from the available NLC accounts or from what I learnt myself whether the quarrels involved rivalry over leadership. However, the following quarrel between Raisiko and Raimoqe (see above) as recorded by the NLC made the situation much clearer:

Duaka was the progenitor of the Navatulevu and the eldest of the progenitor siblings (Duaka, Tanitaniulu and Tunaqai). At first the Navatulevu as descendants of the Duaka, the eldest of the progenitor siblings, were the leaders of the Yakuilau and Sila, being descendants of the younger siblings. Duaka had two sons. The eldest had two sons, Raisiko and Riamoqe whose descendants became the Navatulevu and Valemagimagi mataqali respectively. The descendants of Duaka’s second son, Kubu, became the Naduruniu mataqali. Of the Navatulevu yavusa, the recognised leader was Raisiko, being the elder brother. Raimoqe was ambitious to take the leadership from Raisiko, and he went to join the bete (the priests) at Nakinimai. This was presumably to gain their spiritual support for his plans. He asked Lomanikaya, an old man of Tavarua (Rukuruku, see above), for a buli leka, a cowry shell symbolising the high rank which Raimoqe wished to achieve. The request was refused, the Tavarua were attacked and burned, and Lomanilaya fled and was killed. The buli leka was taken to Raimoqe, and he was brought back to Navatulevu by the Naduruniu and installed as Momo Levu in the presence of the Navatulevu, the Yakuilau and Sila as well as the Kovacaki and other neighbouring polities including the defeated Tavarua. Raisiko was angry and went to join the Yakuilau.

Two generations later the Yakuilau planned to take away the leadership from the Navatulevu mataqali of the Navatulevu yavusa and give it to the junior branch, the Naduruniu. The NLC recorded that:

Mudunatua, chief of the Yakuilau, planned that Nawairabe of the Raralevu part of the Naduruniu should be acknowledged as leader. He built an installation house, but Rokomatu, the grandson of Raimoqe, burned it. In revenge, the Yakuilau killed an old man of Navatulevu, and a split between the Yakauilau and the Navatulevu followed. Rokomatu and the Navatulevu took fright and fled to the Tukani (Kovacaki) village of Lotoiqere, where they sheltered with the Noi Naiqoro and some Sikituru people. Mataitoga, a warrior chief of Sabeto heeding Naloto, the paramount of Sabeto, came and took Rokomatu and his Navatulevu followers (known as the Bolaciri) to Sabeto. Mataitoga had ambitions of leadership, and he and Rokomatu chased Naloto away to the Colo and burned his village. With the flight of the Navatulevu, the Yakuilau became paramount in Nadi, and the remaining part of the Navatulevu, together with the Kovacaki, Yavusania, Sikituru, Naua and Vunatoto (Nawaka), heeded the authority of the Yakuilau chief, Mudunatua.

In course of time, the Yakuilau became arrogant and oppressive (voravora) to the other Nadi groups. The Navatulevu in Sabeto met with the Navo, the Utiloaloa (see under Nawaka) and the Ketenavu of Moala, in order to plan a return to Nadi.

What followed is an interesting example of how Fijians would use a network of traditional diplomatic paths (known as calevu in the communalect), to make a request through the medium of a tabua. The tabua would be passed from polity to polity along these ‘paths’ until some power accepted the tabua, thereby becoming bound to meet the request. The ceremonial procedures leading to the killing of the Reverend Thomas Baker were similar. The Navatulevu procedures were as follows:

  • • The Navatulevu passed the tabua along the Calevu ni Valu to the Ketenavu of Moala.
  • • The Ketenavu passed the tabua along the Calevu ni Nukuvou to the Nakaria of Yako.
  • • The Nakaria who were being harassed by the Noi Yasawa people in the interior, passed on to Nabekasiga, the Kwa Levu or paramount chief of Nadroga, not only this tabua but also added one of their own with a request for help against the Noi Yasawa.

Nabekasiga accepted the tabua and summoned an army from Serua and Namosi as well as from various Nadroga polities. The war which followed was known as the War of the Tola (communalect for the mangrove lobster—see above). The Tola army, which had the advantage of guns, set off for Nadi from Cuvu and on the way defeated the Noi Yasawa on behalf of the Nakaria. The Sabeto sided with the Navatulevu in their endeavours to return to Nadi, but the Ketenavunivalu (the Moala, Navo and Vunataqwa of the Utiloaloa) did not participate and simply hid. The Yakuilau had never had firearms, and when the Tola started to fire their guns, the Nadi thought it was nitu or spirits attacking them. They fled with their supporters to Naqwavula, the fastness inland below Nausori, and their lands fell into the hands of Rokomatu who had returned from Sabeto to Narewa where Nabekasiga, the Kwa Levu, had had houses built for the returning Navatulevu. Nabekasiga and those who had come from so far to join the Tola army were duly thanked, and they returned home. A Naua chief, Naloku, had also returned to Naua from Sabeto where he had sought refuge. His return had been facilitated by his relation, Rokomatu; and because of this relationship and out of gratitude for Rokomatu's assistance Naloku, now paramount of the Naua, was willing to heed the authority of Rokomatu and the Navatulevu.

Rokomatu then recalled those groups who had scattered to Naqwavula and elsewhere, and settled them back in their own lands. Through this obligation, these other groups heeded the authority of Rokomatu, as did the defeated Yakuilau. Rokomatu thus became paramount of the Nadi polities. He was succeeded by his son Koroigaga.

Following Koroigaga's death, the Yakuilau again strove for the leadership and planned to install one of their own as paramount, preparing a ceremonial compound for the purpose. When their candidate was about to enter the compound for installation, the leading warrior Navula threatened him and told him to go away. The Yakuilau who had assembled for the installation were chased away. After trying to defend themselves, they were overcome by Navula; and they fled to the Yavusania on the island of Yavulo where again they were overcome. The Yakuilau and the Yavusania fled to Navo but Navula burned them out. The Navo and the Yavusania fled to Yako on the Nadroga boundary; and the Yakuilau escaped to Malolo. Some of the Navo lands were sold to Europeans in 1867. In due course, Navula recalled the Navo, the Yavusania and the Yakuilau and resettled them at Navo, Yavulo and Nabati respectively. Navula had been too young to fight in the war of the Tola, but because of his proven military ability, he became leader of the Navatulevu, though he refused to accede to the wishes of the Navatulevu and be installed as Momo Levu, the spiritual paramount.

After the arrival of Christianity in Nadi, the Navatulevu installed Navoleone Raigigia, younger brother of Naigaga, as Momo Levu in the presence of the Yakuilau, the Kovacaki, the Naua, the Vunatoto (Nawaka), the Navo and the Sikituru. They all swore on the Bible to heed the authority of Navoleone. When the Cakobau Government was established in 1871, Ratu Peniani Vukinamualevu was appointed Governor of the yasana of Ba which included the tikina of Nadi. When it became evident that the Cakobau Government could not assert its authority over all of Fiji, a meeting was held on Bau at which Navula was present, and this was followed by Cession in 1874. Under the Colonial Government, Ratu Vuki was made Roko Tui Ba and Yasawas, and Navula was made Buli Nadi. When Navula retired, Nadi was divided up, and Sailosi Dawai, Navula's elder brother, was made Buli Buduka (covering the Tukani and Noi Naiqoro, the Naua and the Noi Tubai in Vaturu). Luke, Navula's son, was made Buli Nadi (for the Navatulevu and Yakuilau, the Sikituru, the Ketenavu, Navo, and the Rukuruku hillfolk). The Naduruniu, because of age-old differences going back to the quarrels about sugar cane, had always lived separately from the rest of the Navatulevu yavusa and they had some ambitious members who wanted to break away completely from the rest of the Navatulevu. They had now gone to Nakavu which was some distance from the Navatulevu centre at Narewa; and Nemani Driu (of the Naduruniu) was made Buli Nawaka (for the Vunatoto, the Utiloaloa and the inland members of the Nine Yavusa—see Nawaka). Ratu Vuki, though he had had relations in Ba, was a man of rank on Bau (Scarr 1980:116). He served in Ba until the Province turned against him perhaps mainly because of his heavy handedness but also because he was a stranger. He was duly dismissed; and in 1884, Nemani became the first local Roko Tui Ba. He maintained the Naduruniu separation from the rest of the Navatulevu, continuing to live at Nakavu and refusing to be buried in the Navatulevu cemetery. He had bought land on the island of Waya; and though he never lived there, he was buried on Waya in the 1890s.

The development of the Nadi yavusa: Yakuilau

I have given the Navatulevu accounts in some detail for the reasons stated in the introduction to them: so much rivalry and quarrelling involved a struggle for primacy between the Navatulevu and the Yakuilau, and reaction to the oppressive nature of whichever yavusa was in power at the time. To complement these accounts, I will give accounts, though less detailed, of the development of the Yakuilau and their version of their interaction with the Navatulevu. The accounts also fill out some of the gaps in the Navatulevu accounts. The 1913 NLC accounts of the Yakuilau said that:

At first the Navatulevu had authority over the three yavusa of Navatulevu, Yakuilau and Sila. Then the Yakuilau determined to gain paramountcy, and they agreed to install Tuitoga, the second of four sibling grandchildren of the original ancestor, Tanitaniulu, to be paramount over the Navatulevu. The installation house was made by the Sikituru, and the ceremony was attended by some Navatulevu, the Sila, all the Kovacaki and the Vucunisai, and the Yavusania.

Later, the sons of Tuitoga quarrelled and war followed in which the younger brother chased away the elder brother who went to Vuda. Here he gathered an army from Vuda and Sabeto, and attacked the Yakuilau and re-occupied Nabati. After further splits in the Nasaru sub-group of the Yakuilau, all who had fled were brought back and peace was resumed.

When the Navatulevu increased in numbers, the Yakuilau under Mudunatua feared for their position and planned to exterminate them. They murdered Taleqwailagi, a Navatulevu chief; and Rokomatu and the Navatulevu fled to Lotoiqere. The Yakuilau attacked them here, and Mataitoga brought them to Sabeto, where Mudunatua was murdered, as related in the Navutulevu account.

When the Tola army arrived from Nadroga, the Yakuilau and their associated groups fled to Naqwavula in the hills. Some of the Yakuilau had gone to join relations at Moala, Sabeto, Vitogo, Malolo, and Waya and Viwa in the Yasawas. Those at Naqwavula stayed there until Rokomatu returned to Narewa in Nadi. He recalled Nakilivaturubu, the Yakuilau chief, and settled the Yakuilau at Narewa. Some who had gone far away to other places did not return. At Narewa, they came under the authority of Navatulevu, and Rokomatu could keep a close watch on their activities and their plots. His suspicions were well founded, because Turaga, the Yakuilau chief, invited the Yavusania to come and partake of some sugar cane (I explained earlier that the sugar cane was evidently used ceremonially in the same way as yaqona was later used when seeking some favour). They plotted to kill Navula of Navatulevu. They put up defences and killed Matalulu, an old man of Navatulevu. Navula sent tabua to the Noi Naiqoro, the Naua, the Vunatoto (Nawaka), the Sikituru and the Raviravi of Yako. They attacked the Yakuilau who scattered, some to Sabeto and some to Malolo. While on Malolo, the Yakuilau lands fell into the hands of the Navatulevu. Some had gone to join the Moala on the island of Yavulo, but they were attacked here and driven away. In course of time, the Yakuilau on Malolo prepared pigs and iyau or valuables such as bark cloth, coconut sinnet and clay pots, as made on Malolo. These were presented to Navula as isoro or apology with a request that the Yakuilau be allowed to return to Nadi. In course of time, Navula called the Yakuilau back, and the Yakuilau presented vudi or plantains mixed with yabia or arrowroot as their matamatanisali or formal request to persons by strangers to be allowed to stay with them. This indicated that the Yakuilau were not at all certain what reception they would receive from the Navatulevu. However, Navula settled them at their old territory at Nabati, and peace was resumed.

The Yakuilau acknowledged the Navatulevu as paramounts, and were present at the installation of Navoleone Raigigia as Momo Levu. At this ceremony, Lewavai, chief of the Tukani, presented the soil at the ceremony (symbolising the handing over of the land and the people to come under the authority of the installed Momo Levu). This he did in view of the antiquity of his ancestors in the area.

When the Cakobau army attacked Sabeto, some of the Yakuilau were still there, and Navula brought them back to stay at the Navatulevu village of Waqana (on the opposite side of the road to Narewa but a little closer to Denarau). Here they remained in Navula’s service for some twenty years until Navula agreed to release them from their obligations and allowed them to join the others at Nabati. The Yakuilau are at present in their own part of the modern village of Narewa.

Although my informants agreed generally with this account, they also told me that, before the arrival of the Navatulevu from the hills, the people who became known as the Yakuilau were the first to settle among the Kovacaki, followed by the Sila. They said that:

The first of these people settled in the area on land at Nabati given to them by the Noi Naiqoro. When Tanitaniulu, the original ancestor of the Yakuilau, married Neileqe, the daughter of Tutuvanua, the progenitor of the Tukani, the Tukani gave the Nabati the island of Yakuilau as lea i bolo na likoliko or land provided by the woman's relations for her use when she marries a stranger. When a group of the Tuilawa people came over from Malolo, they rested on Yakuilau which was vacant at the time. The Nabati saw them there and invited them to come and join them. The Nabati saw that the Malolo were very clever people and made them leaders of the combined group which then became known as the Yakuilau.

These accounts show the development of the Yakuilau yavusa from local and stranger groups of arrivals, and the changes of leadership by agreement. When the Navatulevu came down from the hills, the Yakuilau and the Sila recognised the strength of the Navatulevu hill folk and acknowledged them as the leaders of all the three groups, that is, the Navatulevu, the Yakuilau and the Sila. The Yakuilau currently occupy their own part of the modern village of Narewa, next to those of the Navatulevu and the Sila.

The development of the Nadi yavusa: Sila

The Sila currently occupy their own part of the village of Narewa. The 1913 NLC records about the Sila are relatively scanty, and I had difficulty in finding out much from the senior members of the yavusa who were somewhat diffident in discussing their background, although they were perfectly ready to talk about any other matters. The NLC account said that:

Tunaqai's son was called Naibaubau and he had one son, Vasu, and four grandsons. The four grandsons lived together at first at Naqaya, Tunaqai's place, and then they became arrogant, and they quarrelled and split up. The youngest remained at Naqaya, but the others established their own places (which were separate but adjacent to each other, lying, as I was shown, to the left of the road to Denarau). As their numbers increased, they joined up and moved to the mangroves at Korosamiti.

When the Navatulevu and the Yakuilau quarrelled, the descendants of the eldest grandson of Tunaqai, because their original ancestral spirits were siblings, went with one other group and joined with the Navatulevu. Presumably reflecting their earlier quarrel, the descendants of the other two grandsons went and joined the Yakuilau at Nabati. The duties of the Sila at Nabati were to prepare food for the Yakuilau; but they were not, however, given any planting land by the Yakuilau.

Following this quarrel, some of the Sila fled with the Navatulevu, but the others remained with the Yakuilau. When the Tola army came from Nadroga to assist in the return of the Navatulevu, those members of the Sila who had been with the Yakuilau went with the Yakuilau to Naqwavula. The others remained with the Navatulevu. After peace resumed, Rokomatu, chief of the Navatulevu, brought the Sila back with the Navatulevu and placed them in the compound of Navula. The Sila were in Navula's compound at the time of Cession in 1874. The others were brought back from Naqwavula, and Navula joined all the Sila together and settled them at Korosewa, a part of the village of Waqana. Rokomatu gave them planting land, and the Sila performed the ceremony of matamatanisali (performed when taking up residence with a different yavusa) at Waqana and promised to fill Rokomatu's yam house with produce from their gardens.

The Sila and others in Narewa with whom I discussed the affairs of the Sila told me that these people came from Nadroga from a place called Sila at Tau in Malomalo tikina inland from Momi Bay. There was a split but I could not determine whether it was due to an internal quarrel or due to external threat. The nearby Karia people at Yako had suffered from attack by the Noi Yasawa from Rukuruku (and were duly helped by the Tola army – see above), and there may well have been continuing pressure from the hill people on those living near the coast. Whatever the cause, some of the Sila went to Sanasana on the coast, some 20 km south of Tau; others went to the island of Naloma (near Denarau marina); and others went to Nadi where they were settled by the Navatulevu between the Navatulevu settlement and Nabati, the settlement of the Yakuilau. The Sila made ceremonial presentations (cobo) to the Momo Levu of Navatulevu, thus acknowledging his paramountcy, and indeed one division (beto) of the Sila is known as the Nacobo, symbolising this position of inferiority of the Sila – a position which is reflected in the NLC account. Though traditionally providers of food for the chiefs, the Sila may not have been particularly successful in this role, and there is a place known as Namaru in memory of an occasion when they left the food so long that it smelt bad (maru, in the communalect). When the Navatulevu moved from Waqana to Narewa makawa, the Sila went and occupied some small islands in the mangroves in the Nadi River delta. When the Navatulevu moved to the present village of Narewa, the Sila moved to be near them.

As we have seen, the myths of origin claimed that Duwaka, Tanitaniuli and Tunaqai, progenitors of the Navatulevu, the Yakuiilau and the Sila respectively (and Lewatu of the Vucunisai) were siblings, although Navatulevu associated Duwaka with Tunaqai in particular, perhaps reflecting the intimate connections claimed between the Sila, as their providers of food and the Navatulevu paramounts. Since the Navatulevu ignored Tanitaniulu, they may have done so deliberately in order to keep themselves separate from the Yakuilau with whom they had been on bad terms for so long. It is tempting to accept this explanation based on consistency of inter-yavusa relationships rather than the more prosaic explanation of a scribe's error, especially as in theory all NLC accounts were supposed to have been read back to the representatives for endorsement.

The Saunivalu

(a) Saunivalu yavusa

The Saunivalu yavusa based at present in the village of Sikituru, is an independent part of the strong and influential Saunivalu people at present living in the village of Keiyasi far up the Sigatoka River in the Old tikina of Namataku in the province of Nadroga. Their original ancestral spirit, Naqilolevu, came from the Nakauvadra; and having sailed round the coast to the mouth of the Nadi River, he walked inland to Namoli and finally settled at Korovutia.

On an occasion of the ceremonial presentation of a pig, Qilolevu’s two grandsons, Qio and Vavoka, were upset about the way the pig was distributed, and they left the village. In the course of their travels, Qio married a woman of Bemanu, in inland Nawaka; and they finally reached Naqereqere near Nadi Bridge. Here the brothers were seen by the Noi Naiqoro who took them to Naiqoro, and Vatuka was given a woman of Noi Naiqoro to be his wife.

Later, the Noi Naiqoro engaged the Sabeto in a great battle at Vauroka (Mount St Mary's, on the road from Nadi to Sabeto). The two brothers came to their assistance in this battle and also in another battle. Because the brothers had done so well in battle, the Noi Naiqoro, the Kai Loa and the Vucunisai gave them land; and the Kai Loa and the Vucunisai agreed that Qio should be installed as Momo of the three, the Saunivalu, the Kai Loa and the Vucunisai. Before the installation, the Saunivalu had been living at Naiqoro and heeding the authority of the Noi Naiqoro. Afterwards the Noi Naiqoro agreed that the Saunivalu should be independent, and they left Naiqoro and went to settle at Sikituru with the Vucunisai and Kai Loa.

The Saunivalu split up and lived separately following two quarrels, one resulting from excessive yaqona drinking and the other from fraternal disagreement. One of their villages was called Nasonini. At the time of the Tola, the Saunivalu because of their association with the Yakuilau were burned, and they scattered, some to Sabeto and some to Naqwavula in the hills. They were later brought back and settled at Vunatawarau by the Navatulevu war chief, Navula, who also introduced them to Christianity. Later, Navula agreed that the Saunivalu should return to their village of Nasonini, and finally they went back to Sikituru, where they are at present.

They were formally reconciled with the Saunivalu at Keiyasi in 1993 in the course of a tearful ceremony, with pigs being carefully presented in correct manner. The descendants of Vavoka, the younger brother, have the responsibility for the burial of the Momo Levu of Nadi, in the event that the Navatulevu decide that the vasu (relations of the mother of the deceased) should not carry out these usual traditional responsibilities of the vasu. This group of the Saunivalu is referred to as the iTutu or Bekwa. In the 1990s, I witnessed the carrying out of these responsibilities by the iTutu, one of whom wore a high pyramid-shaped hat and sat beside the coffin on the bier as it was carried from the Great House to the Church and from the Church to the chiefly burial-ground. Sitting on the same level as the corpse and wearing a hat in the chiefly presence, normally unheard of, were symbols of the great respect felt by the Nadi people for the iTutu group of the Saunivalu.

(b) Associated yavusa: Kai Loa and Vucunisai

The Kai Loa are now extinct and it was difficult to find any independent information to add to that recorded by the 1913 NLC, and anyone who was prepared to discuss the matter indicated their agreement with the NLC records. Tavitaviqalau, the original ancestral spirit of the Kai Loa, came from the Nakauvadra and followed the coast to the island of Vunamoli. From here, he went on to Gaganamoli near Korovuto where he settled. When the two Saunivalu brothers came down from Namataku and helped in the Noi Naiqoro wars, the Kai Loa joined the Noi Naiqoro and Vucunisai in giving the brothers land at Sikituru; and they joined the Vucunisai in installing Qio of the Saunivalu as leader of the three groups. The Kai Loa then moved and settled with the other two groups at Sikituru. It is not known whether the Kai Loa became extinct through war or disease; and there was no survivor at the time I was conducting the research.

The Vucunisai (see above under Kovacaki) are now scattered to Yanuya in the Mamanuca Group, to Waya and Viwa in the Yasawa Group, and to Vanua Levu. Their original ancestral spirit was Lewatu, expanded by some to ‘Lewatutjeke’, the daughter of Tutuvanua (progenitor of the Kovacaki). Others said that Lewatu was not connected with Tutuvanua. As suggested earlier, she may have been the Lewatu(lekeleke) who married Tuilevu of the Sabutoyatoya (see under Vuda), and went to Malolo where he was the original ancestral spirit of the Tuilawa chiefly group of Malolo. The origins of the Vucunisai are obscure; and they may have come from Malolo to Nadi, perhaps with, or as part of, the Botiluvuka. They may have first settled with the Botiluvuka at Dra, having landed at Denarau. Their first independent settlement appears to have been on Noi Naiqoro land at Maqalevu where they had three settlements. They were known collectively as the Lewe i Lewatu or the Nadi, and their duties were to protect the Kovacaki. The term Nadi then covered the three yavusa of the Kovacaki, and later included not only the Kovacaki but also the three newcomer yavusa of Navatulevu, Yakuilau and Sila (see above). All these together duly comprised the federation or vanua of Nadi, under the paramountcy of the Momo Levu of Nadi.

In course of time the Vucunisai became overpoweringly arrogant, especially towards the Noi Naiqoro, until, at the request of the Noi Naiqoro, the Namosi people came from the interior and smote the Vucunisai who left Nadi and went back to Malolo. The land of the Vucunisai was given to the Saunivalu. It may well have been the arrogant behaviour of the Vucunisai that led to them being chased away from Malolo in the first place. It may also have been that such behaviour resulted in the Vucunisai, in course of time, having to leave Malolo once more. From Malolo, the Vucunisai moved on to the islands of Yanuya, Waya and Viwa, and perhaps to Vanua Levu, carrying their old name of ‘Nadi’ with them. This, they claim, accounts for the occurrence of the name of Nadi in several areas on Vanua Levu. In the province of Bua, the name occurs as the village of Nadivakarua, and in the vanua of Nadi, of which the leading chief is traditionally titled Buli Nadi, (whence the origin of the title of Buli as that of the Fiji Administration official in charge of a tikina).

The Ketenavunivalu

The three yavusa of Natutale, Sauvana and Nacaqaru had associations with, or came originally from, various parts of Nadroga, according to what the iTaukei Naqwaraivualiku, their paramount, told me. They are known collectively as the Ketenavunivalu (a term which may have at one time included the Navo and Utiloaloa). They are referred to light-heartedly as the Ralete-lete meaning ‘baked’ in the communalect; and they regard themselves as very jolly (viwali) and say that they work well together now, even if there was some internal jealousy at one time.

The three yavusa settled in the Nadi general area in various places but after Cession lived together at Moala. The Sauvana, who may have come first to the area, are now extinct. The myths of origin are particularly interesting, especially in relation to the Natutale who claim ultimate original mythical connections with the once powerful eastern confederation of Verata. The three yavusa do not claim to be related either by descent or by spiritual connection. It is difficult to determine the basis of the bond between them which became strong in course of time, except that all three were neighbours and newcomers from possibly the same general area of the inland hills of Nadroga. It is interesting to see how the three newcomer yavusa settled down in the Nadi general area. Here they split up and then joined together again, became interrelated with the Nadi chiefs and other neighbours, and then seemed to validate their status and outside connections through myths of origin based on the Nakauvadra Mountains and the travels of their ancestral spirits. The myths as I record them took into account those given by the 1913 NLC; and during the 1990s I discussed them at length with the well-educated and interested iTaukei Naqwaranivualiku or paramount chief of the Ketenavunivalu people, and with the knowledgeable bete or traditional priest of the Ketenavunivalu, as follows below.

Myths of origin

The Natutale

The myths of origin of the Natutale related how Rokomoutu came from the Nakauvadra and drifted to Verata from the island of Koro. Here he married and had several sons, one of whom was Kurukuruivanuakula who sailed away to Dama, Vanua Levu. He then sailed to Vanuakula, Tavua, on the north Viti Levu coast, and from there to the island of Vomo (the holiday island of the Momo Levu of Vuda). He then went on to Tube at the mouth of the Nadi River, and then up a little creek in the mangroves at the north of Natutale island to Vanuakula. He built a house on Natutale called Bau and married a woman of the Nabati (Yakuilau). They had four children.

Three of the children went to Tiliva and then to Dama, down the river from Moala; whilst the fourth went to the Noikoro at Korolevu, Namosi.

The Sauvana

Lekeninasau came from Nakauvadra and followed the Tualeita (the spirit path along the mountain range ending at Edromu, near the sea between the Vuda and the Sabeto people). He came eventually to Nasau near Korovuto where he married a woman of the Leivunaniu. They had two sons, the elder of whom married a woman of Nalevaka (Yavusania). Hence the Sauvana are vasu to the Yavusania.

The families of the two brothers quarrelled, when the elder son and his family were not invited to drink yaqona which had been prepared for both of them. So the younger son was chased away and went to the inland area of Waicoba where he settled at Sauvana. His brother later called him back and they all went to settle at Vusama; and they were here when the Noi Nakurusiga came from Nokonoko, Nadroga, looking for land and were brought by the Sauvana to settle with them at Vusama.

The Nacagaru

Vuyavuya came from the Nakauvadra and went first to Vuya on Vanua Levu which was occupied. So he sailed to Nalamu (where the Kaunitoni hit the reef off Viseisei) and then to Malolo which was already occupied. He sailed on to the island of Nacova (then called Nacava) near Moala, where he settled on vacant land now called Vuya, and married a woman of the Nabati (Yakuilau) who were then at Waqana. They had two sons. Vuya was subject to flooding, and so the sons moved to Nacagaru which was unoccupied.

The Ketenavunivalu and other polities

The quarrels resulting in fission and fusion intra- and inter-yavusa which characterise the development of these three yavusa are typical of polity development in the west. In this part of the west, until about the time of the 1871 Cakobau Government, no strong and ambitious leader had emerged who was in a socio-political position backed up by military power to achieve any significant degree of federation. Even today, the power bases of the leading western polities such as Vuda, Sabeto, Nawaka or Nadi are relatively minor and unstable, as witnessed by recent disagreements about leadership succession. Far more typical are the independent yavusa such as the Naua (see below) or the minor groupings of yavusa such as the Ketenavunivalu or the Navo (see below). What is more interesting than the exploration of unity and minor federation of western polities is the identification of formal lines of diplomatic communication between these independent polities and the background to their establishment. This will be discussed separately from the exploration of origins and development.

The development of all three yavusa will be discussed together, and the following narrative and commentary are based on accounts given to me by the iTaukei Naqwaranivualiku and the bete of the Ketenavunivalu, as well as those taken from the results of the 1913 NLC investigations checked by me with these two leaders of the Ketenavunivalu federation.

The development of the Ketenavunivalu

The descendants of the three sons of the original ancestral spirit, Kurukuruivanuakula, were at Dama upstream from Moala when they saw that the island of Natutale was vacant. So they went and settled there. They agreed that the descendant of the second son should be made leader, described as Tseitseimata ni Tara Were (‘Leader of the Housebuilders’), and his yavu was called Naqwaranivualiku.

The son of this person was in due course formally installed as their Momo by the Natutale, the Sauvana and the Nacagaru, known collectively as the Ketenavunivalu. The installation symbolising the federation of these three neighbouring yavusa was carried out on the installation mound on Natutale, and known as Bau. The Momo was seated on a stone and given a stone to hold, symbolising the handing to him of responsibility for the land and the people of the three yavusa.1 At this time, the Natutale were living on Natutale, the Sauvana were at Vusama, and the Nacagaru were at Nacagaru.

After the installation of the first Momo, his son was installed and he became very arrogant and oppressive. As an example, he gave away three women for a gun. Then later the Ketenavunivalu became generally oppressive in the Nadi area and arrogant towards the Navatulevu chiefs. For instance, the Sauvana went without permission and picked some vudi or plantains and kulu or breadfruit belonging to the Navatulevu. Because of their behaviour, the Ketenavunivalu were duly smitten by a chief of the Navatulevu, Sorovakatini, and the Natutale and the Sauvana scattered to the island of Malolo. The Nacaqaru went to Yako on the Nadroga boundary where they remained for a long time. Later they were all brought back by the Navatulevu and settled in their old villages.

Bad relations between the Ketenavunivalu and the Navatulevu continued. Then the Navatulevu became themselves so oppressive to the Nadi people that they were chased away by the Yakuilau aided by the Ketenavunivalu. However, when the Nadroga army, the Tola, came at the request of the Navatulevu in exile to drive away the Yakuilau and enable the Navatulevu to return to Nadi, the Ketenavunivalu joined with the Navo and Utiloaloa, and did not oppose the Tola. Indeed, the Natutale fed the Tola and carried messages for the Navatulevu. Presumably in acknowledgement of this support, the Navatulevu asked that the villages of the Ketenavunivalu not be burned, although one account said that Nacaqaru was burned as a mark of respect for the visiting army.

Nevertheless, after the departure of the Tola, relations between the Ketenavunivalu and the Navatulevu continued to be bad, and the Ketenavunivalu still displayed arrogant behaviour towards the Navatulevu. For instance, the Natutale killed a pig belonging to Ratu Isireli Turelau Naulia Namulo, chief of the Navatulevu. The Navatulevu took immediate revenge by killing the animals of the Natutale, before taking more widespread military action against them.

The Navatulevu army was under the command of Navula, the ambitious war leader of the Navatulevu. He now saw his chance to prove his worth, and he called on various polities near Nadi and also in the hills of Namataku and Magodro to come and attack the Ketenavunivalu. He burned the villages of Natutale, Vusama and Nacaqaru. The lives of the Natutale were spared at the request of Namulo's wife who was of Natutale, and the Natutale were taken first to Waqana to be under the Navatulevu, and later to Malolo. At this time there arose much jealousy (vuvu) among the Sauvana and the Nacaqaru against the leading yavusa, the Natutale, and the Natutale at Waqana had asked Navula to burn Vusama especially. When Vusama was burned, the Sauvana went to Yako where they spent eight years before being taken back by Navula and settled in the Nadi area at Raviravi. The Nacaqaru were taken by the neighbouring Yavusania and were given refuge on the island of Yavulo, where for a third time they were attacked by the Navatulevu. They scattered, some to Malolo with the Natutale, some to the mountainous interior (the Colo), and some to Yako with the Sauvana.

The Ketenavunivalu were all still away at Cession in 1874, and Navula, war chief of the Navatulevu, brought most of them back over a period of time, and settled them eventually at Moala. Some Natutale remained on Malolo, where they still live. While they were away, the Ketenavunivalu lands came into the hands of Navula who sold some to European settlers in 1867. When they were brought back and settled at Moala, the Ketenavunivalu performed appropriate ceremonies of apology to Navula.

After Navula had, over a period of time, brought back these three and those other yavusa which at various times had scattered from in and around the Nadi area to the Colo, Malolo and elsewhere, he was recognised as the leader in the area. All those who had come in answer to his call for help against the Ketenavunivalu as well as the defeated Ketenavunivalu began to make ceremonial presentations to him, thereby acknowledging his paramountcy. This was out of recognition that it was he who had either brought them together as an army under his control, or had consented to bring back those who had scattered after his successful attacks on their villages. The Natutale also gave Navula a holiday place on an island near Moala where he planted a lemon tree that died not long before my visits in 1995 and 1996.

The surviving Ketenavunivalu nowadays maintain their formal independence from the Momo Levu, but continue to make presentations to the Navatulevu on appropriate occasions and to show respect to the Momo Levu of Nadi.

The Yavusania

The two yavusa currently known as the NoiVulani (sometimes but incorrectly referred to as the LeweiVulani) and the Neilavutu are known collectively as the Yavusania. The NoiVulani live in the villages of Yavusania and Korovuto. Their war spirit is Lewatu. The Neilavutu live in the village of Korovuto. As in the case of the Saunivalu, the Noivulani came from the mountainous interior of Nadroga and originated through a split from the parent group (known as the Leweivunaniu). They appear to be a unified descent group. On the other hand, the Neilavatu are a composite group, originating partly from the island of Ovalau, where Levuka, the old capital of Fiji, is situated, and partly from the Navatulevu people of Nagwagwa (see under Vuda).

The Yavusania territory lies between the western boundaries of Nadi town and the present north-western boundaries of the Old tikina of Momi in the New tikina of Malomalo in the province of Nadroga. To the north-west lie the polities of Ketenavunivalu based on the village of Moala, and the Saunivalu based on the village of Sikituru. To the north-east lie the polities of the Navo based on the village of Dratabu (and previously on the village of Vunayasi), the Vunatoto or Nawaka based on the village of Nawaka, and the Utiloaloa based on the village of Vatutu. These were all small, not particularly powerful polities by themselves. They would, however, periodically gain in importance especially when, from time to time, they aligned themselves with each other or opposed each other, in association with or opposition to, either the Yakuilau or the Navatulevu.

As in the case of the Ketenavunivalu, the Yavusania yavusa are of great interest in an exploration of fission and fusion in polities. They demonstrate, in particular, first, how minor polities in the west maintained their independence and their individuality; and secondly, how they refused to sacrifice their independence by confederating permanently with such relatively major polities as Nadi, either in order to seek protection or to symbolise their defeats in the course of their many quarrels and disputes. On the other hand, though they may have maintained their political independence, they also developed an elaborate socio-political network with other polities through a fascinating system of political pathways of communication.

The two yavusa, the NoiVulani and the Neilavutu, probably have based their socio-political association on mutual convenience and expediency. As in the case of the Saunivalu, they validated this association spiritually through myths of origin linking them with the Nakauvadra, claiming their respective progenitors both came down from the Nakauvadra and followed the Sigatoka River and climbed up from Waicoba before proceeding to their respective first places. The myths of origin and the accounts of the development of these two yavusa and their relationships with their neighbours were based on what I was told by leaders of the two yavusa who were interested and knowledgeable in such matters, and on accounts recorded by the NLC and checked with the present yavusa representatives. The myths of origin and accounts of development are as follows.

Myths of origin

The NoiVulani

The progenitor, Sarekwa, came down from the Nakauvadra Mountains and walked along the banks of the Sigatoka River until he came to Waicoba where he climbed inland and settled at Vunaniu, Nasaucoko. He married a woman of the NoiVatuma, from the village of Nawaqadamu in the hills of Rukuruku (see Nawaka); and they had four children. When they were together at Vunaniu, they were known collectively as the LeweiVunaniu (a name by which they were sometimes known when they came down to Yavusania).

There was a family quarrel, and the two youngest sons left Vunaniu and went down towards the coast, looking for land. They finally found vacant land at Yavusania, and here they settled. The elder brother made the younger brother to be leader. Their descendants were known first as the LeweiYavusania and later as the NoiVulani.

The Neilavutu

The progenitor, Senivesi, came down from the Nakauvadra Mountains and walked along the banks of the Sigatoka River until he came to Waicoba. From here he climbed up inland and having slept at Nabuasa, he went down to the coast to Emua, between Yako and the island of Sonaisali in the province of Nadroga. Here he stayed and married a woman of the Naqavui people of Momi, and they had two children. These two children later left Emua and went to look for land. Eventually they came to Yavusania, where there was some vacant land which was given to them by the NoiVulani. Here they stayed, and their descendants were known as the Neilavutu. The rest of the family remained at Nasaucoko, where their descendants still live.

The development of the two yavusa: the Yavusania

The NoiVulani claim to have originated at Nasaucoko in the mountains of Nadroga/Navosa. They followed the Sigatoka River down to the coast, stopping at the villages of Lawai, Yavulo, Sigatoka and Yadua, and up to the inland Nawaka village of Rukurukulevu. At this stage they were known as the LeweiVunaniu. While still at the coast, they were preparing to install Neibuli, their most senior member, to be leader, when some women out fishing found a man hiding in a tree on the island of Yanuca. They took him to the Leweivuniu who noted that he was a person of great beauty and was fair-skinned whereas Neibuli was dark-skinned. They decided to install him instead as their leader. He had drifted over from Tonga, and he was given a woman of Leweivunaniu to be his wife. His children tended to have fairish skin and to resemble Tongans. During my visits to the village of Yavusania, a member of the Leweivunaniu in the village was pointed out to me as having what were regarded as Tongan physical characteristics.

In time, the Leweivunaniu split up, some remaining in the Sigatoka area, others going north first to the LeweiVagadra at Bavu and Tau in Nadroga, and then going on to Yako on the Nadroga/Nadi boundary. From here they went on north until they came to the island of Yavulo (presumably bringing the name with them from Sigatoka) and finally establishing the village of Viivi, a short distance from the present village of Yavusania. Here there was a grove of ivi or native chestnut trees. From there they went to the site of the present village of Korovuto which was dry and where there were only qaro or casuarina trees. They wanted also to have easy access to the fruits of the sea and the mangroves of the Nadi River delta, and so some moved back to Viivi while the rest remained at Korovuto. At this stage they became known as the NoiVulani. My informants did not know why they took this name except that it may have been derived from that of an island, Vulani, on the Sabeto border. There was an old village site on Vulani at the time of my visits in the 1990s (since destroyed by developers) and the Sabeto people told me that the NoiVulani had occupied the island at one time. The Leweiwavuwavu of Sabeto owned Vulani, before the Sabeto chiefs sold it to Europeans in 1870.

When the two yavusa from the two villages gather together, any formal address to them is ‘ki Yavusania’ or ‘to Yavusania’, being the collective name for both yavusa. If the gathering is at the village of Yavusania, the form of address was ‘ki Rukunaivi’ or ‘to below the ivi trees’, referring to the trees under which the first village of Viivi was situated. If the gathering is at Korovuto, the address is ‘ki Rukunaqaro’ or ‘to below the casuarina trees’, referring to the trees around the village of Korovuto.

While the NoiVulani were settled at Yavusania, they were joined by first, a group of people from Lovoni, Ovalau, who came after the Lovoni people had been defeated by Cakobau in June 1871 (Derrick 1950: 201 but disputed), and who then became known as the Lovonakoto; and secondly, by a group of people who had come from the hill village of Navatulevu on the south side of the Tualeita Range overlooking the north side of the Sabeto valley, and who then became known as the Keteisaba.

It is not clear whether the Keteisaba had come direct from Navatulevu or from the later village of Nagwagwa on the north side of the Range, from which the Navatulevu of Nadi had directly originated. Whatever their origin, they were of the same stock as the Navatulevu people of Nagwagwa and later of Nadi; the Nakuruvarua chiefs of Navatulevu who had come late to Nadi from Nadroga refer to these Keteisaba as Na Qase or Old Men, and call them Tai or Grandfather.

These two groups, the Lovonakoto and the Keteisaba became known as the Neilavutu. The Neilavutu did not formally heed the authority of the NoiVulani but the land which was given to them by the NoiVulani served to confirm a bond of cooperation between the two yavusa. The name of Neilavutu refers to this association between them and to the position of the Neilavutu as the bai kei Yavusania or defenders of Yavusania, the joint name of the two yavusa. Lavutu means ‘to challenge by striking the handle of a club on the ground’ (Capell 1941:135). However, in course of time, the Neilavutu, as newcomers to the territory of the NoiVulani, respected the latter and jointly installed a member of the Nalevaka mataqali of the NoiVulani to be the leader of the Yavusania. The installation took place at the old village site of Viivi, where I saw half of the vatu ni veibuli or installation stone under an ivi (Inocarpus edulis) tree next to a mound said to be that of the bito or spirit house. This surviving half has a smoothed area in which there were some long grooves. The whereabouts of the other half of the stone is unknown. The stone I saw is said to have been brought from Nasaucoko, the original place of the NoiVulani, and perhaps the other half is still up there.

In the early days when they first joined up together, the two yavusa of NoiVulani and Neilavutu heeded the authority of the Yakuilau (Nabati) who were then the paramounts of Nadi.

There is also a close connection between the Senibua of Nawaka and the Lovonakoto of the Neilavutu. Momoriqwa, the progenitor of the Senibua, had a descendant named Lewavore. This man of high rank among the Senibua married a woman of the Neilavutu, and they had a son, Leakui. Before the arrival of the Tola army at Nawaka, the woman took her son for safety to Yavusania, where she had a younger sister married to a member of the Lovonakoto. Lewakui and his relatives tiko vakararavi or became dependent on the Lovonakoto. When he grew up, he heeded the authority of the Yavusania chiefs, not the Nawaka chiefs, and there is a recognised Senibua group among the Lovonakoto people of Yavusania.

When they were first at Yavusania, the NoiVulani were associated with the Vucunisai, although they did not share villages. The NoiVulani were leaders in this association, and were looked after (qaravi) by the Vucunisai. The Vucunisai, who were associated with the Kai Loa, were then living in three villages: at Wala, where they heeded the authority of the Nabati (Yakuilau); at Yasawa, heeding the Saunivalu at Sikituru; and at Nadua. The Vucunisai and the Kai Loa were both under the general protection of the Yakuilau.

Then, as explained earlier, the Vucunisai became arrogant, claiming the Nadi food gardens as theirs. They were duly smitten by the Naua on the instructions of Raimoqe of Navatulevu, and the Vucunisai fled to the Mamanuca group. The Navatulevu army under Raimoqe also attacked the NoiVulani at Yavusania, presumably because of their connections with the Yakuilau, and the NoiVulani scattered to the unoccupied island of Yavulo where the Yakuilau protected them. The Neilavutu remained at Yavusania.

The NoiVulani were on Yavulo and the Neilavutu were at Yavusania when the Tola army arrived at the request of the Navatulevu. As said above, the Navatulevu had been chased away from Nadi because of their arrogant behaviour, and they were sheltering with the Sabeto people under Mataitoga when they asked the Nadroga people for help in getting them back to Nadi.

Both the NoiVulani and the Neilavutu sided with the Yakuilau, as did the Noi Naiqoro, the Kovacaki and the Naua, under the leadership of Ravato of Yakuilau. The Tola on behalf of the Navatulevu attacked the Neilavutu and burned the village of Yavusania; and the NoiVulani and the Neilavutu scattered with the Yakuilau to Naqwavula in the hills behind Nawaka. Their land fell into the hands of Navula, war chief of the Navatulevu. Navula brought the Neilavutu and the NoiVulani back from Naqwavula and re-settled them on Yavulo, and from that time they heeded the authority of the Kuruvarua family of the Navatulevu, Ravato having soro or apologised to Navula. The power of the Yakuilau and the independence of the Yavusania group came to an end.

All went well until some young men of the NoiVulani group stripped naked in front of Navula. Because of this disrespectful behaviour (valavala vakasausa), Navula, with his army the Nasanini, attacked the NoiVulani, burned the village of Yavulo and took the people to Nadi. However the Kai Navo came to the rescue and with the agreement of Navula took over the responsibility for the NoiVulani and settled them at Navo. Later, under instructions from Navula, the Navo together with the NoiVulani attacked the Nawaka people. The Nawaka assisted by the Noi Naiqoro, Naua and Utiloaloa repelled the attackers and burned the village of Navo. The Navo and the NoiVulani scattered to Yako until Navula brought them back and settled the NoiVulani at Yavulo. Here they remained until after the time of the Cakobau Government, when they went to Yavusania. At the time of Cession, the NoiVulani divided. Some remained at Yavusania and some went to Korovuto, where the Neivaluti were already living.

The Noi Navo

The territory of the Noi Navo lies immediately to the west of the Nawaka and the Utiloaloa people; to the east of the Saunivalu at Sikituru, and the Yavusania at Yavusania and Korovuto; and to the south of the Old tikina of Nadi. To the south of the Noi Navo are the Karia people at Yako on the boundary of the Old tikina of Momi in the province of Nadroga. Most of the land is fairly flat with modest hills, rising to wooded hill country around the rocky prominence of the spirit site of Namarasa, where there are also old village sites.

The five yavusa of Navo, Digilo, Noi Yaro, Noi Takuci and Eloto, known collectively as the Noi Navo were, when I first started my investigations, based in the village of Vunayasi. They later moved to Dratabu after a hurricane. Their nitu ni valu or war spirit is Namama, son of Limasa, the war spirit of the Kovacaki, and brother of Rukuse, the war spirit of the Navatulevu before Limasa himself was recognised as the war spirit for Nadi generally. The paramount of the Noi Navo holds the title of iTaukei Nakauvadra and is currently of the yavusa of Noi Yaro (see below about leadership). Except for the hill site of Namarasa, most of the sites associated with the spirits of the Noi Navo are near Dratabu and Vunayasi.

The myths of origin and the accounts of the development of these five yavusa and their relationships with their neighbours were based on what I was told by leaders of each yavusa, and on accounts recorded by the NLC and checked with the present yavusa representatives. The Turaga ni Koro or village headman of Dratabu took a great interest in my research and was particularly helpful. The myths of origin and accounts of development, so recorded, are as follows.

Myths of origin

The five progenitors of the five Noi Navo yavusa all came originally from Nakauvadra. Two of them came along the north coast of Viti Levu, and two came across country. The progress of the fifth is not known. They settled in places not far apart and around the site of Navo. One representative said that they all lived together at Navo and only later after a flood did their descendants settle apart.

Nakutavi followed the coast to Vatia Point, between the towns of Ba and Lautoka, from where he went on to the Nadi area which was already occupied by the Tukani, Noi Naiqoro and Botiluvuka (the Kovacaki), the Vucunisai and the Kai Loa. He went on to Navo, then unoccupied. Here he settled and married a woman of the Noi Naiqoro and they had two children. His descendants are the Navo yavusa.

Waselo came and settled at Digilo. No one could remember how he came there from Nakauvadra, or who his wife was. He had three children. His descendants are the Digilo yavusa.

Waqavere followed the coast to Lautoka then occupied by the Vidilo. He moved on to Navo where Nakutavi and Waselo had already settled. They gave him land and he settled at Yaro where he married a woman of the Noi Naiqoro, and they had two children. His descendants are the Noi Yaro.

Nabala followed the spirit path of the Tualeita Range across the middle of Viti Levu, and came to Namarasa. From there he moved towards the coast and came to Navo where he was given land at Navulai. He married a woman of the Vucunisai, and they had two children. His descendants are the Takuci.

The name of Takuci is said to symbolise Nabala's arrival after the others. Takucia means ‘follow’ in the local communalect. Although Navulai is regarded as the first settlement of Nabala, the place where he is respected and communicated with is at Namarasa, the spirit site in the hills. There was a cave among some big rocks which used to contain bones of bats and humans, where the bete would go and communicate with Nabala. When I visited the place with the permission of the current bete who was head of the Vunasaqalo mataqali, the rocks had been disturbed perhaps by an earthquake and the entrance to the cave had been covered up with fallen rocks.

Leka came along the Tualeita Range to Magodro. He then went on along the spirit path and came to Navo where he was given land at Digidigi. He married and had two children. The descendants of the elder son are the Ekubu, and those of the younger are the Viyagoitora. The collective name is sometimes referred to as Viyagoitora, but the yavusa was registered by the NLC as Ekubu.

The origins of the Ekubu are unclear. A representative of the Kovacaki told the 1913 NLC that the Ekubu were a part of the Kovacaki yavusa of Noi Naiqoro, and that they had come to Navo before the Tola. He did not know the name of Ekubu but said that they were generally known as the Kausa (the spear holders). They were the bete of Namama, the war spirit of Navo who was the son of Limasa, the Kovacaki war spirit. A representative of the Ekubu said that the Ekubu were Navo people, not Noi Naiqoro, but that they were related to the Noi Naiqoro because Salele, a woman of the Kovacaki yavusa of Tukani, had married Leka, their progenitor.

When I discussed this with the Navo people, and particularly with the heads of the Takuci and the Ekubu, I was told that when Leka settled at Digidigi he married Salele, a daughter of Tutuvanua, the progenitor of the Tukani and father of Masiwale, the progenitor of the Noi Naiqoro. This would have created a vasu relationship between the Noi Navo and the Kovacaki. When Salele came to marry Leka, the Kovacaki sent Namama, son of the Kovacaki war spirit Limasa, to accompany her and to remain at Digidigi in order to protect her and Leka. Namama's manifestation was a bebe or butterfly which accompanied Salele and her escort, landing first at Toaleka near what is now the Hindu temple at the west end of Nadi town. Namama and Salele stayed together with Leka at Digidigi, and their present place is a deep pool in the stream at Digidigi. Namama became the war spirit for all the Noi Navo, acting as their ba ni valu or war fence.

It is entirely reasonable that when a high-ranking woman of the Kovacaki (whose status was exalted by the myth that she was the daughter of the progenitor) came to marry a leader chief of the Noi Navo, the Kovacaki sent not only a group of Kovacaki to escort Salele as her secular protection but also a son of their war spirit, Limasa, to provide spiritual strength. In the same way, the Kovacaki had provided Rukuse, another son of Limasa, to be the war spirit of the Navatulevu of Nadi. Such a group of Kovacaki warriors, known as the Kausa or spear bearers, could well have been adopted into the Noi Navo and either joined with an already existing group or been given formal recognition with yavusa status, with the name of Viyagoitora (grandchildren of Tora). To further enhance their status, they may later have been given the name of Ekubu, reflecting that of Kubuna, the paramount yavusa of the Cakobau Government. Ekubu is the local communalect form of the eastern Kubuna. By the time of the NLC, it would have been most impolite and impolitic to acknowledge Salele's escort as anything but Noi Navo, irrespective of their actual origins.

The flood and the installation

The Navo representative told the NLC that some time after the descendants of the five progenitors had increased in numbers at the five settlements referred to above, the rivers flooded and swamped the settlements, and all went to Nakutavi's settlement at Navo which was on the highest ground. There they held discussions that a leader should be installed; and they duly installed Naovasi of the Takuci, to be leader with the title of Kalevu, with authority over all five yavusa.

The Takuci representative disagreed in detail with this account. He told the NLC that all five families were living together at Navo, when the flood came. The Navo scattered to Navo i yata on the hill, the Digilo went to Lovaravara, the Noi Yaro stayed at Yaro, the Takuci went to Raralevu and the Viyagoitora went to Digidigi. They then all went to Navo i yata for the installation of Naovasi as Momo.

The Noi Yaro representative said that the first to be installed as chief of the Noi Navo was Nagicuvaravara, of the Nakauvadra subdivision of the second senior mataqali of the Noi Yaro. Then Naovasi of the Vunavau subdivision was appointed in his place. Nagicuvaravara went off to the Navatulevu and asked them to burn the house of installation of Naovasi, which they did.

The Navo representative had said that Naovasi was chief of the Takuci. However, at the time of his installation, Naovasi was recognised as a member of the Noi Yaro. The accounts above indicate that there was not unity in the choice of the paramount, and that the first choice was overthrown in spite of outside interference from the Navatulevu who at that time had no authority over the affairs of the Noi Navo. Such leadership quarrels were by no means uncommon in the west nor indeed in the east.

The Noi Yaro continued to be the leaders of the Noi Navo from the time of Naovasi's installation until the first NLC. At that time, the Takuci were becoming small in numbers, and the Commission transferred the Vunavau, Naovasi's beto or sub-division, from the Noi Yaro to the Takuci. So at the time of the later enquiries, the Vunavau were regarded by the Takuci as their leading sub-division, and the Navo representative was correct in that respect to say that Naovasi was a chief of the Takuci. This transfer gave the Takuci apparent paramountcy, but nowadays the paramount is generally recognised to be the iTaukei Nakauvadra, chief of the Noi Yaro. I attended some discussions at which the iTaukei Nakauvadra was present. On such occasions he was the centre of ceremonial attention and people would heed his words and speak when he indicated that they should. Nevertheless, considerable respect was paid to the head of the Takuci, and the atmosphere was very interesting and charged with undertones.

It probably does not matter very much which account was correct, but both reflect what I was told. The progenitors settled in various places which I was able to visit. A natural disaster brought them together at Navo, the site of Nakutavi, the first to arrive. Although the Takuci came late to Navo, the Noi Navo agreed to appoint Naovasi of the Takuci (but who was possibly of the Noi Yaro and transferred to the Takuci by the NLC) to be their paramount chief with the Nadroga title of Kalevu (nowadays, the Nadi title of Momo). They may well have gone to separate settlements but they signified their desire for unity by voluntarily establishing a joint leadership formalised through this installation of Naovasi. Nevertheless, the period following the installation was characterised by almost continuous internal quarrelling and fighting with nearby polities.

Troubles with neighbours

The Vucunisai and Kai Loa: the first burning

The Noi Navo quarrelled with their neighbours, after they had gone to weed their yam gardens and had cut some vudi or plantains belonging to the Vucunisai and the Kai Loa. Next morning they returned to their weeding, but the Vucunisai and Kai Loa were waiting for them fully armed and suddenly attacked them. The Noi Navo only had their digging sticks and were worsted and chased away back to Navo. An old man of the Digilo who was related to the attackers tried to halt the attack and so to allow the women and children to escape. However, Navo was burned by the two yavusa, and the Noi Navo, after unsuccessfully trying to defend themselves in two places, finally scattered to Korolevu near Vatutu, to the Utiloaloa. The Karia were also at Korolevu, having been chased away from their village at Yako by the Noi Yasawa people who had come down from the hills of Rukuruku. The Vucunisai and the Kai Loa attacked Korolevu; and the Noi Navo, the Utiloaloa and the Karia all went to the Utiloaloa village of Vatuma in the hilly interior.

The Tola Army from Nadroga take action

The Noi Navo wanted to return, and asked the Utiloaloa and the Karia to help them to do so. After discussion, these two yavusa agreed to ask Nabekasiga, the Kwa Levu of Nadroga, for assistance. The Navo account recorded that it was proposed that five persons from each of the five Navo yavusa and from the Utiloaloa and from the Karia should follow the traditional path to Nadroga, known as the Calevu ni Kamoa; and should take a yaqona root from Vatuma, together with tabua, decorated masi or bark cloth, and roast kamoa or edible creeper; and should make a request to the Kwa Levu for help. This proposal was agreed to and the request was duly made and acceded to. Those making the presentations then returned to Vatuma. Later the Namakatu people of the Nausori highlands brought an enormous yaqona root from Naqwavula; and this was taken to the Kwa Levu to speed up the assistance. The presentation was accepted, and the army from Nadroga was promised in eight days. The number ‘eight’ in such a context is notional, as in the expression ‘bogiwalu’ for a medium period strong wind. The Takuci account said that it was only representatives of the Karia who took the presentations and followed their traditional Calevu ni Vuse to the Kwa Levu. The huge root of yaqona referred to above was taken later with some tabua, only by the Karia chief as a warmer (ivakatakata) of the other presentations, and the army was promised when the yams first sprouted.

On their way to Nadi, the Tola, the Nadroga army, had burned Nabila, a village of the Noi Yasawa of Rukuruku, Nawaka. This was at the request of the Karia who had been attacked and driven away from Yako by the Noi Yasawa. In anticipation of the arrival of the army, the Noi Navo had taken food and built shelters for them at Koroloa, and moved from Vatuma to their old village of Namarasa. From here, they went to present to the army the food that they had brought for them. The army including warriors from Serua moved north to Tube near the present Ketenavunivalu village of Moala at the mouth of the Nadi River. They burned two of the Ketenavunivalu villages, Natutale and Nacaqaru, but at the request of the Karia chief who had a relation living there, did not burn the third village of Vusama. The Tola army then prepared to attack the Nadi villages at the request of the Yakuilau, as described earlier. When the Nadi people heard the sound of the guns of the Nadroga army, they fled first to the mangroves and then to Sabeto, Vuda and Naqwavula. The Tola destroyed the Nadi villages except for Nawaka which was preserved as a base for Nabekasiga, the Kwa Levu of Nadroga.

The next two or three years were a period of interesting socio-political activity and ceremony. First, the Tola army had to be suitably thanked, and secondly the Kwa Levu of Nadroga who held authority over Nadi by virtue of conquest had to arrange for suitable local powers to resume authority.

The Noi Navo, the Karia and the Utiloaloa gathered at Nawaka, and Nabekasiga said that he was returning to Nadroga, leaving Naovasi of the Noi Yaro (later Takuci, see above) with authority over the people and lands of all the Noi Navo and all the Nadi yavusa. Nabekasiga then went to Navo for ceremonies of farewell. The Noi Navo promised certain goods in return for help in the war, which they would send when they had been prepared. Nabekasiga then returned to Nadroga. The Noi Navo rebuilt their houses and re-occupied the village.

Some time later, Nabekasiga came back and said that the houses of the Navatulevu should be rebuilt at Narewa and that all the yavusa should return. This was his decision and not that of the Noi Navo.

When the various absent yavusa were still away, their lands were in the hands first of Nabekasiga and then of Naovasi. When they had all returned, certain ceremonies had to be performed, at which those who had lost their lands could request these lands to be made available to them once more. At this stage, the position was not as aggravated as it was later on when the conquerors were wont to sell to Europeans some of the land over which they had obtained de facto authority through conquest. For instance, the Tukani and the Noi Naiqoro asked Naovasi for the return of their Bilainadi (rich river flats) land; and the Navatulevu asked for their land of Tukutuku. The ceremony requesting the return of land, known as ivakalutu ni qele, was duly performed and the return of their lands was acceded to by Naovasi.

Some two years later, the last chapter in the incident of the Tola was completed. The Noi Navo went to the Kwa Levu at Cuvu, Nadroga, taking cloth, salt, kerosene, boxes, a kind of bark cloth known as qativa and special black bark cloth (kulabasaga) in order to meet the promises made earlier to Nabekasiga at the time the Kwa Levu was being thanked for his assistance in the wars.

The Noi Navo become arrogant: first burning by Nawaka

During a quarrel between the Yakuilau and the Navatulevu, the Takuci of the Noi Navo went and took up defences with the Yavusania who sided with the former; and the rest of the Noi Navo sided with the latter. Yavusania was burned, and the Takuci fled back to Navo, together with the Yavusania, but were not pursued by the Navatulevu. When all the Noi Navo had joined up again at Navo, they became arrogant and despised all the Nadi yavusa but respected the Nawaka. However, they plotted to burn all the Nadi villages and also Nawaka. They left the Yavusania at Navo and went to attack Nawaka. The Nawaka people drove them back and burned Navo. The Navo people scattered to the Karia at Yako where they spent eight years.

Then the news of the death of Nayalobu, son of Mataitoga of Sabeto, (see under Sabeto), reached the Noi Navo at Yako. He was their vasu, and they went by night to Yavusania where they performed the reguregu, the mourning ceremony. From there, they went to Nawaka where they presented eight tabua to Nabati, chief of the Vunatoto, requesting that they be allowed to return to Navo. After discussing this request with Navula, the war chief of the Navatulevu, it was agreed that the Noi Navo should rebuild their houses at Navo, and Navula sent a message to Yako to say that the Noi Navo could return to their own village. So the Noi Navo went back from Nawaka to Yako, and having performed the ceremony of Takadravu, seeking permission from their hosts, the Karia, to leave the village, they returned to Navo, rebuilt their houses and re-occupied the village.

The Noi Navo refuse Christianity: second burning by Nawaka

A long time after the Tola incident, Christianity came to Nadi, and Navula brought the sulu or cloth which was the symbol of acceptance of Christianity, to Navo about the time of the 1871 Cakobau Government. Although the Takuci had accepted Christianity, the rest of the Noi Navo had refused it. So Navula planned to destroy all the Navo yavusa. Under instructions from Navula, the Nawaka people attacked and burned the Naua at Vagadra and the Noi Navo at Navo. The Navo yavusa and, according to the Takuci representative, the Takuci scattered to Vunatawarau, Sikituru, some of the Ekubu fled to Maqalau in the Colo and the rest were taken as prisoners of Navula to Nawaka village. Their lands were in the hands of Navula.

The Noi Navo return to Navo territory and are finally re-united

Navula then sent instructions to Ramagimagi, the chief of Sikituru, to bring back the Navo and Takuci to Navo. He also instructed that the rest of the Noi Navo should be brought back from Maqalau and from Nawaka. Navula had been holding their lands, but on their return, the Navo re-occupied these lands on the instructions of the Momo Levu of Nadi, Navoleone Dawai. Because of this, the Navo always took food to Navatulevu out of respect, though claiming formal independence. The Takuci and the Ekubu were settled at Nasoso, and the rest at Nalua. These two villages were swamped by a tidal wave, and the people scattered to Dratabu and Bulolo. At this time the Noi Yaro were still leaders of the Noi Navo.

All the Noi Navo accepted Christianity and later in the time of the 1871 Cakobau Government they were re-united and were settled together at Dratabu. They were still at Dratabu at the time of Cession and of the measles epidemic after Cession. At the time of Cession, Nakairukua of the Noi Yaro was the paramount. Food for formal presentations was taken to Nakairukua in the first place, and from him some was still taken to the Momo Levu of Nadi.

The Noi Navo later moved from Dratabu to Vunayasi where they were during my visits in the 1950s; but the village was destroyed by a hurricane in the 1980s and the people moved back to the old village site at Dratabu where they were during my 1990s visits.


The Noi Navo provide a fascinating study of a number of yavusa, their interactions with each other and with other polities, both neighbouring and distant. This is a classic example of fission and fusion on a small scale and also on a larger scale (typifying the western socio-political situation), but not as politically dramatic as in the cases of highly complex confederations in the east. As well as fraternal quarrels, ambitions and jealousy, and small-scale socio-political squabbles (often, it is true, involving burning and fighting), a non-traditional feature which later split the Noi Navo yavusa was the forceful attempt of Navula of the Navatulevu to introduce Christianity to the Noi Navo at the time of the 1871 Cakobau Government. Sometimes the Navo sided with a neighbouring polity and later changed their affiliations and opposed that same polity. Such fighting, resulting in Navo being burned at least three times, illustrates the formal procedures of how the defeated can be brought back by the conquerors, and how the status of a polity vis-a-vis another polity can change as a result of such procedures, and independence can be lost for a period of time or indefinitely. The accounts also show how these relatively small polities created and used traditional pathways of communication in order to seek assistance from powerful but more distant polities, and how they met their obligations. The elaborate system of such diplomatic pathways which was the basis of communication between polities who could not always rely on the communication network based on relationship, particularly the vasu relationship created by external marriage, is well illustrated by the systems of the five yavusa of the Noi Navo. The Noi Navo also showed how a weaker polity could fortify its independence and unity by a judicious marriage whereby a powerful war spirit was brought as protector of the bride: when Leka of the Viyagoitora/Ekubu, married Salele of the Tukani, Kovacaki, Namama, son of Limasa, the Kovacaki war spirit, was sent to protect her and, so, the Noi Navo. As many of these paths as I could identify by discussion are referred to at the end of this chapter.

It is not stated in their records why the NLC, at the time of the 1913 Commission enquiries in Nadi, made the Takuci the senior yavusa of the five Navo yavusa. The Takuci were then a very small yavusa, and the Vunavau, the sub-division of the Noi Yaro of which Naovasi, paramount of the Noi Navo, had been a member, was transferred to the Takuci. As suggested earlier, perhaps the NLC considered that with the transfer of the Vunavau to the Takuci, the position of paramountcy was transferred at the same time, and so it was only right that the Takuci should become the senior yavusa of the Noi Navo. This situation causes some grumblings at present, but for the sake of maintaining the unity of the Noi Navo, these grumblings have remained kudrukudru i Ra Mo or subdued and internal to the polity.

The Naua polity

The independent polity of Naua is based at present in the village of Saunaka, north of the town of Nadi. Naua territory stretched originally from the Wai Milika River, bordering on Sabeto, to the north; to the boundaries of the Old tikina of Nawaka, to the south; to the boundaries of the Old tikina of Vaturu, to the east; and the sea to the west. The Nadi River bisects the region providing rich bila or alluvial flats; and the region is generally flat, with hillocks such as the spirit place of Taqainasolo (98 m) and rising in the north-east corner to the rounded hill of Nagado (176 m).

What was recognised and registered by the 1913 NLC as the single, simple descent group or yavusa of Naua emerges, from my explorations of the Naua polity, as a socio-political complex, the groups of which had leaders such as the iTaukei Sawaieke or the iTaukei Natauvesi. It was evidently not long, once the groups had settled fairly close to each other, that the only practical way for them to conduct their political and social business to their best advantage was to have a paramount leader or Momo Levu. This they proceeded to do and continued to do, although the basis of the leadership changed between groups and between divisions of a group. Naua is a wonderful example of the small, independent polities which are characteristic of the west.

I obtained a great deal of information about Naua, first, from the 1913 NLC accounts; and secondly, and especially, from my own lengthy and detailed checking of these accounts and in pursuing further lines of original investigation with not only Ratu Josateki Savou, the iTaukei Sawaieke, who has since been installed as the present paramount or Momo Levu of Naua, but also others whom the Momo Levu suggested, particularly Apakuki Tuitavua of the Vatuburu group, with whom I spent many hours in discussion and site exploration. Under the circumstances, I allotted as much time as possible to the exploration of the origins and development of this fascinating little polity and its relations, first, with neighbouring polities; and secondly, with polities from further afield, especially those with which Naua had traditional lines of communication through agnatic and descent relationships or, to a certain extent, through calevu ni matamataraki or established diplomatic pathways. This account is therefore more detailed than those of other polities in the general area.

Myths of origin: NLC account

Tevita Navu, one of the Naua representatives, told the 1913 NLC that Korowabu, the original ancestral spirit of the Naua, came from the Nakauvadra Range and followed the north coast of Viti Levu firstly to Tavua and next to Narogoua, Sabeto, where he spent a long time. He then went on to Taqainasolo, inland from Saunaka, where he stayed and married a woman of Ne, a polity inland from Sabeto. His descendants became known as the Naua yavusa.

Korowabu had six sons named, in order of birth, Leweinabua, Vidirinasau, Vasukiwavuwavu, Raweya, Tabaravu, and Nakia. Their descendants became known as the Vunamaoli, Vunaivi, Natuvulevu, Ketenatacini, Yavusasivo and Vatuburu mataqali respectively.

Korowabu and his six sons later moved with their families to Nabua. When they increased in numbers, Tabaravu moved seawards to Namo, and Nakia moved to Natauvesi. The others remained at Nabua.

Origins of the Vatuburu: present account

Apakuki Tuitavua, a member of the Vatuburu who lived at Saravi, told me that the progenitor of the Vatuburu was known as Keteketewalu. His place was called Natauvesi, near Saravi. The Buduka people of Kovaki, Nadi, invited him to come and stay with them, and he was given land later called Saravi. The Vatuburu were the first of the Naua people to settle in the area.

Later they went to the island of Malolo, because the second wife of Keteketewalu was from the village of Yaro. After some time they planned to return to Saravi but a tokavuki or hurricane blew them off course to the mouth of the Sabeto River. Here they established the settlement of Nasoso on an island in the estuary, though others told me that they landed at Nasoso and moved up river to the junction with the Malika River and established their settlement at Koroiqava. Be that as it may, people at Buduka saw smoke rising from Nasoso; and having found out who the people were, they invited them as relations (vakaveiwekani) to come back and live on the land which they had previously occupied and which was then vacant—‘Muju ravi koto mei ki Buduka’, ‘Come and be in a dependent relationship with Buduka’. Because Keteketewalu’s family thereby became dependent on (ravi) the Buduka, the land was called Saravi. The Vatuburu were told that they would, however, be politically independent; and a member of the Vatuburu was (and still is), anointed (lumuti) as iTaukei Natauvesi or chief of the Vatuburu group.

To symbolise this relationship, they cut two palm trees and laid the trunks across the Vunaburu River as a bridge between Buduka and Saravi. Two coconuts were then taken and tied by creeper, one on one side of the river and the other on the other side. The bukutia (or tying) of these two coconuts was the basis of the traditional path from the Naua to the Kovacaki, known as the Calevu ni Niubukurua or Path of the Two Coconuts Tied Together.

The Development of the Naua Polity

According to this account, Keteketewalu of Natauvesi and his descendants who came to be known as the Vatuburu (or Navatu, for short) were the first of the groups in this area who later developed into the Naua yavusa. There is still at Saravi a yavu or housemound with reddish stones in its side, known as Natauvesi; and this name had been carried over to the present village of Saunaka where there is a chiefly yavu of the same name. The others whose descendants, together with the Vatuburu, eventually formed the Naua yavusa, came from various nearby areas of Vuda, Sabeto, Toko near Naqwavula, and Batiri, Nadroga, some by land and some by sea. Their reasons for coming are not remembered. On the other hand, iTaukei Sawaieke and his advisers told me that originally six people came down from Ne, up the Sabeto valley, and settled at Drakanabou on the Wai Mailika River which separates Sabeto territory from Naua territory. From here they and their families went to Nakorowai (now inside the boundaries of Nadi Airport at Namaka) and thence inland to Taqainasolo. From here, they went seawards to Kou and finally to the coast at Saravi. Their descendants came to be known collectively as the Naua.

The Vunamaoli group came from Vuda, where they had been part of the Tububere, the second senior yavusa; and they settled on Lele, an area of high ground on what was then the mainland to the east of Saravi Island. The senior division of the Vunamaoli is the Yavulagi.

The Vunaivi group came from Sabeto, where they had been part of the Conua yavusa; and they settled near the Vunamaoli, at Navola, part of the area of Lele. The senior division of the Vunaivi is also called the Vunaivi and a more junior one is Nadrau.

Collectively those at Lele were referred to as the Mataqali Levu or Main Yavusa.

The Natuvulevu came from Toko, a settlement of the Nabau people from Nausori, Namataku, Navosa, across the river from Naqwavula. They settled on the island of Koroua at a place called Natuvulevu on the boundaries of Naua and Kovacaki territories.

The Vunamaoli, Vunaivi and Natuvulevu were closely associated and were known collectively as the Senau. There is an area of land known as Senautari (senau or menemenei means ‘being looked after’), and this land was for the use of these three groups, the Senau. Currently the yavu or mound of the house of the Methodist Minister at Saunaka is called Senautari, and the Minister is accorded the ceremonial title of iTaukei Senautari.

The Ketenacini or Neidiri, originally from Neidiri, Batiri, Nadroga, had split after they had moved from Neidiri to Korowaiwai, Votualevu. On this occasion, they quarrelled over the distribution of yaqona, and some returned to Batiri. Later those who remained settled at Nawaimalua on what was then the mainland near the island of Saravi. They were associated with the Vatuburu and with the original landowners, the Tukani of Kovacaki. The traditional path between the Ketenatacini and the Tukani was known as the Calevu ni Qai or ‘Path of the Qai/Vasili or Cordyline Tree’. Later on there were quarrels between the descendants of Raweya and his younger brother Tabaravu; these were recognised at the time of the 1913 NLC, when Tabaravu’s descendants who had previously formed a division of the Ketenatacini group were recorded as a separate mataqali from that of the Ketenaticini mataqali.

The installation of head of the Vunamaoli as Momo

When the families who became the Vunamaoli, Vunaivi, Natuvulevu, Ketenatacini and Vatuburu groups had increased in numbers, the family of Leweinabua (the Vunamaoli) who had gone to Namo, and the family of Nakia (the Vatuburu) who were settled at Natauvesi (see above) gathered together the other groups who had remained at Nabua. All the descendants of Korowabu, father of the six sons whose families became the groups, were present.

They discussed whether one of them should be recognised as paramount, and agreed to appoint Raseru of the Vunamaoli and vasu to the family of Vasukiwavuwavu (the Natuvulevu) to be installed as Momo. The family of Leweiwavuwavu piled up the earth for the mound of installation; the family of Nakia provided the lauvatu or stone surrounding for the mound; the family of Qoro, the second son of Raweya (the Nakasamai division of the Ketenatacini) prepared the yaqona for the installation ceremony; and all the family of Raweya (the Ketenatacini) provided timber for the house of installation. Raseru was duly installed on the mound known as Betobalavu (which has survived and which I have visited) at Nabua.

Quarrels and wars: influence on social development

The development of the yavusa was characterised by sometimes-fearsome internal quarrels based on breaches of protocol, arrogant behaviour and jealousy, as well as on voluntary or involuntary involvement in wars between neighbouring polities.

Near extinction of arrogant Vatuburu

The earliest internal quarrel of which I could find an account nearly resulted in the extinction of the Vatuburu group who were the first in the area, followed by the other groups. They settled near to each other, but as time passed, some of the Ketenatacini who were settled at Nawaimalua considered that the Vatuburu were behaving arrogantly towards them. The newcomers became jealous of the Vatuburu because they considered themselves superior in everything (cecere e na veika kece or sila in the local communalect). To this end, many plotted (buki druadrua or vere) for the Vatuburu to be killed; and several unsuccessful attempts were made to kill them. The Vunaivi people then asked (vatadumata) the people of Sabeto and Nawaka to come and help to kill the Vatuburu.

A message was sent to the iTaukei Tauvesi, the head of the Vatuburu, at his chiefly yavu called Wasina (the yavu is still visible near to the railway track where it crosses the river), to say that a discussion was to be held near Wasina, to which the Vatuburu were invited to come. This was but a trick because the real purpose of the invitation was for them to come and be killed because they were so arrogant (sila) in their behaviour. Meanwhile, a large gathering had assembled on the opposite side of the river to the chiefly yavu of Wasina. It was attended by many including Saqe, the qaqa or strong man of the Vunaivi who were at the forefront of the plot. The Vatuburu were surprised when they found out the true intention of the invitation, and they shouted out, ‘U! U! U! This should be a discussion, not a plot.’ The name of the land where this took place is now Na U.

Those who had been in hiding came out and killed all the Vatuburu including Tuwawa, the iTaukei Tauvesi. The place where the killing took place is now called Koro i Tuwawa (in the area now known as Maigania). There was only one survivor whose name is not remembered, and he escaped to those of the Ketenatacini group who were at Saravi and had not been involved in the plot. This sole survivor had hidden under a diva ni quto or pile of firewood. The Vunaivi put the bodies of the Vatuburu on rafts made of madolo/ tolo ni jaina (banana stems), and floated them downstream to Nubu ni Vunayasi, a pool near the present village of Saunaka. The bodies were taken ashore from Koro i Tuwawa and left to rot. They smelt badly (bona or ilo in the local communalect), and the place is called Vailo. The bodies were buried between the present villages of Saunaka and Nakavu in the area of the cemetery called Bulubulu Koro i Saravi or Saravi Village Cemetery, still used by the Vatuburu who had formerly occupied Saravi.

When peace was resumed, the sole survivor of the plot was given a woman of the Ketenatacini to be his wife. Eventually the Vatuburu increased in numbers, and the Ketenatacini then called the Vatuburu, ‘Na Luve ni Yalewa’ or ‘The Children of the Woman’, as a memory of the woman.

Later the Vatuburu moved from Saravi to join the other groups at Vagadra, near Saunaka, because the site was safer and the water supply was better. Then the Vatuburu left Vagadra and returned to Saravi where they remained. Before Cession in 1874 the other groups went from Vagadra to establish, the village of Saunaka nearby, while the Vatuburu remained at Saravi. After they duly moved to Saunaka, all the groups were based at Saunaka; and when they had all joined up at Saunaka, they were known collectively as the Naua polity and later were registered by the 1913 NLC as the Naua yavusa.

When the Vatuburu settled finally at Saunaka, the rest of the Naua were determined not to let the Vatuburu be arrogant again towards them. For instance, the Vatuburu were then told to settle on the low ground beside the river and were told, ‘Kua ni cecere/sila’ or ‘Don't be arrogant’. This was as a punishment for being arrogant in the old days. So Saunaka is now divided in two: Saunaka on the high ground, for those other than the Vatuburu; and Sila on the low ground below the church, for the Vatuburu.

The war of the Na Vololevu

The earliest war of which I have accounts took place after the installation of Raseru of Vunamaoli as Momo (see above). The war was known as Na Vololevu. I was unable to discover the reason for this name meaning ‘Big Lemon’. Accounts of the war were recorded by the NLC from both Naua and Navatulevu, Nadi, sources. Both accounts emphasise the critical involvement of at least the Tavarua people, from among those of the Rukuruku polity who lived in the uplands between Nawaka/Nadi and the Nadroga boundaries. The Rukuruku accounts (see under Nawaka) make no mention of the war, although reference is made to the name of the protagonist, Lomanikaya. There are important similarities in the accounts, but also there are significant differences. It is not possible today to obtain further traditions which might confirm either of these accounts. However, the purpose of my explorations was not to discover which was the ‘correct account’ but to document the various traditions and to analyse the way that they represent relationships, first, within and between groups existing at the time covered by my explorations; and, secondly, between groups and the various sites where they settled. The Naua account served to explain how the six groups that later formed the Naua were living at Nabua and nearby, and how they came to leave this inland part of the Naua territory and go and live nearer the coast.

The Naua Account

Lomanikaya, a chief of Tavarua, Rukurukulevu (in the hills between Nawaka and Nadroga), had in his possession a bulileka or small white cowry shell which was a symbol of chiefliness, which Nacobi, chief of the neighbouring Noi Yasawa, requested from him. When Lomanikaya refused to give it to him, Nacobi declared war on him and Lomanikaya fled to the Noi Sesevia at Vatuma. Nacobi followed him to Vatuma, and Lomanikaya left the Noi Sesevia and went to the village of Nabua. The Noi Sesevia changed sides and joined with the Noi Yasawa, and the joint army known as the Vololevu went and burned Nabua.

After the village of Nabua had been burned by the Vololevu, those descendants of Korowabu, the Natuvulevu, who were still living there as well as those who had earlier left to settle at Namo and Natauvesi, went and established their villages near the coast. The Vunamaoli and the Vunaivi went and settled at Lele. The Natuvulevu settled at Natuvulevu. The Ketenatacini split and some, including the Neidiri, went to settle at Nawaimalua and others went to Nakasamai. The Vatuburu settled at Saravi.

The Navatulevu, Nadi, account relates that Raimoqe, warrior head of the Navatulevu, wanted Lomanikaya's bulileka but that Lomanikaya refused to give it to him. At that time, Yakuilau had authority over the Navatulevu. One day, after Lomanikaya had refused to give the bulileka to Raimoqe, Raimoqe and Bekebeke, the chief of the Noi Yakuilau, were bathing together. Raimoqe dived down and threw a tabua between Bekebeke's legs. Bekebeke made enquires as to the meaning of the tabua, and Raimoqe explained that it was a request for help in fighting the Noi Tavarua, because Lomanikaya had refused to give him the bulileka. So Bekebeke took the army and burned the Noi Tavarua and the neighbouring Noi Yasawa. The Naua played no part in this campaign. Lomanikaya swallowed the bulileka and was later killed. The bulileka was taken to Raimoqe who was then installed as the Momo Levu of Nadi. The Naua were among those attending the installation.

The war of Lutia na Qo

Breaches of protocol and personal insults were sometimes the cause of quarrels. The order of drinking yaqona is symbolic of the relative status of those participating. If a person drinks out of order, this could be regarded simply as an unfortunate breach of protocol or it could be that the person drinking out of order wishes to indicate his socio-political ambitions for leadership. For instance, in the case of the yaqona drinking by the Neidiri sub-division of the Ketenatacini referred to above, some felt so insulted that they left and went back to Batiri. Personal insults could be so grave that violence could develop into widespread warfare. As an example, there was the insult leading to the war known as the War of Lutia na Qo, of which the following accounts were recorded by the 1913 NLC and checked by me with the iTaukei Sawaieke and his advisers. I was told that lutia na qo means ‘spearing a pig (qo) and lifting it up on the end of the spear.’

This war is interesting not only as an example of socio-political fission following personal insult but also in showing how an ambitious person could take advantage of such a situation in order to further his own ambitions for leadership. In this case, Nalokubalavu of the Vunaivi succeeded in taking the leadership of the Naua from Raseru of the Vunamaoli, and so created a change in the recognised order of hierarchy of the component mataqali.

The Naua people had been living in the coastal villages for some time, when Raseru, the Momo of Naua who came from the Vunamaoli mataqali, put a tabu on pigs, forbidding that pigs should be killed or taken away. Then one day he lifted the tabu and went to catch some pigs owned by the Natuvulevu people. The owners were very upset and touched Raseru's hair and ruffled it. The serious nature of this insult reflects that of the occasion when, according to a rather unlikely account (Gravelle 1979:10), the Reverend Thomas Baker removed his comb from the head of the chief Nawawabalavu in upland Namosi and was murdered and eaten for the offence in 1867.

When they realised the seriousness of what they had done, they took fright and fled to their vasu relations at Sabeto. Nalokulevu, a member of the Vunaivi sub-division of the Vunaivi mataqali, went with them as their leader. One account said that Raseru had been so angry with the Natuvulevu that he went to his vasu, the Navatulevu of Nadi, and asked Raimoqe, the Momo Levu of Nadi, for help. Raimoqe passed a message to the Yakuilau and they burned the village of the Natuvulevu. The miscreants fled to Sabeto, and the rest stayed at Lele, the village of the Vunaivi, under the Navatulevu. Another account said that because of their arrogant behaviour, the Navatulevu had already been driven away from Nadi by the Yakuilau at the time of the incident and that they were at Lotoiqere on Buduka land.

Be that as it may, all are agreed that the Natuvulevu miscreants, together with Naloku (as he is usually referred to) had fled to his vasu at Sabeto and been settled at Koroiqava, by which time the Navatulevu had left Nadi and gone to Lotoiqere. Naloku discussed with Mataitoga, a powerful chief, but not yet the Momo or leading chief of Sabeto, about approaching the Navatulevu and inviting them to join him. As recorded, under Sabeto, Mataitoga was striving to obtain the leadership of the Sabeto people and he would have welcomed help to drive out the then-Momo of Sabeto. Mataitoga agreed that Naloku should go to Lotoiqere and bring the Navatulevu to Koroiqava in Sabeto territory. Naloku was afraid that the katikati, the women and old men, would be killed on the way by the Yakuilau army that by this time had appeared in order to oppose the escape of the Navatulevu. He pleaded that they should be protected; and Mataitoga said to Naloku that they should exchange fans. Mataitoga said that Naloku should take his chiefly fan (masei) as a symbol of the authority he had given Naloku to protect the katikati; and that Naloku should take the katikati to Koroiqava, where they would join the Natuvulevu refugees previously settled there by Mataitoga.

When the Navatulevu and the Natuvulevu refugees were safely settled at Koroiqava, Naloku went to stay with Mataitoga at Sabeto. By now, Mataitoga had succeeded, presumably with the help of the Natuvulevu and the Navatulevu, in driving away the Momo and taking the position of paramount for himself. Then the Yakuilau kept sending messages to the Naua, asking them to kill Naloku. Naloku told Mataitoga about these requests for his death, and Mataitoga brought the Navatulevu closer to Sabeto.

When the Yakuilau saw Naloku’s influence on Mataitoga with respect to the Navatulevu people, they sent a tabua to request that the Sabeto people should kill Naloku. Mataitoga showed his appreciation of Naloku's assistance in obtaining the paramountcy, and did not heed this request. Later he showed his appreciation even more when, after the War of the Tola (see below), he took Naloku of Vunaivi back to the Naua and had him made the paramount of Naua. Thus the Vunaivi took precedence over the Vunamaoli who were the previous leading mataqali of the Naua, and Naloku's ambitions for the paramountcy of the Naua came to fruition. This shows how socio-political change can come about in a polity, through secular power. There is, however, no evidence that this change was ever validated by seeking spiritual endorsement and, as will be seen, Naloku duly got what those who were in communication with the spirit world would have understood to be his just desserts.

The war of the Tola

After the Natuvulevu refugees from the wrath of Raseru (the Momo of Naua and a man of the Vunamaoli) and Naloku (of the Vunaivi mataqali of the Naua) had been together for some time at Koroiqawa, Sabeto, the army of the Tola from Nadroga came to assist the Navatulevu to return to Nadi. Because they had sided with the Yakuilau, the rest of the Naua scattered to Naqwavula, in the hills, together with the Yakuilau and other supporters.

At this time, the Naua lands came into the hands of Mataitoga, because of the vasu relationship. Naua was geographically in an unfortunate position, being between the polities of Nadi and Sabeto. Whenever there was war, the Naua found themselves subject to attack and burning, and to consequent loss of their land to the hands of the victors. Before the arrival of European planters in the area, it was usual for the conquerors to call back the defeated and resettle them in their old village sites and for the traditional landowners to obtain formal permission from the conquerors to get back possession of their lands (ivakalutu ni qele). With the arrival of planters in the 1860s, however, they found that they could obtain such land from the chiefs of Nadi or Sabeto who protected their possession to some extent, irrespective of the feelings of the traditional owners. At first, such arrangements were made informally, and the chiefs understood that they retained ultimate authority over the land. Later, arrangements were formalised by written document and this was understood by the 1871 Cakobau Government to mean alienation.

When the Tola returned to Nadroga, Rokomatu, grandson of Raimoqe (chief of the Navatulevu in exile at Sabeto) and Naloku (vasu to Mataitoga and therefore able to make special requests to the Momo Levu of Sabeto) were together in Sabeto. Rokomatu wanted to return to Nadi, and Naloku was intent upon gaining the position of Momo of the Naua. Rokomatu said to Naloku that if Naloku could obtain leave from Mataitoga for them both to return to Nadi, he would reward Naloku with pigs, but Naloku said that he wanted to be rewarded with wa sasala (a creeper to symbolise that he was to be chief). Naloku asked Mataitoga for permission for them both to return, and Mataitoga agreed.

Mataitoga gave Naloku a housepost called Duru ni Degei or Degei's Housepost which he took to Vagadra and used for building his house. When all the houses at Vagadra were ready, Naloku called the Naua to come back from Naqwavula and they settled there. Not all the Naua at Sabeto returned with Naloku but some remained there. Mataitoga also gave Naloku a stone as his vunau, meaning that he used his authority to make Naloku paramount of the Naua at Vagadra. In this way, the Vunaivi achieved seniority over the Vunamaoli as the leading mataqali of the Naua yavusa. Naloku heeded the authority of Rokomatu of the Navatulevu.

The case of Naua is an excellent example of the development and leadership problems of a single yavusa polity. A detailed study of the polity indicates well the machinations of an ambitious person who was not qualified by birth for leadership but who acquired the position by cunningly working his way to the paramountcy by imposing obligations on powerful neighbours with whom he had vasu relationships.

The war of the Cebu Walu

The vasu relationship by itself was not always enough to commit the person requested to provide some goods or service to meet the request. The War of the Cebu Walu is important in illustrating further the relationships between two polities, the Sabeto and the Naua, where the vasu relationship was the basis of the bond between them, especially where there are conflicting interests. In this instance, some Naua were still at Sabeto while most of them had been resettled at Vagadra. In both cases, there was a vasu relationship between the Naua at Sabeto and the Sabeto people, and also between the Naua at Vagadra and the Sabeto people.

At the start of my exploration of the socio-political implications of the War of the Cebu Walu, I was intrigued by the significance of the name itself. With some linguistic knowledge aforethought, I had asked for the meaning and, as I expected, the people told me with a wan smile that it meant ‘the War of the Eight Anuses’—cebu meaning ‘anus’ in the local communalect. When they realised that I was recording what they said for posterity, they came up with another, more polite, possible interpretation. The name was perhaps based on the understanding that the war had scattered about (ceburaki) over eight years. I simply record both interpretations.

As for the war itself, the Naua had put a tabu on some sugar cane growing at Legalega where Senikase, a man of Namataku, Nausori and a vasu to the Naua, had his house. Some children of the Naua who were living at Sabeto came and picked some of the cane; and Senikase was very angry with them. The fathers of the children came from Sabeto and killed Senikase. Naloku made a request to Mataitoga that those responsible for the murder should be killed, but Mataitoga would not agree to this request. Naloku then summoned an army from as far afield as the Wainimala River, Nadrau and Batiwai (Serua).

Apakuki Tuitavua explained to me that the connection between Naua and Batiwai was based on the origins of the Ketenatacini who came from Neidiri, Batiri, and Nadroga. There were in turn relationships between the Neidiri and the people of Batiwai. Equally intriguing was the explanation of the connection between the Naua and the people of the Wainimala and Nadrau. This was based on a tradition that a man was living on the island of Narokorokoyawa between the Mamanuca group and the Yasawa group. This island is of great importance in the Fijian spiritual landscape because the ultimate destination of many of the spirits of the dead is beside this island. It was here that the Rogovoka, one of the first mythical canoes which, like the Kaunitoni, came to Fiji from the west, had stopped on the way, in order to allow a woman on board to come ashore and give birth to Tui Revurevu. He is regarded as the itaukei or guardian owner of the island and the surrounding area where the spirits of the dead dive into the sea. The man living there became fed up with hearing the sound of the splash as the spirits vila or plunged into the sea. He moved to the mainland where there is the village of Narokorokoyawa in Sabeto. Then he moved through Naua territory to Yavuna inland from Vatutu (see under Nawaka) but he could still hear the sound of spirits plunging into the sea. So he went on into the interior to Nadrau and the Wainimala area, where he could no longer hear the sound. Here he established the village of Narokorokoyawa which is still there. These connections between the west and the interior are similar to those between Nadroga and the interior, which proved significant when the Kwa Levu of Nadroga was collecting the army of the Tola to attack the Yakuilau at Nadi. There may have been generally grave suspicions between the coastal polities and the independent folk of the interior. Nevertheless these calevu ni matamataraki or formal lines of communication were maintained and proved to be invaluable when circumstances of necessity overcame local prejudice and feelings of independence.

When the army had assembled, it besieged Sabeto for a period of eight years. As I suggested earlier, the number ‘eight’ need not be taken literally but often occurs with the implications of approximation, as in bogi walu which refers to a storm lasting about eight nights, or as in Cagawalu (the name of the war spirit of Bau who was said to have had a forehead eight finger-spans wide). In the course of the war, 250 of those on Mataitoga's side were killed and Mataitoga was upset and planned to take revenge on Naloku. He passed a tabua to the Noi Vunatoto of Nawaka with a request that they should kill Naloku. They were unsuccessful and so they returned the tabua which was then passed on to the Noi Navo. They were equally unsuccessful. Finally the tabua, together with a pig, was taken to some of the Vunamaoli mataqali of the Naua who were living at Narukuniivi, Yavusania. They had previously had the leadership of the Naua until Mataitoga gave the leadership to Naloku of the more junior mataqali of Vunaivi. So they would have regarded Naloku for what he was, an ambitious upstart, and they went secretly at night and killed Naloku while he was sleeping at Saravi. As I described earlier, the appointment of Naloku had been achieved through Mataitoga and was not in accordance within the traditional pattern of choice of leader by order of birth and formal installation. It had not therefore been validated by the spirits of Naua; and it is not at all unexpected that Naloku should have been killed by those who were upset by the manner in which he achieved the leadership of Naua.

The traditional site of the killing at Saravi is marked by a broken monolith lying near a yavu on the edge of which are other stones in interesting array suggestive of some ceremonial or burial site. There is no body there at present, as far as I could determine by limited excavation. The monolith is referred to as Naloku's kali or pillow. One account which Apakuki knew but doubted was to the effect that Naloku had been buried here at Saravi but his body was later disinterred and taken to Saunaka where a memorial has been erected to his memory. Another account preferred by Apakuki was that the Naua who had killed Naloku at the request of Mataitoga of Sabeto were taking his body to Sabeto, having sounded the lali or drum to publicise the killing. The Naua at Vagadra heard the drum beat and realised what had happened. So they went and intercepted those taking the body to Sabeto and snatched the body and took it for burial at Vagadra. The actual burial place is unknown, although it is tempting to suggest that where I excavated in Saravi was either his temporary grave or some form of cenotaph. Only further excavation may provide some more clues, but I fear that Naloku's final resting-place will forever remain a mystery.

The war of Christianity

The introduction of Christianity to the west and in particular to the Nadi region in the 1860s provided an external element in the development of relations between polities. Some accepted it either because they saw its advantages as a potential source of European goods, or because they associated it with the powerful polities of the east, especially Bau, and were afraid to refuse the sulu, or European cloth used for the loin cloth, which served to symbolise Christianity. The Navatulevu, the Noi Yakuilau, the Tukani, the Noi Naiqoro, the Noi Navo, the Yavausania, the Saunivalu at Sikituru and the Naua proceeded to accept Christianity when it was introduced to Nadi. Others refused to adopt Christianity, perhaps because they saw its acceptance as tantamount to acknowledging the overlordship of Cakobau, especially when the Kingdom of Bau was established in 1867. Perhaps more importantly, they foresaw that the acceptance of Christianity and the new practices they would be expected to adopt, and, more particularly, the old practices they would be forced to reject, would bring dire retribution from the nitu (the western term for ancestral spirits) which the Wesleyan adherents referred to as tevoro or timoni—devils or demons.

This situation led to war. Isireli Namulo Rokomatu, son of Koroigaga and grandson of the Rokomatu who had been leader of the Navatulevu in exile in Sabeto, quarrelled with Navoleone Raigigia, son of Nasorovakatini who was the younger brother of Koroigaga. Navoleone was a great womaniser (dau caka yalewa), and his behaviour was hardly acceptable to a Christian chief. In his anger, Navoleone told the Vunatoto at Nawaka not to accept Christianity and to attack the Christianised villages. Nawaka was still pagan, and the Vunatoto of Nawaka sent messages to the hills and collected an army comprising the Utiloaloa, the Noi Sesevia, the Noi Yasawa, the Noi Tavarua, the Yamisa, the Yawada, the Leinamataku and the Noi Tubai. This army assembled, and burned the Naua village of Vagadra, on a Sunday, and later the Noi Navo village of Navo. The Naua went to seek refuge with the Navatulevu at Waqana. Having burned these two Christian villages, the Nawaka army then went to Waqana. When the army reached Waqana, Navula was there but Navoleone was kept in a hut at Tutunavokai near Saravi because it was known that he was the cause of the war. He was duly freed and, ever the opportunist, he forgot his anger with Navula. He went to Nasorowale, chief of Vuda, and to Mataitoga, chief of Sabeto, and enlisted their aid in repelling the Nawaka army. This attack by the Nawaka and their allies can be dated to about 1868, from evidence given to the Lands Claims Commission (LCC) set up under the Lands Claims Ordinance (No. XXV of 1879) to investigate claims to land by Europeans. Claimants were required ‘to give satisfactory evidence of the transactions with the natives on which they rely as establishing their title; and, if the land appears to have been acquired fairly, and at a fair price,’ Crown grants were to be issued.

When the Nawaka army attacked Waqana, they were chased away by Navula and the Navatulevu and their allies who followed them and burned Nawaka. Presumably Navoleone's part in starting this war was forgiven on the basis of the help that he had obtained for the Navatulevu from Vuda and Sabeto, because he was duly installed as Momo Levu after Navula had refused the title which was offered to him. This was traditionally correct, because Navoleone was the son of the elder brother and Navula was son of the younger brother. Those who had scattered after being burned by the Nawaka army were brought back, and the Navatulevu built a village for the Naua at Korokoro near Natuvulevu (Saravi).

Attempts to murder Navula

Relationships within and between groups within the polity of Naua and relationships between Naua and strong neighbours such as Nadi were bedevilled with quarrels, jealousy, plots and counterplots that must have frustrated attempts by even the most responsible leaders to establish a powerful and stable confederacy. An outstanding figure to emerge from this situation of instability was Navula, who had been very successful as head of the Navatulevu army in the course of those wars referred to above in which he had participated.

As Navula became more powerful, there were among the Nadi people those who objected to what they considered to be the arrogant behaviour of a social upstart, especially as they had ambitions to be leaders themselves. So they went with some Noi Naiqoro people of the Kovacaki to Naboutini in Sabeto, where they proposed to make a solevu or ceremonial presentation with the intention of asking the Sabeto people to return with them to Nadi and to murder Navula. This plan came to the notice of Navula who sent a Sabeto man to Mataitoga, requesting that those who had gone to Sabeto with such intentions should be killed.

As those at Naboutini were dressing up in preparation for the solevu, the Sabeto people were assembling at Sabeto. When Mataitoga said ‘Buli Waqa’, which was the name of his house at Naboutini where he used to go and relax, those assembled understood this to be a signal for the execution of his instructions that they should go to Naboutini and kill those gathering for the solevu. They duly went and killed all those at Naboutini who had come to plan for the killing of Navula. Among those who took part in the killing were some Vunamaoli and Vatuburu people of the Naua who were staying at Sabeto, though they were not part of the plot planned by Navula and Mataitoga. All were killed except for Nemani Dreu of the Naduruniu mataqali of the Navatulevu. He returned to Nadi but did not settle with the Navatulevu at Narewa. He took the Naduruniu still surviving and established the separate village of Nakavu. A ceremony of soro or apology brought an end to the plot and its consequences.

External influences affecting Naua: the Cakobau attack

The Cakobau army arrived in Sabeto in 1873 in order to attack Sabeto. This was part of a campaign with the immediate object of avenging the murder of the Burns family at Vunisamaloa, Ba, and also to subdue the mountaineers who showed few signs of recognising the Government. Navula brought those of the Naua people then settled at Narukuniivi, Yavusania, to stay with him at Waqana as members of his household. When the Cakobau army attacked Sabeto, all the chiefs there, including those of the Naua who were settled at Sabeto, were taken prisoner. Navula asked for the release of the Naua people whom he took with him back from Sabeto, and they also remained at Waqana with Navula.

External influences affecting Naua: European settlers

The first Europeans to settle in the Nadi area were A. Campbell and C. Irvine who settled in 1867 first at Tiliva and then at Nasusuva i Nadi between the Naua of Vagadra, the Vunatoto of Nawaka and Navula at Waqana. The village of Navo was nearby. When war broke out in 1868, the Nawaka, having burned Vagadra and Navo, went and burned the Campbell and Irvine property at Nasusuva i Nadi. The numbers of Europeans in the area increased modestly, but the so-called Nadi Swells were ever in fear of being burned out without much hope of protection from the local chiefs or from the far-away Cakobau Government.

Before the Naua took refuge with the Navatulevu, they had, in April 1868, sold some of their land to Herman Luks and George B. Ridsdale. After the Naua went to seek refuge with Navula at Waqana or with Mataitoga at Sabeto, they had come under the authority of the Navatulevu and Sabeto chiefs who thus had control of the Naua lands. The Nadi and Sabeto chiefs took advantage of Naua people in refuge with them and sold much of their land to Europeans, keeping the goods traded for their own use and not sharing them with the traditional owners.

External influences affecting Naua: the ‘Dido’ incident

As the number of British settlers increased in Fiji generally, the British Government through the Royal Navy developed an increasing concern for the well being of British subjects in their relationships with the Fijians. The corollary of this concern was the action that should or could be taken in the event of what the British considered to be a travesty of law and justice. Before the Cakobau army attacked Sabeto in 1873 as part of the campaign to avenge the murder of European planters in the Ba area, a European had been killed in the Denarau area on the coast of Nadi. HMS Dido came with the Commodore and Ratu Cakobau, as Head of the 1871 Government, to investigate the death and to hear the case against the Fijian suspect. William Berwick interpreted, and after the case was heard, Navula as strong leader of the Nadi people, was found ultimately responsible for the death. He was fined an area of land and 100 turtles. The turtles could not be caught, but the land given was the Navatulevu land at Nabuabua, and the Naua/Naiqoro land of Wailoaloa. Wailoaloa comprised the Naua land of Solowaro (‘solowaro’ means ‘collecting shells from the sea’ as opposed to qeicara or ‘collecting shells from the river’), and the Naiqoro land of Enamanu.

The Naua united at Natuvulevu

This has been a detailed exploration of first, the changing loyalties involving socio-politically so much fission and fusion in the case of both the various social divisions and groups of the Naua polity; and secondly, their interrelationships with the Sabeto, Navatulevu and other polities in the general area. Finally it touches on external influences such as Christianity, Cakobau, European settlers and the British Government. It confirms that Naua is an excellent microcosm in which to study and analyse the origins and development of a simple western polity. I now investigate some of the mechanics of the procedures whereby Naua attained and maintains its present outward and visible appearance of unity, whilst still retaining a covert undercurrent of private but manageable disagreement.

Before the attack by the Cakobau army on Sabeto, some Naua had been living at Sabeto and some at Waqana with the Navatulevu. After the attack, they all came together to soro or formally apologise to Navula, because, in the course of the War of the Cebu Walu, they had killed so many of the Navatulevu of Nadi living with Mataitoga at Sabeto. Then after some time, those Naua people living in the village of Natuvulevu, where Navula had settled them, brought a request (lakovi) to Navula for the Naua at Waqana to return to Naua territory. Navula released the latter group from their obligations (sereki) to their hosts at Waqana, and the Naua at Waqana performed the ceremony of matamatanisali. This ceremony symbolises a matamata or gate for those who had sali in the local communalect or tiko vakararavi (been in a position of dependence on some polity) to go back through and return home. The Naua people at Waqana ended the formalities with another solevu to express thanks to Navula. Then the Naua people all joined up at Natuvulevu, near Saravi, on traditional Naua territory. At that time, Naunu of the senior Vunaivi division of the Vunaivi mataqali had held the position of Momo or paramount of the Naua people, following on from the time when he had been appointed to that position through the authority of Rokomatu of Navatulevu on the return of the Naua from Sabeto. Previously, the paramount had been appointed from the Vunamaoli mataqali. From Natuvulevu, the Naua people went to Saravi, their former settlement homeland, at about the time of Cession in 1874. Naunu gave the position of Momo of Naua to Ratu Taito Nalukuya No.1 of the more junior Nadrau division of the Vunativi mataqali.

When Nemani Dreu of the Naduruniu breakaway group of the Navatulevu yavusa was appointed to be Roko Tui Ba in the Colonial Fijian Administration, the Naua left Saravi and were settled at their present village of Saunaka. The leadership of the Naua continued to be held by members of rank, both men and women, in the Nadrau division of the Vunativi mataqali, except on one occasion when a member of the Vunaivi division was appointed leader but not installed. The leader on appointment had the title of iTaukei Sawaieke, referring to the chiefly house mound of Sawaieke. After Ratu Taito had been called from Sabeto by Navula to be installed as the first of the Nadrau subdivision to be Momo, there followed three leaders of the Naua who were not formally installed. The first two were the son (Ratu Josateki) and the daughter of Ratu Taito, and the third was Ratu Taito No. 2, son of Ratu Josateki. Then followed two granddaughters of Ratu Josateki. Finally Ratu Josateki Natuigalugalu, son of Ratu Taito No. 2, and iTaukei Sawaieke, was installed with great ceremony as Momo Levu iTaukei Naua in 1997.

This may have been due partly to internal dissent based on the change of the senior division of the Vunativi from Vunaivi to Nadrau. It may also have reflected disagreements about the change of leadership from the Vunamaoli mataqali to the Vunaivi mataqali at the time when Naloku was made leader by Rokomatu of Nadi. The present Momo, Ratu Josateki Sovau, is the great-grandson of Ratu Taito; and he was the first to be formally installed as Momo Levu iTaukei Naua after 117 years. The installation took place before important chiefs of western and eastern Fijian society, represented by the two Tui Ba or paramounts of Ba (recalling an old split in the polity of Ba); the iTaukei Vidilo from Namoli, Lautoka; the Kwa Levu or paramount of Nadroga; and the Ratu mai Verata or paramount of the ancient and revered eastern polity of Verata. Other invited guests included the wife of the Prime Minister and the Head of the Wesleyan Church of Fiji and Rotuma. Nadi was not represented because of a current disagreement about the appointment of a Momo Levu for Nadi.

This installation ceremony probably symbolised a deliberate attempt on the part of the Naua people to decide once and for all on the division and group of the Naua from which the Momo Levu was to be appointed and installed; to put aside a long history of leadership changes and consequent demurrals and quarrels; and to present Naua as a firmly united polity with connections with important polities in both the west and east of Fiji. These ceremonies were carried out in the most open, solemn and binding manner possible as traditionally recognised by Fijian society.

Naua: a descent group or a socio-political complex?

The Naua people who had sought refuge with Navula at Waqana after the attacks by Nawaka, found themselves short of land when they eventually returned to their own territory, and there was nothing they could do about the situation. The Naua polity was socio-politically very much a nut between the crackers of the increasingly more powerful and stable neighbouring polities of Sabeto and Nadi. This situation may have been due partly to the relative socio-political and military weakness of the Naua; partly to their constant quarrels and disagreements resulting in fission and instability; and partly to the socio-political fact that they were not a single descent group, but a collection of descent groups who had joined together for mutual protection and convenience but found they had no powerful united spirit world to support them against the bickering of the secular leaders.

The chiefs of Naua (especially Ratu Josateki Savou, then iTaukei Sawaieke and now Momo Levu iTaukei Naua, and Apakuki Tuitavua, former Government veterinary officer and international football player) told me, in the course of lengthy discussions, about many current traditional accounts of the origins and development of the people comprising the various groups which became the recognised mataqali of the Naua yavusa. In these traditional accounts, five different socio-political groups are said to have settled at different times in what is now regarded as the Naua area. That they were different socio-political groups is evidenced from an exploration of those features which generally distinguish one such group from another.

The Vatuburu, the first arrivals, came originally from Sabeto (said iTaukei Sawaieke), or from Buduka and later went to, and came back from, the island of Malolo (said Apakuki). Their ancestral spirit was Keteketewalu (not Nakia), referred to as Tai or Grandfather, whose manifestation was a manupusi or mongoose. His place is at Natauvesi, in the Nubu i Tauvesi or Tauvesi Pool in the river near Natauvesi. Their vuti yaca are the vesi ni waitui or kind of Afzelia bijuga, being their kai or tree; the vudi waiwai or kind of plantain; and the bibi or kind of sea shellfish.

The Vunamaoli came next from the Tububere people of Vuda. Their ancestral spirit was Korowabu whose manifestation was a vevewa or owl but who sometimes appeared as a gwata or snake. His place is on the inland rocky hillock of Taqainasolo. Their vuti yaca are the dravo or reed, the ba sousou or kind of plantain, and the yadrava or kind of river fish. The wior (Spondias dulcis) is their kai, and is their symbol of both the male and female genital organs.

The Vunaivi came from the Conua people of Sabeto. Their ancestral spirit was Tai Udu (Grandfather Udu, whose full name was Mudunalagi), son of Vidirinasau who was a son of Korowabu. His manifestation was a gwata lekeleke or kind of snake. His place is at Bonunaqwele on the raised ground overlooking the beach at Nadi Airport. He is referred to as iTaukei Bonunaqwele. His tobu or qwara ni sisili (swimming pool or cave) is in the Vonovono stream below Bonunaqwele. Their vuti yaca are the ivi selala or kind of native chestnut (Inocarpus edulis), as kai, the ba sousou or kind of plantain, and the yadrava or kind of river fish. The kai is therefore different from that of the Vunamaoli, though the magiti and the ilava are the same. Perhaps this reflects recognition that their progenitors were related.

The Natuvulevu came originally from Toko, near Naqwavula, far up in the hills and below the present Navosa village of Nausori. Their ancestral spirit was Tai Ulurua (Grandfather with Two Heads), whose manifestation was a two-headed snake. His place is at Labe Edromu, just below what is now the McDonald’s eatery on the Nadi/Nanaka road hard by the Saunaka junction. He is said to have appeared before a member of the staff, showing some anger, when McDonald’s was built and his peace was being disturbed by the customers. He was suitably appeased with a yaqona ceremony of apology. Their vuti yaca is the sevai or kind of plantain. They have no magiti or ilava.

Associated with the Natuvulevu are Na Lewa Soro, two female spirits whose place is in a pool known as Nubu i Vunayasi in a stream which flows through the land of Lawa (once that of the Ferrier-Watsons) near Saunaka. They can be compared with two female spirits at Nasinu 4 Miles on the Suva/Nausori road; and with two other female spirits associated with a monolith known as Ledru Nono na Lewa Rua (‘The Place of two Female Spirits’) inland from Nagado, up the Sabeto valley. When I saw it, it had been defaced by miners exploring the area known as Vatutu.

The progenitor of the Ketenatacini was, I was told, Duaka, whose manifestation was a gwata or snake. This is particularly interesting because this Duaka appears to be the same Duaka who was progenitor of the Navatulevu of Nadi. He may also be the same as the Duaka who is one of the four Le Va spirits connecting the inland villages of Vatutu, Namulomulo and Yavuna with the coast (see Nawaka). Duaka's place is at the entrance to the reef at Momi, and his manifestation is a dadakulaci or sea snake with its tail at Beqa and its head around Malolo. The NLC-created yavusa of Yavusasivo symbolises its separateness from the parent group of Ketenatacini by claiming its own spirit, Tabaravu, whose manifestation is a gwata lewa or female snake and who may appear as an old woman. The NLC recorded the progenitor as Tabaravu. This snake’s place is at Kou, the swimming place near Namo and inland from Saunaka. Those people who became the Ketenatacini/Yavusasivo came from Batiri, Nadroga, and they have the same vuti yaca, a vai or stingray, but no kai or magiti. This confirms that they were of the same stock. The bete or priest for Vasukine, the nitu ni valu or war spirit of the Naua polity, was from the Somulo division of the Ketenatacini.

Each group then had a different place of origin. Each had different and, except in one case, unrelated ancestral spirits who settled in different places and had different manifestations (waqawaqa or, in the communalect, tolatola). Each had different sets of vuti yaca or symbols of unity and identity (kai or trees, magiti or staple food, and ilava or concomitant for the magiti). There was no overall original ancestral spirit, and there is no overall vuti yaca for the polity now registered as the Naua yavusa. Although the Education Department listed the vasili as the kai or tree for the Naua yavusa generally, this was denied to me. A feature the yavusa may have in common is the ivilavila ni yalo or jumping-off place of the spirits of the dead, but this is by no means clear-cut. I was told that it may be at Bonunaqwele and that from here, the spirits of the dead go to the spiritually significant islet of Narokorokoyawa. Narokorokoyawa is the home of Tui Revurevu who was born there when his mother had to come ashore, in order to give birth, from the mythical vessel, the Rogovoka, one of those coming from the west with the first of the ancestral spirits to settle in Fiji. At Bonunaqwele, the spirits of the Naua people plunge into the sea, as indeed do spirits from many other places and socio-political groups. These accounts present a significantly different picture from that of the 1913 NLC.

The 1913 NLC accounts record myths of origin which present a picture of spiritual and social unity. There was a progenitor spirit, Korowabu, with an impeccable Nakauvadra background who had six spirit sons. The progenitor was associated as a unifying spiritual force for the totality of his Naua descendants. The sons were in turn original ancestral spirits of the six mataqali, and were the particular spiritual guardians for their respective descendants. The progenitor was married to a woman of Ne, and the nitu ni valu or war spirit was known as VasukiNe. This name reflects a vasu relationship between the hill folk of Ne (see under Sabeto), and indeed suggests that when the woman from Ne came down from the hills to marry Korowabu, the coastal progenitor, she came with the war spirit as her guardian and escort. The situation is parallel with that at Navo, when Salele, a woman of the Kovacaki, recorded as the daughter of the progenitor, Tutuvanua, came to marry the progenitor of the Ekubu yavusa of the Navo polity. She was accompanied by Namama, son of Limasa, the Kovacaki war spirit, who was sent as her escort. Korowabu and Salele settled at first inland at Taqainasolo and moved westward to Nabua, where the families of their sons became too numerous to be supported by the available land there, and two of the families separated and went towards the coast. Later they all moved towards the coast, presumably to have ready access to salt and seafood.

The traditional accounts of the historical origins of the Naua groups that I recorded are significantly different from the mythical origins. The latter suggest a unity and cohesion of the groups which the Naua yavusa would like to be the true position in the face of the quarrels and disagreements which characterise most of their powerful and not so powerful neighbours and also, though they would probably not admit it publicly, themselves. Many of these western polities such as Naua had found it difficult enough to assimilate with the outside influences of Christianity, the 1871 Cakobau Government, and often with European settlers. As I have suggested, the recent installation ceremony, the first for 117 years, may have symbolised the realisation on the part of the Naua yavusa generally, of the necessity to unite overtly and lay aside past internal quarrels and jealousies if they are to maintain any significant degree of the traditional way of life which so many to whom I spoke in Saunaka deemed to be the best buttress for them in this changing world of foreign spiritual beliefs, interracial politics and new forms of government. The myths of origin visualise a unified spiritual basis for the yavusa, in the face of disturbing new factors. The ceremony could be interpreted as a symbol of mature socio-political unity, reflecting the meaning of nadi (mature) in the local communalect.

Calevu ni Matamataraki and other bases for inter-polity relationships in the west

The narratives and analyses expounded in this chapter show that the present Fijian Administration tikina of Nadi comprising the Old tikina of Nadi and Sikituru (and formerly Buduka) is an area characterised by small, somewhat unstable, independent polities. Such polities, however independent they may have been socio-politically, nevertheless often found themselves in a position where they were oppressed by neighbours or subject to internal quarrels based on arrogance, jealousy, ambition or breach of etiquette. In either situation, they found that they might be forced to develop relationships with other polities, or take advantage of those already established. In the case of external oppression, they might have had to seek military assistance from another polity to drive away the attackers; or they may have been burned out and been forced to flee and seek refuge with another polity. In the case of internal quarrels, one party to the quarrel might have found it more amenable to leave for pastures new; or might have been driven away. In either of these typical situations, if no alternative vacant land was available for refuge or resettlement, association with another polity was inevitable.

Relationships with other polities in the west were frequently based on marriages from which vasu or itutu (the equivalent in the local communalect) relationships were derived. For instance, Conua, Sabeto had vasu relations with Nawaka. Vuda and Vitogo were closely related because Lewatulekeleke of Vitogo had married Natuilevu, son of Sagavula, the Sabutoyatoya progenitor. Relationships were also based on common descent from spiritual relations (the spiritual progenitors of the polities were siblings) from which tauvu or, as referred to in the communalect, vitabani relationships were derived. For instance, Vuda and Viwa, the furthest west of the Yasawa group, were vitabani on the basis that Erovu, the spiritual progenitor of the Kai Vuda, and Rainima, the spiritual progenitor of the Viwa people, were brothers.

Relationships could also be established and maintained through a system of mata or socio-political representatives. For instance, Vuda and Nakuruvarua, Nadroga, maintained diplomatic relationships through the Mata i Vuda stationed at Nadroga, and the Mata i Nakuruvarua stationed at Vuda. Perhaps because of Vuda being one of the most respected and stable polities in the west, there was considerable diplomatic traffic between Vuda and other polities. For ease of communication and in order to spread the responsibilities of receiving and providing accommodation for visiting missions, the burden was divided as follows:

The Naciriyawa mataqali of Vuda was responsible for Nawaka, Sabeto and Ba.

The Nasalivakarua mataqali was responsible for Rewa and Nadroga.

The Navicaki mataqali was responsible for Vitogo.

Sabeto maintained relationships with Nadroga, Vuda and Vitogo (and also with the associated but somewhat independent yavusa of Waruta) through representatives titled Mata i Naboutini. The Vuda representative is also referred to as the Matainaciriyawa. The names refer to certain important yavu.

Relationships could also be maintained along what are referred to in the western communalects as calevu ni matamataraki or diplomatic paths of communication. The nature and significance of these paths has not been explored before, and they do not have many features in common with what Sayes (1984) refers to as ‘paths of the land’. Sayes identifies these paths as sala volivoli or tribute paths. They were evidently established at the time when the major complex eastern polity of Verata had extended its sphere of influence along the north and south coasts of Vanua Levu. Considerable administrative ability was required to ensure that tribute was brought to Verata from her ‘colonies’ on Vanua Levu. This resulted in the establishment of these paths as lines of communication along which the tribute was brought to centres of collection. One path came from Udu Point along the north coast as far as Labasa and thence across Vanua Levu to Wailevu. The other path came along the south coast to Wailevu. Labasa and Wailevu were regarded as tribute collecting centres, and tribute was eventually taken from Wailevu to Verata.

The places connected by calevu which I was able to record in the course of my explorations into the development of single yavusa polities as well as federated or associated polities in my study areas in Vuda, Sabeto, Nawaka and Nadi were as follows:

Vuda: Connected with Nadroga, Navo, Sikituru and Narewa (the Navatuevu). They said that there was no need for other calevu because they were connected by marriage with so many places.

Sabeto: Connected with Nadroga and Navo.

Ne: None recorded.

Nawaka: Connected with Sila. As in the case of Vuda, they said that there was no need for other calevu because they were connected by marriage with so many places.

Utiloaloa: The four component yavusa are connected with ten other peripheral polities.

There are also calevu between closely related places, as in the cases of the Yako, Navo and Korotabu, and of Vatutu, Yako and Navo.

Yamisa: None recorded.

Inland Le Va: None recorded.

Rukuruku: None recorded.

Vaturu: None recorded.

Nadi: Connected with Ketenavu, Yako (Nadroga), Vunatoto (Nawaka), Nabau (Namataku, Navosa), Momi (Nadroga) and Tukani (Kovacaki).

Kovacaki: Connected with Yakuilau, Navatulevu, Naua, Takuci, Nabau, Sikituru and Moala.

Ketenavu: Connected with Malolo and Navatulevu.

Navo: The five component yavusa were connected with thirty polities throughout the study areas and Nadroga.

Sikituru (Saunivalu): Connected with the Kovacaki, the Yavusania, Moala and Yaro (Navo).

Yavusania: The two yavusa were connected with eighteen polities in the Yasawa group, Nawaka, Rukuruku, the neighbouring polities and some in northern coastal Nadroga.

Naua: No overall connection, but the Ketenatacini mataqali was connected to the Tukavi (Kovacaki), and the Vatuburu with the Kovacaki at Buduka. This reflects the absence of overall homogeneity in the Naua yavusa, and supports the proposition that the yavusa is in reality a complex of generally unrelated groups.

If a polity wanted to make a request to another polity with which it had no connection by relationship or calevu, it would go, in the first place, to a polity with which it had such connections, and would ask that polity to make that request on its behalf. For instance, at the time of the Tola when Navatulevu chiefs of Nadi were seeking military assistance from Nadroga, Navatulevu followed the Calevu ni Valu to the Ketenavu of Moala. The Ketenavu followed the Calevu ni Nukuvou to Yako on the Nadroga boundary. Yako went to Nadroga, and the Kwa Levu of Nadroga sent out messages of request along his own lines of communication to Serua, Namosi, Deuba, Batiwai, the Djavutjukia people (in the hills of Nadroga) and the Conua (in Nadroga to the east of the Sigatoka River). In each case the request would be accompanied by tabua.

It seems from the evidence I have gathered, that the hill folk may not have had such an elaborate system of communication as was developed among the coastal polities. This may, however, be due simply to a gap in the evidence or a lack of traditional knowledge of my informants. Be that as it may, it does seem that the smaller polities such as the Navo or the Yavusania had a more developed system than the bigger ones who claimed that there was no need for calevu when they could connect with other polities on the basis of marriage relationships. Perhaps the Navo and the Yavusania were not able to develop connections by marriage, because, as wife producers, they were not considered sufficiently important socially, politically or militarily, to be approached by neighbours for the formal establishment of a calevu. Similarly as wife seekers, they might not generally have been considered particularly worthy of attention, although there was a sufficiently important marriage between a woman of the Kovacaki and a man of the Navo to justify the need for a war spirit, Namama, to be sent as her escort. More explorations into these calevu are necessary before answers to these questions can be satisfactorily given in respect of the details of the system. For the purpose of this monograph, it is sufficient to draw attention to the general system as providing a basis of communication between polities not connected by marriage or myths of related spiritual progenitors.

1 On the island of Natutale, I saw the mounds of Bau and Naqwaranivualiku as well as the installation stones carefully hidden in a growth of cevuga or tall ginger plants.

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