Ravuravu, as the vu for the Yavusa Natusara (comprising Dravuni & Buliya islands/villages), has already been established in previous postings. Ravuravu is thus the direct ancestor for the members of the yavusa. His grave on Dravuni is a constant reminder.
Available sources – both published (e.g. ‘Viti Makawa’ by E. Rokowaqa and K.R. Meo) and unpublished (stories from the past) referred to Ravuravu by other names, viz: Qarikau, Kanailagi, Masi Ratu, Ramasi, Taukei ni Yavu, Tui ni Vanua, Waimaro, Tuiwai, Tiboti, Degei II, Catanatamani II, Ratu mai Bulu (Ratu mai Bula).
Lloyd Geering (‘From the Big Bang to God’, 2013) placed ‘stories from the past’ in their proper perspective in the context of noosphere, the world of human thought. Geering adds, “The noosphere is both a human activity in which we participate and a body of human knowledge with which we have a symbiotic relationship. It continually shapes us and we continue to construct and reshape it”. Such construction and reshaping have contributed to the evolution of the human species. Geering further adds: “And collections of stories are exactly what we find at the heart of the body of knowledge being handed down orally in tribal cultures and being committed to writing in the ancient centres of civilization”.
Charles Montgomery, in ‘The Shark God’, 2006, defines myth (stories from the past) as: ‘A story, often involving the expression of supernatural power that explains its believers’ relationship with the world’. He adds: “They may not have contained historical truths, but they were nonetheless vital ingredients of civilization”.
Furthermore, Fijian nomenclature has a certain logic which still applies today. I am, for instance, named after my mother’s father – maternal grandfather; and as such, I can be referred to in some circle of relatives as Tukana – implying, affectionately, that I am named after the grandfather of the person speaking. That sobriquet however tends to be used freely by others within the extended family. With some other members of the extended family and beyond, I am referred to as Tamai Mereia – father of Mereia, my eldest. This form of address is used by those who regard calling me by my name directly as disrespectful.
As the patriarch of the Natavasara clan (Natavasara being the family yavu or house foundation on Dravuni), I am also referred to as iTaukei Natavasara – owner of the yavu Natavasara. I have inherited this title from my father. Had my older brother been living today, he would have inherited that title instead of me. Another title I have inherited from my father is ‘Mata i Burebasaga’ – the herald to the vanua – confederation of Burebasaga, whose paramount chief is currently the Marama Roko Tui Dreketi, Ro Teimumu Kepa. This family title has been passed down from my ancestors. If I were engaged in ceremonies away from Dravuni or Buliya and I was the only representative of my yavusa present, I would be addressed as Ramalo or Tunidaunibokola – the icavuti (honorific) for the chief of the yavusa, even though I have no direct claim to the title. This is practised for reasons of respect, acknowledgement, honour, homage and acclamation.
Similar nomenclatural practices would have been applied with Ravuravu . Sobriquets and other forms of address and title conferred on him would indicate his ancestry, mastery, extent of authority and physical superiority.
Qarikau, for example, was a reference to a giant of a man, physically strong and a warrior of exceptional ability. Taukei ni Yavu and Tui ni Vanua are honorifics indicating owner or lord over lands. The Waimaro title would have resulted after the allotment of all the Fijian lands amongst the various chiefs when the exodus from Nakauvadra took place. Meo writes: “Tuiwai (an ancestral name)….had his clan split up….Some settled in Wailiko, Waimaro, Wainivesi, Waibula, Waidalice, Wainibuka, Wainimala, Waidina. They were the largest clan in Viti and their chiefs became Tui, Vunivalu, Ratu, Sauturaga and some were Bati and their common name or title was Waimaro or kai Waimaro……Because of their large number they later spread throughout Viti”.
Tuiwai also known as (aka) Tiboti indicates lineage from Degei II, Degei’s eldest son. Degei II carried the honorifics: Masi Ratu, Ramasi, Taukei ni Yavu and Catanatamani II. Catanatamani II was a title that he shared with his father, Degei (Senior). The title was conferred on the senior Degei because of his allegiance to a different god not favoured by his own father, Tura.
Tura, aka Turaga and Turaitolu, earned the title Catanatamani in the first place. It is a reference to being the male twin of the Tomanaivi (see below) – a boy that was afraid and hid in the vadra (pandanus). Tura fathered both Lutunasobasoba and Degei but from different mothers.
Tuiwai and Tura came to Fiji on the ‘Rogovoka’ – the first boat that brought the first group of ancestors about 3,500 years ago. His father, Degei Senior, came with Lutunasobasoba on the ‘Kaunitoni’, the second boat that arrived with the early ancestors.
Stories told of the first ancestors who arrived on the ‘Rogovoka’ revealed that they were giants. Meo writes: “It was believed that these islands (Viti) were first inhabited by giant-like people who were tall, big with strong physique…….it was believed to be the offspring of the ancestral god called Ratu mai Bula and they came from the horizon”. The belief that early ancestors were giants, being offsprings of the gods, was common amongst early ancestral communities. In the same reference above, Geering cited an example from the Bible that reflects such a belief. Geering went further. He said that the text from Genesis 6: 1-4 was the remnant of primitive polytheistic story that predated the monotheistic stories of the Bible.
The text reads: “When people had spread all over the world, and daughters were being born, some of the heavenly beings saw that the young women were beautiful, so they took the ones they liked………In those days, and even later, there were giants on the earth who were descendants of human women and heavenly beings. They were the great heroes and famous men of long ago.”
Ravuravu’s ancestry account up to this point can be said to aptly cover the period of the last 3,500 years, up to the point when the first ancestors arrived in Fiji. Before that, it is impossible to give any reasonable account whatsoever. Fijian migration stories are consistent in that our early ancestors all originated from Africa. The derived timelines of the migration and speed are questionable. But the origin of the migration is compatible with the accepted ‘Out of Africa’ migration theory that started about 100,000 years ago (see Geering).
The early ancestors did not have the capability nor the gumption, to map out their ancestry during the period when their own ancestors left Africa to the time when they got to Fiji – about 96,500 years. It would be nigh impossible, in any case, even for any living community today to compile information on layers and layers of generations, even with the aid of modern technology. The early ancestors did the most sensible thing and that was to ignore all subsequent ancestors but went right back to the single common ancestors in their attempt to explain away the period that had lapsed. Many ancestral communities tend to have stories from the past, creation stories, which are the equivalence of the generally-accepted Mitochondrial Eve from about 150,000 years ago in Africa. The Fijian ancestors had in Tomanaivi their equivalence of a Mitochondrial Eve.
Ancestral God, Ratu mai Bula, created a man and a woman in wedlock and gave them a common name, Tomanaivi. They lived in a garden where Ratu mai Bula had planted a vudi plant (plaintain) with the umbilical cords of the twins –boy and a girl, born to the Tomanaivi. Ratu mai Bula’s instruction to the Tomanaivi was that the first crop of the ‘vudi’ to be presented to him as ‘first crop’. This however did not happen since the mother of the twins gave the first crop to the twins when they were hungry one day and the bunch of ripened fruits was beckoning. Mother and twins became aware of the wrath that awaited them and they fled to the mountains and hid there. Ratu mai Bula, all-knowing and all-seeing ancestral god, found them and meted out appropriate punishments. The male twin became Catanatamani aka Tura.
As we have seen from above, Tura fathered, Degei, from his second wife. Degei fathered Degei II who continued his alienation from his grandfather Tura by continuing to serve his father’s new god. When Degei II became deified as the ancestral god for the early ancestors, he was often referred to not as Ratu mai Bula but Ratu mai Bulu that carries the meaning of god of the spirit world.
The impact of Christianity
The Tomanaivi creation story can be seen by some as straight out of the Garden of Eden of the Old Testament and the man and woman committing the cardinal sin/original sin and being banished ending the life of comfort that they had enjoyed.
It is conceivable that the early missionaries in Fiji had a hand in shaping the final version of this creation story. It is general knowledge that the missionaries in Fiji did encourage and compile early creation and migration stories to establish where the Fijians had come from. Charles Montgomery, quoted above, offers the view that missionaries in the Pacific were helped in their work by explaining religion in terms of how people conceived and related to reality, the basis of which was already embedded in the people’s traditional and cultural belief systems. All the missionaries had to do was to superimpose the biblical god onto the existing belief system.
In Meo’s book, it is noted that the ancestral god of the Fijians, Ratu mai Bula, had become the biblical god who intervened during the construction of the Tower of Babel by getting all the builders to speak different tongues creating confusion. He then dispersed the people to all corners of the globe, some of whom arrived in Fiji several millennia later.
The passage of time from Africa to Viti
Over 96,000 years had to be accounted for. The languages had to be developed, for instance. Social structures , orders and skills had to evolve. The human species was still developing. Homo sapiens then still needed another 56,000 years or so to develop the physical anatomy and physiology similar to the present homo sapiens.
There would have been setbacks that slowed their developments and progress. These early ancestors would have experienced, for example, the super volcanic eruption of Mount Toba of Indonesia some 70,000 years ago. The eruption “plunged the planet into a dark winter that lasted six to eight years and led to a further thousand years of cold weather” (Geering). Some of the early ancestors obviously survived to multiply and continue their journey.
There were long stop-overs along the way. They came out of Africa essentially as hunters and gatherers and then had to adapt to more sedentary lifestyle with engagements in agriculture for instance. Experts estimate this to have happened about 10,000 years ago. Then they had to adapt to sailing to cross large expanses of oceans.
Fijian migration stories point to reverse migration from the central/south eastern European continent back to Africa due to famine. This is conceivable especially after an event like the Mount Toba eruption. At the time, the early migrants would have developed in their collective memory that the place they had left behind did have food galore, and that they would benefit from going back. They did not know what was ahead of them because they had not experienced it.
These migration stories also relate anecdotes of early ancestors having to learn some agricultural practices in transit in what was Ceylon. It can be assumed that the transition from being nomadic to being agriculturalists would have been made there and then. This indicates that the early ancestors got to Ceylon about 10,000 years ago, i.e. after the glacial age lifted and after being on the road for about 86,000 years; and they still needed another 6,500 years to reach their final destination. From these timelines, it can be concluded that the Ceylon-Fiji sector of the journey took much less time than it took them to get from Africa to Ceylon. Mastery of sailing canoes for the rest of the journey, inter alia, would have contributed to that.
More on Ravuravu’s exploits coming soon!
49 Comments Add yours
i am from vanua vatu
This is extremely interesting. Thank you!
I’m glad that you find it interesting. It is probably the first time you will find the Fijian migration story from Africa associated with the Out of Africa thesis that is widely accepted nowadays. As such, it lends itself to calculable timelines that are amenable to historical verification. And I suppose that is a more realistic approach than to insist that our ancestors who reached Fiji about 3,500 years ago were the same persons who left Africa several millennia previously.
I am interested my father is last name Ravuravu,
Thanks Mele for visiting this site. I can make two suggestions for you.Trace your ancestry as far back as you can and see whether your ancestors hailed from Waimaro, Naitasiri or thereabouts. The other option is to see whether the name was given to your family from another family. For my family, for instance, from my father going back, all the names my ancestors had originated from other families. Giving of names is widespread in our tradition. Even naming children after traditional gods and vu. For instance, I know three men named after Degei. And they hail(ed) from three different provinces.
Dua na taro, Is this the same Ravuravu, that was the Tui Vanuavatu in the Lau group?
My two other related postings on this History Page are titled: “The settlement of Dravuni by Ravuravu” and “Ravuravu Mentor and Protector.” You will find in those postings references to Vanuavatu. Firstly, Ravuravu settled on Vanuavatu during his long journey from below the Medrausucu Range in present day Naitasiri to Dravuni. Secondly, Ravuravu went to settle on Vanuavatu after the ‘vakalade sau’ on Moala.
These are essentially consistent. With more research, we can situate these events in relevant timelines compatible with the early history/pre-history of our ancestors.
As such, it can be assumed as highly possible that the Ravuravu, Tui Vanuavatu you referred to, is the same Ravuravu, the subject of my blog. I realize that the ‘icavuti’ for Vanuavatu today has no reference to Ravuravu. But that is only indicative of the changes that were carried out and accepted subsequently; and Vanuavatu is not alone as far as such changes are concerned.
Vinaka vakalevu SIr, so after Vanuavatu and then he came to Kadavu? Do you have any evidence any writtings regarding the link of Ravuravu leaving Vanuavatu to Dravuni. In Vanuavatu, Ravuravu was our Chief and Tui Vanua with his 3 sons forming the three mataqali in Vanuavatu. Mataqali Tui Vanua, Mataqali Rukuruku and the Mataqali Korokula.
But I am missing that link from Vanuavatu to Dravuni, in you blog Ravuravu died in Dravuni.
Vinaka Sir for keeping me informed.
My posting: “The Settlement of Dravuni by Ravuravu” is based on information passed down from our ancestors. I am not aware of any written form of such information prior to this blog. There have been, however, verifications of aspects of the story, which when collaborated, do weave consistency of the story as presented; and that includes Ravuravu’s continued journey beyond the Lau Group to Kadavu and finally to Dravuni. I have referred to some of these verifications in the posting.
The Ravuravu grave on Dravuni is an inerasable part of the Dravuni folklore. Traditional narrator, anecdotist and Verata Chief, the late Ratu Kitione Vesikula, did vouch for the veracity of this piece of folklore. The yavu Natavasara on Dravuni is understood to have been Ravuravu’s yavu. I understand that the same is documented by a Rev Thomas. However, I have yet to locate this reference.
The journey by Ravuravu from below the Medrausucu Range in present day Naitasiri was one of land/island settlement. It can be envisaged that once a physical settlement was established, the relevant social structures and hierarchical chiefly system would be created also to complement the clan structure and community. Ravuravu’s family members – eight off-springs, would certainly have taken leading roles in this aspect of clan leadership structure.
Ravuravu is the vu for Yavusa Natusara, comprising Dravuni and Buliya. That is documented in the ‘iTukutuku Raraba’ of the Veitarogivanua.
There is an aspect of the story that had gained some currency in some circles. And that is that Ravuravu had died whilst still in the Lau Group and only his head/skull was taken to Dravuni to be buried there. That was done to comply with the culture of the time. It is told that Ravuravu’s eldest son, Ravubokola, completed the journey on Dravuni and settled there. As such, the skull of his father had to be buried there as well.
Stories from our ancestors were handed down from one generation to the next. Many had been lost along the way. Those that have survived the transition, very often, have to be better collaborated, verified, and dated appropriately. Research must continue. This however has to be a collective task to allow comparisons and collaborative discourses with the aim of achieving consistency and creditability.
Vinaka vakalevu Sir, well said.
Please know that we the iTaukei did not originate from Africa….we are pure descendant of the Israelites. We are one of the Ten Lost Tribes. We only came through (stop over) in Africa. I have thoroughly researched on this for the last 20 some years…also more than 70 scriptures to confirm this. . . concocted with what has and is happening to the iTaukeis and are exactly fulfilling what the scriptures is saying about us…to the detail. I can be contacted at 8661207. Shalom!!
Thanks your comment. Your thesis is most interesting. The results of your research should be shared with those interested in learning about our past and ancestry. I will call you to discuss.
Further to the above, I did come across an article in FB, which could be your research article, but was presented by a Inoke Momonakaya and titled: “Forbidden Knowledge: The Origins of the Fijians and the Melanesians – The ‘Negroes’ of the South Pacific.” The article’s central thesis is that the Fijians “are part of the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel.”
I can assume therefore that your article is available for public consumption and should I re-produce it in future in my blog as an alternative view of our (Fijian) origin, you would not necessarily object.
Are you sure you are telling the true story?
Thanks for visiting my blog. It would be great if you can share any talanoa you may have about our ancestry.
I have already done my brief of my 25 years research and anointing from God about us the iTaukei as the true Tribe of Manasseh, the son of Joseph the son of Jacob the grandson of Abraham. If anyone needs to peruse it, I’ll be glad to mail it to him or her. Let me just give a preface or cue of that utopian. One of the 60 plus verses from the Holy Bible etc: that perfectly mentions us is also Isaiah 49: 23 “And kings shall be thy nursing fathers, and their queens thy nursing mothers (England): they shall bow down to thee with their face toward the earth, and lick up the dust of thy feet (Indians) and thou shalt know (We will know GOD by ourselves and about who we are truly through Him) that I am the Lord: for they shall not be ashamed that wait for ME” Now let us see the Divine interpretation: We were ceded to England (Gentiles) who nurtured us like a child to become matured (Independent) and among us were other Gentiles (Indians who came from India also helped in the nurturing) who as their way of life always bow down at peoples feet as if to lick up the dust of our feet. This also include the early missionaries who came to our shores simply just to wake us up and remind us to go back to our Great and One Only Original God, the Great Jehovah, the God of Israel, the God of the iTaukei or Manasseh. If you wish you can request the brief at my email: Vuasevurakisn@churchofjesuschrist.org
Very interesting history love to hear about our histories more as this is a first time about this one
Bula Mr Tavola,
I’m originally from Dravuni Village, Tai District, Verata, Tailevu. I’m sure our people are linked from connections long ago. Please share if you know. Vinakavakalevu na veiwasei.
Bula vinaka Iliani,
Thank you for visiting my blog. The full story of Ravuravu’s journey from below the Medrausucu Range to firstly Dravuni (your Dravuni) then to my Dravuni in present-day Ono Kadavu, is contained in my first posting in the History Page of this blog. Please visit and read all about it there.
One of the interesting features of Ravuravu’s land-settlement journey is that both the first village and the last village established during that journey have the same name – Dravuni. Now, that must have an explanation. What does it mean?
Master Paul Geraghty (Paula Qereti) said in a recent Vueta Na Vosa programme that our ancestors named places after things that are permanent. So ‘Dravuni’ could be referring to ‘dra’ being blood – permanent feature of the human being, and ‘vuni’ which might have been used to indicate or signify being hidden – the hidden blood!
Now, my Dravuni’s claim to fame is that it has Ravuravu’s grave. If you stretch your imagination, you can envisage the idea of Ravuravu – blood and all, his corpse, lie hidden there to be discovered at a later time: not so much the literal blood but the source or the fountain of all descendants of Ravuravu who would be his blood-relatives.
That is an interesting angle. However, it implies that Ravuravu knew his fate when he named the island Dravuni when he arrived there the first time from Natusara on Ono. Ravuravu’s journey was long; and he was aging from all the battle scars and from just old age. He would have known that Dravuni was the end of the road for him. He would have known that he was going to die there and get buried. His story would thus remain hidden in his grave until unearthed (metaphorically) by historians or his descendants.
There is another angle to his death. I had told the story in one of the subsequent comments to the blog of the prospect of Ravuravu, having died before he got to Dravuni. His eldest son, Ravubokola, then took his skull to be buried on Dravuni. Ravubokola would have administered the naming on the basis that his father was going to be buried there for the descendants to discover at a later stage in the history of the island or that of Ravuravu himself.
I had also told another version of the naming story of Dravuni, also in an earlier comment in the blog. This story is based on the name of Dravuni being a compound word comprising ‘ e dravu tu na ulu’ – reference to when the women used to dye their hair with ‘dravusa’ – ash. However, the incident to which such naming took place was when the early Fijians left Nakauvadra, and journeying through thick forests and on ridges to get to Verata and other destinations. During that time, the women used the ash to dye their hair for protection.
However, this version is too remote, in time and in space, from Ravuravu’s actual journey which started after the first settlements of villages on the foothills of the Medrausucu Range. In any case, the basis of naming used does not comply with what Master Paula has advanced, i.e. it seems that it is not based on something that is permanent.
You may have a story about the basis of Dravuni as a name. Please share in due course.
However, using the same basis of naming as per above, we can reconstruct a view that your Dravuni may also have someone with stature in our common ancestry buried there; but he/she would remain hidden/unknown until one descendant cares to tell the story!
I remember my grandfather told us the story that the name ‘Kubuna’ referred to the ‘kubu ni vudi’ ( all that was left) after the twins ( O rau na ciri ) ate the top part that was given to them by their mother. Vuetiverata later left Verata to settle in Kubuna, which later on became Bau. Yes, that was way back in 1968 at Naloto, Verata in Tailevu.
Thanks Joeli for that insight. You have offered an explanation of how ‘Kubuna’, as a name, was formulated. To try to relate this to Dr Qereti’s theory of naming, it can be said that whilst the vudi fruit is perishable, it does come from a plant that, given regeneration, can be seen to have permanence as its feature. Furthermore, your explanation, relates also to the twins – permanent features of our ancestry and legends. It can be said therefore that there is a degree of consistency in the story from your grandfather. Having said that, please note that this attempt at establishing consistency with a postulated theory is essentially that. It does not in any way at all devalue or debase the explanation you have offered.
VINAKA VAKALEVU NA VAMACALA O KEMUDOU NA VEIWEKANI….O TINAQU MAI VANUAVATU MAI NA YAVUSA NAULUVATU, MATAQALI O RUKURUKU(TUIRA)O VANUAVATU E KILAI KOYA GA , E SEGA NI VAKARARAVI TALE VEI DUA NA TUI NI VANUA SE YASANA. KADINA NI YANUYANU LAILAI, E MATATA VINAKA TU MAI NA VKB NA VANUA E RA LAKO MAI KINA, OQO NA KAWA I RAVURAVU
Vinaka John for the reaffirmation of the link between Vanuavatu and Ravuravu, and as such, between Vanuavatu and other Ravuravu’s communities. The name “Nauluvatu” is interesting. Nauluvatu is Tunimata’s yavu on Vanuakula Island next to Dravuni. You can read the story about “The Tale of Ravouvou and Raluve iVanuakula” (see Legends Page) which refers to this yavu.
There certainly appears to be a link between the Dravuni in Kadavu and Vanuavatu and the tales of old is sporadically discussed on this site. The Yavusa Nauluvatu in Vanuavatu identifies with the people of Nasavu in Naitasiri. This is the said origin of Ravuravu. They the people of Nasavu had acknowledged this whereby the two groups met in 1984 in a moving ceremony. Today the village of Nasavu is known as Vanuavatu.
It is told as in folklore that Ravuravu was sent to protect one of the boys competing in the race at Verata. The boy was entered into the race through deception, The boy is said to have been born outside wedlock with the great Chief of Verata and a lady of high ranking. When the race started, there were seven boys who competed and the 8th being the boy whom Ravuravu was sent to protect, entered into he race. His birth right and blood not being known at that time apart from those who were there for him, hence the term Dra Vuni. This is the village in Verata where Ravuravu had settled when he moved down to Verata from Nasavu. Interestingly, the manner in which Kubuna performs their ceremony requires the calling out of ‘vaka vitu’ with the response ‘walu’. Is this associated with the said race when 7 was entered and 8 completed the race.
Following the race, there was war when the boy (Kubunavanua) was discovered and the town was sacked. Ravuravu had sent his eldest son and his first wife to Kadavu to settle and you will note that they settled at a point on the Island which faces towards Moala. He told his son that they would be settling on the Island of Moala. This is Dravuni in Kadavu so we understand.
Following the war in Verata, Ravuravu and his young Chief fled through Nakelo (VIsama) to Gau (Vadra) before sailing across to Moala. It was said that as they fled, Kubunavanua saw that the village had been sacked and fired hence his name – Kubu-na-vanua.
Being a great and feared man, Ravuravu had many wives and children. Three sons he had from three separate wives was sent to Vanuavatu where they settled. Upon this Island of Vanuavatu was the separation created by Ravuravu with his Chiefs. He no longer honoured them. This was the result of another competition which is known as Rika Taki Malumu. Ravuravu was victorious in this competition but returned the title and chose to live out the rest of his life on Vanuavatu, without honouring any Chief. Hence his title Tui Vanua. (albeit – Turaga ni nona Vanua)
When he died, it was said that his eldest son from Dravuni Kadavu took his body back to Dravuni and buried him in Dravuni but it is also said that Ravuravu’s head was buried in Vanuavatu.
Interesting part of our history and connections with other parts of Fiji.
Vinaka Teddy for your comments. Yes, the links are there and the more we share our stories, the more we can substantiate them. Interestingly, the name Nauluvatu (from the Waimaro district) is also present on Vanuakula, (also a name from Waimaro) – an island next to Dravuni– see the story about the Ravouvou and Raluve iVanuakula in this blog.
Interesting also is the fact that the people of Vanuavatu had performed a ‘cara sala/cara salevu’ ceremony with the people of Nasavu, Naitasiri. In our case, the members of the Yavusa Natusara, comprising those from Dravuni and Buliya, performed our ‘cara salevu’ many years ago with the people of Nadakuni, Waimaro. That was fascinating. We were totally accepted into the community and the Turaga na Vunivalu of Waimaro even relaxed a long-standing taboo thus favouring the young men visiting for the first time to swim in his chiefly pool.
You referred to Ravuravu’s role as a protector, as I have done – see “Ravuravu – Mentor & Protector” in this blog. The details do vary a little. But that is to be expected depending on the sources we use. What is critical is the bigger picture; the event that is being told is essentially the same.
You introduced another version of the meaning of Dravuni. This is interesting. I have speculated on other versions in this blog. I suppose that such cross-fertilization of knowledge will inevitably lead to the truth emerging eventually.
Ravuravu’s settlement in Kadavu after Moala is consistent with what Master Paula Qereti has advanced. He said that Kadavu provides evidence that it was settled from the east, rather than from the west as is the case for the rest of the Fiji Group. I have discussed in this blog how that is consistent with the settlement of Dravuni itself. Qereti also advanced that ‘Kadavu’ itself is a naming word which carries the meaning of that which lies to the west (of Moala) towards the setting sun.
Your ‘Rika Taki Malumu’ is what I have referred to as the ‘Vakalade Sau’ in this blog, as narrated by Paula Tagivetaua in the Sunday Times of 24 April 2011.
The story of Ravuravu’s death and the whereabouts his body/head is buried is a matter of speculation for some. This is expected. I have acknowledged already in this blog that such speculation does exist.
Dear Kalio, just came across your blog while chasing links from “The Suva Session”. Of much interest! And, altho I can contribute nothing to your discussion I really enjoy what I have read because I have been/am engaged on continuing to research on my Bagnall family forebears. We do have one early family tree (of doubtful authenticity) that takes us back to “Odin, the greatest of all Gods, son of Buri and Frigga, his wife, who knows the fate of all men but never reveals it . .” I even found a photo of Buri on the Internet !!! Must be true.! Love to catch up sometime, Mid
Great to hear from you. Blogging on Dravuni and all its related issues (Ravuravu, for instance) is proving interesting; and more so, challenging and exhilarating at the same time – as you are finding it out with your own research. It is so because of the realization that more in-depth research is needed in order to maintain highly-valued conversations on the issues raised. This commentary column and others in this blog have indeed proved useful in raising some challenging issues by interested and discerning visitors to the blog.
Be that as it may, sufficient interesting questions are already being thrown up by my own research and they need to be addressed for greater clarity. Ravuravu’s yavu, called Natavasara, for instance, is an inheritance of my family. That raises the question of how it got to my family – Ravuravu being the common ancestor of the clan.
I referred above to the ‘Out of Africa’ migration as an explanation of how my ancestors got from Africa to the Pacific Ocean. The assumption of an evolutionary trajectory of human development is subsumed into this approach. This however is not in consonance with the creationists’ view – be it ‘Old Earth Creationists’ or ‘Young Earth Creationists.’
This discussion will remain, I guess, for the uninitiated, as ‘work in progress’.
You will note however that a commentator in this column, Simione Naituku, has advanced a view that could possibly align with that of the ‘Young Earth Creationists’. And that is that the early Fijians comprised one of the ten Lost Tribes of Israel who managed to find their way to the Pacific Ocean. In their lost meandering, the members of this lost tribe did find their way first to Africa before venturing afar to the Pacific Ocean.
Without discrediting the theory which is biblically-based, it is interesting however to note the connection to Africa. Africa hosts communities of black Jews in Ethiopia and Zimbabwe, for instance. Furthermore, such a connection to that continent as the origin of the migration to the Pacific Ocean seems to be a convenient reference to the ‘Out of Africa’ migration.
Another aspect that I am researching is the meaning of Dravuni as a naming word. Some explanations have been offered already in the blog. There is one however that I’m currently investigating that relates to the word ‘Dravuni’ that carries the meaning of something being hidden or subverted and that may have changed the course of history. Needless to say, that meaning has to be consistent with both communities of Dravuni – my own Dravuni and that which is in Tailevu Province near Verata – in order to gain any degree of veracity. Both communities were established by Ravuravu – that which is in Tailevu was the first settlement established and my Dravuni being the last one to be established.
malo bula o au na gone ni tovu totoya lau. na noqu tokatoka o nauluvatu. o ira na kai vanuavatu keitou kacivi ira na tukai kei ma bui i valelevu. o vanuavatu na yanuyanu nei rokosau… na nona yanuyanu ni sisili. o tukaqu vaka 2 a ma rokosau tu i mada a ma talanoa taka ni dua na gauna a kerea o ratu mara kei na so na noqu tukai mai vanuavatu me ra sa wili ki lakeba ni voleka cake o vanuavatu ki lakeba mai vei totoya ka mani kaya ko rokosau e rawa saraga ni o kauti ira ki lakeba mo tara na nodra koro vou baleta na yanuyanu moi e noqu..
Vinaka vakalevu na isema ni veitalanoa ka vakadeitaka tu na veiwekani voleka.
Bula vinaka Mr Tavola,
Au taura rawa edua na itukutuku (oral history) ni tiko edua na isema ni veivanua e cavutu yani kina ko Ravuravu mai Verata me dewa yani ki Vanuavatu. Na tukada qo o Ravuravu e cavuti talega ena vica tale na yaca ka kilai kina ena nona ilakolako (soko wasa) ni tawa vanua. Mai na koro ko Naloto e Verata, era vakaitikotiko kina na yavusa ( Rokotakala ), era kai Waimaro ka ra bati nei Koya na Ratu Mai Verata. Era bati vata (warrior tribes) kei ratou mai Tai kei Vugalei, ka tiko kina o Dravuni..Ia, era tiko talega mai Naloto na Mataqali Tuinidau ka nodarotu kalou-Vu ( ancestral god) o Ramasilevu. E tukuni ni okoya e dausoko ka dauqoli nei Koya Na Ratu. Au vakatataro meu via kila se o Ramasilevu tikoga qo, e laki yaco ki Moce sa laki yacana ko Ramasi, ka sa laki vuki me yacana ko Ravuravu baleta beka nona maqosa na liutaka na ivalu e wasawasa?
Bula vinaka Joeli,
The late Ratu Kitione Vesikula from Verata had affirmed to my late father that Natavasara, Ravuravu’s yavu, was from Verata. I am told that this yavu remains in Ucunivanua Village, Verata, today but at the margin of the village and is vacant.
My story of Ravuravu’s land/island settlement journey has its origin from the Waimaro area at the foothills of the Medrausucu Range. It can be assumed that at some stage Ravuravu left Verata to move to the Waimaro area. In the general context of the movements of the early ancestors from Nakauvadra Range to Verata and to other parts of Fiji, such a move is not inconsistent with our early history.
See “The Settlement of Dravuni by Ravuravu” where I wrote about the occasion when the late Ratu Kitione Vesikula narrated his story mentioned above. It can be said therefore that all settlements established by Ravuravu in various parts of Fiji, including Vanuavatu, have links to Verata by virtue of Ravuravu’s connection there.
Another oral history, and another direct link to Vanuavatu, tells the story of Ravuravu who was asked by Rokomautu to accompany and be a protector to the winner (Tuivanuakula) of the Cici ni Turaga. Tuivanuakula also became known as Kubunavanu or Uqenavanua) after the race. The race of course took place at Walu, the beach at Ucunivanua. The victory by Tuivanuakula was not popular to his older siblings. He then decided to leave Verata for Moala. Ravuravu was Tuivanuakula’s protector (see ‘Ravuravu – Mentor, Protector’). This adventure led to the vakalade sau and Ravuravu’s decision to settle on Vanuavatu subsequently.
In ‘Who was Ravuravu?’ I had discussed the various other names by which Ravuravu was also known. You will note that Ramasi is mentioned there. There was obviously a degree of fluency by which names, sobriquets and honorifics were used in those early days and some of that remains today with the descendants. It can be safely concluded that Ramasi could be an abridged version of Ramasilevu
Vinaka vakalevu na volavola tiko mai. E sa dina sara ni da veisemati tu o keda na iTaukei. Na levu ga ni noda veitalanoa vata kei na veisoli tukutuku, na levu ni noda kila kei na matata ni noda itukutuku makawa.
Totoka vakaoti na soli vakasama…au vakabauta nida semati tu nai taukei kina noda dui tavi vakavanua. E vuqa sara nai rogorogo me baleta na kena tawani na noda vanua oqo ka vakatokai me o VITI… Talei kina vei au na vosa e a cavuta o ‘Margaret Perham’, e dua vei ira ka kena dau e na vola i tukutuku ni vanua ko Bolatagane, ‘British Historian and member if the Advisory Committee on Colonial Education’..e kaya kina nona vosa…”History does not grow and lies quite in the past. That we must try to know its facts. This is not easy. History is not only made by men, it is written and read by them; and most men, especially go to history, not for the whole truth, but to take out those little bits which they can colour with their own ideas and fit together to make a patttern to please their own pride of race or nation or tribe. Yet the strongest men and strongest nations are those with courage to face the truth, those who go out into its sunlight instead of hiding in the deep shade of their own wishes and dreams…” PERHAM 1941
Vinaka vakalevu Gone ni Lakeba. Your quote above from Perham is very apt. It is the inspiration, I believe, that is driving the Fiji History Community (FHC) and its members to get into our own historical research and writing – for the first time for many of the members. There are guides galore that can help the uninitiated. Dr Robert Nicole of USP, one of the pillars behind FHC, has excellent advice in the introduction of his book: ‘Disturbing History: Resistance in Early Colonial Fiji,’ 2011, Uni. of Hawai’i Press.
Dr Sakul Kundra of FNU recently wrote four op-eds in the Fiji Times, addressing critical issues that can launch the uninitiated into historical research and writing. To date, he has addressed: (i) Objectivity in history; (ii) Truth and proof; (iii) Causation in history; and (iv) The concept of chance.
Another excellent guide is provided by Dr Margot Duncan in: ‘Autoethnography: Critical appreciation of an emerging art.’ Duncan provides the carte blanche for each of us to write our own history instead of our history being written for us. It is a great opportunity to think, research, interpret and write history from the inside looking out rather than from the outside looking in. It is an informed way of writing history and it opens up the prospect of being suitably guided by our own oral history.
In terms of resources, the National Archives of Fiji (NAF) and the Fiji Museum fully support the work of the FHC. The latter is ably supported by the Friends of the Museum.
This is interesting indeed. Thank you for sharing your stories Mr Tavola. I think a special day should be set aside in Fiji just for story telling, where well-informed speakers such as yourself and others are invited to come and share their knowledge and young i-taukei are also invited to come and hear stories about themselves. vinaka.
Vinaka Dio for your comment and for visiting kaidravuni.com. I am sure that there are a lot of people around who have stories to tell. Imagine if those people repeat what I have done here. kaidravuni.com started off as a blog site but is a fully fledged website now. Once you have become proficient in e-writing, you are then ready to get onto researching and writing history from an autoethnographical perspective.
I love your website Mr Tavola. I wish there were more like this with stories from other areas in Fiji and I wish I could read this in book form!
i luv the story……. descendant of tui wai ….and how come u know all this
Vnk valevu nai vakamacala.. vakacava beka na Dravuni ena koro ko Deuba..ke rw ni dua ga na kenai vakamacala ena I sema ki na veitalanoa ni Kai Dravuni..vnk
One question..did ravuravu fight in the Nakauvadra war?
Bula vinaka Evia, The story related to us in Dravuni and Buliya – same yavusa, is that the people of Deuba are the descendants of the Tunidaunibokola’s gonedau. They were chased by Tunidaunibokola because they killed and ate his favourite eel that lived in his chiefly bathing pool and which used to massage the chief whenever he bathed. This was when Tunidaunibokola and his people lived in Natusara on Ono Island before they settled on outlying islands of Dravuni, Buliya and others and in other settlements on mainland Kadavu. The story is that it rained heavily at one time and the river flooded and the eel was carried away in the strong current. The eel ended up stranded on the beach at the mouth of the river. The gonedau were returning from fishing and was low tide and saw the stranded eel. They made a feast of it. Tunidaunibokola inquired subsequently the eel’s whereabouts when it did not respond to his call for a quick massage. The chief was told about the feasting gonedau. He was angry and chased the gonedau from Natusara. He said to them to find another place to settle in. ‘If you find another place and you still see smoke from Natusara, you are still too close. Move further away.’ The gonedau first landed on Beqa, but that was still too close. So they moved on to Deuba on the mainland. Being part of the Ravuravu clan and skilled also in warfare, the gonedau aided local wars successfully and were granted land to settle on permanently. ‘Tui Dravuni’ is a title that is of current use in Deuba and is one evidence of the link that was established in those early days. Another evidence is that on Dravuni and Buliya, there is no family that can claim the title of gonedau today.
Bula vinaka Nadroboy, Thanks for visiting and commenting. I cannot respond directly to the question you posed. The Nakauvadra war you mentioned implies an early historical timeline that reaches back to Nakauvadra. Whether Ravuravu was alive then is a matter of speculation. one thing is clear is that Ravuravu was known by various names and I have written about that in the blog. Now that could mean that he was either known to different people by these names, or the names are generational – indicating Ravuravu’s ancestors over many generations. And as you can see from the blog, these names go back to Nakauvadra.
Now, there is another strand to this story. My stories to date take Ravuravu back to the foothills of Medrausucu Range of Naitasiri today. How did the early Ravuravu clan get to Naitasiri? Two possibilities present themselves. Either through the out migration from Nakauvadra or through a coastal migration (southern coast of Viti Levu from the early Lapita settlement of Bourewa. That remains a subject of research.
NI bula Vinaka Naita.
Totoka na I vakamacala.
Vinaka Naita na veisiko mai. Ni kalougata took.
It is a great opportunity to read such interesting theories and evidences of phenomenal degrees regarding the Origin of the iTaukei. Yes! we can book them together and present it first to the 14 Provinces and all Denominations and to the world via our Homeland Israel and let the Law of Return enacted in 1950 to play it’s role. Whatever we do, remember that this is NOT our work of expertise. If you are conscious of the flow, you or we should know that it is the Spirit of God is directing us in this Gathering of Israel and the Restoration of the Ten Lost Tribes in this latter-days. Out of the 70 plus scriptural evidences from the Holy Bible and the Book of Mormon, etc, one stands out like the rest is Isaiah 49: 23: “And kings shall be thy nursing fathers, and their queens thy nursing mothers: they shall bow down to thee with their face toward the earth, and lick up the dust of thy feet; and thou shalt know that I am the Lord: for they shall not be ashamed that wait for me “. May we then ask the Holy Spirit what exactly is the meaning of this great verse of scripture. We are NOT Gentiles! God! is mindful of who you are and what you do to help in the hastening of this great work of HIS with Jesus Christ at the helm and the Holy Spirit beside us whom we are going to ask for any confirmation and affirmation. I love you all Fiji. Shalom! and Vinaka Vakalevu. Mobile: 8661207
Vinaka Mr. Tavola for the extensive research and information shared on this platform. I happen to come across your page when trying to access the book “Viti Makawa” by Mr Meo. I am passionate in knowing about our cultural heritage and early ancestral journey as this should be shared to our children in this modern day and age. And I strongly agree that through the myths and legends (oral history) passed on from our forefathers is vital in knowing not only our lineage but also in understanding the wisdom and knowledge of our ancestors in that era.
Thank you again.
Bula vinaka Vani, There is much information around about our origin story. But it can get quite confusing, Did we come from Africa or SE Asia? On the other hand, the Lapita story as our origin is clear and dated. Perhaps it is safest to start there. We are told that the Lapita people originated from SE Asia. Where they hailed from in the first place can still be a subject of further research. We know that there were different waves of migration after the Lapita people got here. The early arrivals then moved inland, or further across the group whilst the recent arrivals stayed near the coast where they arrived. We need more research. We need more interpretational research on the Fijian language as a doorway to understanding Fijian culture and tradition, ideas, philosophies and principles. Our language hides gems of information that can still be unearthed to shed light on our knowledge today.