Sawaieke chief passes away
By MAIKA BOLATIKI
The people of Sawaieke district in Gau are mourning the death of their high chief, Turaga Takala-i-Gau, 88-year-old Ratu Marika Uluinadawa Lewanavanua.Ratu Marika died yesterday at his chiefly residence at Sawaieke Village.
This was confirmed to the Fiji Sun by the Assistant Roko Tui Lomaiviti, Simione Dobui.
“We received confirmation from Sawaieke village today that the Turaga Takala-i-Gau, Ratu Marika Lewanavua, died at his chiefly residence early this morning at 3.25am,” Mr Dobui said.
Speaking from Levuka yesterday, Mr Dobui confirmed that the body of the Sawaieke chief was taken from Sawaieke to the Levuka Hospital to be embalmed as funeral arrangements had started.
As the body started its journey from Sawaieke to Levuka, close relatives at the old capital started preparation for his arrival.
“They had gathered at the Levuka Hospital and decorated the mortuary.”
As the chiefly body lies in the mortuary, warriors had started guarding the mortuary until the funeral arrangement was finalised.
Mr Dobui said the Takala-i-Gau had been a member of the Lomaiviti Provincial Council until his death.
“He never misses a council meeting and only missed the last one in October at Levuka but he sent one to replace him.”
The late Ratu Marika, who was born in 1925, was a chief for the people.
The Turaga Takala-i-Gau will be laid to rest at the chiefly burial grounds (sautabu) at Sawaieke.
Sawaieke district is made up of the villages of Sawaieke, Somosomo, Nawaikama, Nukuloa, Levuka-i-Gau, Lovu, Vadravadra and Yadua