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Macuata Says Goodbye

Macuata Says Goodbye
Provinical Administrator of Macuata Semi Kuru presented reguregu on behalf of the Vanua of Macuata and Government to the families of the late aviators at the Labasa Airport on March 8, 2018 Photo: Shratika Naidu
March 09
11:00 2018


The family of the late student pilot Merelesita Lutu, who died in a Cessna 172 crash at Delaikoro Ridge last week, is grateful for the support of the vanua o Caumatalevu, the traditional reference to Macuata.

Just shortly before her casket and that of her flight instructor departed for Nausori Airport yesterday Macuata Provincial Administrator Semi Kuru presented two kamunaga ni reguregu (whalestooth) to signify that Macuata was also in mourning over their demise.

The solemn ceremony took place early yesterday morning as scores gathered at Labasa Airport to farewell the late flight instructor and his student pilot.

Commissioner Northern Jovesa Vocea confirmed that upon consulting the Turaga na Tui Macuata, Ratu Wiliame Katonivere, it was agreed that a fitting departure be mounted for the late aviators before they leave Macuata soil.

“Ratu Wiliame agreed and we wanted to do this to show the people of Fiji and the families of the two that the vanua of Macuata is still mourning for them. We want to show that we respect the lives of the two and their families,” Mr Vocea said.

Nacanieli Abele, Merelesita’s uncle, while accepting the reguregu from Macuata said this was an honourable act.

Among the women was the Tui Macuata’s wife, Filomena Katonivere, the Radini Vanua o Caumataelvu, who had brought with her chiefly Macuata mats called kuta which are woven from swamp grass. Mrs Katonivere covered both caskets with one kuta each before they were taken on board.

“Thank you for this traditional ceremony and thank you to the rescue team for your help,” Mr Abele said.

Alisi Lutu, Merelesita’s sister, took time to shake hands and thank the Republic of Military Forces and Fiji Police Force personnel who were pall bearers. They moved with precision and in an orderly manner as they carried both caskets over their shoulders and loaded them onto Pacific Flying School aircraft.

She told Fiji Sun that she can’t say much about the crash but she could only say “thank you” to all those who helped recover her beloved sister’s body.

Mr Vocea, accompanied by Northern Divisional Police Commander Senior Superintendent of Police Verani Nakauyaca watched as fellow old girls from St Joseph’s Secondary School placed wreaths on the caskets.

SJSSOG were led by Selina Leewai and Maria Kaukimoce, Soqosoqo Vakamarama Macuata member Kalesita Naceba.

These women had been waiting at the airport since 6am with their wreaths.

Edited by George Kulamaiwasa


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