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Oneata’s Mosquitoes, An Omen Of Danger

Oneata’s Mosquitoes, An Omen Of Danger
Pastor Paula Yacarogovinaka pointing at the in-shore lake where the mollusc was taken by the god of Oneata Wakulikuli but has since dried up. Photo: Sheenam Chandra
September 03
10:00 2018

The iTaukei culture, as with any other culture, is one replete with myths and legends.

Each of Fiji’s 14 provinces has its own myths and legends.

Oneata Island in the Lau Group is one well-known for this and the most talked about one is the legend of the mosquitoes of Oneata.

There is even a song titled Mai Oneata ni Kata na Namu, about the mosquitoes of Oneata.

Fatai Peni is a 54-year-old fisher who has lived on Oneata in the Southern Lau Group all his life.

According to Mr Peni, a long time ago there was a god of Oneata called Wakulikuli and a god of Kabara who once exchanged gifts. The circumstance in which they exchanged the gifts is not known.

“The god of Kabara, which is one of the Tikina in the Southern Lau Group, was a very cunning god,” he said.

“Wakulikuli had given him a special sort of mollusc from their inshore lake on Oneata. However, the god from Kabara had given Wakulikuli a carefully-wrapped present and told him to open it once he was back on the island.

“These are special harmonising birds which will put you to sleep after dark,” the god of Kabara told Wakulikuli.

Little did he know that he had been tricked by the god of Kabara.

“He had given mosquitoes to Wakulikuli because he was a trickster,” said Mr Peni.

“Wakulikuli and his men came back to Oneata and unwrapped the present. All of a sudden the villagers were engulfed by a swarm of mosquitoes.”

Mr Peni says the sudden appearance of mosquitoes in swarms has been used by villagers as a bad sign or omen.



He said in 2004 when Lau paramount chief and former President and Prime Minister Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara died their village was filled with mosquitoes.

Mr Peni said he was the only adult supervising the children on Oneata when all their parents went to Ratu Sir Kamisese’s funeral.

“I told the children to sleep by the beach because it was the only place to shelter from mosquitoes. The strong winds from the sea blew them away,” he said.

“We use the sign of mosquitoes to predict the death of a chief.”

This is one of the natural signs that the villagers of Oneata use to predict something grave, a situation which arose from their myths and is now used by villagers to predict unforeseen circumstances.

Edited by Epineri Vula




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