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Fond Farewell For Bau Chief

Accolades and fond tributes were paid yesterday for former Vice-President and Bau chief Taukei Naua Ratu Jope Seniloli. Eulogies from the Government, vanua and various organisations Ratu Jope was associated
09 Jul 2015 09:22
Fond Farewell For Bau Chief
From left: Bay Chief Ratu Epenisa Cakobau, Rohit Latchan, and President Ratu Epeli Nailatikau. Photo: Paulini Ratulailai

Accolades and fond tributes were paid yesterday for former Vice-President and Bau chief Taukei Naua Ratu Jope Seniloli.

Eulogies from the Government, vanua and various organisations Ratu Jope was associated with, including Fiji Rugby, paid tribute to a strong leader.

Ratu Jope, who died after a short illness last week, was buried yesterday at Taro, Bau, after a church service at the Ratu Cakobau Church on the chiefly island – which was attended by the President, Ratu Epeli Nailatikau.

 

Tui Kaba eulogy

Delivering the Tui Kaba eulogy, Bau chief, Ratu Epenisa Cakobau applauded Ratu Jope’s stern leadership.

“The Taukei Naua was a strong leader,” he said.

He said Ratu Jope was a good decision maker and was a leader who cared for all the people.

Ratu Epenisa said the Taukei Naua was a strong supporter of the chiefly leadership on Bau Island, Tailevu province and the Kubuna confederacy.

“He strongly supported Mataiwelagi, the chiefly household of the Turaga na Vunivalu.”

Ratu Jope, he said, had prepared himself well for the next world.

He relayed a story from the wife, Adi Seruiwaia Naucabalavu just two days before his death.

Ratu Epenisa said Ratu Jope called Adi Seruwaia to tell her that a boat had just arrived with the late Vunivalu, Ratu Sir George Cakobau, and his father, the late Ratu Rabici Seniloli. He told Adi Seruwaia that they were there to take him.

He said that it was two days after that, when he was in Savusavu with the Tailevu Rugby Union team that the Taukei Naua passed away.

Ratu Epenisa said they would really miss a faithful leader who at no time would be angry at something.

“The only sign of anger that he would show was that he would just bow and start scratching the mat,” he said. He was close to the late Vunivalu and he usually called Ratu Jope by the nickname – Mun Sami.

 

FRU eulogy

Former national skipper Pio Bosco Tikoisuva described Ratu Jope as a great player.

“He cared for the young players during the match, but off the field he cared for all,” said Mr Tikoisuva, popularly known as Bosco.

He said he was still at St Johns Cawaci in 1964 when Ratu Jope played in Wales, but played with him against Tonga in 1968.

Mr Tikoisuva said all players during his time respected Ratu Jope, especially when he was the most experienced player and was of chiefly status.

During those days, he said they had to steal a Fiji jersey to own it, when compared to the current national reps.

“(Nowadays) You take home your jersey after the match and you’re given another new one in the next match.”

He related a story during their England tour in 1970 when Ratu Jope was issued the No 6 jersey instead of the No 4. “He hid the No 6 jersey and asked for his jersey.”

That jersey was never recovered and it was when they had retired when Ratu Jope told him that the No 6 jersey was in Bau.

Former national reps who were part of the FRU delegation included winger Suliasi Daunitutu, who played with Ratu Jope in Wales 1964, Ratu Ilaitia Tuisese played with Ratu Jope in 1970, Josateki Radrodro (winger) played with him in 1970 and FRU chief executive Radrodro Tabualevu.

They all described Ratu Jope as a courageous and fearless player on the field, but very friendly off the field

 

Family

Ratu Savenaca Seniloli delivered the family eulogy. Because his uncle was the eldest in the family, he said they called him Ratu Levu and he described the late Ratu Jope as a man with a big heart.

Ratu Savenaca said they would miss their Ratu Levu, but he had prepared them well to carry on with their traditional duties.

Feedback: maika.b@fijisun.com.fj

 

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