NATION

Unravelling The Complex Fijian Makeup

AFSHANA ANZEG Faculty of Science, Technology and Environment – The University of the South Pacific Daryl Tarte’s Once Upon A Time in Fiji is an interesting collection of short stories
03 Dec 2016 11:00
Unravelling The Complex Fijian Makeup
Vinesh Maharaj of USP Press holding the book ‘Once Upon A Time In Fiji’ by Daryl Tarte. Photo: Vinesh Maharaj.

AFSHANA ANZEG

Faculty of Science, Technology and Environment – The University of the South Pacific

Daryl Tarte’s Once Upon A Time in Fiji is an interesting collection of short stories looking at Fijian mythology, land issues, political upheavals and the national drink yaqona.

Characters range from the son of a chief to a wheel barrow boy.

Through his work of fiction Mr Tarte narrates the everyday Fijian life of the busy streets of Suva or the village life of the highlands through the tales   of a wheel barrow boy, a criminal, an educated Fijian who becomes an atheist, an impotent man after the Yaqona aphrodisiac, a Fijian chief and a Kaivalagi investor, making the reader wonder whether it’s an imagined work of fiction or a lived experience of everyday life in Fiji.

Interwoven with Fijian myths and legends of Dakuwaqa, the great shark god, to the ideal Fijian dream, Mr Tarte weaves in stories of friendship, respect, deceit, greed, religion and science.

The plots range from ancient myths to a tussle between science and religion in the Fijian society. Mr Tarte starts off with the typical Pacific Island style of telling stories through a story teller.

An interesting narrative style is adopted to relate the significant historical events of Fijian history.

Very aptly keeping the features of short stories in mind, Mr Tarte covers the history of a more than a century through the ‘The Story Teller’.

“Our Islands have been hit by seven mighty ocean waves and many people have suffered.

“The first was when we were killing and eating each other; the second, when we gave our Islands away to the British; the third, when the Indians came here and slaved for the big sugar company.

“The fourth was when we got measles; the fifth, when Rabuka brought his soldiers out of the camp; the sixth was George; then the army Chief” (Tarte 2016).

Fiji is a unique island nation with a diversity of people. Born in 1934, on the island of Taveuni, Daryl Tarte has worked and lived among many of the Fijian, Indian, Chinese, European, Pacific Islanders and many people of mixed races.

As a fourth generation copra planter, sugar industry executive, civil society activist and now a writer, Daryl had the foresight to record many of these events and have blended the many incidents and characters into this collection of nineteen short stories. He has so far published “Fiji Fiji Coffee table book”; “Fiji, an historical novel”; “Island of the Frigate Birds”; “Stalker on the beach”; “Turaga, a biography of Ratu Penaia Ganilau” and co-authored “20th Century Fiji”.  In August 2015, he published “Fiji – a Place called home” with ANU and USP Press with over 300 copies sold.

Published by the USP Press, “Once Upon a Time in Fiji” is a light and enjoyable read where Daryl Tarte gives glimpses of Fijian life, culture and history.

Edited by Rusiate Mataika

Feedback: jyotip@fijisun.com.fj

 

 



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