NATION

Province to Conduct Bestowing Ceremony

  Avakatokayaca (traditional bestowing of name), ceremony for the descendants of indentured labourers on board the Syria ship will be held in Noco, Rewa tomorrow. The ship ran aground at
04 May 2017 11:00
Province to Conduct Bestowing Ceremony
Roko Tui Dreketi Ro Teimumu Kepa with the district heads and vanua chiefs at the Rewa Provincial Meeting in Noco yesterday.

 

Avakatokayaca (traditional bestowing of name), ceremony for the descendants of indentured labourers on board the Syria ship will be held in Noco, Rewa tomorrow.

The ship ran aground at Nasilai Reef in 1844.

Paramount chief of the Burebasaga confederacy, the Marama Bale na Roko Tui Dreketi Ro Teimumu Kepa yesterday relayed the importance of the ritual during the traditional welcoming ceremony at the opening of the Rewa Provincial Council meeting at Nabudrau Village in Noco, Rewa.

Ro Teimumu relooked at the history and said the Syria ship was from India, the sixth boat to leave Calcutta carrying indentured labourers on March 13, 1884; with 497 passengers for Fiji.

This was its last journey to Fiji before it went aground on the Nasilai Reef on May 11, the same year where 59 lives were lost.

The newly-adopted ‘children’ of Rewa will for the first time be welcomed into a new family and will be bestowed an iTaukei identity or iCavuti at an iTaukei traditional ceremony.

Tui Noco Ratu Isoa Damudamu said the formal provision of an identity or iCavuti to the newest members of the Noco and Rewa family was essential in sustaining the narrative of the roots, the foundation and sacred protection of this relationship for current and future generations.

“We believe that this has sustained our non-discriminatory linkages as iTaukei, binding us as one people, providing the basis of peaceful relationships and we are extending the same privileges to our new family members,” Ratu Isoa said.

According to a statement from the Foundation for Rural Integrated Enterprises and Development (FRIEND) Fiji, the district of Noco and the vanua (province) of Rewa celebrated the birth of a new relationship on Rewa Day last year through the traditional adoption of the descendants of indentured labourers into the Noco and Rewa family.

This ensured that they now belong to the sacred relationship boundaries that existed in iTaukei relationship systems branching from its Noco and Rewa roots.

Ratu Isoa said if there was anything that could unite their relationship, it was the fact that the descendants were already buried on their land and they were now a part of the vanua of Noco.

He said the iTaukei would need to embrace them into the province and they had agreed to this.

The ceremony will highlight the presentation by the Noco district of the iCavuti to Ro Teimumu at a traditional ceremony tomorrow.

The Roko Tui Dreketi will unveil a plaque to declare the name at the function that is expected to be attended by representatives of the descendants of indentured labourers from around Fiji, diplomatic corps, NGOs and academics.

Boats and life jackets will be available for those who wish to visit the wreck of Syria and the burial sites at a nominal cost on the day of the celebrations.

Edited by Rusiate Mataika

Feedback:  losirene.lacanivalu@fijisun.com.fj

 




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