New iTaukei Group Passionate about Reviving Old Way of Life

A new movement based in Toko, just outside of Tavua have refuted claims that they have enticed their members with promises of money. And founder and leader of the New
20 Nov 2017 10:23
New iTaukei Group Passionate about Reviving Old Way of Life

A new movement based in Toko, just outside of Tavua have refuted claims that they have enticed their members with promises of money.

And founder and leader of the New Fountain Group, Ratu Melikisateki Uluibau, said there have been rumours and untruths told about the group which made them sad but this has not moved them from their cause.

“There have been so many stories about us promising money to people so they can join us. There have been rumours about waiting to receive a huge sum of money from donors. These are all lies,” he said.

“We are about committing to praying for Fiji and a return to the old iTaukei way of life of observing culture and traditions. This is the main drive of the group and we pride ourselves in all things iTaukei and Biblical,” Ratu Melikisateki said.

He said the group was founded because they saw that iTaukei people were losing the essence of the true Fijian way of life, and the iTaukei culture and traditions were being influenced by western ideals.

When visited in Tavua, strict rules had to be observed like the removal of shoes, accessories and mobile phones and other technological devices were to be on ‘silent’ when in the presence of the elders and founder.

“We are trying to bring back the old iTaukei way of doing things. We move around the compound with respect and reverence for the elders and the chiefs. We acknowledge that God placed them here to lead and guide us.”

He said teachings and classes were held to help the younger generation understand and follow the old ways.

“The way food, was cooked the way it is served, the relationship between the people and the respect shown amongst the people – we want them to know we as iTaukei people we have a rich heritage, we come from a long line of people who are proud of their ancestry and lineage.

“For the women we help them understand how women back then were dressed, how their hair was groomed and so on.

“This was specific for the iTaukei women back then and it set them apart, that is why we want our women to see, to understand and to adopt it for themselves,” Ratu Melikisateki said.

The group also teaches Biblical truths and principles.

“We teach them to understand the Bible, we show them the love that Jesus talks about in the Scriptures and we encourage them to live by it.” Ratu Melikisateki said.

On matrimony

However, an interesting note Ratu Melikisateki shared was about the group’s non-observance of the actual wedding ceremony.

He said having an actual wedding brings in western customs and traditions.

“For us, if two people have ascertained that they want to be together, then we counsel them and they are prayed over and that’s it.

“We don’t see the need to do what many Fijian people do, the ‘duguci’ or ‘lakovi’ because it requires gifts that are of the Western world and practices.”

For funerals, Ratu Melikisateki said the group observed the ritual done in iTaukei villages.

“We do everything regarding the funeral or the sending off of a dearly departed one. We observe the rituals.”

Ratu Melikisateki said they have garnered over 200 members within starting just a little over a year ago.

“It has been by word of mouth. People have heard about us, they have learnt and understood our vision, our mission, what we are about and they have just come willingly.”

According to the founder, followers have resigned from permanent employment to join the group in the hope that the gospel of Jesus is spread and the message of reviving iTaukei traditions and culture is kept alive in this day and age.

“We have civil servants, we have miners from Vatukoula and others who have come to join the cause and to help us with our outreach and work here. I am so indebted to these people for realising the importance of this and coming on board with a full conscience and understanding of what they are getting into.”

Farming is also part of the daily activity in the group.

Ratu Melikisateki said that like all things new and good, his group has received a lot of objection from outside but they have not lost faith.

“We have been called a cult, we have been called many things but because we know the truth of who we are and why we are here, we have not been moved by what people say. We realise this is the world we live in. There will always be objections to every new and good thing that takes place to uplift the lives of the people we serve and work with.”

Spreading their message

“From February to October this year we have visited villages in Navosa, in Naitasiri, and in Nadarivatu. We will continue again soon,” Ratu Melikisateki said.

He said they were looking forward to meet with Government officials and other church groups so they could share their dreams and hopes.

“If there is something we also want our members to take to heart, it is to respect themselves first and to understand that in order to grow, to gain respect, they must learn to respect themselves,” he said.

“Secondly, we want them to trust their instinct. That they must learn to go with what their heart tells them is right.”

The group doesn’t have a specific day for worship services.

“We hold our services every day. When the children are off to school, we begin our service from 7am till 8pm.

“We have yaqona and we hold discussions and we have found that this goes well for our people.

“We don’t need to set a specific day for church, at New Fountain we hold our church services everyday,” Ratu Melikisateki said.

The founder who hails from Namalata, Tavuki in Kadavu is confident that his group will gain momentum as people identify the need and realise what the group is about.

“As long as people realise for themselves the need to observe iTaukei culture and traditions of old and learn about God’s purposes for their lives, we know we are doing what God has called us to do.”

He claims his calling is from God.

“I tried studying at USP (University of the South Pacific), went to FNU (Fiji National University) but it came to nothing.

“And after seeking God I felt it led me to this place, to lead the people of Fiji beginning here. We must return to the way of life that our elders knew and taught us.”

A bachelor, Ratu Melikisateki completed his secondary school education of Year 13 at Rakiraki Public School and believes that good days are ahead for Fiji.

He claimed that they have received word from Vatukoula Methodist circuit wanting to pay a courtesy visit.

“I am accessible by phone and email. We are keeping with the modern times but we want our people to know and understand the lifestyle that made our forefathers stand out from other races,” he said.

Edited by Rosi Doviverata


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