Island News

Villagers Of Nayau Forge Ahead Despite Hurdles They Face

Over the years the island’s remoteness coupled with the irregular shipping services have posed a hurdle to villagers of Nayau in the Northern Lau archipelago.
05 Mar 2020 12:07
Villagers Of Nayau Forge Ahead Despite Hurdles They Face
Villagers of Nayau with their catch.

Over the years the island’s remoteness coupled with the irregular shipping services have posed a hurdle to villagers of Nayau in the Northern Lau archipelago.

But, it has been in the face of these obstacles that these brave islanders from the three villages of Narocivo, Liku and Salia found the will and ways to survive.

Narocivo native Iliesa Kotoisuva enlightened ‘Island Beat’ of how inhabitants, in spite of the hardships they endured life through the ages.

“The shipping services are not regular while franchise boats come in once a month,” he said.

“Because of the island’s geographical location and surrounded by reefs the captains of vessels have to time the high tides so cargo and passengers can be transported to land via fibreglass boats.

“There is no wharf so we just make do and always look forward to the arrival of inter-island vessels.”

While the situation was sometimes difficult, he said they had adopted ways and means to optimise services to ensure proper welfare of families in the villages.

It also sounded interesting to hear him reveal how they used the age old trade system of barter.

“As most iTaukei are aware that in the islands, especially for us in Nayau, there is an abundance of sea resources,” Mr Kotoisuva said.

“When we know a boat will sail this way we contact our families in Suva and urban centres to send us tea, sugar, salt and basics food stuff including mutton. And we, in turn send them fish and seafood.”

They have made it an unspoken rule not to sell fish and it’s no wonder they are so naturally blessed.

They have also placed traditional ban or taboo in some fishing grounds so divers and fishermen hunt for fish outside these areas.

During diving expeditions they leave the small fish and target the big ones only.

Recently, a few men from Narocivo went out fishing and returned with a huge catch.

Unfortunately, there’s little access to refrigeration in the village so the fishers had to present fish to the Tui Narocivo first and share the remaining catch among all households in the village.

“There in lies our other barrier even though nowadays we use generators, which obviously need fuel that costs money. So we are eagerly tapping the use of solar-power electricity,” Mr Kotoisuva said.

“The other alternative is to make ika vesa (smoked fish), which we can conserve for a few days before consuming.”

While still on the subject of food the only crop these islanders miss is dalo/taro even though the beautiful remote untouched pristine island paradise is prosperous in sea resources.

Their staple food in terms of roots crops are kumala (sweet potatoes), tavioka, via and there is bounty of breadfruit.

“Our soil is part sand. But there is so much breadfruit, some go to waste,” he said.

Nayau, north of Lakeba, is one of the chiefly islands in the Lau Group with a unique and rich history.

Elders said it was also on this island from the rugged mountain of Delai Wawa at Narocivo Village that part of the installation process of the Tui Nayau and Sau of Lau was conducted.

But that is another story.

Feedback: percy.kean@fijisun.com.fj


Get updates from the Fiji Sun, handpicked and delivered to your inbox.


By entering your email address you're giving us permission to send you news and offers. You can opt-out at any time.




Five Squares Platinum Deals


Tower Insurance
Total
Subscribe-to-Newspaper
Fiji Sun Instagram
Subscribe-to-Newspaper