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Village Elder Recounts Story Of 108-Year-Old Church Building

The history of Nakasaleka Methodist Church in Kadavu is not known to many, but vil­lage elders are making sure that fu­ture generations will benefit from their foresight. The church was built in 1904 mak­ing it 118 years old this year.
17 Apr 2022 11:52
Village Elder Recounts Story Of 108-Year-Old Church Building
The new Nakasaleka Methodist Church in Kadavu on April 15, 2022. Photos: Wati Talebula

The history of Nakasaleka Methodist Church in Kadavu is not known to many, but vil­lage elders are making sure that fu­ture generations will benefit from their foresight.

The church was built in 1904 mak­ing it 108 years old this year.

The Methodist Church of Fiji and Rotuma president Reverend Ili Vunisuwai is set to open the newly refurbish Nakasaleka Methodist Church on Saturday (April 16).

Nakasaleka Methodist Church ca­ters to four villages – Nakoronawa, Nakaugasele, Lomanikoro and Na­kaunakoro.

The church is located at Na­koronawa Village.

Nakasaleka-Methodist-Church-03

Vilikesa Nareki inside the newly refurbished Nakasaleka Methodist Church in Kadavu on April 15, 2022. Photo: Wati Talebula

Vilikesa Nareki inside the newly refurbished Nakasaleka Methodist
Church in Kadavu on April 15, 2022. Photo: Wati Talebula

 

A Nakoronawa Village elder Vi­likesa Nareki, 75, said in 1900 the village elders decided it was time to build a church which would cater for the four villages.

“There was a time when village elders left the island and went to other islands in Fiji to work so that the money they collected would help them buy materials to build the church,” Mr Nareki said.

“They travelled to Mago Island, Taveuni, Savusavu, Cicia and Kataf­aga (Lau) to work on copra farms and when they returned the church was built in 1907.

“In 1914, the construction of the church was completed and it was used for the first time.

“It took seven years for the church building to be completed. In 1953, a tsunami hit Fiji and Kadavu was badly affected while everything was destroyed the church stood strong.”

Mr Nareki said in 1984 a few villag­ers from the four villages travelled to Suva with a tabua (whales’ tooth) to ask permis­sion from the chiefly family living there to build a new church.

“It was ac­cepted, how­ever in 1990, the four vil­lages had their first soli. The w o m e n started the s e c o n d soli from 2003 to 2006. It was in 2012, the talks of the con­struction of the new c h u r c h s t a r t e d again,” he said.

“The late president of the Methodist C h u r c h of Fiji and Ro­t u m a , Reverend Tuikilakila Waqairatu, asked elders not to build a new church, but to renovate it

“Reverend Waqairatu wanted us to keep the structure of the old church and to cherish its history.

“It was in 2016, the refurbishment started, which ended today (Friday). The villagers are looking forward to the grand opening.

“Despite the challenges we faced, we made sure that the newly refur­bished church was complete.

“Over the six years for the refur­bishment, members of the four vil­lages attended church in their re­spective village hall.

“The cost of refurbishment is about $300,000 and we were able to collect the amount from villagers living in Suva and overseas.”

Those living in Suva with links to the four villages travelled in num­bers to celebrate the opening of the newly refurbished Nakasaleka Methodist Church.



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