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FIJI – A VISIT TO FOUR REMOTE ISLANDS ON A CULTURE CRUISE TO NORTH FIJI – PHOTOS AND VIDEOS

July 27, 2016

 

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REEF ENDEAVOR

A VISIT TO FOUR REMOTE ISLANDS ON A CAPTAIN COOK REEF ENDEAVOR CULTURE CRUISE TO NORTH FIJI

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NADI, FIJI

 

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These islands were Kioa, Rabi,  Kia  and Labasa

KIOA -Polynesian people of Kioa Island, originally from the overcrowded Tuvalu, who greet us with traditional song and dance and a flotilla of outrigger canoes.

RABI  -Rabi, the new home of the Ocean island, Banabas, Micronesian people of Kiribati misplaced by the over phosphate mining of the island

KIA  -Kia, one of the poorest and northernmost Fijian (Melanesian) islands, where tourism helps to supplement their economy.

LABASA -The Indians of Labasa,the second largest ethnic population in Fiji. We visited  their snake temple and the busy spice markets of this thriving centre of economics in Fiji’s remote north.

GALOA  – We visited a Sunday gospel service at the Methodist Church in Galoa.

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KIOA ISLAND

Present islanders are the third generation of Kioans and currently Fijian citizens. They live a very simple life. There is no hustle and bustle, no hurries and worries. The islanders have a sense of belonging and share each other’s joys and sorrows. Even though they lack many things, they are blessed with an enchanting nature ~ the fresh morning breeze, the ripples in the reefs and the dancing coconut trees.

Kioa Island currently has 80 households permanently residing on the island. The people of Kioa are Polynesians originally from the island nation of Tuvalu, a sovereign nation 1,000 kilometers north of Fiji. In 1946 the Government of Fiji granted the leaders of Vaitupu permission to relocate 235 people to Fiji, within a period of 10 years. The 37 early settlers arrived on the shores of Kioa Island on the 26th of October, 1947

Copra assists the residents to meet educational expenses and other basic necessities. Additional revenue is earned through cultural entertainment for visitors and smaller commodities such as handicrafts (woven from the pandanus plant, voivoi), yaqona(Yaqona, kava drinking ceremony). In Fiji the drinking of yaqona(pronounced Yangona) or kava, is a common ceremonial and social custom. The yaqona ceremony has great significance in Fijian life (but is now considered a social drink as well as a ceremony) , also voivoi (traditional Fijian woven mats), and fishing.

Religion plays an active role in the culture of the Kioans and there are few different denominations represented, including: Catholic, Assemblies of God, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Rabbinic Orthodox and the Protestant religion of “Tuvalu Congregation”.

The Kioa Island Council consists of 13 members elected every 3 years by the community to oversee the sustainment of traditions and culture, to ensure the wellbeing and welfare of the people, and to administer the daily operation of the island. The Pule, leaders, are nominated by the community and meetings are presided by the Council and attended by the 3 Chiefs (Tuaa, Lotoa, and Kilitai) at the Falekaupule, community hall where decisions are reached by consensus.

In the relatively short time period the islanders have inhabited the island they have accomplished a great deal including building a large church, community hall, office complex, power grid, water system, several coconut dryers, and developing numerable large farms owned by both the community and individuals.  The council operates six small businesses that support island development and ongoing operations.  Some more recent accomplishments are a 100% passing rate of the Fiji Intermediate and Fiji 8th Year Exam from 1997 to 2007, adding a classroom and new finishes to the school compound, and winning the Buca Bay FTAE Division Rugby Finals 2007.

 

KIOA ISLANDERS CIRCLE AND WELCOME THE REEF ENDEAVOR TO THE ISLAND

 

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KIOA ISLANDERS WELCOME THE REEF ENDEAVOR

 

 

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KIOA ISLANDERS WELCOME THE REEF ENDEAVOR

 

 

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KIOA ISLANDERS WELCOME THE REEF ENDEAVOR

 

 

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KIOA ISLANDERS WELCOME THE REEF ENDEAVOR

 

 

 

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KIOA ISLANDERS WELCOME THE REEF ENDEAVOR

 

 

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KIOA ISLANDERS WELCOME THE REEF ENDEAVOR

 

 

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VISITORS ARE WELCOMED TO KIOA ISLAND

 

 

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A WELCOME BY THE ISLAND ELDER

 

 

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MUSICIANS AND SINGERS KIOA ISLAND

 

 

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MUSICIANS AND SINGERS KIOA ISLAND

 

 

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DANCERS KIOA ISLAND

 

 

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DANCER KIOA ISLAND

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DANCERS KIOA ISLAND

 

 

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DANCERS KIOA ISLAND

 

 

 

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KIOA ISLAND SCHOOL

 

 

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KIOA ISLAND SCHOOL

 

 

 

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KIOA ISLAND SCHOOL

 

 

 

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YOUNG STUDENTS KIOA ISLAND SCHOOL

 

 

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YOUNG STUDENTS KIOA ISLAND SCHOOL

 

 

 

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HANDICRAFTS – WOVEN BASKETS ARE OFFERED FOR SALE


 

 

PERFORMANCE AT KIOA, FIJI

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RABI, FIJI

 

Rabi (66 sq km), east of the northern tip of the Tunuloa Peninsula, has four villages populated by Micronesians originally from Banaba, in Kiribati. At the turn of the 20th century, the islanders of Banaba were first tricked, and then pressed into selling the phosphate mining rights of Banaba for a small annual payment, and their tiny island was slowly ruined by the subsequent mining and influx of settlers. WWII brought further tragedy when the Japanese invaded Banaba and massacred many villagers. Following the war, Rabi was purchased for the Banabans by the British Government – with money from the islanders’ own Provident Fund, set up by the British Government in 1931 for phosphate royalties – and 2000 survivors were resettled here. However, as they were dropped in the middle of the cyclone season with only army tents and two months’ rations, and had never been so cold (Banaba is on the equator), many of the original settlers died.

To visit Rabi, you must first ask permission from the island council. If you’re extended an invitation, catch a bus from Savusavu to Karoko where small boats wait for passengers to Rabi (about $80 one way).

 

 

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RABI ISLAND, FIJI SINGERS

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RABI ISLANDERS WATCHING THE ENTERTAINMENT PERFORMEDBY LOCAL STUDENTS OF THE BANABANS WHO NOW LIVE IN FIJI ON RABI ISLAND

 

 

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RABI ISLAND SINGERS

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RABI COUNCIL OF LEADERS

 

 

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YOUNG STUDENTS RABI ISLAND

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COMMEMORATIVE PLAQUE BANABAN ARRIVAL ON RABI ISLAND

 

 

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RABI ISLAND POST OFFICE

 

 

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YOUNG STUDENTS RABI ISLAND

POSTERS SEEN AT THE RABI SCHOOL

 

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POSTER AT THE RABI ISLAND SCHOOL

 

 

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POSTER AT THE RABI ISLAND SCHOOL

 

 

 

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POSTER AT THE RABI ISLAND SCHOOL

 

 

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POSTER AT THE RABI ISLAND SCHOOL

 

 

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POSTER AT THE RABI ISLAND SCHOOL

 

 

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POSTER AT THE RABI ISLAND SCHOOL

 

 

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THE PRINCIPAL AT THE RABI ISLAND SCHOOL

 

 

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STUDENTS AT THE RABI ISLAND SCHOOL

 

 

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STUDENTS PERFORM AT THE RABI ISLAND SCHOOL

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STUDENTS PERFORM AT THE RABI ISLAND SCHOOL

 

 

 

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STUDENTS AT THE RABI ISLAND SCHOOL

 

 

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STUDENTS AT THE RABI ISLAND SCHOOL

 

 

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STUDENTS AT THE RABI ISLAND SCHOOL

 

 

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A FINAL LOOK AT RABI ISLAND

 

 

RABI, FIJI     PERFORMANCE   (VIDEO)

 

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KIA ISLAND, FIJI

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KIA ISLAND IS ABOUT 1.5 SQUARE KILOMETRES WITH THREE VILLAGES AND A POPULATION OF ABOUT 200 LIVING IN THREE VILLAGES. THE SMALL, RUGGEDLY STEEP ISLAND (THE SUMMIT IS 300M) IS SITUATED INAPARTIAL LAGOON FORMED BY A BOW AND IS PROTECTED BY FIJI’S GREAT SEA REEF. THE REEF IS THE THIRD LARGEST BARRIER REEF IN THE WORLD  AND IT STRETCHES  500 KILOMETERS FROM THE NORTH-EASTERN TIP OF VANUA LEVU. THE GREAT SEA REEF IS BROKEN BY A FEW CHANNELS AND IN ONE AREA IT IS UNBROKEN FOR A DISTANCE OF 150 KILOMETERS AND LIES 15-30 KILOMETERS OFF THE NORTH COAST OF VANUA LEVU.

THE THREE VILLAGES ON KIA ISLAND DAKU, YARO AND LIGAU WHERE THE PRIMARY SCHOOL IS LOCATED. THE PEOPLE OF KIA MAINLY LIVE FROM  FISHING AND FARMING.

 

THE FIJIANS

FIJI IS A TRANSITIONAL  ZONE BETWEEN POLYNESIA, AND MELANESIA. INDIGENOUS  FIJIANS BEAR A PHYSICAL RESEMBLANCE TO THE MELANESIANS, BUT LIKE THE POLYNESIANS , THEY HAVE HEREDITARY CHIEFS, PATRILINEAL DESCENT,A LOVE OF ELABORATE CEREMONIES AND A FAIRLY HOMOGENOUS  LANGUAGE AND CULTURE. FIJIANS HAVE INTERBRED WITH POLYNESIANS TO THE EXTANT THAT THEY HAVE LIGHTER SKIN AND LARGER STATURE THAN OTHER MELANESIANS. IN THE INTERIOR AND WEST OF VITI LEVU, WHERE THERE WAS NOT AS MUCH CONTACT THE  PEOPLE TEND TO BE  SOMEWHAT DARKER  AND SMALLER THAN THE EASTERNERS.

FIJI HAD NO WRITTEN LANGUAGE PRIOR TO CONTACT WITH EUROPEANS. ITS HISTORY IS BASED ON LEGENDS THAT HAVE BEEN PASSED DOWN FROM GENERATION TO GENERATION. SCIENTISTS BELIEVE THE ISLANDS  OF FIJI WERE SETTLED OVER 3500 YEARS AGO BY THE PEOPLE OF SOUTHEAST ASIA AS THEY MIGRATED EAST THROUGH THE NDNESIAN ARCHIPELAGO, PAPUA NEW GUINEA, VANUATO,  AND SOLOMON ISLANDS.

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ABOUT KIA ISLAND
Taste of Paradise: KIA ISLAND

THE FIJI TIMES

Chef Lance Seeto
Sunday, November 08, 2015

At the turn of the 19th century, sandalwood was one of the most valuable and sought-after timbers in the old world.

When the tree was accidentally discovered in Fiji’s northern islands, a bloody, decade-long timber boom began. Spanish, British and American ships descended upon Vanua Levu – the Sandalwood islands. We’re in Ligau Village, Kia, an island in the Macuata province that was once an outpost in this wild west shootout for sandalwood. Welcome to a Taste of Paradise.

Much of Fiji’s pre-colonial history can be read in the journals and diaries of the sailors, clergymen and missionaries.

They may be a one sided account of the old days, but it is the only written record Fijians have of their pre-colonial history. One that caught my interest was of English sandalwood trader, William Lockerby.

He had arrived to Fiji in 1808, a few months earlier than the first Chinese on board the Eliza. It was the peak of the sandalwood boom and every businessman, con man and pirate was attracted by the tales of undiscovered riches. Fiji was yet to be discovered by the European explorers. Lockerby kept detailed accounts of his observations.

The early 1800s were like the California gold rush of the old wild west. The good, the bad and the ugliest examples of the papalagi, the white man, was about to descend on the unsuspecting native civilisation.

AROMATIC TIMBER

The light brown timber of old sandalwood and butt of the tree contains an aromatic oil; long prized in Polynesia for scenting coconut oil.

Whilst the Tongans prized the fragrant timber, high prices on the Chinese market made it one of the most valuable timbers in the world, as it still is today. In Asian countries, sandalwood carvings are used in religious ceremony whilst the sawdust is turned into joss sticks and incense for prayer.

For the native Fijian of this period, the sandalwood trade brought regular exchanges of goods with the Europeans, and the bartering for anything made of iron; a new commodity to the Fijians. But the decade long sandalwood boom was also the bloodiest in their dealings with the pale skinned papalagi.

So precious was this timber that many European traders would raid villages or other ships – and sometimes even murder for it. Unfortunately for the Fijians, their first contact with the white man was with some of the worse band of misfits, conmen and pirates to sail the high seas.

The wariness and mistrust of the strangers would set the tone for the next century, as Fiji was no longer an undiscovered country.

JOURNEY TO KIA

Lockerby’s journals recount an island outpost on the northern side of Vanua Levu called Kia.

It was once known as Brown’s Island, supposedly named after an American ship’s mate who had stumbled upon a treasure of untouched sandalwood plantations. Along with other Americans and Englishmen, Mr. Brown had essentially taken over the island with his motley crew.

Several ship’s iron cannons had been placed high on the hills to ward off any invaders. Lockerby recounts they had been there a “dozen years ago” – placing their installment around 1795 – something the local villagers I spoke to, did not know.

STRONGER WOMEN

The village is at the base of a hard mountain rocky range with sheer cliff faces. The village women at Ligau tell an amusing story of when their forefathers and brothers trekked up the steep hill to mount the cannon for Brown.

More than a dozen men lifted the 2-tonne iron cannon up the treacherous mountain. As they reached about halfway up the peak the men collapsed from exhaustion and sent message for the women to take it to the top for them; and they did. The women laughed, “We’re stronger than the men!”

The village elders said it was still there but expressed doubt we would make it. I don’t blame him! Lucky we have a remote controlled drone camera, it was a long way up and over the peak.

Watching the drone’s monitor, we all waited in anticipation, it was like finding a needle in a haystack, but finally…there it was. We’d discovered the cannon that William Lockerby had written about more than 200 years ago.

 

 

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KIA ISLAND SCHOOL

 

 

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KIA ISLAND SCHOOL ASSISTANT PRINCIPLE

 

 

 

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KIA ISLAND SCHOOL STUDENTS

 

 

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KIA ISLAND SCHOOL STUDENTS PERFORMING

 

 

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KIA ISLAND SCHOOL STUDENTS PERFORMING

 

 

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KIA ISLAND SCHOOL STUDENTS PERFORMING

 

 

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KIA ISLAND SCHOOL STUDENTS

 

 

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KIA ISLAND SCHOOL STUDENTS

 

 

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KIA ISLAND SCHOOL STUDENTS

 

 

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KIA ISLAND SCHOOL STUDENT

 

 

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KIA ISLAND SCHOOL CLASSROOM

 

 

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KIA ISLAND SCHOOL STUDENT

 

 

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KIA ISLAND SCHOOL BLACKBOARD

 

 

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KIA ISLAND SCHOOL STUDENTS PLAYING SOCCER

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AT KIA ISLAND

WE JOIN THE LOCALS FOR A TRADITIONAL EVENING.

WE EXPERIENCE THE “SEVUSEVU” CEREMONY.

When we visited a village, it is customary to present a gift of kava, which is also known as “yaqona”. The gift, (a “sevusevu”), The sevusevu is presented to the traditional head of the village (“Turaga Ni koro”). After it’s been pounded into powder and mixed with water, it is usually served to the head person

LOVO FEAST  (FIJIAN  DINNER COOKED IN AN EARTH OVEN)

“MEKE,”  A CELEBRATION OF SONG AND DANCE  PERFORMED BY THE VILLAGERS.

 

 

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TRADITIONAL EVENING ON KIA ISLAND

 

 

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LOVO FEAST

 

 

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LOVO FEAST

 

 

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PREPARING FOR THE SEUSEVU CEREMONY

 

SEVUSEVU CEREMONY

 

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SEVUSEVU CEREMONY – When visiting a village, it is customary to present a gift of kava, which is also known as “yaqona”. The gift, (a “sevusevu”), will cost less than F$20 for a half kilo. If you are accompanied by a guide, he/she will look after that. The sevusevu is presented to the traditional head of the village (“Turaga Ni koro”). After it’s been pounded into powder and mixed with water, it is usually served in the head person’s house.

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SEVUSEVU CEREMONY

 

 

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SEVUSEVU CEREMONY

 

 

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SEVUSEVU CEREMONY

 

 

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SEVUSEVU CEREMONY

 

 

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SEVUSEVU CEREMONY

 

 

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SEVUSEVU CEREMONY

 

 

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SEVUSEVU CEREMONY

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SEVUSEVU CEREMONY

 

 

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SUNSET ON KIA ISLAND

 

 

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KIA ISLAND CHURCH

 

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“MEKE” A CELEBRATION OF SONG AND DANCE

 

 

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“MEKE” A CELEBRATION OF SONG AND DANCE

 

 

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“MEKE” A CELEBRATION OF SONG AND DANCE

 

 

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“MEKE” A CELEBRATION OF SONG AND DANCE

 

 

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“MEKE” A CELEBRATION OF SONG AND DANCE

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KIA ISLAND, FIJI  (VIDEO)
STUDENTS AND ADULTS PERFORM FOR THE VISITORS

 

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LABASA, FIJI

Labasa (pronounced ‘Lam-basa’), Vanua Levu’s administrative centre, is a dusty sugar and timber town that doesn’t hold much allure for the average traveller. Sitting about 5km inland on the sweltering banks of the Labasa River and reclaimed mangrove swamps, the top sights in town are a large sugar mill and the seasonal trains that ka-chunk bushels of cane through Labasa’s centre. The local population is predominantly Indo-Fijian, many of whom are descendants of girmitiyas (indentured labourers brought from India to work on the plantations); you’ll find good curries here, and can shop for trinkets, bangles and saris in colourful shops blasting out Bollywood hits. Vanua Levu’s main airport is also here.

LABASA HAS A 12 MEMBER TOWN COUNCIL, WHOSE MEMBERS ELECT A MAJOR FROM AMONG THEMSELVES.THE TOWN INCORPORATED AS A TOWN IN 1939. LABASA IS IN AN ATTRACTIVE RIVERSIDE SETTING. WITH ONE LONG MAIN STREET LINED WITH SHOPS, RESTAURANTS AND THE ONLY SET OF TRAFFIC LIGHTS FOR THE ENTIRE ISLAND.

THERE IS A FAIRLY LARGE MARKET TOWARDS THE END OF THE TOWN WHERE ONE CAN BUY A SAMPLE RANGE OF FOODS, SPICES, FISH. POULTRY, GOATS  AND OTHER LOCAL PRODUCTS.

LABASA HOSPITAl ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE RIVERBANK  IS THE REFERRAL CENTER FOR ALL HEALTH CENTERS ON THEISLAND OF VANUA LEVU AND HAS RECENTLY EXPANDED .  SURGICAL TEAMS FRON OVERSEAS VISIT THE HOSPITAL REGULARLY TO  PERFORM ORTHOPEDIC , CLEFT PALATE AND OTHER TYPES OF SPECIALIST SURGERY.

ANOTHER POINT OF INTEREST IS THE SNAKE TEMPLE

 

NAAG MANDIR TEMPLE, LABASA

In Labasa, the largest town on Vanua Levu, lives the Sacred Cobra Rock, housed in what has been called the ‘snake temple’. It is believed that the now 3-metre-high rock has grown bigger over the years, so much so that the roof of the temple has had to be raised four times since the 1950s. The locals believe that the rock, which is shaped like a cobra, can cure the sick and the infertile. The sacred growing stone has become a worshipping station for many followers of Hinduism, who cover it with bright flower and tinsel garlands, and place offerings of fruit, fire and coconut cream at its base.

 

 

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NAAG MANDIR TEMPLE, LABASA (SNAKE TEMPLE)

 

 

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NAAG MANDIR TEMPLE, LABASA (SNAKE TEMPLE)

 

 

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NAAG MANDIR TEMPLE, LABASA (SNAKE TEMPLE)

 

 

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NAAG MANDIR TEMPLE, LABASA (SNAKE TEMPLE)

 

 

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NAAG MANDIR TEMPLE, LABASA (SNAKE TEMPLE)

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NAAG MANDIR TEMPLE, LABASA (SNAKE TEMPLE)

 

 

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NAAG MANDIR TEMPLE, LABASA (SNAKE TEMPLE)

 

 

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NAAG MANDIR TEMPLE, LABASA (SNAKE TEMPLE)

 

 

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NAAG MANDIR TEMPLE, LABASA (SNAKE TEMPLE)

 

 

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NAAG MANDIR TEMPLE, LABASA (SNAKE TEMPLE)


 

 

LABASA TOWN, FIJI

 

 

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LABASA RIVER, FIJI

 

 

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LABASA TOWN BUS TERMINAL

 

 

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LABASA MARKET

 

 

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LABASA MARKET

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LABASA MARKET

 

 

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LABASA MARKET

 

 

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LABASA MARKET

 

 

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LABASA MARKET

 

 

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LABASA MARKET

 

 

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LABASA MARKET

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LABASA MARKET

 

 

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LABASA MARKET

 

 

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LABASA MARKET

 

 

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LABASA MARKET

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LABASA MARKET


 

 

LABASA TOWN, FIJI

STREET SCENES

 

 

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LABASA TOWN STREET SCENES

 

 

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LABASA TOWN STREET SCENES

 

 

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LABASA TOWN STREET SCENES

 

 

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LABASA TOWN STREET SCENES

 

 

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LABASA TOWN STREET SCENES – HARE KRISHNA DANCING AND SINGING IN LABASA

 

 

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LABASA TOWN STREET SCENES

 

 

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LABASA TOWN STREET SCENES – SI GNSOF THE LATEST CD’S AND DVD’S

 

 

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LABASA TOWN STREET SCENES

 

 

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LABASA TOWN STREET SCENES

 

 

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LABASA TOWN STREET SCENES

 

 

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LABASA TOWN STREET SCENES

 

 

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LABASA SUGAR MILL

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LABASA TOWN, FIJI A LONG LINE OF TRUCKS FILLED WITH SUGAR CANE GOING TO THE SUGAR MILL

 

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GRAND EASTERN HOTEL – LABASA TOWN, FIJI


 

 

LABASA, FIJI
GREAT EASTERN HOTEL
BOLLYWOOD INDIAN CULTURAL SHOW

 

 

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GALOA GOSPEL CHURCH SERVICE

Galoa is a small 500 years old village with about 200 inhabitants and fifty houses. The village lies just off the north coast of Vanua Levu in the northern reaches of the Fiji Islands. It is, without doubt, the most isolated village in Fiji. Here there are no television sets, no mobile phones and hardly any communication at all with the outside world – except for the local boat.

INTRODUCTION OF CHRISTIANITY

“THE INTRODUCTION OF CHRISTIANITY IN THE 1840’S HAD A MAJOR EFFECT ON THE FIJIAN CULTURE.TRADITIONAL RELIGION OF THE FIJIANS WAS SO CLOSELY INTERWOVEN WITH THEIR SOCIAL POLICY THAT IT WAS IMPOSSIBLE TO TEAR AWAY THE ONE WITHOUT  LACERATING THE OTHER. RELIGION WAS A HARD TASKMASTER TO THE HEATHEN FIJIAN.; IT GOVERNED HIS EVERY ACTION FROM THE CRADLE-MAT TO THE GRAVE. IN THE TABU  IT PRESCRIBED WHAT HE SHOULD EAT AND DRINK, HOW HE SHOULD ADDRESS HIS BETTERS ,  WHOM HE SHOULD MARRY, AND WHERE HIS BODY SHOULD BE LAID. IT LIMITED HIS CHOICE OF THE FRUITS OF THE EARTH AND OF THE SEA; IT CONTROLLED HIS VERY BODILY ATTITUDE IN HIS OWN HOUSE. ALL HIS LIFE HE WALKED WARILY FOR FEAR OF ANGERING THE DEITIES THAT WENT IN AND OUT WITH HIM, EVER WATCHFUL TO CATCH HIM TRIPPING, AND DEATH BUT CAST HIM NAKED INTO THEIR MIDST TO BE THE SPORT OF THEIR VINDICTIVE INGENUITY.”

EUROPEAN CONTACT

European Contact

The first European to visit the area was the Dutch explorer Abel Tasman in 1643. The English navigator James Cook also sailed through the area in 1774. The individual most commonly credited with the “discovery” of Fiji was Captain William Bligh, who sailed through Fiji in 1789 and 1792 following the mutiny on the H.M.S. Bounty.

The 19th Century was a period of great upheaval in the islands of Fiji.

The first Europeans to land in Fiji were shipwrecked sailors and runaway convicts from the British penal colonies in Australia. By the middle of the century missionaries arrived in the islands and embarked upon the conversion of the Fijian people to Christianity.

These years were marked by bloody political struggles for power by rival Fijian leaders.

Most prominent among these leaders was Ratu Seru Cakobau, the paramount chief of eastern Viti Levu. In 1854 Cakobau became the first Fijian leader to accept Christianity.

Years of tribal warfare ended temporarily in 1865, when a confederacy of native kingdoms was established and Fiji’s first constitution was drawn up and signed by seven independent chiefs of Fiji. Cakobau was elected president for two years in a row, but the confederacy collapsed when his chief rival, a Tongan chief named Ma’afu, sought the presidency in 1867.

Political unrest and instability ensued, as western influence continued to grow stronger. In 1871, with the support of the approximately 2000 Europeans in Fiji, Cakobau was proclaimed king and a national government was formed in LevukA.

His government, however, faced many problems and was not well received. On October 10, 1874, after a meeting of the most powerful chiefs, Fiji was unilaterally ceded to the United Kingdom.

English Rule

Fiji’s first Governor under British rule was Sir Arthur Gordon. Sir Arthur’s policies were to set the stage for much of the Fiji that exists today.

In an effort to preserve the people and culture of Fiji, Sir Arthur forbade the sale of Fijian land to non-Fijians. He also instituted a system of limited native administration that allowed the native Fijians much say in their own affairs. A council of chiefs was formed to advise the government on matters pertaining to the native people.

In an effort to promote economic development, Sir Arthur instituted a plantation system to the islands of Fiji. He had previous experience with a plantation system as governor of Trinidad and Mauritius. The government invited the Australian Colonial Sugar Refining Company to open operations in Fiji, which it did in 1882. The company operated in Fiji until 1973.

In order to provide cheap non-native labor for the plantations, the government looked to the crown colony of India. From 1789 to 1916 over 60,000 Indians were brought to Fiji as indentured labor. Today, the descendants of these laborers make up approximately 44% of the population of Fiji. Native Fijians account for about 51% of the population. The rest are Chinese, Europeans, and other Pacific Islanders.

From the late 1800s until the 1960s, Fiji remained a racially divided society, especially in terms of political representation. Fijians, Indians and Europeans all elected or nominated their own representatives to the legislative council.

Independence and Turmoil

The independence movements of the 1960s did not escape the Fijian islands. While earlier demands for self-government were resisted, negotiations in Fiji and London eventually led to total political independence for Fiji on October 10, 1974.

Early years of the new republic continued to see a racially divided government, with the ruling Alliance Party dominated by native Fijians.

Pressure from numerous internal and external sources resulted in the formation of the Labour Party in 1985, which, in coalition with the predominantly Indian National Federation Party, won the election of 1987.

Fiji, however, could not easily escape its racially divided past. The new government was quickly overthrown in a military coup.

Following a period of negotiation and civil turmoil, a civilian government returned to power in 1992 under a new constitution heavily weighted in favor of the native majority. Internal and international pressure, however, led to the appointment of an independent commission in 1996. This commission recommended another new constitution which was adopted a year later. This constitution provided for recognition of minority interests and established a mandated multi-party cabinet. Mahendra Chaudhry was sworn in as Prime Minister, and became the first ever Indo-Fijian Prime Minister of Fiji. Unfortunately, once again civilian rule was short-lived. On May 19, 2000, elite army units and racialist gunmen led by businessman George Speight seized power with the backing of the Great Council of Chiefs, an unelected assembly of traditional land-owning chiefs.

Chaudry and his cabinet were held hostage for several weeks.

The crisis of 2000 was ended by the intervention of military commander chief Frank Bainimarama, a native Fijian. As a result, Chaudry was forced to resign. Speight was eventually arrested on treason charges. Laisenia Qarase, also an indigenous Fijian was subsequently elected prime minister.

After weeks of tension and threats of a coup, the Fijian military, once again under the command of now Commodore Frank Bainimarama seized power on Tuesday, December 5, 2006, in a bloodless coup. Bainimarama dismissed Prime Minister Qarase and assumed the powers of the president from President Ratu Josefa Iloilo with the promise that he would soon return power to Iloilo and a newly appointed civilian government.

While both Bainimarama and Qarase are native Fijians, the coup was apparently prompted by Qarase’s proposals which would have benefited native Fijians to the detriment of minorities, especially the ethnic Indians. Bainimarama opposed these proposals as unfair to minorities. As CNN reported “The military is angry at a government move to introduce legislation that would grant amnesty to those involved in the (2000) coup. It also opposes two bills that Bainimarama says unfairly favor majority indigenous Fijians in land rights over the ethnic Indian minority.”

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PICTURES OF THE CHURCH GOERS IN FRONT OF THE METHODIST CHURCH

 

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GALOA, FIJI  –   METHODIST CHURCH

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GALOA, FIJI – METHODIST CHURCH

 

 

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GALOA, FIJI – METHODIST CHURCH

 

 

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GALOA, FIJI – METHODIST CHURCH

 

 

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GALOA, FIJI – METHODIST CHURCH

 

 

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GALOA, FIJI – METHODIST CHURCH

 

 

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GALOA, FIJI – METHODIST CHURCH

 

 

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GALOA, FIJI – METHODIST CHURCH

 

 

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GALOA, FIJI – METHODIST CHURCH

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REEF ENDEAVOR CREW PERFORM AND PUT ON A SHOW FOR THE PASSENGERS

 

 

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REEF ENDEAVOR CREW

 

 

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REEF ENDEAVOR CREW

 

 

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REEF ENDEAVOR CREW

 

 

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REEF ENDEAVOR CREW

 

 

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REEF ENDEAVOR CREW

 

 

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REEF ENDEAVOR CREW

 

 

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REEF ENDEAVOR CREW

 

 

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REEF ENDEAVOR CREW

 

 

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REEF ENDEAVOR CREW

 

 

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REEF ENDEAVOR CREW

 

 

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REEF ENDEAVOR

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REEF ENDEAVOR CREW

 

 

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REEF ENDEAVOR CREW

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REEF ENDEAVOR CREW

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REEF ENDEAVOR CREW

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REEF ENDEAVOR CREW PERFORMING FOR THE  PASSENGERS (VIDEO)

 

 

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PHOTOS AND VIDEOS:

LEONARD EPSTEIN

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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