Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Mali Island Fiji

From Peceli
It is easy to pronounce M-a-l-i. In the western side of Viti Levu their dialogue 'mali' means to laugh or to smile. A visitor from an African country I met in the State League athletics in Melbourne wore a badge 'Mali' and she said to me they are from the big Mali in Africa. I had not known there was another Mali!

Mali Island is well known in some of the Fiji folk songs "Rau tivari rau tivari cina livaliva o Vesi O Mali". It means electricity had been used there, although it hadn't! It is a song of the 1950s. Mali Island is close to the Port of Malau where the sugar boats come and go. Half of the Mali population these days live outside Mali in order to get wages, such as in the timber mill at Malau, in Labasa, Suva, Lautoka and even Australia.

Mali has three main villages Vesi, Nakawaqa and Ligaulevu which is in the centre with Primary School up to class 8 and the Resident Methodist minister. My mother comes from Vesi and we are related to the chiefly family. People live a subsistence economy and the women are known of their good crafts and mat making. In village life young men are trained to be fisherman by their elders catching turtles and big fish for traditional uses. The reefs and sandbars nearby are rich in food resources.

My most recent visit to Mali was to attend the funeral of Penioni Taluva who was in his mid sixties, a traditional elder fisherman in Mali and Kia Island. He had a stroke for six months because of deep sea diving without proper equipment. After the funeral they took me to see the latest development in Vorovoro Island just off the west side of Mali. Two grass and bamboo huts had been built for backpackers or day picnics for the people of the Labasa area. That day the people had just caught hundreds of daniva, a type of sardines, with nets, so we ate that for lunch and also for tea.

Vorovoro means broken into pieces. Our tradition tells us that it refers to when the Kaunitoni canoe of our ancestor, Lutunasobasoba and his tribe came here, the shell tied in front of the canoe was broken. The captain stayed on in Mali and his descendants live there today.

Vorovoro Island is on the tourist map because for many years backpackers have found their way to Vorovoro beach to camp, with the generosity of the landowner, the Tui Mali, the chief. Now there is a new possibility of large-scale development as the Native Land Trust Board have a tourism section and have promoted Vorovoro for any interested investors.


Jon&Cheryl said...

Hi Peceli and Wendy,
I found your blog quite by accident when I was researching Mali Island. My reason for researching was that our daughter was married to a Fijian man in January and his grandfather is the chief of Mali. They visited him as part of their honeymoon and stayed at his house (separate from the main villages). When I saw that you had strong connections with Mali I felt that I had to post this comment. We also live in Victoria, in Whittlesea and have spend many, many summers down at Queenscliff so we know Geelong well. We also have had strong ties with athletics as our other two daughters were heavily into both Little Athletics and also senior aths with the Aberfeldie compeition and State League.
Anyway, I would love to hear more about Mali Island and your thoughts about it.

fijilover said...

I am trying to contact the owner of this website, if this you please email me on mj@careerbreakcafe.com

Kalivati Todua said...


my name is Kalivati Todua,im 33 yrs old.im living and working here in the UK

im from Vesi,Mali,in Macuata.i havent been to my village.im asking if someone out there could help me.

im desperate to see my relatives who i have not met.

Kalivati Todua said...

it's me Kalivati Todua

my email address is:


Peceli and Wendy's Blog said...

Bula sia Kalivati,
If you are from Vesi then you are related to us in some way. Peceli's mother came from Vesi village. I'll tell him about your email when he gets back to Geelong where we live.

Anonymous said...

Losavati Ceacea Nikotimo
Peceli bula sia. Au a sucu e Nakawaga, Mali Island 1956. My mother is a sister of Momo Seremaia, Jiacoro on Nakawaga Village. Last time I visited Nakawaga was in 1999 with my American Hubby and our daugter. I live in the USA now for 20 years in Seattle, Washington.Moce mada.

Peceli and Wendy's Blog said...

bula sia,
Thanks for visiting our blog. The Fiji people certainly are now settled is so many countries so we hope you are happy over there in USA. Mali is special to us of course as Peceli's Mum came from Vesi and lots of relatives at in the other villages. The tribewanted project has put Mali and Vorovoro on the map these days.

tom_1854 said...

Bula sia Vinaka Vakalevu.I happen to catch you when I log on Mali through googles.Mali is well known in all kinds of entertaining in meke,songs and other social activities.But it was like that before,people from Labasa,Wailevu or even from Suva whwn they rich Mali they hardly forget the kind of life there.

tom_1854 said...
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tom_1854 said...

Todua Bula sia.As Rev Peceli said he is powerful vasu as far as I know.So I come from Vesi also Mataqali.Vunikiva. my clan is Turaga ni Yavusa.I will be very happy to know more about you.Vesi now is growing bigger in numbers with new generation.Very new houses are built with new proper water resouses.Todua it's fair enough to contact me by my email:tom_1854@yahoo.com or call me on mobile 679 9760445 or 3572503

Sam said...

It was with great pleasure that I discovered your blog online. My name is Abdoul Karim Samake. I am from Mali, West Africa!! I am so excited that Mali Island and Mali Country have the same name, even though the Mali of the Country means Hyppopotamus and is ancient, and the Mali from Fiji means "Laugh, smile". I wonder where the names originated. Please, anyone who is from Mali island write me a note at director@campkungoso.com I would like very much to correspond and create a commun project together. Let's say FROM MALI TO MALI PROJECT! I presently I live back and forth between Mali and the USA, and direct an Environmental Education Camp in Mali. A cross cultural correspondance between our two world could be enriching. I look forward to reading you.
best regards

Ruci said...

Bula Sia,

I stumbled upon this website by accident and am so fascinated by it. Like most already blogging here, I am also from the island of Mali, but in Nakawaga - somehow the name Losavati rings a bell - because my grandmother who hails from Namuka, also in Macuata is also called Losavati Ceacea or Di Ceno. Anyway, I am doing a postgraduate degree in Pacific Studies and in developing for a Masters, I am keen to get as much information as possible on the origins of the people of Mali island. How they got there? If you have myths and legends that you would like to share with me - please email me on rucim1205@gmail.com. I am not sure of the Kaunitoni story and I am going to check whether it corresponds with linguistic and anthropological evidence - but will still ask for clarifications. I have a collection from my late father's scriblings and am on my way to see if his stories fit with anyone else's especially in the village. So I will really appreciate any stories interesting or otherwise that you might have.
Oh by the way, my name is Ruci - if you know anything about Nakawaga Village, then maybe, my dad's name would ring a bell - he was Botei, occasionally referred to as Puna by close family.

Kalivati - I also have a brother in the UK - serving as a British Army soldier in Scotland, might want to hook up with him if you haven't already. He loves Vesi and knows the place well. His name is Semi - Ulunasobu, sometimes called Degei or Nai'Alai..I think it might have to do with his namesake being married there..not too sure. You should check him out.
sa sia

Diana said...

Bula vinaka Wendy and Talatala Peceli ,interesting to read your blog about Mali .
I am Dina Valotu from Mali too from the village of Nakawaga .My grandmother hails from Vesi which happpens to be my name sake .I am currently working abroad .
My dad is Penioni Taluva Bulumakau which happens to be the namesake of the deceased Penioni that you have mentioned in this blog.
It is amazing to see the passions that you two have about Mali Island
There is so much to learn and to find out about the history of Mali and that would be something amazing to know and tell how generations now and those yet to come .
I believe in gathering evidence based information inorder to find out the truth about where we come from so that there is no " we think " we believe" . they say " and the list goes on.

I for one would really want to explore more further into the history of my ancestors .
There is so much learn in terms of the history about this beautiful island of mine called "Mali"


Diana Valotu

ecelina karavakibau said...
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ecelina karavakibau said...

Bula vinaka to all readers actually i find the blog by accident. I am Ecelina Karavakibau and originally from Nawaikama, Gau, Lomaiviti.I was posted to Mali Island early this year as part of the WWF SPP’s Great Sea Reaf Turtle Monitoring Expedition 2014.I spent 6 weeks on the Island and was lodged in at Nakawaga village.The objectives of my staying was to collect standard turtle nesting data from key turtle nesting areas along the Great Sea Reef namely; Kia, Mali and Kavewa islands in the Macuata Province,to assist in better understanding of these sites, Catch per unit of effort (CPUE) survey, biological monitoring and socio-economic information were also collected.
I assist and motivate the turtle monitors (DnV – Dau ni Vonu) with data collection to determine the nesting population across the targeted sites in the January-February 2014’s peak turtle nesting season.I was in Nakawaga during a bad weather,due to climate change, sea level rises and water are coming right into the village.The villagers are starting to gather sea corals to build up their sea wall which is totally a human disturbances to our marine species. I am seeking your help to raise funds to help in the construction of the sea wall.
My email is ekaravakibau@gmail.com

Diana said...
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Diana said...

Bula Ecelina ,

Kindly refer to your email ,
And please also refer to the Special Climate Change Funding and Adaptation Funding .



Nigel Robinson said...

Bula Peceli and Wendy and to ALL,

Hi my name is Spencer Nigel Robinson and I am from Nakawaga Village as Ruci Mafi is from. I have 5 other siblings. My dad's name is George Robinson and my mum is Losalini Dikau.

I can be contacted on snigel12@gmail.com or on my facebook page which is Nigel Robinson

marvi ganilau said...

hello everyone who is interested in this beautiful island of Mali. we just visited the four villages and they still live peaceful with good significance of tradition,love and fun.
for more information contact me marvi.ganilau@gmail.com

Akariva Koliniwai said...

I staggered upon this website blog while only viewing images of this beautiful island,and im stunned reading few of the comments,its amazing to see the reaction of people on this blog.I am Akariva Koliniwai,originally from Mali too in the village of Nakawaga.im from are chiefly background,my grandfather who is Ratu Jovilisi Nagatalevu Koliniwai is the Turaga ni Yavusa at Nakawaga Village,Navuavua,Muanaira his 91 and still alive,his very knowledgeable with the ancestry of this small island,he can recall kinshp and different generations of this small islands

Any information if you like to share with me,ancestry,myths and legends,generations of this islands you can contact me akarivakoliniwai@gmail.com

lasaro koro said...

Sa tara na yadra,
My name is Lasaro Koro Samuela, i find it interesting in reading all the comment in this page. I just want to know the history from Mali island because i'm from Naseyani village in Ra and my clan is Mali. I met one man which was the pastor in Malake island in Rakiraki and he told me that he's from Mali island and he told me that we were related as i was from Mali clan.
For more information please do not hesitate to contact me on samuelalasaro2010@yahoo.com