Tuesday, April 18, 2006
Wailevu village in Macuata
There are several Wailevu villages in Fiji, because the word ‘wai levu’ means a river. The Wailevu I know is a few kilometres west of Labasa town. Our mataqali (tribe) belongs to Wailevu, our head the Tui Wailevu. There are five yavusa of the vanua of Wailevu: they are Yaudigi Sauniduna Matana and Nabuani and Wailevu.
When I was a young boy Wailevu village was known as having an abundance of food and crops because it is beside the Wailevu River. With the richness of the river you almost always could catch salala which are small fish, even with your bare hands. Also there was always kuka (small crabs) and mana (a river kind of lobster) and they almost came to the kitchen ready for cooking. I often visited my relatives in Wailevu Yavusaiati Clan and the Tui Wailevu (father of the present Tui Wailevu.)
The houses in this village have names. The former Tui Wailevu’s residence was called Vanuabalavu. The name has been changed to Natuvakaca for the present Tui Wailevu, Rokodewala Niumataiwalu.
In the centre of the village today is the Methodist Church Talatala’s residence which is called Nabunabuna and close by is the huge Methodist church which is a concrete building. Also there is a newly renovated hall. During the 70s the building of this church was a special project and I was involved in organising work teams of young men to raise funds for the project.
Many of the Wailevu people have sugar-cane land leased out to Indian farmers, and many of the Fijians from Wailevu also have sugar-cane. Some still live in the village but others have moved out to built their own settlements on their land. This is called tu vakagalala.
In an article in the Fiji Sun, this was written about Wailevu.
Indo-Fijian farmers in the Wailevu sector are part of the village. They have a very good relationship with the people of Wailevu and have helped in the development of the village. And the Turaga Tui Wailevu, Ratu Rokodewala Niumataiwalu, has asked all the headmen to renew leases on their land. He has set an example by renewing all leases on his land. The Tui Wailevu has made a plea to all chiefs around the country to follow suit. He said the land problem in Fiji should not be solved at the political level and should only involve the landowners and the tenants. (FS)
In the photograph are Neimani Lala with some of his family at their home in Wailevu.