Thursday, July 27, 2006

Status and Fijian houses

It is customary in a Fijian village for the chief to have the largest and best house, though by other standards sometimes the house may be simple. It is about comparison. One small painting is of a small bure in Levuka. In one of the pictures the bures are all similar, denoting an order like when people gather around a kava bowl, all equal. The picture include the Vale Levu of the Fiji President, in Viseisei village, a Methodist minister's house in Lautoka - the Spanish Mission style, built on a hill, denoting status, a blue painted wooden house of the chief of Mataniwai village near Labasa. The words 'Vale Levu' mean the chief's house or can mean the chiefly family.


Pandabonium said...

Bures are beautiful. Hate it when they are replaced with corrugated steel ("tin") after a cyclone.

Peceli and Wendy's Blog said...

The problem is that it is very expensive to build a bure these days. The reeds, bamboo, timber have to be procured from a distance. The labourers have to be fed well and housed for a month or more. There is a protocol of gift-giving etc. It may be cheaper to built a different style, though a strong three-bedroom wooden house in Fiji may cost $25,000 which is a lot of money for a villager.