Thursday, October 12, 2006

More about the stones of Wasavulu, Labasa

The Stones at Wasavulu, Labasa

'Anonymous' commented on an earlier post about Wasavulu, so here’s some more about this strange place not far from Labasa town.

In ‘Fiji in Colour’ from 1969, the author James Siers refers to the stones at Wasavulu, Labasa, in a coconut plantation near a bend in a river.

The Commissioner Northern at the time, Mr Parkes, restored the site and said that one monolith is 11 ft 2 inches high, one of a pair of similar stone on parallel walls 350 ft long. Several smaller stones stand nearby. This ceremonial site would have included a bure kalou (spirit house). Parkes said that one tradition handed down was that nine men and one woman brought the tall monolith from the other side of the mountains which divide Vanua Levu.

The story given to us by a Cikobia man who was caretaker at the time, on a day when we visited Wasavulu was that two princesses carried the stones over the mountains.

There are eleven similar sites in the Labasa area, but I have not heard of any other than Wasavulu.

Mr Parkes, who was also a trustee of the Fiji Museum, and his family are in the photo provided here.

Wasavulu and similar sites were used for investing ceremonies connected with spirits or gods, ceremonial games and the presentation of feasts. Similar sites in Viti Levu have been called naga and anthropologists have connected them with snake god worship in India.


Pandabonium said...

This reminds me of the fertility stone on Molokai island in Hawaii. It was used for fertility rites until the haoles (foreigners) came. Sadly, the missionaries defaced the stones in the area believing the petroglyphs to be "evil" or "sinful" or something like that. I went to the site many years ago and climbing into small caves made by the stones I did find some ancient petroglyphs that had survived.

The site on Molokai is beautiful as it is located on high cliffs overlooking Kalaupapa penninsula famous for the Hanson's disease patients and Father Damien's work to help them.

Peceli and Wendy's Blog said...

Thanks for adding something to this discussion about Wasavulu. It seems that fertility is part of the purpose. Sevati Tuwere in his book on the lotu and the vanua explains how important are the first fruit ceremonies and the special new year to do with the yam harvests. So at Wasavulu there surely were ceremonies to do with a fruitful harvest and a wish for big families and courage for the warriors of course.