Sunday, November 05, 2006

Epeli and Henry in Vorovoro Island

From Peceli

Many thanks to people like Epeli and Henry

Thanks for the lovely traditional Bure that now becomes the beginning of the land mark of the Tribewanted in Vorovoro Island. There are a few people I would like to mention their names, firstly Komai Viriviri Epeli Gauna, the traditional builder of the large bure. It is not an easy assignment as the building materials all have to brought in from the mainland.

Epeli is a mataisau. The word matai means expert. He is a skilled carpenter and boatbuilder and right-hand practical man to the Tui Mali. Epeli build some of the boats that are used in Vorovoro and Mali. Epeli lives in Vuo village near the Malau Timber Mill and Vuo is a village of Mali Island people. I met him on Vorovoro Island when I was there in August and we talked then with Epeli and Tui Mali about designing a large bure for the tribewanted people.

Secondly Henry Marshall who is now registered in the chiefly yavusa (tribe)of Ligaulevu. He was a skilled mechanic with the Fiji Sugar Corporation, now just retired, and he lives in Vuinika which is near Vuo. He helps with engines and assists the Tui Mali. He is a matai ni idini (engine). And he has a car to drive the Tui Mali to Labasa town.

Thank you also to the women of Mali, particularly Tui Mali’s wife Ana who is a secondary school teacher. She and the women organised the decorations for the interior of the bure.

It is rare today to see the building of a traditional bure in the Labasa area. I don’t think there are any bures in Naseakula or Wailevu villages. The materials are difficult to obtain because most of the land has been turned into sugar cane farms so the forests are gone.


laminar_flow said...

I think by converting modern trades to Bauan is confusing.

Fijian vernacular may have to be upgraded to cater for the multitude of trades and by lumping the matai-ni-ingini does not do the job description any justice.

This can extrapolated to include any modern career.
Point of Contention-Is the FSC Mechanic:

1.)Automotive mechanic?
What grade: Light vehicles or Heavy Diesel Equipment.
2.)Industrial Mechanic; Is he a Fitter and Turner or Diesel Engine Mechanic?

3.)What is the term for Fabricator and Welder?

3.)What is the term for Technicians or Engineer?

4.) Electrical, Electronics and Telecommunication also have their equivalent matais.

Question is assigning a unique Fijian terminology to them.

E.g Radio-Walesi.

Radio mechanic-Matai ni walesi?

Electrician Heavy Current-Matai-ni-livaliva bibi etc.

Peceli and Wendy's Blog said...

Peceli is out playing golf so can't answer you at present.
Yes, it does make language extraordinarily silly at times when translations are made in this way. I think we should go with the English for these names. But common usage is to Fijianise some English words. Don't know what the new dictionary does with this topic.

Nicole L said...


(I posted this comment on a post in early October, but then I realized that you may not even know it's there because it's older, so I'm reposting here).

My name is Nicole and I came accross your blog when I did a Google search for "Vunivutu." It seems as though you are very familiar with Vunivutu, so I wanted to contact you.

I will be backpacking in Fiji for three weeks in January and would love a unique experience. I am thinking that if they are using the Vunivutu area as a "Survivor" location that it's probably incredibly beautiful because every "Survivor" location is. I'd love to go there if it is accessible and not too expensive to get there. I also work for a magazine and have a couple of story ideas that may be really neat to write if I go there (if it is okay with the people there, of course). They will already be done filming by the time I get to Fiji, so I won't run into any "this is a closed set" problems if I go, although I wanted to know if there are many other problems (not being welcome, etc) that I may run into there. I'm also wondering if they may do any village homestays in Vunivutu and who I would contact if they do.

My email address is Any help insight and help you could give me would be GREATLY APPRECIATED! I have been unable to find any information about the area other than that they are using it for Survivor.

Thank you so much for your time.


Nicole L.

Peceli and Wendy's Blog said...

Hi Nichole,
Vunivutu is just one village of hundreds of interesting places in Vanua Levu. A good website to ask questions about backpacking in Fiji is thorntree - a lonely planet forum.
I know more about Labasa town and nearby than Vunivutu though we have relatives there. Anywhere from Savusavu to Labasa is beautiful and there are plenty of websites about backpacking in Fiji. Best way to go to Vanua Levu, Fiji's second largest island, is by ferry from Suva. The plane is quite expensive these days.

Nicole L said...

Thanks! :) :)