Volume 1 1892 > Volume 1, No. 3, 1892 > The land of our origin (Viti, or Fiji.) by Basil Thompson, p143-146
                                                                                             Previous | Next   

- 143
Illustration
THE LAND OF OUR ORIGIN. (VITI, OR FIJI.)

THE following tradition was supplied in the original by Jonacani Dabea, of the Island of Bega, one branch of the Davutukia Tribe, who occupy the south-western part of Viti-levu. Vuda Point, mentioned as the landing-place, is the north-western point of Viti-levu. The Nakauvandra Range is about thirty miles east of Vuda. It is the home of Fijian mythology, and was recently the site of a recrudescence of a heathen cult similar to the hauhau of the Maoris, in which Ndengei reappears as the father of Jehovah and Jesus. To the incident of the shooting of Turukawa a number of old myths are attached. According to another version, Ndengei was a serpent lying asleep in a great cave, and awakened only by the cooing of the pigeon Turukawa. When he turned his mighty coils the earth trembled. The archers who shot Turukawa were his two sons, and in his anger he went to war with them, and they fled to Vannalevu. The route given, from Nakauvandra to Vitu, is eastward down the Wainibuka, one of the sources of the Rewa.

Seeing how trivial are the causes that lead to war among primitive peoples, and how any incident causing dissension would stand out against the background of monotony, there is little doubt that the god Ndengei was once a man—deified because he was the embodiment of the ancestral spirit—and that his favourite pigeon was really shot, and his people divided in consequence.

A canoe drifting from the westward, perhaps in one of the westerly gales, that last occasionally for two weeks, would naturally fetch Vuda; and evidence that the ancestors of the Fijians came from the westward is supplied in the fact that the Thombothombo, or place where the spirits leap into the sea to return to the other world, faces - 144 westwards. The place whence they came would be invested by tradition with virtues unknown in the place of their adoption, and their spirits would naturally return to it after death. This tradition records one of the immigrations of Melanesians. It is for one of your members to identify Malake1

TRANSLATION.

It is said that the ancestors of the Fijians of to-day drifted to a land called Malake, and that after abiding there for a time they sailed and drifted till they came ashore on a point to the westward (on Viti-levu). There they disembarked, and built houses, and dwelt; and their numbers increased, and they therefore called the name of that place Vuda (lit: our origin). And while they dwelt there they saw the tops of high mountains inland, and they ascended them. And there they found a mountain top, where they dwelt and built houses. And the name of that mountain was Nakauvandra (Pandanus tree). And there they dwelt for a time: and the chief to whom they paid tribute (did homage) at that time was named Ndengei2, and he had a pigeon that used to wake him called Turukawa. And a day came when Ndengei sought for Turukawa, his awakener, for he had not cried as was his wont; and he ordered them to enquire of the archers Nacurukaumoli and Nakausabaria, saying, “Let one go and ask if they have shot Turukawa.” But they denied it; but it was they in truth who had shot him; and at last it became known that it was they. This was the beginning of the discord at Nakauvandra. And they scattered; and some went down and settled on a streamlet, and two of them built houses there together—the ancestor of Rewa and the ancestor of Verata; and to this day they use this interjection, when a Rewan meets a Veratan he cries, “Citizen of the foundation,” and the Veratan answers “Citizen of the foundation,” because they two had but one house-foundation in the mountains (Iholo).

And they left that place, and went down and settled in another place called Viti (Fiji). [This place is on the Upper Rewa in the canefields of the Colonial Sugar Refining Company, near Viria. An ancient village site can still be traced.] And while there they saw a hill-top, and some said that they should climb it, and examine from - 145 thence the lands to the seawards, and the other lands. And they climbed it; and when they came back this was their report: “There are many rich lands below us, and the ocean and some islands.” Then they prepared to abandon Viti to go and people the lands they had seen from the hill-top: now the name of that hill-top is Narairai3 There is one close to the site of Viti. (look-out place). Then they left Viti and scattered, each going to the land that he had chosen; and they divided, some going to the coast, and some remaining among the mountains; but it is certain that the people on the coast, and the people in the mountains to-day are akin.

A VANUA EDA A VU MAIKINA.

E kainaki sa ciri mai na kawa ni tamata sa tiko e Viti, ka ra sa mai tiko mai e dua na vanua na Tacana ko Malake; era sa tikotiko mai Malake ka ra sa ciri sobu ka ra sa qai la'ki takasa ki na dua na ucuna mai Ra. Era sa mani sobu ki vanua ka ra sa tiko kina ka tara koro kina, ka sa mani tubu kina na tamata me lelevu mai, ka sa mani yaca ni vanua ko ya ko Vuda. Ia ni ra sa tiko dede kina era sa qai raica na veiulu ni vanua cecere eso era sa qai cabe cake, ka ra sa la'ki kunea e dua na ulu ni vanua, era sa mani tiko kina me tara eso na nodra vale. Ia na yaca ni ulu ni vanua ko ya ko Nakauvadra. Era sa tiko vakadede vakalailai; sa qai dua na nodra turaga era qarava tiko na yacana ko Degei. Ia ka sa qai dua na nonai vakayadrayadra e dua na soqe ne yacana ko Turukawa. Ia e na dua na siga sa qara ko Degei ni sa sega ni tagi ko Turukawa na nonai vakayadrayadra: sa vaka ko koya me rau la'ki tarogi mada na dau vavana; ia na yacadrau na dau vavana ko Nacurukaumoli kei Nakausabaria, ka sa vaka ko Degei, “E dua mada e tarogi rau koi rau ka rau vanai Turukawa.” Ka rau sa mani cakitaka ga vua. Ia koi rau dina ga ka rau vana. Ia sa qai kilai e muri ni sai rau dina ga ka vanai Turukawa, ia na ka oqo sa tubu kina na veicati e na nodra tiko mai Nakauvadra. Ka ra sa mani veiseyaki kina, ka ra sa se sobu mai ka ra mai tiko e na dua na drekeniwai lailai, ka rau sa mai tara vale vata kina e lewe rua me dua na vale ko koya na kai Rewa kei na kai Verata. Sa tu ga na kenai kacikacivaki vaka oqo: e kaya na kai Verata vei koya na gone ni Rewa, “Kai vuni yavu.” Qai kaya na kai Rewa, “Kai vuni yavu,” ni sa dua bau ga na nodrau yavu ni vale mai Colo.

Ka ra sa qai biuta tale na vanua ko ya ka ra lako sobu tale mai ka ra sa mai tiko tale e na dua na vanua, ai na yaca ni vanua era sa mai tiko kina ko Viti. Ia ni ra sa rai tale ki muri era sa raica tale e dua - 146 na ulu ni vanua ka sa kaya eso me so mada me ra la'ki rai toka mai na ulu ni vanua ko ya me vakaraica na vanua ki wai kei na vei vanua eso. Ia ni ra sa tale mai era sa mai tukutuku tale sa vaka oqo na nodrai tukutuku. “Sa qai ka levu na vei vanua vinaka sa tu sobu ki ra oqo, na wasawasa kei na yanuyanu eso.” Sa ra qai vakarau me vakalala na vanua ko ya ko Viti, me ra la'ki tawana na vanua era sa raica e na ulu ni vanua ko ya; ia ka sa yaca ni ulu ni vanua koya ko Nairairai. Ka ra sa qai dui lako ka biuti Viti ka ra sa qai la'ki tiko ki na vanua era sa dui digia me ra tiko kina ka ra sa tawase ga, eso e lako mai ki waitui, ka so e tiko mai Colo; ka sa macala ga era sa kai vata ga kei ira ka tiko mai Colo kei ira ka tiko e waitui e na gauna oqo.

Illustration
1  We would specially ask our members in the New Hebrides and Solomon Islands if the name Malake is known to any of the natives of those islands.—Editors.
2  It has been asserted that Ndengei is the Melanesian form of Tangaroa of Polynesian myths.—Editors.
3  Many of the hill-tops on the course of the Rewa River are called Narairai.