admin's picture

By Maika Bolatiki

SUVA, Fiji (FijiSUN, July 21) - The former First Lady and Burebasaga confederacy paramount chief, Marama na Roko Tui Dreketi, Ro Lady Litia Cakobau Lalabalavu Katoafutoga Mara, passed away yesterday at the Suva Private Hospital.

Her daughter, Senator Adi Koila Mara Nailatikau, confirmed her passing to the FijiSUN.

A bereaved Adi Koila said the family was meeting and she was not in a position to elaborate.

Her mother passed away just three months after the nation mourned the passing of her late husband and former President, Turaga na Tui Nayau, Ratu Sir Kamisese Kapaiwai Tuimacilai Mara.

The paramount chief died at 7:00 a.m. yesterday.

Popularly known as Ro Lala, the Marama Roko Tui Dreketi had the genes that united bloodlines of several distinguished noble households.

By birth and marriage, she had the names of family nobility and was Fiji’s highest ranking noble.

She was born on January 3, 1931, to Ratu George Cokanauto Tuisawau the Roko Tui Dreketi and Adi Asenaca Vosailagi Makutu of the Ka Levu household of Nadroga.

The Rewa paramount chief had close kin connections to the chiefdoms of Kubuna and Tovata.

From her father she inherited the paramount title Roko Tui Dreketi of Burebasaga, which includes the provinces of Rewa, Nadroga, Kadavu and parts of Ba.

The ties with the Tovata were strengthened with a dynamic marriage to Ratu Sir Kamisese.

She married the Turaga na Tui Nayau on September 22, 1950 at the Sacred Heart Cathedral in Suva.

The Turaga Tui Nayau had described the Marama Roko Tui Dreketi as a wonderful wife and mother, besides being a very gracious consort and ambassador for Fiji.

Ro Lady Lala was a prominent member of the Great Council of Chiefs and since 1974 her name has been synonymous with the largest women’s organization in Fiji, the Soqosoqo Vakamarama.

The secretary of the Fiji Democratic Party, Filipe Bole, in paying tribute to the Roko Tui Dreketi, said she would be remembered for her wise leadership, vision, compassion and service not only to the ‘vanua’ (region) but also to the women of all races through the Soqosoqo Vakamarama and numerous charitable organizations.

Bole is a former Director of the Pacific Islands Development Program at the East-West Center in Honolulu.

July 22, 2004


Rate this article: 
No votes yet

Add new comment