NEW CHIEFLY RESIDENCE BLESSED IN FIJI

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Roko Tui Dreketi related to great chief Lutunasobasasoba

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, Dec. 27, 2009) – In Fiji, the new chiefly residence of the Roko Tui Dreketi in Lomanikoro called Rewailagi was blessed by the Catholic priest and Methodist Church reverend in Rewa yesterday.

[PIR editor’s note: Rewa is a Province of Fiji. With a land area of 272 square kilometers, it includes the capital city of Suva. The Province has a population of approximately 101,000 making it Fiji's third most populous Province.]

The Rewailagi is co-joined with the current chiefly residence Nadudukilagi that was built by craftsmen of the late Tui Nayau Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara.

Roko Tui Dreketi Ro Teimumu Kepa said the ceremony yesterday was appropriate as it continued the momentum from her late sister Ro Lady Lala Mara, who in her term as Roko Tui Dreketi accepted Christianity in her chiefly residence.

She said Ro Lala accepted Catholic and Methodist missionaries to Lomanikoro sometime in 1938.

"This was important because we see that Rewa has a lot of blessings in store," Ro Teimumu said.

Father Pete Nasele and Reverend Kalivati Ravoka blessed the new home yesterday.

"While we suffer from the impacts of cyclones and flooding, we have a lot more blessings here in Lomanikoro," she said.

Ro Teimumu said this Christmas was special to the chiefly household because for the first time, the family celebrated the festivity with members of their chiefly Valelevu clan.

"This is the first time we have gathered together as a mataqali [Fijian kinship group/clan] -- the oldest is 84-years-old and the youngest is six months, including those who share maternal link here," the marama said.

She said there was a program drawn up for the holidays that began on Christmas Eve and will culminate with a visit to Verata Ucunivanua in Tailevu on Monday," she said.

Ro Teimumu explained the mataqali will for the first time visit Verata, which they believe is where their ancestors are from.

It is understood that the family of the Roko Tui Dreketi are descendents of Ro Melasiga, the son of Fiji's great chief Lutunasobasoba from Verata.

Meanwhile, Ro Teimumu said she anticipated moving into the new home in the New Year.

She also acknowledged the spiritual gift, a Bible, to the chiefly household by a group of old scholars of Adi Cakobau School.

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