The Waimaro carved human figures

The Waimaro carved human figures – carvings from cachalot whale teeth in Fiji

Aubrey L. Parke

Various Aspects of Symbolism of Unity and Identification of Fijian Polities(*)

Museums around the world, including the Fiji Museum, contain a total of 34 carved human figures that are known or supposed to have come from Fiji. Only two such figures, both carved from cachalot whale teeth, are known to exist in a traditional Fijian context, kept by the people of the vanua of Waimaro in the villages of Taulevu and Nadakuni, Naitasiri province, in the interior of Viti Levu. Vanua is a term for a major group of people related socially and politically to each other.(1)

I first heard of the Waimaro figures in the 1950s while serving in Western Viti Levu as an administrative officer in the Fiji Civil Service. The Rev. W. Deane,(2) principal of a Wesleyan college for teachers in Fiji, recorded some information about these figures, and the Swedish ethnographer Karl Erik Larsson referred to them in a paper on human images of Fiji, although he himself had not seen them.(3) I visited Taulevu and Nadakuni in 1970 and had the privilege of examining one of the two figures and being shown the box within which the second figure lay. This paper is an account of what I learnt about them then and what I have deduced about their significance following many other inquiries. Although others have associated similar figures with ancestral spirits, my own conclusion is that these two figures are symbols of unity and identification and that the Waimaro people fear and respect them.

First, I visited Taulevu with Professor Ron Crocombe, then of the University of the South Pacific, having found out that the carved figure known as Radi ni Waimaro or Lady of Waimaro was kept there. Taulevu overlooks the Wainimala River and is inhabited by a group of Waimaro people whose chief holds the title of Vunivalu. In seeking permission to see the figure, we first approached the bete (traditional priest), Aminiasi Raiki. He took us to the Vunivalu, Ratu Asesela Rokotalou, to whom we presented an isevusevu or offering of dried yaqona (kava). The Vunivalu through his mata ni vanua or master of ceremonies welcomed us with a presentation of liquid yaqona,(4) of which we all drank. Then we presented a tabua (whale’s tooth) with a request to be allowed to see Radi ni Waimaro. After discussion with the bete and the mata ni vanua, the Vunivalu fetched from the private end of his house a wooden box that was lying on a rafter. This he set down in front of the visitors.

After opening the box, the Vunivalu took out an oval basket (tabelona) made of plaited blackened creeper (wa me) which lay on a piece on bark cloth (gatu). From this, he removed a figure wrapped in a long dress of European cloth. He undressed it, and placed it upright on the box before me and in full view of everyone assembled. It was a naked female figure made of cachalot whale teeth. He next took from the basket a tabua, 20 cms long and 8 cms wide, polished and oiled to a light brown colour. This was the kali or pillow of Radi ni Waimaro. Attached to each end of the tooth, which had been pierced, was a length of coconut sennet (magimagi) covered with white shell beads, 7.5 mm wide and 2.5 mm long, cylindrical and pierced at each end. He also took out a small glass bottle which contained scented coconut oil (waiwai). The figure was 27.5 cms high and was made of five pieces of whales’ teeth polished and oiled to a golden colour and joined by wooden and ivory cleats. The arms, legs, and the head and torso were each made of one piece of ivory. The head was rounded and smooth, with no representation of hair. The nostrils were carefully carved, but the mouth was a mere slit and the eyes were crudely scooped out oblong holes. The brow was not pronounced. The expression was calm and slightly tragic (see Appendix). After examing the figure, we presented the Vunivalu with a fathom of European cloth, in order to thank him. The mata ni vanua re-dressed the figure; and having laid our piece of cloth in the basket, he placed on top of it the tabua, the glass bottle and finally the figure. He then placed the basket in the box, which the Vunivalu replaced on top of the rafter. The assembled villagers observed these proceedings in silence and with polite curiosity.

The Vunivalu said that those few Europeans who had requested to see the image had been District Commissioners or former Commissioners, a Wesleyan college principal or people with a knowledge of and respect for Fijian traditional custom. Fijians would not ask to see the figure. Within his memory the Secretary for Fijian Affairs and the Commissioner of the area had asked to see it. They had presented not only yaqona and a tabua but also a bullock. Because we had followed customary procedures, by approaching him through the bete and making appropriate presentations, he did not expect further presentations; and he regarded the piece of cloth as an adequate ka ni vakavinavinaka (expression of gratitude) which would also have the effect of vakasavasavataka (cleansing) any errors or infringements of custom which we might have unwittingly perpetrated in the course of the visit.

Later, I visited Nadakuni, where the second carved figure, known as Tui Waimaro or Lord of Waimaro, was kept. Nadakuni is on the banks of a side stream of the Waidina River, about two kilometres from Nubukaluka on the Waidina. Both are Waimaro villages, each with a chief holding the title of Tui Waimaro. The chief at Nadakuni was Ratu Jone Donumainavanua. After a ceremonial exchange of yaqona, Ratu Jone asked me not to proceed with the presentation of a tabua requesting permission to see the figure. He explained that no-one was ever given permission to see the figure which was in a box in his possession. He himself had not seen it, nor had any other person alive at the time. No-one except a member of his family may see it, from fear of the person, as well as the chief responsible for the guardianship of the figure, dying or going mad. This, Ratu Jone said, happened to a relation of his who opened the box when he should not have done so. The only occasion when the box may be opened is when the figure is heard to be moving about. This is taken as a sign that the figure wishes to have its clothes changed. Then a member of the family, alone in the house, may open the box and change the clothes. This had happened only once during his lifetime, when his elder brother had changed the figure’s clothes. Ratu Jone nevertheless took me to his private house where the box containing the figure was kept on the floor in a fenced-off corner of the private end of the house. I was allowed to within two metres of the box but was not allowed to photograph it. Ratu Jone described the figure as that of a male carved from whales’ teeth.

I then compared information about these two figures with such information as I could obtain about other similar figures associated with Fiji. Of the 34 known figures, 19 are of wood; seven of tree-fern; and eight of cachalot whales’ teeth.(5) All were evidently collected between the 1840s and 1870s. Baron A. von Hugel in 1876 saw ‘hanging from the roof of one of the houses in a village near Vunibau, Serua, a human figure surmounting a wooden basket hook for hanging baskets of food’,(6) and that ardent collector promptly obtained it by barter for a length of cloth. Museum records and contemporary records kept by Europeans in early contact with Fiji provide some information about the provenance of these figures, the context in which they were kept prior to collection, and their significance.

The former Director of the Fiji Museum, Fergus Clunie, recorded wooden images crafted by Fijians, generally using vesi (Intsia bijuga, Leguminosae).(7) Ivory images were carved, generally from whales’ teeth, by Tongan craftsmen, working either in Tonga or in Fiji. Larsson cited museum catalogues which include references to some figures such as ‘wooden idol (human figure) from native temple, Fiji’; as well as ‘Bui ni Kauvadra – a Fijian goddess’. Charles Wilkes, Commander of the United States Exploring Expedition to Fiji in 1840, visited ‘The old mbure [spirit house] near the missionaries’ house’ in Somosomo, Taveuni, and recorded that ‘Here was found the only carved image I saw in the group. It was a small figure cut out of wood, and the missionaries did not seem to think that it was regarded by the people with any reverence’. Wilkes’s figure is probably the same as the wooden figure affixed to the left hand side of the entrance to the spirit house of Natavasara illustrated by the Wesleyan missionary, Thomas Williams.(8)

Later Wilkes visited Sandalwood Bay in the province of Bua on the island of Vanua Levu, and saw a consecrated area between Vaturua and Matainole, ‘on which were mounds of stone, with a rude idol dressed with a turban and Fijian hair-pins’, and surrounded by spears, clubs, arrows and other offerings.(9) This figure was included in Larsson’s list of wooden figures and illustrated by him. Theodor Kleinschmidt, who was collecting specimens in central Viti Levu in the 1870s, referred to small twinned human images made of single whales’ teeth standing back to back on a platform below which were hooks upon which offerings used to be hung. These figures were hung in model spirit houses which were then placed in ‘real temples’.(10)

One such figure was collected in the 1870s at Nawaka, near Nadi, where it had been hidden following the introduction of Christianity. Larsson cited the Governor of Fiji, Sir Arthur Gordon, and Edward O’Brien Heffernan, a government interpreter with the Governor’s group when the figure was collected, who said that the image came from Tonga and had been kept by Nayawaelagi, a chief of Sabeto some 10 kms northeast of Nadi. Nayawaelagi gave it ‘as his fee’ to a vuniwai (traditional healer) of Nadi who had lanced a swelling in his neck. At Nadi, the image was entered by Nalilavatu, ‘wife of the chief god of Nadi’. It was placed in a small ‘bure’ (spirit house) enclosed in a large one, and spoke with a thin little squeaky voice. The vuniwai became her bete or priest. Nalilavatu had the power to harm or to assist, depending on how she was treated. If people offended her by entering her spirit house without due ceremony, she caused them to have swollen necks. If people did not provide her with adequate food, she caused them to die or to be killed in war. On the other hand, ‘if properly supplicated to do so’, Nalilavatu could detect thefts, naming the thief. After the spread of Christianity into the area, in the late 1860s, she is said to have lost her powers.(11)

Wilkes said that ‘deities … are worshipped … in mbure or spirit houses … In these mbures, images are found; but these, although much esteemed as ornaments, and held sacred, are not worshipped as idols. They are only produced on great occasions.’ More recently, Larsson considered whether images in Fiji were idols; and even more recently Clunie thought that whale tooth female images ‘were worshipped in Viti (sic) as ancestor images’. He, however, later said that ‘very little is known about the use of idols or ancestor images in the old Fijian religion beyond the fact that they were kept in spirit-houses and were sometimes possessed by the spirit of the ancestor they represented’.(12)

Before commenting, I will give a brief account of some Fijian traditional beliefs about ancestral spirits and their origins as explained to me in many parts of Fiji, especially Viti Levu. My investigations were mainly in Naitasiri, Rewa and Tailevu as well as in the districts of Rakiraki, Vuda, Nawaka and Nadi.

Williams said that ‘Their [the Fijians’] traditional mythology is dark, vague and perplexing’.(13) I join issue with Williams, because even now beliefs and mythology persist and form a reasonably consistent pattern at any rate in areas I have visited. Both in Rakiraki and Vuda, I was told the same version of the origin story of the present Fijians who arrived by canoe from the west and landed near Vuda, some 12 kms to the north of Nadi. Some remained in the area, while others moved to the Nakauvadra mountains in the northeast corner of Viti Levu, where they settled. From these progenitors were descended those who dispersed, settled elsewhere, married and had children. The descendants formed unilineal (usually patrilineal) descent groups, now referred to generally by the term yavusa. Each yavusa recognises a kalou vu or founding ancestor and a yavu tu or original settlement site where the kalou vu first settled.

The Methodist minister, linguist and ethnographer, Arthur Capell defined kalou vu as ‘origin spirit’, being the ‘deified original ancestor of a group of Fijians, having his temple (bure kalou) and priests (bete)’.(14) The term kalou vu is composed of two elements – kalou, the basic meaning of which is ‘spirit’ (the anthropologist A.M. Hocart considered the term to refer to ‘the dead’,(15) but this is too restrictive), and vu meaning in this context ‘origin’. The term nitu in the west of Fiji has the same general meaning as kalou. The terms ‘spirit of the original ancestor’ and ‘spirit house’ are more appropriate than ‘deified ancestor’ and ‘temple’.

The bure kalou or beto, as it is known in the west, is the spirit house where the bete would commune with the kalou vu. A member of a specific subgroup of a yavusa generally held the office of bete, responsible for interceding with the kalou vu on behalf of the chiefs and people of the yavusa. This he would do by presenting liquid yaqona (kava) to the spirit, the first bowl of which would be poured onto the ground inside the spirit house or, as on one occasion when I witnessed such a presentation, onto the threshold of the entrance. The spirit passed messages to the bete by possessing (curuma) him in a trance or dream.

In considering whether differences in beliefs represented differences in space, it is clear that, at a local level, Fiji is not a homogeneous socio- and politico-geographical entity. My advisers divided Viti Levu into Yasayasa vakaRa and Natuicake – the west and the east, though the latter term includes eastern Fiji generally. These terms reflect linguistic, sociopolitical and cultural differences as well as geographical differences. In spite of local differences, it is still meaningful at a certain level for homogeneity to override local diversity. In considering whether beliefs differed significantly in time, I noted that many of the old concepts, beliefs and practices were still maintained, although perhaps not so overtly or generally as in the last century.

I could not find any evidence that carved human figures were worshipped as ancestral images. Indeed the evidence of early missionaries and visitors indicates that they were not. I then considered whether the figures were regarded as either waqawaqa (manifestation) or itikotiko/nono (abode) of kalou vu. From my own investigations, I will indicate how these different concepts are understood nowadays, at any rate in the areas investigated.

Each kalou vu or, in the west, nitu had his own particular waqawaqa. Capell and the ethnographer R. H. Lester defined waqawaqa as ‘the body assumed by the kalou vu for the purposes of self-manifestation’.(16) I was given many examples including not only animals, insects, fish and birds but also smells as of a dead body, sounds as of the whistling of a bird and natural phenomena such as a whirlwind. The appearance of a waqawaqa is a signal that the kalou vu is at hand for some purpose, such as to warn of an impending death, or give encouragement before battle. A member of the Fiji Military Forces told me that when he was about to go on patrol against the Japanese in World War II he was cheered by the smell of an ant which was the waqawaqa of his kalou vu. No-one suggested to me that carved human figures were regarded as waqawaqa.

Each kalou vu or nitu has his itikotiko ni kalou or, in the west, nono ni nitu; and those I visited included pools, mounds, caves, and monoliths. Some features were regarded as the present abodes of the spirits, whereas others were pointed out as abodes from which the spirit had departed following the introduction of Christianity or disturbance by insensitive agricultural or public works developers. The bure kalou where the bete usually communicated with the kalou vu is different from the itikotiko ni kalou. People on the island of Bau told me that Ratu mai Bulu, the kalou vu of the Kubuna people, would usually communicate with the bete at the bure kalou of Navatanitawake on the island, but his itikotiko was a cave at Rukuruku in the area of Taikobau opposite to Bau, on the mainland of Viti Levu. On occasion a whale’s tooth figure became the itikotiko of a spirit, as when the Nadi figure was possessed by the female spirit Nalilavatu. Although this figure may have been the abode of a spirit for a period, not all images were, or still are, regarded as such. Both the Vunivalu and the bete at Taulevu as well as the Tui Waimaro at Nadakuni were quite definite in saying that there was no association between the Waimaro figures and the founding ancestral spirits of the Waimaro people.

Whatever the significance of whales’ teeth figures may have been in Tonga or to Tongans living in Fiji, such figures did not necessarily have the same significance when transposed as a Tongan cultural legacy to a Fijian ritual context. Nevertheless, such unusual and exotic objects of Tongan craftsmanship acquired, in the Fijian context, such an aura of value and reverence as to come to be regarded as iyau or valuable objects for presentation on ceremonial occasions, similar to tabua, or masi (bark cloth). The ceremonial presentation of valuable objects, which were regarded as inherently endowed with supernatural powers of good fortune and which could, if properly ministered to (qaravi), bring kalougata or good fortune and protection to the recipients, was characteristic of ceremonies of life-crisis in general, and of expressions of gratitude for services rendered.

Such valuable objects as I have seen included an elephant’s tusk, 66 cm long and one cm across, brought originally from Kadavu to Sabeto near Nadi, and later to Wainikoroiluva, Namosi, on the occasion of a chiefly wedding. The Nadi figure already referred to was sent from Sabeto as an expression of gratitude for successful medical treatment. Ratu Cakobau, the paramount chief of the Kubuna confederacy, presented a whale’s tooth necklace, known as wasekaseka or waseisei (in the local dialect), to the then Tui Waimaro of Nubukaluka, as a reward (icovi) for assistance in war. He gave another necklace to Tui Waimaro for assistance in a war against the people of Lovoni on the island of Ovalau. Tui Waimaro then gave this second necklace to his Liga ni Wau (club bearers) of Nauluvatu as a reward for their bravery in war. Other such valuable rewards which I saw in Naitasiri included pearl shell breast plates inlaid with pieces of ivory (civavonovono), a crescent-shaped breast ornament made of whale bone (?), and a circular polished boar tooth ornament.

In both villages, I was told that the Waimaro figures came from Cakaudrove, as ceremonial presentations following the death of a woman from Naitasiri who was married to a chief of Cakaudrove. Asesela Ravuvu, himself from Naitasiri and at present Director of the Institute of Pacific Studies at the University of the South Pacific, explained to me that in order to ensure that the spirit of a dead person will not return, formal rites of separation had to be undertaken; and farewell gifts in terms of mourning tributes had to be presented to the close kin of the deceased. Offerings were of objects of value such as whales’ teeth, yaqona, barkcloth, mats.(17)

As to their original provenance, there were close connections between Tongans and the people of Cakaudrove, and the figures were likely to be Tongan or at any rate manufactured by Tongans in Fiji. Their significance to their craftsmen is not known, but the Cakaudrove people must have regarded them as precious enough to send as presentations on the death of the woman. The images were sent to Naitasiri before the introduction of Christianity; but there is no evidence that even then they were associated with the kalou vu. The bete at Taulevu was definite on this point and did not consider that the introduction of Christianity had altered their significance. To him and to the chiefs of Taulevu and Nadakuni they were ha ni kalougata or objects of good fortune inherently endowed with supernatural powers (mana), to be greatly respected and cherished for the benefit of the Waimaro people. If handled or observed improperly, they could cause madness or death. As such, they were feared (rerevaki).

Ravuvu described rere, the basic form of the verb rere(vaka), as an uncanny feeling of fear related closely to the presence of spirits or some other form of supernatural power.(18) It is the basis of maintaining social distance from vanua tabu or tabu places such as bure kalou or itikotiko ni kalou, or from ka tabu or tabu objects such as these human images. This feeling is known as mataku(cia) in the west.

In both villages, the chiefs and the bete described the Waimaro figures as tabua (whales’ teeth), ka tabu sara (very tabu objects), ka ni kalougata(19) (objects of good fortune), iyau (precious ceremonial objects) and uku (ornaments). As such, they have a central place in the ritual of the Waimaro people. They can be regarded as unifying and identifying symbols of the people of Waimaro with whom they are seen by the Waimaro and by other people as having a unique association.

This attitude to the figures resembles the attitude of a yavusa towards its icavuti/vuti yaca. Each major descent group in Viti Levu has its own identifying and unifying icavuti or, in the west, vuti yaca, being a series of usually three categories of object. The system of categorisation differs in various parts of Viti Levu. In the east, the categories of icavuti for each yavusa are typically some kind of tree (kau), fish (ika) and insect/animal (manumanu). In the west, the categories of vuti yaca for each group are typically some kind of tree (kai), food (magiti) and concomitant to the food (ilava).

The origin of this system of objects of unification and identification is obscure, though some people told me that when their kalou vu came down from the Nakauvadra mountains, he brought these objects for the special use of his descendants. In some places in Ra the tree is symbolic of the male generative organ, and the fish of the female organs. In the Nadi area, the same object sometimes represents both male and female organs. All agreed that they were very tabu, and could only be discussed in private and then with great caution and seriousness.

The unity and identity of a yavusa are therefore symbolised not only by a common founding ancestor and associated yavu tu or original settlement, but also by a set of special objects, the icavuti or vuti yaca.

There are some similarities between the fear and respect shown by the Waimaro people to their figures and the attitude of a yavusa towards its icavuti/vuti yaca. The icavuti/vuti yaca, however, are particular species of objects within certain categories, not individual members of those species; whereas it is the two figures and these two figures alone that are respected and feared by the Waimaro people. Further, icavuti/vuti yaca are ascribed as integral and original features of a yavusa, while the two figures were associated with the Waimaro people only in proto-historic times and then as presentations by the people of Cakaudrove.

The two Waimaro figures are not currently regarded as images of spirits of original ancestors, or manifestations or as abodes of such spirits. There is no evidence whether they were regarded as images of kalou vu in Cakaudrove. The figures are currently regarded as objects of good fortune. They are very tabu, being greatly feared and respected, and are included by the Waimaro people among their symbols of unity and identification.

Comparing the Waimaro figures with other carved human figures from Fiji, the Nadi figure was for a while the abode of an ancestral spirit, whereas the Waimaro figures had no known association with the ancestral spirits in the current traditional context. All human figures from Fiji are or were not then of the same significance. Indeed, their significance may have varied as their cultural context altered in time and space.


Radi ni Waimaro – Details of Figure

The arms were featureless and slightly carved at the elbows. They were stretched straight down beside but separate from the trunk. The palms of the hands were placed inwards and the fingers, which were separate, were stretched out. The hands were big and grossly out of proportion. The fingers and nails were carefully carved. The trunk, 5 cms thick, was smooth and tapered down from the shoulders. The clavicles were carefully carved in relief. The breasts were prominent, but without nipples. The navel depression had been carved with great care. The buttocks were very protruding but the hips were not carved. The genital organs were not represented. The legs were slightly flexed, with a narrow space separating them. The knees were scarcely carved at all. The feet, which faced outwards at 90 degrees from the line of the body, were long and grossly out of proportion. The toes and nails were carefully carved.

The following measurements were taken:

shoulder to shoulder 9 cms across

left arm 15 cms long

fight arm 14 cms long

fingertips from left to fight hand 14 cms long

left leg 11 cms long

fight leg 11 cms long

feet 5 cms long


* I am grateful to the many people who guided me to sites and spent much time explaining their beliefs and practices. I could not name them all, and to select a few would be invidious. I am grateful to Profs Ron Crocombe and Asesela Ravuvu, both of the University of the South Pacific, and to Dr Don Gardner and Mr Peter Dowling, both of the Department of Archaeology and Anthropology, The Faculties, the Australian National University, for their advice and comments on early drafts of this document. I am particularly grateful to Dr Deryck Scarr, Division of Pacific and Asian History, Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies, and to Dr Patrick Guinness, of the Department of Archaeology and Anthropology, The Faculties, the Australian National University, for their infinite patience and scholarly guidance in completing this account.

1 A. Ravuvu, The Fijian Ethos (Suva 1987), 14.

2 W. Deane, Fijian Society or the Sociology and Psychology of the Fijians (London 1921), 65, 69.

3 K. E Larsson, Fijian Studies (Goteburgh 1960), 34.

4 The isevusevu or formal presentation of yaqona which is accepted formally, following accepted formulae, and then the formal presentation of a tabua are the most profound procedures to be followed in making a ‘difficult’ request (kerekere dredre), such as for a marriage to take place, or for a person to be killed or in a situation such as that involving my request.

5 The Fijian term for a wooden figure is matakau, which the Methodist minister, linguist and ethnographer, Arthur Capell (A.Capell, A New Fijian Dictionary, Sydney 1941, 64) defined as ‘a carved figure, an idol, a statue, a doll’. The term is based on two words, mata, with a primary meaning of ‘face’, and kau meaning ‘wood’. I am not aware of a specific Fijian term for a whale tooth human figure, which may be twinned or a single figure. However the Waimaro figures were referred to by the general term for whale tooth objects, tabua.

6 J. Roth and S. Hooper (eds), The Fiji Journals of Baron Anatole von Hugel 1875-1877 (Suva 1990), 417.

7 F. Clunie, Yalo i Viti. Shades of Fiji. A Fiji Museum Catalogue (Suva 1986).

8 Larsson, Fijian Studies, 41, 52. C. Wilkes, Narrative of the United States Exploring Expedition (repr. Suva 1985), 152. T. Williams, Fiji and the Fijians, Vol. I (2nd ed. London 1860), 224.

9 Wilkes, Narrative, 215.

10 H. Tischner, ‘Theodor Kleinschmidt’s notes on the Hill Tribes of Viti Levu, 1877-1879’, Domodomo. Fiji Museum Quarterly, 2:4 (1984), 187.

11 Larsson, Fijian Studies, 27, 28.

12 Wilkes, Narrative, 86. Larsson, Fijian Studies, 86. Clunie, Yalo i Viti, 165; F. Clunie, ‘A Fijian ancestor image collected by Rev. John Hunt’, Domodomo. Fiji Museum Quarterly, 5:2 (1987), 61-4.

13 Williams, Fiji and the Fijians, 215.

14 Capell, A new Fijian dictionary 96.

15 A.M. Hocart, ‘On the meaning of Kalou and the origin of Fijian temples’, Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, 42 (1912), 448.

16 A. Capell and R. H. Lester, ‘The nature of Fijian totemism’, Transactions and Proceedings of the Fiji Society of Science and Industry, 2 (1953), 59-67.

17 A. Ravuvu, pers. comm., 1995.

18 A. Ravuvu, Vaka i taukei. The Fijian way of life (Suva 1983), 87.

19 Kalougata may be derived from kalou or spirit and gata or snake suggesting some association with Degei, whom Deryck Scarr described as ‘supreme god for many Fijians, coiled in the form of a serpent at the peak called Uluda in the Kauvadra mountains of Ra’ (D. Scarr, Fji A Short History, Sydney 1984, 90). The concept of kalougata is different from that of mana which in a Fijian context refers to supernatural powers connected with spirits, especially those powers derived from the kalou vu.

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