LAND, NEW NAME FOR BEN RYAN
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Serua Province yesterday honoured champion 7s rugby coach Ben Ryan and rewarded him. It gave Ryan three acres of land, elevated him as a Serua chief and renamed him Ratu Peni Raiyani Latianara. This means that Ryan joins the nobility and the chiefly ranks. The name Latianara comes from the chiefly family of the Vunivalu Serua. His title was given to him by
the Turaga Na Vunivalu (Paramount Chief) of Serua Ratu Peni Latianara at the Uprising Resort ground, Deuba yesterday. His new land is located at Nabunidrose, Serua, just alongside the road to Serua Island. Ratu Kini Vitukawalu presented the tabua (whales tooth) to the coach announcing his new name and land. Speaking in iTaukei, the Turaga Na Vunivalu, Ratu Peni acknowledges his namesake Ratu Peni (Ben) for bringing back gold from Rio. “Thank you my name sake Ratu Peni Latianara kai Serua, thank you for taking the Fijian team to Rio Olympics and returning with a gold medal,” he said. Ratu Peni also acknowledges the owner and manager of Uprising Beach Resort, Rene Munch for accommodating the team in the past three years which has now produced positive result.
“Thank you everyone for coming here, the traditional ceremonies and thank you all for your support,” he said. Ryan mentioned Serua will always be their vale (home). “We came and we did not have anything, my first week here I lived here for free, I was at Mokosoi village at mass and the priest talked about giving and not receiving. That’s how I was like in Serua. “I was giving without asking for something in return. Love from everyone, friendship and Serua has become my family. “My lolomas to everybody. We will be back soon, it will always be a place in my heart,” Ryan said. The head coach also stated how Serua has been part of the gold medal win from Rio. “Three years ago I stepped foot in Serua with my wife Natalie where we came to Uprising Beach Resort and immediately I saw that this was the place to base the team. “Our team came everywhere from Fiji, from every point but in the last three years they have been on this field where you’re standing on. “And they have been doing all they can to reach their goals to get Fiji back to the top and win the world series and to be the first team to win gold in the Olympics,” Ryan added. Ryan presented a tabua (whales tooth) to the Vunivalu family acknowledging them for his land. The tabua was presented to the chiefs by Esika Qoro on behalf of Ryan and was received by Ratu Kini Vitukawalu. The people of Serua and children turned up in numbers at Uprising Beach Resort ground where they witnessed a full traditional thanksgiving ceremony for Ryan. As Ryan entered the venue with Police escort, the Serua women performed a cere (traditional welcoming ceremony). It took him by surprise, but he was excited to be part of the ceremony. This was followed by the performance of sevusevu (traditional kava ceremony) by the men.
It was also the opportunity for the people of Serua to grab photo opportunities and autographs with Ryan. Edited by Nemani Delaibatiki
National rugby 7s head coach Ben Ryan with his Serua people at Uprising Beach Resort yesterday.
Head coach Ben Ryan acknowledges the Vunivalu for his piece of land.
Women of Serua prepare for the traditional welcoming ceremony called ‘cere’ for Ben Ryan yesterday.