Fiji Sun - - Front Page - ANASILINI RATUVA

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

Photo: Anasilini Ratuva

Na­tional rugby 7s head coach Ben Ryan with his Serua peo­ple at Up­ris­ing Beach Re­sort yes­ter­day.

Photo: Anasilini Ratuva

Head coach Ben Ryan ac­knowl­edges the Vu­ni­valu for his piece of land.

Photo: Anasilini Ratuva

Women of Serua pre­pare for the tra­di­tional wel­com­ing cer­e­mony called ‘cere’ for Ben Ryan yes­ter­day.

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