Women Relish Openning after 16 Years
Bau Island hosted the longawaited Great Council of Chiefs (GCC) meeting yesterday, marking its return after a 16-year hiatus.
As part of this historic event, Miliana Watisavu recalled the visit of the late Queen Elizabeth II to Bau in 1982 to inaugurate the GCC meeting.
Ms Watisavu, who was 22 years old at the time, recollected the excitement of meeting Queen Elizabeth II for the first time.
She remembers the stark contrast between the atmosphere of the GCC meeting back then and now. “As Queen Elizabeth arrived on the island, we formed a straight line along the footpath to warmly welcome her. It was an incredibly memorable experience to witness the GCC meeting during that era,” Ms Watisavu said.
“In those days, the chiefs themselves carried out all the traditional protocols, but now those responsibilities have been passed down to the great-grandchildren.
“Bau Island was abuzz with people, and the chiefs had ample time to prepare for the GCC meeting.” Ms Watisavu, alongside other women from the Nabaubau household, were busy creating the tuiwewe ni Bau garlands while she shared her encounter with the late
Queen Elizabeth on Tuesday night. “The tuiwewe ni Bau garlands are worn by the men who will participate in the traditional protocol, known as tu yaqona,” she said. “Tuiwewe ni Bau is a unique type of garland worn around the neck and hips, crafted exclusively on Bau Island. Nowhere else in Fiji will you find such a distinct garland.
“Seven Tuiwewe ni Bau garlands were also made for the seven men who will be led by Banuve Tabakaucoro.”