It’s a new dawn for the Kubuna Confederacy.
Today, history repeated itself when Ratu Epenisa Seru Cakobau was traditionally installed as the Turaga Vunivalu Na Tui Kaba and Head of the Kubuna Confederacy, on Bau Island.
The last installation ceremony was accorded to Ratu Sir George Cakobau, the late father of Ratu Epenisa, about 66 years ago in 1957.
He was installed as the Vunivalu of Bau and Tui Levuka.
The chiefly role has been vacant since 1989 and the installation of Ratu Epenisa marked more than 33 years since the traditional position was last occupied.
In attendance to witness the historic event was the Prime Minister Honourable Sitiveni Rabuka, Members of Cabinet, Members of the Diplomatic Corps, invited dignitaries, traditional representatives and well-wishers from around the country and abroad.
The momentous occasion commenced with a church service at the Ratu Cakobau Memorial Church where Ratu Epenisa was prayed over and dedicated to the Lord by the President of the Methodist Church of Fiji, Reverend Ili Vunisuwai and other senior ministers of the church.
Ratu Epenisa, in church, acknowledged the vanua o Bau for its support, and the presence of Prime Minister Rabuka, Cabinet Ministers, and relatives and friends.
At the same time, he called on the vanua and the people of Bau for their unwavering support as he undertakes the role of the Vunivalu.
Following the church service, Ratu Epenisa was then escorted to Mataweilagi by the warriors of the Gonesau, traditionally known as the Vuakaloa, where he changed and draped into his traditional attire.
The traditional ceremonies pertaining to the installation was then held on the chiefly island ground.
The newly-installed Turaga Vunivalu na Tui Kaba also holds the title of Tui Levuka, as he is the traditional leader of the Levuka people of Lakeba in Lau.
Meanwhile, eight district chiefs and their people in the province of Tailevu make up the ‘Matanitu o Bau’ namely the Roko Tui Viwa, Roko Tui Veikau, Roko Tui Namata, Komai Nausori, Roko Tui Kiuva, Tora na Bati of Buretu, Turaga na Tudrau of Dravo and the Roko Tui Cautata.
The Kubuna Confederacy of which the new Turaga Bale Vunivalu Turaga Tui Kaba is the paramount chief, is one of the three confederacies in Fiji’s customary structures with Burebasaga and Tovata being the other two.
Ratu Epenisa’s installation today means that all paramount heads of Fiji’s three confederacies are now filled.