Vunivalu of Bau

Vunivalu of Bau

Turaga na Vunivalu ni Bau is the Paramount Chief of the Kubuna Confederacy, loosely translated the title means Warlord of Bau or Root of War. The succession to the title does not follow primogeniture, but the candidate must be a high ranking member of the Tui Kaba clan.

A brief history

The Vunivalu was not always the senior Chieftain in Kubuna and Bau the title was considered subordinate to the Roko Tui Bau . Power struggles between the various chiefly households came to a head with the exile of the Vunivalu Tanoa Visawaqa in the early 1800s after a series of murders and reprisals. His son Seru Epenisa Cakobau however was allowed to remain in Bau during his fathers exile. Cakobau gained power by subverting the Lasakau people to plot and execute the overthrow of the ruling group, led by Ratu Ravulo Vakayaliyalo, in 1837; Seru Epenisa Cakobau then reinstated his father as ruler.

Cakobau eventually succeeded to the title himself. He created much of its prestige by styling himself King of Fiji; he led the process that culminated in cession of the islands to the United Kingdom in 1874

The position has been vacant since the death of the last Vunivalu, Ratu Sir George Cakobau, in 1989.

Search for a successor

Recently, there have been moves to choose a successor. On 9 June 2005, Senator Ratu George Cakobau, Jr. (son of the last Vunivalu) announced that the chiefs of Matanitu o Bau (the traditional chiefly government of Bau, which includes the districts of Dravo, Namata, Nausori, and Nuku), had selected four chiefly candidates, to be submitted to the Tui Kaba clan, which will be asked to choose one of them as the next Vunivalu. The four candidates are Ratu George Cakobau, Jr. himself, his brother Ratu Epenisa Cakobau, Ratu George Kadavulevu Naulivou, and former Vice-President Ratu Jope Seniloli. A second meeting held a week later tentatively proposed Senator Cakobau as the new Vunivalu.

Senator Cakobau's appointment has not been finalized and is not without controversy. Adi Finau Tabakaucoro, a member of the Tui Kaba clan and a senior chief, complained on 27 June that the proper procedures were not being followed. The new Vunivalu should be elected by the whole clan, she said, rather than chosen by a few elders. She thought it wrong to exclude from the list of candidates the name of Senator Cakobau's sister, Adi Samanunu Talakuli Cakobau, because she was the eldest child of the last Vunivalu.

Other titles

The Vunivalu when installed, also takes the title of Tui Levuka, as he is the traditional leader of the Levuka people of Lakeba, Lau. The wife of the Vunivalu is titled Radini Levuka.

Vunivalu of Bau

Order Vunivalu Reigned Lived
1. Ratu Nailatikau ? - 1770 ? - 1770
2. Ratu Banuve Baleivavalagi 1770 - 1803 ? - February 1803
3. Ratu Naulivou Ramatenikutu 1803 - 1829 ? - 1829
4. Ratu Tanoa Visawaqa 1829 - 1832 ? - 8 December 1852
5. Navuaka Komainaqaranikula Tui Veikoso 1832 - 1837 ? - ?
. Ratu Tanoa Visawaqa 1837 - 1852 s.a.
6. Ratu Seru Epenisa Cakobau 1852 - 1883 1815 - February 1883
6. Ratu Epeli Nailatikau 1883 - 1901 1842 - 1901
7. Ratu Penaia Kadavulevu 1901 - 1914 ? - 1914
8. Ratu Popi Seniloli 1914 - 1936 ? - 1936
9. Ratu Tevita Naulivou 1936 - 1957 ? - 1957
10. Ratu Sir George Cakobau 1957 - 1989 6 November 1912 - 25 November 1989
† Never officially installed as Vunivalu, but posthumously generally recognized as such.
Note that the position of Vunivalu has often fallen vacant for lengthy periods. It is thought that disagreements about the succession have kept the title vacant since the death of Ratu Sir George Cakobau in 1989.



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