Pallbearers carry the casket of the late chief – Na Momo Na Tui Lawa Ratu Sevanaia Vatunitu Nabola Labalaba. Photo: Luke Nacei
By LUKE NACEI
Solevu village in Malolo Island came to a standstill, fierce traditional warriors draped in traditional masi guarded the village, not a single conversation could be heard, ground and traditional masi draped around Natabaleilawa, the chiefly residence of the Tui Lawa as his body rested in his home for a night for the last time before being finally laid to rest.
It was a solemn occasion, a moment in which people reminisced the qualities of their leader, their chief and a person known to all who knew him as a great chief who was always there to offer assistance to everyone who needed him.
Villagers wept silently, tears flowed freely but without any movement or sound as people from all walks of life gathered at the chiefly village of Solevu on Malolo Island to pay their last respect to their late chief – Na Momo Na Tui Lawa Ratu Sevanaia Vatunitu Nabola Labalaba.
The Adi Vasiti Memorial Church was a sea of white, a sign of respect to mark the late chief’s last request to his wife Merewai Lalabalavu for people to be dressed in white at his funeral.
Plantation Island Resort executive Brian Kirsch who spoke on behalf of the Mamanuca Hotel Association praised the life of Ratu Sevanaia.
“I am humbled to be part of this sorrowful occasion to speak on behalf of the Tourism Industry to mourn our great chief,” Mr Kircsh said.
“Ratu Sevanaia was taken from us far too early. It was unbelievable shock to us all the Tour.