By Jone Baledrokadroka
Are there deep traditional implications of the name change for indigenous Fijians to i taukei as decreed by the interim regime in Fiji? With many traditional societies, a given name has mana similar to the belief in baptized Christian names.
As in other Polynesian languages 'mana refers to power or efficacy inherent in persons or things'. (Turner, 1987:215) The name, Fiji, derived from Viti, has come to embody the mana of the indigenous Fijian or Kai Viti race and his land Viti.
|Fijian Ministry now I Taukei Ministry|
The word i taukei (owner) on its own does not encapsulate the mana of the indigenous race or the land. It has to be used in conjunction with, or to another word, to form a whole meaning. For in traditional Fijian i taukei is a word that amplifies an owner of some chiefly title, land or thing.
For instance: Taukei ni Waluvu, Taukei Vidilo, Taukei ni Qele, Taukei ni Koro. In the Fijian language, the word i taukei in itself is not a whole name. The word in an English language sense is an adjective and not a noun. The word i taukei in the baun Fijian sense amplifies the noun ie Waluvu, Vidilo, Qele, Koro. In fact, the prefix i often used with taukei proves the word is an adjective that amplifies a noun i.e. i taukei ni qele. (the owner of the land)
More study as to the word i taukei should have been done before decreeing kai Viti’s after an adjective with no mana.
Jone Baledrokadroka is a PhD in politics candidate at ANU Canberra and former member of the Great Council of Chiefs.