Na yacaqu ‘o Ema Rosemary Vasemaca Tavola.  Na tamaqu ‘o Kaliopate Tavola.  Na tinaqu ‘o Helen Goodwill Tavola mai Palmerston North, Niu Siladi.  Na noqu koro ‘o Dravuni, mai na tikina ‘o Ono, na yasana ‘o Kadavu. Na noqu Yavusa ‘o Natusara. Na noqu Mataqali ‘o Navusalevu. Na noqu i tokatoka ‘o Samualevu se ‘o Naisaumualevu. Na noqu i Cavuti ‘o Natusara, vua na Gone Turaga na Ramalo, na Tunidaunibokola. Na yaca ni noqu Vu ‘o Ravuravu.  Na nona waqawaqa na dadakulaci. Na yaca ni noqu Kalou-vu ‘o Tuni.  Na marama watina ‘o Rokowati, se ‘o Bulou. 

Na kau se vunikau ni noqu i Cavuti  oya na vesi. Na manumanu ni noqu i Cavuti oya na secala. Na ika ni noqu i Cavuti oya na vonu. Na noqu vakacaucau ni valu oya ‘Nuku yara ni siga’.


I place myself in a geographical, political, cultural and ancestral context. Like the exact opposite of displacement, these roots are firmly embedded. Through my father, I am inextricably connected to my vanua, my land, my people, my air, seas, rivers, non-living and all living things, spirits, religion, history and kinship to my clan. (Baba, Tupeni ‘The way the world should be: Vanua and Taukei’ in Speight of Violence Reed Publishers, Auckland, 2005)


In a Fijian context, my social place is within my family, my extended family, the clan, our village, district and province, in relation to other Fijians. Where there is an acknowledgment of the individual, it comes back to what the individual can bring to the collective, “no one is clan-less. The clan is their comfort zone. A person is protected within the group, but is expected as well to be responsible for the group’s survival,” Fijian politician and academic Tupeni Baba writes, “The individual takes responsibility for the group, is concerned about the reputation of the group and gains a lot of support and pride from belonging to the clan-based group and vice-versa.”


In December 2006, I returned to Dravuni for the first time in 16 years.


Leaving Dravuni on the Katalina

Natavasara, our family house

Natavasara is the house that Tutu Maciu built. It replaced the house, Levuka, which was next door, where my father and Tata Levu (Simione Bula) were born and raised.

My father attended Massey University in Palmerston North, New Zealand, where he met my mother, Helen Pratt.

My father went on to work for Fiji Sugar Marketing in London, and for the Fiji High Commission in Brussels, Belgium. The photos at Natavasara are records of these movements.

Bibles at Natavasara.

Natavasara is next door to Dravuni Methodist Church, where recently, a large boulder fell from the nearby hill and smashed into the corner of the church.

Church can be thirsty work.

Natavasara is also close to the newly opened Dravuni Village Library.

Pandanus is grown plentifully on the island of Dravuni. It is harvested, and dried in the sun, to produce mats and other woven things.

On New Years Eve, the village lali are available to anyone to beat, the sound resonates throughout the island.

Natavasara hosted 16 members and three generations of my extended family for the 2006/2007 New Years period.

My sister Mereia, with our cousin Maciu’s daughter, Mereia.

Mereia lailai and Nei Ema.

The resting place of Tutu Maciu’s second wife, Bubu Mere, buried near Natavasara.

Whilst most of our extended family is based in Vatuwaqa, Wailoku, Rakiraki and Auckland, my cousin Vuate Taletawa and his partner Ili McGoon, live at Natavasara full-time, keeping the home fires burning.

I like Vuate’s tattoos.

What Fiji is most famous for, apart from Military coups and rugby, is the beach. Dravuni’s waters are transluscent and the sand is silky soft. Recently an underwater volcano erupted near Tonga and millions of pieces of pumice have washed up all around the island. Many hours were spent gazing at the Pacific Ocean…


21 thoughts on “Dravuni

  1. hi. im also from dravuni. im a last year student at the university of the south pacific. i was also in dravuni during the last holidays. i was thinking you were just mereia’s friend. that was my fault. iwas just browing for dravuni’s pics thru the web. so suprised to see box pics(voate). take care tavale and all the best…

    • cuz u are so lucky u get to see and off course visit o keimami na susu madrai toka ga qo i suva se sasaga tiko na ve lako…wawa vuli mada rawa na job sa na qai da toso tu yani i Dravuni…

  2. Tau, vosota ni sega beka ni kena vanua qoka ia au sa na taro mada ga…. E vica beka dou dau taura tiko e Dravuni e na kena dau laki kele tiko yani na waqa ni saravanua e Dravuni – Anchorage Fees ??/

  3. Tavale !! The information was very good and encouraging. It reminds me back in the olden days when I was young, I was brought up from the old house ‘Levuka’ before ‘Natavasara’ was later built. We then moved across to our first house ‘Katudrau’ where it was destroyed by cyclone ‘Loti’ in the late 70’s.
    Thanks a lot for the initiatives and the photographs were beautiful. Keep it Up.

    Many thanks and God Bless.

  4. Bula Ema.Nice pictures and information.I am browsing from England.Quite surprised to see the pictures,please put some more.
    I was in Dravuni from the 26th to 29th December,2008.Dravuni is still beautiful, my only hope that they do what our Tutus and Bubus usually do, and that is to attend church more and support Naivakatawa.
    When I was small. I usually here the calling from the Sea shore,,,,DUI MAI KAU KENA IKA…that means the abundance of Fish is shared amoungst the whole village.I hope this will carry on to the future generation.

    Moce Dravuni.

    Be blessed forever.


  5. I heard a USP Grduate in Accounting telling his friends that he cannot compare any other village in Fiji like Dravuni; the most beautiful village he has ever seen in Fiji. What a blessing.

    I also agree with Asesela Waqa’s comment from England that the most important advice for the people of Dravuni is to worship God. This should be the first priority because at the end of the day each Dravunian will appear before the judgment seat of Christ.

    God bless Dravuni and its people.

  6. Tavale !!! Dravuni is such a beautiful place. I’ve just returned after spend 4 weeks there from 31/12/09 into the new year. I always share my experience with them as I was brought up in Dravuni until what I am today. I always tell them about importance of education to our children. If anything the people of Dravuni to invest on, is the EDUCATION of our children. This will bring our beautiful island to be the best place in this world to live.
    GOD Bless us all.
    Cheers !!!

  7. Bula vinaka Dravuni people all over the world!
    I’m happy to announce that given the feedback and interest from this page on my blog, my father – Kaliopate Tavola, has established a blog all about Dravuni Island – he’ll post news and history and information about the Dravuni Development Committee’s work – http://kaidravuni.wordpress.com
    Vinaka vakalevu.
    Ema Tavola

  8. I visited Dravuni Island some 2 years ago on a cruise ship for just one day. It was a beautiful place with beautiful people. It was buy far the best and cleanest Island we visited.

    • Bula vinaka Ema Im Sairusi in the Sinai desert when the time Im home seek i click on Dravuni Island just to see the Island and the people of Dravuni.Sa vo toka ga oqo e rua na vula meu sa lesu tale yani ki Viti.I spend Christmas together with Asesela 2008 ,niu na yaco ga yani auna lako sara i Dravuni meu laki raici Dike…….

  9. Thanks! Emma, for the photos.”There’s no place like home”.Seeing Natavasara seems to bring me down memory lane….just to cool off ssssstttrrreeesss….at times. hope to see u there sometimes.

  10. Pingback: New Tattoo by Joe Brown // Nesian Tattoo (Mangere) « Colour Me Fiji // Ema Tavola

  11. I’m actually from Bau…but my mother is from Dravuni Island..My Grand fathers name is Kaminieli Seru,my Uncles name is Anasa Koroitamana and my mothers name is Meredani

    I love visiting Dravuni…last year was fun..i will go again this year

    hope to see everyone this year….

  12. so interesting to know that Dravuni is pretty much a place to relieve some stress!!yep also beautiful. I’m just getting to know my village through my dad and brother oh yeah and also the internet and am pretty much looking forward to one day when i will be visiting my village…hope the boat fare will be cheap!vaya!

  13. It is an interesting place to goto…@ Luisa Bula,I consider Dravuni as my village which is not…but my mothers….I visit Dravuni more than my own village

  14. Isa Dravuni,loloma levu tu everybody the likes of Marika,Saiyasi,Dike,Vunaki,Levani,Matai here from Melbourne some days one day will see them all again.And those Dravunians in Suva like Roy,Jack ( Bula ) etc,etc will chat on facebook

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