Taki MaiTaki Mai

By Zane Yoshida

Olympic Golds and Kava Bowls

It may have escaped your attention with all the excitement and ceremony of the Olympics in Rio back in August; but a small island nation won its first Olympic medals ever.

That nation was Fiji and we didn’t just win medals – we won golds!

As all Fijians are aware by now, our Sevens Rugby team did the nation proud by beating Great Britain in the final of the tournament to bring home gold for Fiji!

Fiji has sent athletes to the Olympics since Melbourne in 1956, but we had never previously won a medal. So if you’re reading this from the U.S., where your nation hauled home a massive 47 gold medals, spare a little ripple of applause for us!

Wild celebrations – over the kava bowl

The victory in the final sparked wild celebrations in Fiji; or as wild as things can get when the kava bowl is in play!

As you know, kava has a relaxing and calming effect, but these qualities were put to the test after the final, in which Fiji hammered Great Britain 43-7.

It certainly was a proud and emotional moment for all Fijians, as the 12 squad members received their gold medals from Princess Anne in the stadium in Rio.

As the medals were presented to the team, some people were surprised to see each Fijian player kneeling on the podium, and clapping three times out of respect for the Princess. This is a gesture normally reserved for a kava ceremony, when it is traditional for Fijians to clap three times after drinking a shell of kava, as a sign of respect.

In the national stadium in Suva, thousands of Fijians gathered to watch the historic match and to cheer the boys on from the other side of the Pacific.

And how did Fijians celebrate the win?

According to Maori Television, the kava was flowing  for former Fijian rugby captain Deacon Manu and many Fijians alike:

“The communities all around the world, the Fijian communities that I’ve touched base with, many around the world, and they’re all in full party mode and the kava is flowing like water at the moment to celebrate the victory.”

Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama congratulated the team too, saying,

“A wonderful reception awaits our boys when they arrive back in Fiji. Never before has the Fijian spirit soared so high as it does today. Never have we stood so tall as a nation. So let us rededicate ourselves to the task of building our beloved Fiji. One nation, one people, playing an even greater role in the region and the world.”

Well done Fiji. We’re proud of you!

By Zane Yoshida

The Art of Relaxation: Fijian Style

You can tell a lot about a place by its drinks! Think about the French and their wine, the Chinese and their tea, or the Germans and their beer. You instantly learn a lot about how they love to spend their time.

With the relaxing and stress-relieving effects of kava being so interwoven into Fijian culture, it’s no surprise that few places on earth ‘do’ relaxation like Fiji.

We even have our own ‘time zone’! When you land on our soil you enter ‘Fiji time’ – where everything is that little bit more laid back!

Here are a few ways for you to kick back and enjoy the breeze for a while, with a Taki Ma kava shot in hand:

Five ways to relax on Fiji Time

  1. On the sea

With Fiji spread out over 333 islands, there is a LOT of sea to navigate out there! You can take day trips or longer, and hop between islands on a longboat. Some islands have cities and extensive tropical beaches, while others are little more than unpopulated bars of sand (like Mondriki, where the Tom Hanks blockbuster Castaway was filmed).

Depending on the weather and time of year, sometimes the waters can be choppy (not so relaxing), but choose the best times to venture out and you’ll be kicking back on the deck with a Taki Mai shot in your hands, enjoying a little corner of paradise.

  1. At the pool or spa

Need a rest? A pool holiday? With Fiji’s superb climate, a few days around the pool at your hotel is almost guaranteed to perfect your tan. Sometimes the plusher hotels have floating pontoons and sunset bars where you can enjoy some offshore Taki Mai – or something a little stronger in cocktail form if you prefer.

Or how about a day pampering yourself in a spa? Many of the resorts offer first class spa facilities, where a Taki Mai shot will get you in the perfect mood for a massage.

  1. With a day of water sports

Relaxation comes in many forms. If lounging around a hotel pool or in a hammock is too boring for you, then maybe something a little more active lights your fire. Fiji offers a host of water sports from sailing, jet-skis, and snorkeling to diving off the top deck of pontoons. Maybe you’ll even get to see dolphins or sea turtles?

If your muscles are aching at the end of an active day, guess what? A Taki Mai kava shot will help soothe your body and relax your mind.

  1. Over some superb seafood

You won’t be surprised to hear that Fiji serves up some delicious seafood. Perhaps enjoy the fresh catch of the day for lunch or lobster for dinner?

Wash it down with a glass of wine or two or, if you want to go tee-total for an evening, a Taki Mai kava shot to help you relax and enjoy the evening breeze.

  1. In a traditional Fijian Village

Get to know a slice of ‘real’ Fiji with a visit to a traditional fishing village. You’ll find the experience eye-opening as the peace and tranquility of the ancient lifestyle washes over you. You will be treated to a traditional Fijian welcome and feel like a temporary member of the village – where kava (or “grog” as you may hear it referred to) features heavily in the welcoming “sevusevu” ceremony.

Clap once and say “bula”, before drinking your coconut shell full of kava all in one gulp. After you hand it back, clap three times to show your appreciation.

Now you’re all set for a relaxing trip to Fiji. Come and join us sometime.

By Zane Yoshida

Fijian Prime Minister Visits Ovalau and Receives Kava

You may have read on this blog about the importance of kava to the island of Ovalau in Fiji. That’s where Zane Yoshida, the founder of Taki Mai is from, and it’s where the kava in your Taki Mai shots, powder, and capsules is grown, processed, and bottled. So of course we take special interest in any comings and goings on the island.

There was big news in September when the Fijian Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama, visited three primary schools in the town of Levuka, Ovalau’s capital.

The visit was part of the Fijian Government’s commitment towards ensuring that all Fijian children have access to education. It coincided with the delivery of desks and chairs, as well as VTSATs to solve the communication problem at the schools.

Many students in the schools are sons and daughters of part-time fishing and agricultural produce workers, which are the main occupations on the island.

Of course, no important visit in Fiji would be complete without a kava ceremony. It is a good measure of the importance of kava to Ovalau that a large offering of dried kava root was presented to the Prime Minister to welcome him to the island. Just look at the size of those roots in the picture above!

By Zane Yoshida

Kava Shots Fit For a Queen!

If you get them right, kava shots can be fit for royalty!

In 1954, the Queen of England visited Fiji, 2 years after her coronation. You can see the video of that event here.

Queen Elizabeth II was greeted in the traditional Fijian way with a kava ceremony – which has been the way that foreign dignitaries have been honoured for centuries in Fiji. When the first kava “cup” was offered to the Queen and she lifted it to her lips and drank, she was returning the honor to Fiji.

Since then numerous members of Royal families have tasted kava in Fiji.

  Read more

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Olympic Golds and Kava Bowls
The Art of Relaxation: Fijian Style
Fijian Prime Minister Visits Ovalau and Receives Kava
Kava Shots Fit For a Queen!
Kava – The Fijian Way