Taki MaiTaki Mai

By Zane Yoshida

Traditional Fijian kava presentations in the modern day evoke both the rich cultural heritage of the Pacific island nation and the modern attractions it offers, along with the important place that kava holds in the heart of the nation.

It shows the world that the kava tradition is alive and kicking in Fiji.

In recent years we have had Fijian kava presentations at the Volcom Fiji Pro 2012 Surf tournament, followed by the visit to Ovalau of the Uto ni Yalo

Volcom Fiji Pro 2012 – kava presentation

Check out the video above. It shows the Fijian kava presentation at the recent Volcom Fiji Pro Surf tournament, where some of the world’s top surfers, such as Jordy Smith, John John, and Julian Wilson gathered. It was great to see them honour the islands in the traditional way by presenting kava root to the local island chiefs, signalling the official opening of the tournament.

In the video you see traditional Fijian music being played , the kava being presented and then the kava drinks being prepared in the traditional way by one of the local leaders.

Then the surfers join the locals in enjoying the relaxing beverage before competition begins.

The Uto ni Yalo Arrival in Fiji

The Uto ni Yalo traditional canoe arrived in Fiji in June 2012, for the World Oceans Week celebrations, helping to revive some ancient Fijian traditions and passing on an important message in the process.


Uto ni Yalo

The fleet included seven vaka which, upon entering the waters around Suva, was met by a welcoming party of three men dressed in traditional Fijian costume.

As they welcomed the 120 sailors on board, they performed a qaloqalovi ceremony and had a message of conservation and preservation of the world’s oceans and seas.

Captain Jonathan Smith lead the crew of the Uto ni Yalo on the Mana o te Moana voyage, aimed at raising awareness of the problems that the world’s oceans face. The fact that there was a traditional ceremony at the end of the voyage reminded everyone how their ancestors used to depend so heavily on the seas, the respect that they had for them and the protection they gave them.

As the Uto ni Yalo arrived in Ovalau, it was celebrated with a traditional kava presentation.

You can see that Fijian kava is central to the tradition and culture of the islands; kava presentation takes centre stage at many Fijian ceremonies and is equally at home when surfers visit for modern competition, or sailors return from an ancient-style voyage.

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Traditional Fijian Kava Ceremonies in the 21st Century