FOR greater than 100 years, the ancestors of villagers of Vutia within the Rewa Delta used canoes as their solely technique of transportation to fetch meals and firewood.
Nevertheless it was not till the Nineteen Thirties that their descendants started to construct correct wood boats. In response to The Fiji Instances report on June 8, 1977, when the villagers acquired a brand new boat that month, the villagers staged a conventional Fijian ceremony “cere” to welcome their new boat. The boat was christened Doka Na Kaci which translated to “respect the decision”.
Doka Na Kaci was inbuilt 4 weeks at a value of $600, and her engine value $890.
The identify tried to depict the robust significance of the respect between the folks and their chief.
The launching of the brand new boat, the largest to be constructed for the village of Vutia, opened a brand new chapter for his or her seafaring historical past. The villagers’ love for the ocean, boats and crusing was hereditary and due to the hovering transport prices, a ship was an financial type of transport.
Villagers who labored in Suva would journey early within the morning by outboard motor-powered punt to Lokia touchdown the place they might catch the bus to Suva. Within the fashionable age of know-how, a 33ft open boat powered by a 50 horsepower outboard engine wouldn’t carry an eyebrow.
It meant simpler transportation for folks and their produce to city centres like Suva and Nausori. Vutia is located on the estuary of Fiji’s largest river, the Rewa River, so the villagers are flanked by water. Small, open punts powered by outboard engines have been a typical sight, however the brand new boat was the largest.
The villagers have been joyful as a result of they might inform, from that second on sail throughout Laucala Bay, whether or not it was tough or tremendous, direct to Suva.
With smaller punts, it was all the time dangerous and several other occasions up to now boats capsized whereas attempting to cross the bay.
The development of Doka Na Kaci was prompted by the choice of the villagers to construct a church to switch the present one.
A gathering was held throughout the Easter Vacation weekend, and the villagers determined due to the excessive prices incurred within the hiring of boats and vans for transporting constructing materials, as a bunch, they might construct a ship sufficiently big to load these things from Suva and ship them direct to the village.
This is able to in return cut back value and time. The boat was launched on Saturday, June 11, 1977 in Laqere earlier than making her maiden voyage to Vutia, the place she was accorded the cere ceremony. The ceremony was much like that carried out for the arrival of the Fiji Naval Squadrons ex-United States minesweepers in 1976.