Vunivalu of Bau

Ratu Tanoa Visawaqa, Vunivalu from 1829 - 1832 and from 1837 - 1852
Ratu Seru Epenisa Cakobau, Vunivalu from 1852 - 1883
Ratu Epeli Nailatikau, Vunivalu from 1883 - 1901

Turaga na Vunivalu ni Bau is the Paramount Chief of the Kubuna Confederacy, loosely translated the title means Warlord of Bau or Root of War.[1] The succession to the title does not follow primogeniture, but the candidate must be a high-ranking member of the Tui Kaba clan.

A brief history

The Vunivalu was not always the senior Chieftain in Kubuna and Bau. The title was considered subordinate to the Roko Tui Bau.[2][3] Power struggles between the various chiefly households came to a head with the exile of the Vunivalu Tanoa Visawaqa in the early 19th century after a series of murders and reprisals.[2][4] His son Seru Epenisa Cakobau however was allowed to remain in Bau during his fathers exile. Cakobau gained power by subverting the Lasakau people to plot and execute the overthrow of the ruling group, led by Ratu Ravulo Vakayaliyalo, in 1837; Seru Epenisa Cakobau then reinstated his father as ruler.[5]

Cakobau eventually succeeded to the title himself. He created much of its prestige by styling himself King of Fiji; he led the process that culminated in cession of the islands to the United Kingdom in 1874[3]

The position has been vacant since the death of the last Vunivalu, Ratu Sir George Cakobau, in 1989.

Search for a successor

Over the past decade, there have been moves to choose a successor. On 9 June 2005, Senator Ratu George Cakobau, Jr. (son of the last Vunivalu) announced that the chiefs of Matanitu o Bau (the traditional chiefly government of Bau, which includes the districts of Dravo, Namata, Nausori, and Nuku), had selected four chiefly candidates, to be submitted to the Tui Kaba clan, which will be asked to choose one of them as the next Vunivalu. The four candidates are Ratu George Cakobau, Jr. himself, his brother Ratu Epenisa Cakobau, Ratu George Kadavulevu Naulivou, and now deceased former Vice-President Ratu Jope Seniloli. A second meeting held a week later tentatively proposed Senator Cakobau as the new Vunivalu.

As of 2015, Cakobau's appointment has still not been finalized and is not without controversy. Adi Finau Tabakaucoro, a member of the Tui Kaba clan and a senior chief, complained on 27 June that the proper procedures were not being followed. The new Vunivalu should be elected by the whole clan, she said, rather than chosen by a few elders. She thought it wrong to exclude from the list of candidates the name of Senator Cakobau's sister, Adi Samanunu Talakuli Cakobau, because she was the eldest child of the last Vunivalu.

Attempts to find a successor again failed in 2012, and the selection process was put on hold for the time being.[6]

Other titles

The Vunivalu when installed, also takes the title of Tui Levuka, as he is the traditional leader of the Levuka people of Lakeba, Lau. The wife of the Vunivalu is titled Radi Levuka.

1.Ratu Nailatikau? - 1770? - 1770
2.Ratu Banuve Baleivavalagi1770–1803? - February 1803
3.Ratu Naulivou Ramatenikutu1803–1829? - 1829
4.Ratu Tanoa Visawaqa1829–1832? - 8 December 1852
5.Navuaka Komainaqaranikula Tui Veikoso1832–1837? - ?
6.Ratu Tanoa Visawaqa1837–1852s.a.
7.Ratu Seru Epenisa Cakobau1852–18831815 - February 1883
8.Ratu Epeli Nailatikau1883–19011842–1901
9.Ratu Penaia Kadavulevu1901–1914? - 1914
10.Ratu Popi Seniloli1914–1936? - 1936
11.Ratu Tevita Naulivou†1936–1957? - 1957
12.Ratu Sir George Cakobau1957–19896 November 1912 - 25 November 1989
† Never officially installed as Vunivalu, but posthumously generally recognized as such.

Note that the position of Vunivalu has often fallen vacant for lengthy periods. It is thought that disagreements about the succession have kept the title vacant since the death of Ratu Sir George Cakobau in 1989.

See also


  1. The Fijians - Page 62, 1908.
  2. 1 2 Apologies to Thucydides: Understanding History as culture and Vice Versa – pages 27, 52, 63, 162, 198, 211, 216, 233, 249,
  3. 1 2 Fiji’s Heritage a history of Fiji by Kim Gravelle reprinted under its new name in 2000 it was originally published as Fiji Times a history of Fiji in 1979. ISBN 982-214-001-0, Published by Tiara enterprises Nadi, Part 10 Page 44 – reference to Paper by Deve Toganivalu documenting Bauan pre-history and the superiority of the Roko Tui Bau as supreme Chief of Bau and the Vunivalu as his second.
  4. Oceania By University of Sydney, Australian National Research Council - 1930, Ratu Tanoa and the battle at Lomaloma secures his supremacy
  5. Tukutuku, Raraba, History of Bau
  6. Naming of new Vunivalu put on hold. Retrieved 2012-09-26.


External links

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