The people of Totoya in Lau celebrated the New Year in a significant way when they installed their paramount chief- the Rokosau Roko Josefa Delainauluvatu Cinavilakeba at Tovu Village on Tuesday.
Moments after the installation proper concluded women led the charge to the village green as they beat empty tins and drums to celebrate the occasion in a grand fashion.
Men then joined the process by serenading with their ukulele and guitars, likewise the children who also had a hand by beating the lali wholeheartedly from dusk till the crack of dawn.
Village elders said the celebration was special because it marked a new chapter in their lives.
The island had been without a chief since the death of the late Rokosau Roko Timoci Batila in 2004.
Roko Josefa, 37, was dressed in traditional costumes and was garlanded with a giant whales tooth. He was first escorted to the church by his traditional warriors where he was blessed by Reverend Sekonaia Bulu. Reverend Bulu who also hails from the mataqali Sauturaga had been holding the fort for a new successor to the title of the Rokosau for the past four years.
He was then escorted back to his official residence where he was traditionally installed by the kingmakers which was witnessed by hundreds of people from Totoya and close relatives who travelled all the way from Viti Levu.
Roko Josefa was reminded of the importance of his role to his community especially on development matters. He was also reminded to maintain his traditional links with fellow Lauan chiefs likewise the vanua of Lau as a whole.
In return Roko Josefa said he would do his outmost best to assist his people and keep his traditional links intact.
The Mata ki Totoya Jokini Sivo said being a young educated chief, the people of Totoya would look up at Roko Josefa with a lot of respect and hoped that he would bring about unity and new changes for the betterment of his people.
In a rare moment all villagers who held traditional roles were then called upon Roko Josefa and gave their vows in turns that they would support him throughout his term which was witnessed all those who were present there.