Many scholars believe that humans first migrated to the Pacific Islands from Southeast Asia about 2,000 years ago. These people carried with them their mythological traditions about events, deities and heroes. As time passed and people moved to different island groups, they adapted their mythology and religious beliefs to suit their new environment and added new characters and events to the traditional myths and legends. Because these islands were traditionally oral societies, the legends and folklores were passed down from generation to generation.
When telling their stories, the Pacific Islanders placed great emphasis on nature, particularly the ocean environment. As you may or may not know, they became masters of navigation and other seafaring skills, and their religion and myths strongly reflected the importance of nature and the sea.
Throughout 2017 I will share some of these folklore tales with you. Although the Internet is full of them, I will try to find ones that are, perhaps, more rarer, but equally as important and interesting. The first one that I would like to share was recently published in the The Fiji Times titled, “Traditional Turtle Callers of Nacamaki”:
There are two places known in Fiji for having the ability to call on turtles and these marine creatures, no matter where they are, will move closer to the shore and rise to the surface. The people of Namuana on Kadavu and Nacamaki on Koro Island are known for having the supernatural gift and ability to call on turtles.
Tui Naikasi was a demigod and had supernatural powers. He was, according to legend, one of the source of strength in the rise to fame of the warlord Vueti and had the ability to turn himself into a turtle whenever he went down to sea.
Tui Naikasi, left Davetalevu (Moturiki) and journeyed to Lovoni and Tokou on Ovalau before travelling to Gau and then finally to Koro. Of all places he visited, Tui Naikasi was not satisfied until he arrived at Nacamaki, the place he fell in love with. It is the direct descendants of Tui Naikasi that have this traditional gift of turtle calling.
Many tourists have visited Koro Island with the hope of seeing the traditional turtle callers of Nacamaki portray their special gift. In fact, I noticed that the Web has some blogs and stories from curious tourists who have shared their experiences. You can easily check them out when you type in your search of “Turtle Callers of Koro Island or Fiji.”
Here’s the Fiji Times story about the turtle calling that was published this past December.