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Tulua ni vuki – Story behind the song

Born in 1938 of mother Alanieta Naucukidi and father Mosese Vakatale she was destined for great things. She became the first Fijian principal at Adi Cakobau School, a minister in government and even becoming deputy Prime minister.

In 2009 she was awarded a honorary doctorate from the University of St Andrews in Scotland.

The song ‘Tulua ni Vuki was witten by Mistress Ulamila Bulamaibau about Mereia Taufa Vakatale and originally performed by Sakiusa Bulicokocoko.

“In 1948 she was one the first cohort of pupils at the just opened Adi Cakobau School, a government-funded all-girls boarding school on the main island of Viti Levu. Strictly speaking she shouldn’t have been there at all; her elder sister was the one who had qualified for the place, but by the time the school opened she was considered too old to be enrolled and Taufa was taken into the school in her stead.

Being wonderfully bright and, at nine years old, very much the youngest (her fellow pupils at Adi Cakobau were all a good two years older than she was) Taufa was naturally considered by her teachers to be the cheekiest girl in the school.”

Here is the translation of the song:

Contrary Tulua, Tulua tearaway
Tulua of the torn skirts.
She climbs on shelves
Tumbles head over heels
Runs all over the slopes
And always talks back.

She’s spoken to.
She’s told again and again
Smack, smack, smack.
She just follows her own way
She’s stubborn
That naughty Tulua.

Of course Taufa Vakatale did her sister, her family and her teachers proud, being one of two girls to pass the New Zealand School Certificate in 1954, the first indigenous Fijian girl to pass the New Zealand University Entrance examination in 1957, the first to graduate from a New Zealand University with a BA in 1963.

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3 comments to Tulua ni vuki – Story behind the song

  • Tavenisa Diri

    Ms. Vakatale was school principal throughout my years at Adi Cakobau School. She is in every way outstanding and I humbly remind the readers that Fiji has been a multi-ethnic country since the beginning of time. Fijians, Rotumans, Tongans, Samoans, Banabans, Tuvaluans, Solomon Islanders, Europeans and Chinese have lived side by side for centuries and there is only one category of Fijians in Fiji. Ms. Vakatale is a Fijian, not an indigenous Fijian. All Fiji citizens are Fiji Islanders. Fiji Islanders are Fijians, Chinese, Rotumans, Tongans, Banabans, Tuvaluans, Samoans, Solomon Islanders, Europeans and Indians. There is only one category of “Fijians”, that is Ms. Vakatale’s ethnic group whose first language is Fijian, whose customary practices and culture are Fijian and who own the land in the 300 Islands of Fiji. Ms. Vakatale provides evidence that if any Fijian girl is given a chance and the environment, we can benefit from the best quality education available in Fiji and the world.

  • Max Qumivutia

    Beautiful story

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