Saturday, May 07, 2011

Can New Zealand Handle Kai Viti Rakavi?

Posted on Coup Four Point Five - 07 May 2011

Control of Fiji Rugby is at stake with the illegal government's $3 million bribe. Jone Baledrokadroka asks if the hosts of this year's Rugby World Cup is up to the hijack.
Within the ruck of Fiji's social structure that combines the Vanua, Lotu and Rakavi lies the seamless connectedness of Fijian politics. 

It is through the complexity and fusion of the three 'indigenous' organisations that one masters Fiji's neo traditional politics.

Simply put: to be on top of the local political game is to be on top of these three institutions.

 KAVA BOWL: Place of game playing. Around the yagona bowl in any given rural or urban community, these three celebrated topics make up the cornerstones of what now makes for indigeneity and modern sporting culture. 

Along with the other two social topics, endless hours are spent on the discourse of Rakavi a la Viti.

In commenting on the way in which Samoans appropriated rugby after its introduction by the Marist Brothers in the early 20th century, former national team manager Lemalu Tate Simi (2007) might have spoken for the region as a whole. 

"We very quickly took to rugby, almost as if it were our own invention" he said. "Now, we don't think of it as a Palagi (European; foreign) sport, we think of it as our own." (Dewey: 2008:159). 

Judging by last weekend's Fiji Rugby Union AGM elections of executive members underpinned by the promised $3million grant bait, the illegal regime has finally got its hooks into our "national" game, politics and all.

With the World Cup only months away, the International Rugby Board now finds itself having to pack down on the same side with a new FRU board loaded with regime stooges against the host nation New Zealand's travel  sanctions.

 KEY: Can he play ball Fiji style? Its chief executive, Mike Miller, said during a recent visit to New Zealand that he hoped it would relax the travel sanctions against regime members, including Bainimarama, so they can  to attend the World Cup matches in September. 

The regime has been jockeying for control of the Fiji Rugby Union ever since its political power grab of December 200. Remember, it placed the then Police Commissioner Esala Teleni on the FRU board as the government's representative.

In typical Fijian rugby style, the IRB may have been sold a perfect dummy pass by our Dictator prior to the World Cup. In fact, European voices in FRU Annual Reports and committee minutes from the 1950s and 1960s repeatedly complained about "unorthodoxy".

"No matter what you try to teach the Fijians one member of the Executive complained, "as soon as they get on the field they play their own type of game." (Fiji Rugby Union, Management Committee Meeting, April 7, 1961). 

The question is will the New Zealand Prime Minister John Key, buy the Fiji regime's unorthodox political play?

Jone Baledrokadroka
Founding President
Natasiri Rugby Union (1998-2002)

Editor's Note: The FRU was meeting today for the first time after the nomination of new members last week. The RFMF's Colonel Mosese Tikoitonga is one of those tipped to become chair.

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