Fijians belong to one of the 14 provinces (yasana) in Fiji that form part of three confederacies (matanitu) - Kubuna, Burebasaga, Tovata, which in prechristian times, were separate states (vanua) in themselves ruled by high chiefs. Each province is further divided into districts (tikina) which in turn comprise a number of villages.
At the village level, further groupings occur at the Yavusa which comprise the largest social unit often from a common deified ancestor called "kalou vu". Next is the Mataqali which make up a group of families who become the custodian of a specific traditional role and task within the Yavusa. Land holding is organised within the Mataqali which in turn are made up of Tokatoka who are related families or Vuvale.
During formal presentations and ceremonies Fijians recite and refer to these traditional affiliations and references denoting their cultural roots and customary status. This is done by reference to the chiefly status at each level of Fijian traditional organisational structure beginning at the village level right to the confederacy or vanua level. In reciting the chiefly status, reference is made of the chiefly tribe and title.
When attending a Fijian ceremony or visiting a Fijian family or village, you will be expected to make a presentation where you will need to know the chiefly titles of those you’re visiting. Being able to refer to it will convey a good impression on your hosts and lead to a comfortable and respectful interaction.
A i Cavuti is the term denoting the chiefly titles of provinces and districts in Fiji. Find out all about it in the ebook below!