07 March, 2006

The new-look Arts Village

Taken from an article in the Fiji Times. The Pacific Harbour Cultural Centre has always been a major attraction for tourists between Suva and Sigatoka. Since coming under new ownership, the centre - now called the Arts Village - has been undergoing changes that are expected to enhance the cultural shows it has on offer. Unlike previously, tours now include walks on the man-made island where boat building, tapa printing and the likes are done. There is also a "bure kalou" - a tall thatched bure used by priests for ancient Fijian spiritual practices. The height of the bure kalou is six storeys high. The burekalou has thick wooden pillars with inside walls made of little reedlike stalks, similar to bamboo. Magimagi, made from coconut fibre, is used prominently inside. To one side of the three doors, hung a long piece of masi that stretched all the way down from the ceiling. The "bete" or priest puts the masi on and it was said to be the line of communication from the "kalou vu" (Fijian god) to him (the priest) and he passes on the message that is relayed to him. There is also a "Bure ni Turaga". This has four doors with the one at the head of the house for the "Turaga" or chief while the two on the side are for the "Komai" (the chief's spokesman). The Turaga faces down from where he sits with his back to his door and the Komai faces the sides with his back to the doors where he enters from. The fourth door is for the "tawavanua" or commoner. Just near the top of the bure is where the turaga has his sleeping place or "loqi tabu". The area also has his "kali" or headrest, his "saqa" or water container and some weapons. For more information, visit the Arts Village at Pacific Harbour, which is an hour's drive from Suva towards Nadi.

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