From J. Stanley Gardiner (1898), "The Natives of Rotuma," Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 27:424-425.
Kava is never drunk during a meal or after, but always just before; it is proper after it, before commencing a feast, to eat a piece of pineapple or some other fruit. It used to be attended with considerable ceremonial.
With all the chiefs sitting round in a circle with the food laid out ready in front of them, the root of kava, unwashed and with all its leaves and shoots, is brought in and taken up to the biggest chief, who is properly sitting as near as possible in the middle of the long side of the house, which is nearest to the shore. Near the head chief is sitting a man termed the mafuoi, whose business it is really to direct the whole ceremonial and to call out each chief in his proper order for the kava to be handed to him. He now calls out, "Kava!" and after a few moments "Monu!" on which the peskava (or kava-cutter), usually the son of the giver of the feast, drives a sharp stick of hard wood into the root to break it up for the chewing. The root is then taken away, cut up, and thoroughly washed, while the mafuoi or some old man tells a story of the old times or whale-fishing. The chewing is now done by the old women, and the kava placed in the tanoa, or bowl, in small and fairly dry lumps. After sufficient is chewed, the mafuoi calls out, "Solsito honi!" an order to the head woman to wash her hands. After this is done, she calls out to another woman who has water in a cocoanut shell, "Kosu," or "Pour on the water." The whole she then proceeds to knead up with her hands for some time; another woman then hands her the nihou, or strainer, with which she removes the woody fibres. The nihou is then handed to another woman, who washes it, while the kneader has water poured over her hands. The nihou is handed back to her, and she calls out, "Kava ito te," or "The kava is ready; "the mafuoi answers, "Kava tonia," on which the woman rinses the nihou several times into the ipu, or cocoanut-shell bowl, until it is full. The mafuoi then calls out to each chief in turn, "Tou kava Marafu"--"Give the kava to Marafu"--strictly in accordance with their rank on the island, derived from their names, and not position. The man who has had the direction of preparing the feast then, bending, carries the kava to the chiefs in turn.
At a really big feast in the old days each chief would have a separate root of kava, and each would have his own peskava. The kava is always made very strong, and only one bowl is as a rule drunk; the women are fond of chewing it, and on the Government forbidding it to women with child they were petitioned so strongly against it by the women themselves, on the ground that their teeth were going, bad, that they had to remove the restriction.
The tanoa is a round bowl, with four legs; it is properly about 10 inches in diameter, and the hollowed-out basin between the legs should almost touch the ground. The nihou is made of the beaten-out bark of the fou (Hibiscus sp.?) dried, and tied up together. The ipu is simply a half-cocoanut shell; small nuts are chosen for the purpose, since the kava is made very strong.