from notes archived at Bishop Museum, Honolulu, Hawai'i
Fonman and Ravak
Ravak ate so much that his father decided to send him around the island for no one could keep him filled. Noa'tau had failed, and so he was sent to Faguta, and then to Itu'ti'u and then to Itu'muta, but all found that he ate more than their district could provide for him.
Finally Malhaha prayed that they might have heavy crops and when they found that they were going to have a big harvest they sent to Fonman to let them have Ravak. He came to their district and they fed him more than he could eat. Fonman was so pleased that he sent his tonu to the Malhaha bush to make the boundaries very large. This accounts for the large bushland of Malhaha that extends behind Oinafa and Itu'ti'u and across the island over the midway line into what would naturally seem to be Faguta. Ravak stayed on in Malhaha.
tonu = messenger
Malha'a is spelled thus and not Malhaha.
It means sacred place, which is in accordance with the fact that the district is, if not the oldest, the one in which the earliest events took place, and where the earliest migrants landed and where the Hanlepherua made the island from the baskets of earth.
Today most Rotumans spell the name of the district "Malhaha," so we have used this spelling although Macgregor used "Malha'a" in his notes after talking to Tavai.
Hanlepherua are mythical figures who played an important role in the story of Rotuma's founding.
Chiefly titles of Malhaha
The chief of Malhaha is selected by one family or kainaga and then the people of the district are asked for their approval. (This approval is no doubt modern.)
The fuag ri of this chiefly kainaga is Sauporoporo. Later Rimanu and Haupari fuag ri became chiefly houses, but all three are in one kainaga.
Chiefly fuag ri
Fuag ri of chiefly families
Original chiefs of these fuag ri:
These fuag ri rotated in proposing candidates for office, but all three seem to have voted together whether their candidate was up or not. Informants not very clear on this rotation. Not in use today, certainly due to the commissioner's approval or lack of approval. The last chief was the fourth man offered to the commissioner before his approval was obtained.
Chiefly fuag ri
Kainaga appears to mean kin, whereas 'ese means family in the English sense. There is also the word mosega for immediate family. It also means bed and probably signifies the group which sleeps in one house.
Rimanu is the fuag ri of the present Varamua and probably one in the Haupari kainaga which has the same title.
These fuag ri do not appear as the chiefly fuag ri of any ho'aga and are probably distinct and above them.
Formerly when a chief was elected to head his district he went to the chiefly fuag ri to live. This was both the family and chiefly fuag ri of the kainaga.
Titles are the property of the kainaga as a whole and not the 'ese.
The Mua was the head of Malhaha and the "pure" of Rotuma when Raho set up his family on the island and until the time Noa'tau conquered Malhaha.
Noa'tau made a new head chief when it conquered Malhaha. After this time, the Mua line of Malhaha, of which Tui te Rotuma was the first head, moved from their fuag ri roa, of which Matamea'me'a fuag ri is a part, to the hoag Toga to live, on Rirorava.
This was because Fonman, the third sau in Noa'tau sent Tu'a and Varomua to Malhaha to be the chiefs of the place. Or due to war and loss to Noa'tau before Fonman.
For a discussion of the term kainaga, click here.
For a discussion of mosega, click here.
'ese = offspring or progeny
When Varomua was sau in Pepjei a canoe came to Faguta with the Tui Uvea and his two daughters, Ria and Ofu. Ofu married a man from Malhaha, and the other married a man from some other district, but her youngest daughtyer came to Malhaha and married a man named Toka. Her name was Ferehiti and from them came the family of Varamua.