From Fiji Times Online (7 February 2012))

Matua, the sailor, teacher and story-teller

From Robert Tuxson On Board The Uto Ni Yalo

Mausio Mafai
Mausio Mafai

IN almost every traditional culture there's an ingrained respect for those people that have attained a certain "advanced" age and at the same time have achieved wisdom along the way.

Our ancient seafaring ancestors were no different and accompanying every large drua was at least one man who was called the matua or elder wise one. He was a man of personal achievement and was respected for what he had contributed to his community and for his knowledge of the sea and its inhabitants. Decisions were seldom made without consulting the Matua.

The Uto ni Yalo is no exception as the mana from their trip exists in their matua, a man beloved and respected by the entire crew regardless of their age.

His name is Mausio Mario Mafai and he's known to generations of former students as Master Mausio, the long-serving headteacher of Marcellin Primary School in Vatuwaqa.

Before that he taught on his home island of Rotuma where he hails from Kalvaka, Noatau.

Born on August 8, 1952, he is 59 years young as witnessed by his enthusiastic participation in the last two voyages of the Uto ni Yalo.

He rises with the sun and is first to respond to the captain's call for manning the deck to change a sail or pulling on a line.

In port, he's an avid walker seeking to explore new places and meeting new people. With his background in education he never hesitates to "educate" the uninitiated guest about our drua and his proud Polynesian sailing tradition.

While in Ensenada four American yachtsman were enthralled by Master's tales of Viti kei Rotuma and the seafaring exploits of his ancestors

Our matua is wise beyond his years.


From Fiji Times Online (23 April 2012)

Mausio is an OKEANOS favourite. His rugged Polynesian features and slightly weather beaten look with full beard has made him a videographers delight. He's proud of his Rotuman heritage and can relate many traditional stories about his beloved island. His former career in education, a principal for many years, enables him to speak eloquently in three languages. This gift has been very evident during our devotional services and prayers before eating. Some have said he would make an excellent politician because he is honest, hardworking, has his people at heart, can speak in front of a group and he has come in contact with a variety of people through his many years involved in education in Fiji.


From Fiji Times Online (11 December 2012)

Call to trace links

by Ropate Valemei

ABOUT 90 per cent of young people in Fiji and Rotuma only have knowledge of their lineage up to three generations back.

A 60-year-old former primary school principal and a Pacific voyager said young people should conduct more research into their links beyond these generations.

"If you ask any young people about their ancestors, either they don't know or know of only two or three generations back," said Mausio Mafai.

Mr Mafai was one of the voyagers on board the Uto ni Yalo who sailed around the Pacific and the world tracing the links of Fiji and Rotuma to other parts of the world.

"On our voyage, we tasted what our ancestors experienced. They only took from the ocean and from the land what they needed," he said.

Mr Mafai urged young people to take time to learn about their culture and traditions and trace their links back because they could hold surprises.

"I am calling on young people to stand up and do more research on our ancestors.

"We should not rely on historians and technical people to do it for us — we have to do it ourselves."

Mr Mafai said this could be a gift to young people.

"Stories are transferred down through songs, tales, chants and other modes but we have to dig deeper."

He said people could spread awareness through talanoa sessions with their friends and families.