Our Fiji correspondent, Samisoni Pareti, reports that over one thousand mourners are expected at the funeral of the high chief.
Presenter: Bruce Hill
Speaker: Samisoni Pareti
Ratu Aisea Katonivere died in a boating accident in waters off his village of Naduri outside the northern town of Labasa.
He had gone with 2 male relatives for an overnight fishing trip on Thursday last week when their boat capsized. While his 2 relatives were rescued by fishermen fishing close by, Ratu Aisea's body was not found until the next morning.
Ratu Aisea's funeral was initialled planned for Friday this week. But following a request from Fiji's interim prime minister, Commodore Frank Bainimarama, the burial will now be held a day later so as to allow his attendance.
Bainimarama is currently in New York, chairing a meeting of the regional bloc, the Group of 77 plus China. Ratu Aisea was a strong supporter of the
Bainimarama Government and he was a leader in marine conservation and sustainable development in Fiji.
In keeping with traditions, the high chief's funeral will see the revival of ancient Fijian rituals associated with the passing of a person of high rank and birth.
Only certain tribes would be allowed to handle his casket, and taboos or restrictions in movement in his village and fishing in waters nearby have already been imposed.
Samisoni Pareti, Fiji.