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The Fijian carpenter god. He built the canoes that allowed the Fijians to navigate the seas and settle their groups of islands. During the Tuka heresy Rokola was identified with Noah by the followers of Ndugumoi, an hereditary priest. Although in 1876 the Fijians had all nominally accepted Christianity, this man led a popular syncretic movement that was the forerunner of Melanesian ‘cargo cults’. Known as Navosava-kandua, ‘he who speaks once’, Ndugumoi saw clouds full of flying chariots and taught that there were originally two gods, Jehovah and Ndengei, the indigenous snake deity. Jehovah had challenged Ndengei to make men, but the latter failed to do so and was driven away. When Ndugumoi declared the advent of the millennium and directed his followers against the British authorities, he was arrested and sentenced to a term in prison. Legends gathered round the prophet: the authorities tried to kill him without success—by dropping him down the funnel of a steamer and by putting him into the huge rollers of a sugar mill. Both the efforts of civil servants and missionaries against the Tuka heresy foundered, and long after Ndugumoi's death it was his version of Christianity that predominated.

Subjects: Religion.

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