from notes archived at Bishop Museum, Honolulu, Hawai'i
Kava came to Rotuma from Tonga by himself and landed at Noa'tau on a reef by two rocks and ate... Kava went through Oinafa, neither place was good to plant in, all rocky. Kava came to Pepjei. He was looking for the Queen of Rotuma (no kings then). He found a place in Pepjei and planted himself. A rat ate some of this kava and then came to fuag riVakai where sauhani lived. An old Tongan man smelt some of the rat's shit on his fingers and said it smelt of kava. He followed the rat which went zigzag back to a tree where he discovered that the rat went under a big tree.This tree had been burnt on one side by fire when Ififoera had been making a place for his plantation. The rats were eating the rotten part where the fire had burned into the center.
The old Tongan man recognized this as kava and brought the tree to Vakai and made a kava drink. But no one liked it and the kava was thrown into the rubbish pile. But before this it had been divided up into seven pieces for each district. Every district disliked it and would not plant it, but the kava in the Pepjei rubbish pile grew by itself. Here a Noa'tau man found the kava and took a slip home and planted it on a mountain. Here it grew and thus kava was saved for Rotuma. This man was Satarau.
The Noa'tau people disclaim getting kava from Pepjei rubbish.
Kava flew to Rotuma from Tonga. Sinakirvau was a woman leper; Kava came to her.
Two Tongan men, Rotuatam and Keketot came to Vakai (a fuag ri in Pepjei) and lived with the sauhani.
Before this they used sasa for kava. Kava came to Hatana island where there are two stones, Sau he rua (sacred stones on this island not touched today). Kava spoke to Sau he rua, "Where is the king?"
Kava came back to the reef off Noatau where two stones lie outside. There fell out of the kava root. The stones are called Haf rua (touch the stones and they poison one. Even crayfish? are poisoned on this rock.)
Kava went to Oinafa (Pa'olo in Lopta) on the beach. He left another stone tupu'a (in bush in Oinafa, called 'devil stone'). The stone asked to go but kava left him. Kava broke the tupu'a in two with a planting stick. Kava stopped near Nofulu, a hole in the bush. Nobody knew kava was there.
A married man and wife (Ifoira and Wormaga) lived in bush, planting their plantation. A big tree (kava) was on their ground, but they didn't know what it was. The people were drinking sasa then. Two rats ate the kava and went down to Pepjei where they shit on the sasaga of the house of Sauhani at Vakoi. Two Tongan men put their fingers on the sasaga (ridge pole around wall top). They smelt the shit on their fingers. They told Sauhani "Kava is in Rotuma".
The next day the rats came back and the Tongans watched them. They followed the rats back. They found the rats digging at Kekesu. The rats ran zigzag. Solmaoi was the land where they ran to; they ran around in circles.
Kava grew in the hole on this land. All Rotuma came to see it. They pulled up the tree and split it, then tied it up and carried it to Vakai.
They divided up the kava and gave it to all the people (the people shared it). They found it was too strong and threw it away. One man planted it near Sisilo. It came to be the only piece left. It grew at Sa'tarua and was found there. All Rotuman people get their kava from there.
Tisua was the chief who planted it in Noa'tau. Each chief had a piece.
sasa = an ivy-like creeper
sau he rua = two kings
haf rua = two stones
rat in Rotuman is pija.
The two Tongan men who lived in Sauhani's house in Vakai were Pagofia and Fagihau. They followed the rat to Niu fol where kava had come to the two tupu'a. One split the kava and the other bit off the bud as they did not want to grow it in Rotuma.
The kava was divided among the chiefs of Rotuma but Fesaitu did not like the kava and threw his share from his fuag ri in Noa'tau, Satarua, and kava grew there. It was the only kava left in Rotuma.
Fesaitu was the chief of Noa'tau at the time.
Rotuman expressions relating to kava:
A fakpeje is a ceremonial speech made when presenting kava. For examples see Rituals