The Luvedra Na Ratu clan from Noco, Rewa will miss their caring chief the late Turaga Na Tui Noco Ratu Isoa Damudamu, who was laid to rest at the chiefly burial ground at Nabudrau Village, Noco yesterday.
Makoi High School vice principal Lalesh Chand worked with the chief when he was based at Noco Secondary School from 2007 to 2011.
“My chief was the school manager,” Mr Chand said.
He said, Ratu Isoa, the father of the Girmitiyas, Recognition, championed education and was always available to help the school.
“I was really honoured to work with the Tui Noco, especially when he always had time to talk to the teachers,” Mr Chand said.
“He was very humble, understanding and caring.”
The late chief he said always brought himself down to the teachers level and he gained their respect.
Mr Chand said he was happy that the Tui Noco created a new clan which he called Luvedra Na Ratu to be part of the chiefly clan of Noco.
This new clan he created for the descendants of the Indian indentured labourers, the Girmitiyas, have made them feel at home.
Makoi High School head of department for industrial arts Atik Kumar and the assistant principal Vimlesh Lal said they would miss the caring chief.
They described Ratu Isoa as a chief for the people.
Meanwhile, Burebasaga paramount chief, Gone Marama Bale Na RokoTui Dreketi Ro Teimumu Kepa in a statement said: “It is with a heavy heart that the people of Burebasaga pay a very special tribute to the late, Turaga Na Vunisalevu na Ratu na Tui Noco, Ratu Isoa Damudamu who passed away last week”.
She said the late Tui Noco was a man of high moral values and a caring chief, who has throughout his leadership provided unwavering support, cared for the people of Noco, and dutifully fulfilled his obligations to the province of Rewa as a whole.
According to Ro Teimumu his place is cemented in the history of Fiji for his defining role in the conferment of the title of “Luvedra Na Ratu” under the name of the Tui Noco to descendants of the Girmitiyas last year.
“This speaks volumes about the vision he had for a united Fiji.”
The Rewa high chief said it would be hard to replace him however, she was sure his legacy was an inspiration for the future generations of chiefs and the Vanua to follow.
Students from Makoi High School and Vunimono High School lined up the footpath from the chiefly residence to the church and all sat down when the body was carried to the church.
Also present at the funeral service was the former President Ratu Epeli Nailatikau.
The head of the Methodist Church of Fiji and Rotuma the Revered Ilaitia Tuiwere delivered the sermon.