This morning I returned from Hatana Island, the sacred island in Rotuma. I am thinking of my mother and the stories she told me and my sisters when we were young, about Hatana Island, where Sau (Kings) are buried and some of the Atua (Rotuman spirits) live. So I dedicate today’s post to Mama, Elizabeth Luisa Konousi Sosefo. She passed away one year ago today. I miss you Mama and thank you for all your love and everything you taught me. My mother taught me most of what I know about Rotuman culture. She wove beautiful mats, composed songs and was a great teacher. She was a very talented, strong and respected Rotuman woman. She told me about lots of Rotuman legends. Some of my paintings are based on these legends, like Hai in Saulei (Stingrays in Saulei), and the legend of Hạfliua (Split rock island).
Hatana Island is a small island near the village Losa. You need permission from the chief of Losa to go to Hatana. Raho, the founder of Rotuma buried there and other Sau like Tuimanuka and Famạfu. It is hard to get to Hatana because of the reef and big waves so you usually have to swim in from the boat.You have to be respectful and not make too much noise or laugh at the Kings, or the waves will come up and stop you from leaving the island. It is said that if you break the rules, you have to apologise and say “Nevenev se sau he rua, ‘Is tä pa la’la’ se Rotuma” (Bowing to the two Kings, those of us who want to go to Rotuma).
Here is a link to a video of the trip from Hatana back to Rotuma with dolphins escorting us home. It is said that the dolphins symbolise that the Kings were pleased with our visit.