Adi Arieta Kuila

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Adi Arieta Kuila, the eldest daughter of Cakobau and Adi Litia Samanunu of Bau, had only a slight rim of regular ‘mallet’ qia (tattoo) round her hand. In 1875, she told Baron Anatole von Hügel that the process was most awfully painful and she was pleased that it was not continued.

Adi Arieta Kuila, seated, with her sister Adi Kakua, [circa 1874-1879?]. Photograph by Francis Dufty, National Library of Australia.
Apparently by 1870, tattooing practice had stopped in Suva, Bau and some parts of Rewa. Adolph B. Brewster had observed that young girls in Suva and in the adjacent districts of Rewa and Bau were not tattooed, but the older women had been.

Adi Kuila was about thirty-five years old in this photograph, unfortunately her tattooed hand is not visible in this photo. Note she is missing a finger, it was custom to cut off half a finger as a sign of mourning, especially on the death of a chief. This was most possibly after Ratu Timoci’s death in 1874.

She had married Ratu Timoci Vakaruru, Vunivalu of Naitasiri. They lived in his chiefly village of Navuso on the Rewa River with their children, Peni, Ravulo, Timoci, and Senimili.

(Information from Hügel, Anatole von, Baron & Hooper, Steven & Roth, Jane & Fiji Museum & Cambridge University Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology (1990). The Fiji journals of Baron Anatole von Hügel, 1875-1877. Fiji Museum, Suva; Brewster, Adolph Brewster (1922). The hill tribes of Fiji. Lippincott, Philadelphia.)

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