Ra Marama, the last great double-hulled Fijian war canoe to grace the South Seas, was built at Somosomo during the 1830s to 1840s. The canoe, measuring 30m long and 6m wide, took seven years to complete and could carry over 130 warriors. At the keel-laying ceremony, several young warriors were clubbed to death to increase the canoe’s mana, or spiritual power; missionaries intervened at the canoe’s launch when more warriors were due to be sacrificed. The canoe was presented as a gift to Cakobau of Bau who used it as a powerful symbol of strength in his wars against Rewa which eventually crowned him King of Fiji. After Cakobau’s death in 1882, the canoe was returned to Somosomo where, beached, it perished to the wind and sea – no trace of it remains.

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