The church service for the late Inoke Vakataraisulu Tabualevu was held at the Yarawa Wesley Circuit in Suva yesterday.
Tabualevu was well known for his commitment to sports, he was a civil servant and a matanivanua fot the Tui Cakau.
Tabualevu’s son Radrodro Tabualevu said his dad was a father who often challenged his sons.
“In a Fijian tradition, it is very important to a father to develop and groom his son well so he is prepared for challenges in life. I’m happy to say that my father brought me up that way”.
Representing Queen Victoria School (QVS) old scholars Minister for Education, Youth and Sports Filipe Bole emotionally shared his friendship story with Tabualevu at QVS.
“Inoke was a close and a true friend and I feel deep privilege and honour to share with you the life of a true friend.
“Tabualevu, we were born in the same year 1936 but 19 days difference, we attended the same school which was QVS for six years, we had the same dormitory we both belong to the same house, which was Bau House,” said Bole.
“We were assistants in our dining room, we were both part of the student council, Inoke was the Head Boy and I was a prefect, we played rugby, cricket, hockey and athletics together. We always take part together in our school house competition that we have every year, Tabualevu was always a captain for our rugby side, cricket side and athletics he was a star sportsman of Vulinitu,” Bole added.
Bole then portrayed a story when Dr Tukaha Mua approached him one night in their dormitory to ask Inoke if there could be changes made to the positions as captain.
“One night when we were in our dorms Dr Tukaha Mua approached me and said it in Fijian o Tabualevu sa kavetani tu ga e kavetani na rakavi, kavetani na kirikiti, e head boy , o koya sa liu tu ga, vacava mo lai tukuna vua me veisau mada, me sa kavetani o iko na rakavi o au na kirikiti ( Tabualevu is always captain, he’s captaining the rugby team, the cricket team, his our head boy how about if you could go and ask him to change you be the rugby captain and I be for cricket).
“I went to Tabualevu I told him and he agreed to it so I was the captain for rugby and Dr. Mua for cricket, for our cricket team we were thrashed by the Verata team which was a great team.
Former Fiji’s Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka speaking on behalf of Fiji Rugby Union said Tabualevu was one who gave his full commitment and he’s best when he did something.
“ He loved the sport if we try to find out a player and coach, I was one player who toured England in 1970 this was the tour that the England Rugby Union tagged it as the tour of 1971 even though it took place in 1970,” said Rabuka.
“He was great man and coach, he knew the players and he knew what to get out of the players, Queen Elizabeth Barrack was our main training spot, we were pushed, pushed and pushed during training, he was a great leader who loved what he always do,” added Rabuka.
Speaking on behalf of the family and vanua Ratu Tu’uakitau Cokanauto said Tabualevu was a great mentor.
“Tabualevu does not only know sports but he teaches sports as well. When he speaks his words touches the heart of the players, he always remind the players when you are learning something it should reach the highest level, his words were always be Fiji should be number one not two or three, Fiji should lead,” said Ratu Tu’akitau said.
“We acknowledge him for everything he has done for Fiji.” Tabualevu will be buried today in his village in Somosomo, Taveuni.