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Tuimacilai: A Life of Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara

Written by Deryck Scarr

Softcover, 414 pp

Written from archival research and observation, Tuimacilai is a biographical study of Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara, leading figure in the South Pacific whose background, character, role in traditional as well as nation life, political difficulties, achievements, and failures are obviously worthy of being put on record for their own sake quite apart from the fact that assessment of evidence has educative value.

The late prime minister, Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara, played a pivotal role in Fiji hosting the first Festival of Pacific Arts and Culture in 1972. FestPAC is the Pacific leader's vision. 

Tuimacilai establishes his inheritance and education, his years in District Administration, his attempts to temper the winds of constitutional change blowing his own people along a course they did not wish to follow, and his leadership after 1970 when high sugar price that he negotiated did not mean farmers voted for him. In depth again, the 1980s are discussed, with their economic difficulties, and his efforts to deal with them by a wage-and-prices freeze, the way that this led to the emergence of the Fiji Labour Party, along with military coups, and then the final years when his support for a rather visionary new constitution led to his being asked by his own people to stand aside. 

In his earlier years, powerful individuals with serious doubts about his multiracial policies were even so prepared to stand alongside him. At the end, he was still very strongly supported by a man who was opposed to eastern chiefs like Ratu Mara in principle but still thought him exceptional.

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