Culture and Community

At Matava you can experience the true Fijian culture with our Fijian staff. Join in with visits to local schools, villages and traditional community events.


Meke with schoolkids at Matava, Kadavu, FijiThe name Matava is derived from a famous battle that took place on this land back in the 17th century.

Warriors from the then powerful Rewa district on Viti Levu came down to make war with Kadavu village – our neighboring and historically most powerful village on the island.

On hearing this the Ratu “chief” sent his messenger “matanivanua” to challenge the Rewa warriors to war. Three times the matanivanua returned to the village with no reply. It was not until the fourth “va” challenge that a bloody battle ensued on the beachfront.

The Kadavu warriors proved too powerful and won the battle naming the site of the battle Matava after the messenger who was sent four times before the battle took place.

In a world that’s constantly being developed, exploited and urbanized, fortunately Kadavu has been left behind. The land and its people remain pure and relatively unaffected by the changes occurring around them.

It’s a place where preservation of the Fijian culture is vitally important – and at Matava Resort you’ll have a unique insight into traditional practices and rituals that still play a part in everyday life.


Kava with George at Matava, Kadavu, FijiKava / Yaqona Drinking

The traditional drink of Fiji, yaqona or better known as kava, is a central part of most Fijian ceremonies. The root of a species of pepper plant is dried and pounded into a powder. It is then mixed with water in a traditional bowl called a tanoa. The resulting drink acts as a mild relaxant and has a slight numbing effect on the tongue.

You will undoubtedly be offered a bilo (or cup) either at the resort or during a village visit. We suggest you should try at least one!

Engage in an ancient ritual and gather around a bowl of ‘yaqona’ (kava-the customary Fijian drink). This ceremony dates back thousands of years and is still an integral part of Fijian life today.

Sample a delicious ‘lovo’ feast, an authentic Fijian meal steamed in an oven pit over hot stones. Join a local medicine man on a plantation walk and learn the therapeutic uses and healing properties of locally grown plants.

Culture event

A Traditional Meke performed for Matava guests

Village Mekes

The local village performs a meke for guests of the resort upon request. A meke is a ceremony of traditional songs, music and dance often unique to a particular village. The performers may be school children or the village women’s group. Usually most of the village attends, offering encouragement to their friends, joining in the fun and providing for a real cultural exchange.

This is a village initiative supported by Matava Resort to keep local versions of the mekes alive and at the same time raise money for the community development projects in the village.

Community Marine Reserves

Working in conjunction with our neighboring village of Kadavu Koro, we have established a marine reserve from the boundary of the Matava foreshore extending out to encompass the opposite Waya island.


This area is protected from any sort of fishing, shell collecting and reef walking. There is a sandy path out through the sea grass that ends in a small clearing in the fringing coral. This provides easy access to snorkeling areas and we ask that you stick to the path. The sea grass is a nursery for all sorts of marine life which you are welcome to snorkel over at sufficient tide.

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