Country Focus: Fiji
On Fiji Islands
By Ronald Wright
Published by Penguin Books, 1986.
About the author: Wright has written multiple award-winning works of fiction and nonfiction including The Gold Eaters, Henderson’s Spear, A Scientific Romance, A Short History of Progress, Stolen Continents, Time Among the Maya, Cut Stones and Crossroads, What Is America?, and Home and Away.
Numerous independent sources confirm that the ancient Fijians had an elaborate system of beliefs, rituals, special utensils, and favourite recipes for large-scale cannibalism. This could have resulted only from long development. None of the Fijians questioned by early Europeans ever tried to deny or hide the fact of cannibalism; on the contrary, they expected the whites to tolerate it as vakavanua, the “way of the land.”
Victims were most often cooked in earth ovens (lovo) made of hot stones among which the meat and vegetables were buried. A wild “spinach”—botanical name Solanum anthropopphagorum—was deemed essential to avoid the constipating properties of human flesh; and yes, the latter was was sometimes figuratively call vuaka balavu, “long pig.”