Queen & Commonwealth
Tabua (whale's tooth)
The Royal Collection © 2012,
Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II
RCIN 60118

Tabua (whale's tooth)


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On 17 December 1953 the SS Gothic sailed into the harbour at Suva, the capital of Fiji, bringing The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh to this region for the first time.

In accordance with traditional Fijian welcome, outrigger canoes from the surrounding islands escorted the liner to its anchorage and the Governor General, Sir Ronald Garvey, came on board to greet Her Majesty.

Before The Queen could go ashore the leading Fijian chiefs were invited to perform the ceremony of Cavuikelekele, or formal invitation to land, during which the paramount chief offers a Tabua (whale’s tooth), the most prized possession of any Fijian ruler.