History of Lodge Polynesia
Freemasonry in Fiji began in 1871 at “High Twelve” on December 27th when a “Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons” in Polynesia was opened at Levuka.
A newspaper clipping noted that the “Lodge was held by special permission of the King”. This had been necessary because during the latter years of Ratu Seru Cakobau’s regime there had been a body in the islands calling itself the Ku Klux Klan, which was against the Government. The King’s then Prime Minister, a Mr. Wood, had associated Freemasonry with the Klan and it had been necessary to obtain King Cakobau’s consent before any meeting could be held.
Ratu Cakobau sought advice about the lodge and “apparently gained favorable impression of the institution, giving it his support”, in a document titled “Under Royal Patronage and By Permission”.
The “circle seemed to close on September 17th, 1966 when Ratu Sir Edward Cakobau, great grandson of King Cakobau, was initiated, later to be passed and raised in the Lodge”. Another great grandson, Ratu Sir George Cakobau was initiated and later held office at Lodge of Lautoka. He became Fiji’s first Governor General after Fiji gained independence in 1970.
The first charter had been obtained by a Capt. Alexander Barrack from Lodge Robert Burns in Sydney (of which he was a member). The Lodge worked under this charter for some years until it was discovered that the charter was not in order, and that new Freemasons had been made illegally. The brethren quickly moved to rectify this.
On 1st February, 1875 the Grand Lodge of Scotland granted a charter to erect a Lodge and hold Masonic meetings under the name of “Lodge Polynesia”. All Freemasons made under the previous charter had to be initiated again.
The early meetings of Lodge Polynesia were held in various parts of Levuka town. The legacy of Bro. P. W. Murray, who left money and property to the Lodge allowed the building of a Temple, that was consecrated on 14th July 1913 and stood for almost 90 years. The building of the Temple was not without controversy as the trustee of the legacy, Bro. W. Wilson resigned as trustee, as he believed that the legacy had been established solely for charitable purposes.
The building of the Temple was assisted by the generosity of Bro. P. Morris (of Morris Hedstrom fame) who donated the land that the Temple stood.
Lodge Polynesia progress rose and fell with the fortunes of Levuka Town. It has survived numerous hurricanes in which its records and regalias were completely destroyed or lost. In the wake of the political turmoil of 2000, its Temple, registered under the National Trust of Fiji was razed to the ground. Undaunted, lodge members have continued to meet at the Temple of Lodge of Fiji, in Suva.
The WM and officers of Lodge Polynesia for 2012/13 are:
RWM – W Bro Clemence Patterson
IPM – W Bro Walter Thomas
Chaplain – W Bro William Aull
Director of Ceremonies – W Bro N Fareed
Senior Warden – Bro Robert Kaufuti
Junior Warden -Bro Moses Lum
Senior Deacon – Bro George Kaufuti
Junior Deacon – Bro Joseph Lumon
Inner Guard – Bro Andrew Naguilevu
Tyler – Bro Clive Smith
Secretary/Treasurer – W Bro Russell Howorth
Stewards – Bro Raj Singh & Bro Phillip Low