The Cibi ([ˈðimbi]) is a Fijian meke of Bauan origin and war dance, generally performed before or after a battle. It came to prominence in the rugby field in 1939 when it was performed by the Fiji national rugby union team before the match. It is also known as Teivovo[1]

Fijian Rugby Union Team Performing the Cibi before a 2007 Rugby World Cup game.


The origins of the cibi date back to the country's warring times with their Pacific neighbours and intertribal warfare. On their return home the warriors heralded their victory by displaying flags - one for every enemy slain. They were met by the women who would sing songs with accompanying gestures. The cibi was meant for open battle to inspire the troops, but it was sung with more vigour when the victorious army returned home to celebrate.

In 1939, when Fiji prepared for its first-ever tour of New Zealand, the captain, Ratu Sir George Cakobau, thought his team should have a war dance to match the All Blacks' haka. He approached Ratu Bola, the high chief of the warrior clan of Navusaradave in Bau,[2] who taught them the Cibi which has been adopted as Fiji's pre-match ritual ever since and went on to become the only team to remain unbeaten on a full tour of New Zealand.

The Cibi

Fijian English

(Leader)Vakarau! Cibi!
Tei vovo, tei vovo
E ya, e ya, e ya, e ya;
Tei vovo, tei vovo
E ya, e ya, e ya, e ya

Rai tu mai, rai tu mai
Oi au a virviri kemu bai
Rai tu mai, rai tu mai
Oi au a virviri kemu bai

Toa yalewa, toa yalewa
Veico, veico, veico
Au tabu moce koi au
Au moce ga ki domo ni biau

E luvu koto ki ra nomu waqa
O kaya beka au sa luvu sara
Nomu bai e wa mere
Au tokia ga ka tasere

Tuletule buka e sa dredre
Tuletule buka e sa dredre
Tou vaka tosoya vakamalua.
E ya, e ya, e ya, e ya

Get ready! Cibi! (War dance of celebration)
The war-fence, the war-fence,
Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, (spoken like warning in a cry before war)
The war-fence, the war-fence
Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh

Look here, look here,
I attack your defences,
Look here, look here,
I attack your defences

A rooster and a hen,
They attack, attack, attack
It is forbidden for me to slumber
Except to the sound of breaking waves

Your ship lies sunken below,
You say I may have drowned.
Your fence is just made of creapers
I peck at it, and it comes undone.

I turn the tree to uproot it,
It is difficult but it is there.
The tree is out of the ground
Slowly, we are able to move it.
Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh!

The 'Cibi' had perhaps been used incorrectly though, as the word actually means "a celebration of victory by warriors," whereas 'Bole' is the acceptance of a challenge. For this reason, the Cibi was replaced in 2012 with the new Bole[3] (pronounced mBolay) war cry. The Bole war cry has a lot more energy compared to the Cibi and seems far more fitting for the gruelling match that is about to commence, However, after the 2012 Pacific Nations Rugby Cup, the Cibi returned to be used.

Composed by Ratu Manoa Rasigatale, the Bole is translated as follows:

I'm challenging you to be uprooted, yes, it will be done, let's turn them up side down.
I'm ready, you think I'm afraid of you, you can't break my defence.
You're only a hen, I'm the rooster, let's fight and you'll see.
I don't sleep and will watch you.
My strength can reach the crushing of the waves.
I will not be drowned, you think you'll defeat me by drowning?
Your fence is only made of wawamere creapers, It's easy to untangle.
I can uproot you, I can uproot you, yes it will be achieved.

See also


  1. ^ Fiji RUgby Union>>Rugby House
  2. ^ Fiji Rugby Union >> History
  3. ^[permanent dead link]
  • Spoken Fijian: An Intensive Course in Bauan Fijian, with Grammatical Notes and Glossary By Rusiate T. Komaitai, Albert J. Schütz, Contributor Rusiate T Komaitai, Published 1971, Univ of Hawaii Pr, Foreign Language / Dictionaries / Phrase Books, ISBN 0-87022-746-7 used for translation

External links

  • Cibi on YouTube
  • Pacific Islanders Rugby Teams supporters website