It’s what separates Fiji from the other nations. That’s how international Netane Masima described the nation’s moving hymn known as Noqu Masu.
An unexplainable feeling, according to Fiji and Melbourne star Tui Kamikamica, supporters had the first chance to see the hymn live on Friday as Fiji faced England in their final World Cup preparations.
The fixture resulted in a heavy 50-0 defeat to Shaun Wane’s side, but the side’s unity will be visible throughout this campaign through their beliefs and religion.
“Everyone back in Fiji, it’s pretty much a song everyone sings in church,” Kamikamica told Love Rugby League.
“It’s a different feeling. When you’re in a circle and everyone is singing, I can’t explain the feeling. You soak up the atmosphere and at the end of the day you’re in it to win footy. But it’s a good feeling to sing the song before you go out there and represent your country.
“There’s a couple of tears when we’re singing. That emotion and thinking about the struggle back home and the build up.
“At the end of the day, we want to be the best players to go out there and represent our country.”
Jason Qareqare on Noqu Masu
Castleford youngster Jason Qareqare made his dream international debut for his home nation on Friday at the AJ Bell Stadium. Born in Lautoka, Qareqare was part of Fiji’s extended squad and will continue to train with the side during their World Cup campaign.
Having relocated to Yorkshire in 2008 from Germany, Qareqare’s first experienced the national team sing the Noqu Masu during the 2013 World Cup as Fiji faced Ireland in a sold-out Spotland Stadium.
“In Fiji, there’s rugby, God and work and that’s all they strive for,” Qareqare said.
“The first time I ever heard it was in 2013 against Ireland and it gave me goosebumps. I made sure I tried to learn it and I went down to the semi-final against Australia at Wembley.
“I learned it that year and it’s stuck with me. Me and my family are all Christian, so we sing some of the hymns that they sing as well.”
Kevin Naiqama: ‘It makes our country very unique and beautiful’
33-year-old Kevin Naiqama will once again lead Fiji as captain during this year’s campaign. The 2023 Huddersfield recruit described the hymn as “beautiful” as his side look for another successful campaign, having made the semi-finals on the last three occasions.
“Our faith is a big part of our culture,” Naiqama told Love Rugby League.
“Our hymn that we sing before the game is an expression of that. It is something that as a group, we really enjoy doing and something that we take pride in and expressing ourselves to the rest of the world.
“I feel like it’s one of the things that makes our country very unique and very beautiful. It is something that really bonds us together.”
Fiji open their World Cup campaign against favourites Australia on Saturday in Group B.