Tavuni Hill Fort is said  to have been built by Maile Latamai Finau a Tongan chieftain and his followers on their arrival from Tonga via Kadavu and Serua Island a couple of hundreds of years ago. He was of noble birth and from the Tuipelehake lineage. He was good looking, strong headed and a womaniser and was banished by his father for some misdeed with a high born lady. Maile Finau left the Tuipelehake powerbase at the time which was supposed to be Lapaha in Tonga for Fiji with a band of loyal warriors and followers.   

They travelled through Lau to Kadavu and on to Serua before they finally settled on what is now known as the Coral Coast. Perhaps because of the openness of attack from the sea by powerful neighbours with naval fleets of double hulled canoes he moved inland to build Tavuni Hill fort. He was also constantly under threat by the warring highland tribes further inland. The fort placement certainly allows for early detection of attacks from the Sea or from the ferocious highland tribes. There are actual stories of battle still told by the descendants of Maile Latamai Finau one of which includes a warrior who after he had been lanced by a spear was still able to run a considrable distance to the fort.

Over time the Tongans intermarried and adapted to Nadroga life, language and culture. Tongan names like Maile Latamai Finau, Tupou and Fatafehi are still in use today and are to be found among the Yavusa Toga or No iToga (Tongan Tribe ) of Nadroga and their close relatives. The Tongan language was still spoken by some of the older people up until the 1970s. The title Tuipelehake is used by the leader of the No iToga. The descendants of Maile Latamai Finau and his followers now can be found in the villagers of Naroro, Korotogo, Nawamagi, Malevu, Cuvu and Nadrala in Nadroga;  Waicoba in Navosa; and Vatutu and Waqadamu in Nadi. The Navosa and Nadi branches are descended from some of Maile Latamai Finau's followers who chose to seperate from him because of a dispute that arose and crossed inland from Nadroga to Nadi.