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Nalawa Rakes In Money As Cruise Vessel Calls In Port

Nalawa Rakes In Money As Cruise Vessel Calls In Port
Apakuki Nalawa of Nabukaluka in Naitasiri with his handicraft at the vodafone triangle in Suva. PHOTO: NACANIELI TUILEVUKA
January 10
11:00 2018

Apakuki Nalawa of Nabukaluka in Naitasiri is known to many for his handicraft skills and creations.

Mr Nalawa,  55, a father of three has been using his skills to make iTaukei war clubs and masks for a living the past 45 years.

Yesterday he joined fellow small and medium-sized business entrepreneurs who lined the streets of Suva with their handicrafts and items to sell to tourists on board Radiance of the Seas.

Mr Nalawa was taught the carving skills by his maternal side of relatives when he was just 10.

“I was not good at school, I picked up these skills early watching the men carve to sell to tourists,” Mr Nalawa said.

“I’d look for dry woods and then crave them into traditional canoes and war clubs at the beginning,” he said.

“Most times I’d come with my mother as she would have a stall to sell handicrafts to tourists.

“I picked up my interest from there and as I grew up I not only improved on my skills but also got to sell my own creations.

“The war clubs and masks are my speciality. I make my money from selling these items now.

Once he completes creating a unique design he brings it to sell at the Suva Port; he sometimes goes down to Nadi to sell it there.

Mr Nalawa said cruise vessels berthing at the Suva Port have picked up in numbers the last two years.

“This is good for us small business owners as there is consistency in our sales with the regular arrival of tourist vessels to Suva,” he said.

“I earn an income ranging from $1000 to $2000 a day when such vessels come to Suva.

“The best customers that come to Suva in the cruise ships are the ones from Australia.

“The price of items depends on the design, size and series of weaving.

“We spend a lot of time collecting wood, cleaning and then creating a design.

“I am glad that I am able to support my family with this small business.

“Also with this little business, I have managed to buy a house in Suva.”

Yesterday, the Radiance of the Seas (cruise ship) arrived at the Suva Port, with 1500 tourists on board.

The capital city was a hive of activity as tourists walked the streets of Suva along with locals with their back to school shopping.

Andrew and Emily Green from Australia were among those sightseeing the capital city. Mr Green said he loved the tropical weather and the bula smiles made them feel at home.

“This is our first time in Fiji and we are already falling in love with the place, the locals have been giving us their bula smiles, making us feel at home,” Mr Green said.

Radiance of the Seas departed yesterday evening.

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