Island News

Who is Atelaite Cama?

Written By : LOSALINI RASOQOSOQO. It is the fear of having nothing that motivates her to bring out the best in herself for the community. She is courageous and if
20 Nov 2010 12:00

image Written By : LOSALINI RASOQOSOQO. It is the fear of having nothing that motivates her to bring out the best in herself for the community.
She is courageous and if sheer determination has to be classed, then this strong-willed woman will be rated among the best.
She is Atelaite Cama, the director of Unique Events, a company that specialises in co-ordinating events whether it is a party, concert, tour or any sort of gathering.
Unique Events has earned a name after the last two successes of the Lau Islands Trade Show-an island-hopping initiative aimed at taking goods and services to the shores of the islanders.
Many have been left to wonder about the person behind this success.
Atelaite’s story is inspiring and it all began after a traumatic experience in her personal life.
A divorcee with three beautiful daughters Talei, Fane and Senikau Qarase, Atelaite moved her focus to event-co-ordinating after the death of her youngest twin daughter.
The experience forced this Malaka woman from Vanuabalavu out from the civil service to become a full-time housewife until 2003 when she decided to work again but this time, it was in the hotel industry.
Her work with Turtle Island Resort as the activity co-ordinator made her become fascinated with organising events and that was also her learning curve.
“Over there, everything was organised in a timely fashion and nothing can ever go wrong,” she said.
From there, Atelaite’s efforts were recognised and became sought-after by many.
She started working under other organisations. And one of her major projects was the Fiji Islands Hotels and Tourism Association HOTEC-an annual event which she said was organised from scratch.
Her other major projects where she worked under Class Act Events included the Lucky Dube show, UB40 and the Soweto Gospel choir concerts held here.
After pulling off many major events, Atelaite built her confidence and decided it was time she started her own business.
“Events have always been a passion. It is really to me- , a culmination of a very unique set of skills, perfect (trying to be anyways) co-ordination of time and delivery of a particular service, creativity, patience, a total calm nature when things go wrong during an event and just pure passion and drive to excel all the time every time,” she said.
“To me a perfect event planner is always looking for faults – as long as there are faults, loose ends, problems in a particular event – I have to do it again to perfect it. “It’s sort of like an adrenalin rush and is rather addictive!
“This is my greatest love for pulling off events – the adrenalin rush,” she added.
In 2008, Atelaite organised what became her first island trade show where a plane was chartered by tourists to visit Vanuabalavu.
They pulled out in the last minute leaving Atelaite shattered.
“I spent so much for that project and I could not afford to put it off.
“After chatting with my cousin Tomi (Finau), he brought up the idea of sending businesshouses to the islands instead and that was when it all began,” Atelaite said.
Asco Motors, Carpenters Hardware, British American Tobacco were some of the businesshouses that made up for the cancelled trip to Vanuabalavu where they made evaluation on business opportunities on the islands.
That was when the idea of taking a boat to the islands started since her cousin, Tomi Finau is a development officer for the Fiji Shipping Corporation Limited.
Why the Lau Islands Trade Show?
“I wanted to create an event that served two purposes, one is to be a money-earner for me as I wanted to be self-employed and be my own boss at my own pace – it pays the rent, feeds my children and sends them to school,” Atelaite said.
“Secondly, I looked around me (immediately around me) to family and friends back home who are totally disadvantaged by distance to access basic goods and services.
There lay the opportunity to serve both purposes thus began the first such trip in 2008.
It then just sort of grew automatically to other islands and now seems to have grown into the rest of the Lau group! Four years ago, never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined that I would be and could be pulling off such an event like this,” she said.
10 things you should know about Atelaite Cama
r She is eldest daughter of Air Pacific senior pilot Captain Tomu Cama. He was the first Fijian pilot to work for Air Emirates.
r She attended Marist Convent in Levuka and later completed her secondary education at Adi Cakobau School.
r She was predominantly raised by her maternal grandparents from Kadavu and Matuku and wished they were still around to see her and her grown children today.
r Her mother is a Nabalarua from Kadavu
r She was event manager for the Black Tie Event for Suva Grammar Old Scholars Golden Jubilee Anniversary this year.
r This week she is the volunteer event coordinator for the Fiji Children’s Awards by Vision Fiji being hosted at Government House.
r She is planning another Lau Islands Trade Show at the end of May next year.
r She has already organised the only Soweto Gospel Choir Concert in Fiji on July 2, 2010.
r She is seriously considering organising trade shows for the remaining maritime islands like Kadavu and Lomaivit but that remains to be researched a bit more.
r She was also contracted for six months by Pearl South Pacific Resort after last year’s island trade show.

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