Late Tui Lawa Recognised For His Vision

The Late Tui Lawa, Ratu Sevanaia Vatunitu was recognised during the ANZ Fiji Excellence in Tourism Awards for his vision, far sightedness, a great leader, a futurist and was brave
19 Feb 2018 12:01
Late Tui Lawa Recognised For His Vision
Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama hands over the Visionary award to Radini Tui Lawa Adi Merewai Vatunitu and Salanieta Lumuni at the 2017 ANZ Fiji Excellence in Tourism Awards at the Denarau Convention Centre. Photo: Waisea Nasokia.

The Late Tui Lawa, Ratu Sevanaia Vatunitu was recognised during the ANZ Fiji Excellence in Tourism Awards for his vision, far sightedness, a great leader, a futurist and was brave and courageous.

FETA trustee, Olivia Mavoa, said the former paramount chief of Malolo was an individual who would stand firm and display great leadership, in spite of the shortcomings and limitations.

“We believe that the winner of this Award for 2017 is a visionary in the full sense of the word.

“The Trustees did not deliberate too long on the awarding of the Visionary Award to this year’s winner.

“We believe that his contribution to the Vanua, to the Tourism Industry and to the Nation deserves recognition and acknowledgement.

“The establishment of resorts and other tourism activities such as marinas, surfing, yacht racing as well as an influx of not only tourists but also workers and other industry service providers, must have been a great challenge to him and the vanua.

“He fully supported efforts to replant native dry forests on his islands, improve water reticulation, sanitation in villages, harness solar power, encouraged livestock farming, giant clam restoration, turtle hatcheries and breeding programs and the banning of shark and turtle fishing, among other projects and initiatives.”

Ms Mavoa said Ratu Sevanaia believed that it was more important to ensure the long term and future needs of his people was maintained and taken care of through these initiatives and chose to forego more immediate needs.

She added that another area that was close to his heart was education and he worked closely with members of the industry to establish a secondary school in the area that would include boarding facilities.

“While being open-minded and progressive, he was also dedicated to the traditional customs and protocols of his vanua and always puts the values and needs of the vanua above personal recognition or gain.

“He fully supported the development of the industry and resorts in the area were pleased that he formed a business to transport guests to surfing areas.  This business is thriving and is run very professionally with the utmost in customer service.

“The resorts in the Mamanucas were greatly privileged to have worked with Ratu Sevanaia and through his great leadership and guidance, the vanua is thriving and there is great harmony and respect by all stakeholders in the area,” said Ms Mavoa.

Accepting the award, Ratu Sevanaia’s widow, Radini Vanua o Lawa Adi Merewai Vatunitu said when her husband’s name was announced she was really shocked in that with all the stakeholders in the tourism industry, he was picked.

“For me I knew that one day he will receive this award and through his time since when he was installed as the paramount chief of Malolo as Tui Lawa.

“He was one chief that worked hand in hand with all the resort owners and this stakeholder.

“He did not allow any dispute to come between the vanua and the tourism of Malolo.

“He even counted them as their six yavusa in the vanua of Lawa and the resorts were also included in this yavusa.

“I know he would have been really proud, only his deed will say what kind of man he was.”



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