A King’s Long Walk To Triumph

The Digicel Duavata Northern Crime Prevention king has revealed an emotional, yet triumphant, journey that eventu­ally led to bringing out the best in him. Paulo Tuanoka, always wondered what it
09 Jul 2018 11:05
A King’s Long Walk To Triumph
Digicel Duavata Northern Crime Prevention king and sponsored by Pinto Industries Limited with his mother, Milika Flora, on July 9, 2018. Photo: Shratika Naidu

The Digicel Duavata Northern Crime Prevention king has revealed an emotional, yet triumphant, journey that eventu­ally led to bringing out the best in him.

Paulo Tuanoka, always wondered what it would be like to be a contest­ant, standing in front of a crowd and speaking out and advocating an issue close to heart.

He wondered what it would be like to be announced the winner and fighting for a worthy cause.

So when the chance to be one opened up he grabbed the oppor­tunity somehow knowing that the results would pan out well for him.

He was crowned the Digicel Dua­vata Northern Crime Prevention King on Saturday night.

And though he was no doubt the happiest person there, the journey to his victorious night can bring you tears.

The 19-year-old said he and his mother, who has been a pillar of strength in the weeklong event, en­countered challenges.


He has seven siblings. His mother is a primary school teacher and his father is a soldier.

The Year 13 student of All Saint Secondary School in Labasa was sponsored by Pinto Industries Lim­ited.

He’s been living with his uncle in Labasa to be closer to school. He has been there since the start of the school year, but before this he used to rent on his own. He spends time with his family on weekends in Vitina, Dogotuki, a two-and-a-half-hour bus drive from Labasa.

He dedicated his victory to God and his mother, Milika Flora.

“My mother, who is a teacher at Dogotuki District School, travelled daily by bus after school to see me on stage for eight nights,” he began.

“After my presentation she would hire a carrier to return to Dogotuki and one way cost her $100.

“She didn’t have enough money and it wasn’t pay week either, yet she sacrificed so much for me.

“On the second last day of the carnival she had no money and we had to walk down from Vunivau to Savilla House in Labasa Town to join other contestants to go on the main stage.”

It takes about an hour to walk from Vunivau to Labasa and is about a 15-minute drive.

“I didn’t complain walking down in my costume because when I saw her praying for me on her knees it gave me strength to do better,” he said.

“There was one night during the same carnival week we slept with­out having dinner because my mother had no savings.

“No matter what struggles my mother and I went through I just want to thank Jesus for binding us together and helping me make her proud.”

Mother’s sacrifice

Meanwhile, his 45-year-old mother said: “I travelled daily two-and-half hours to and from the carnival just to provide support for my son.

“I would like to thank Manju Ram of Vunivau, Labasa, who doesn’t know us personally and yet helped my son by preparing his costume for Bollywood night.

“Also, a special thanks to Vitina Grace Community Church and the youth group for helping my son pre­pare his talent show.

“I always teach my son to remem­ber Jesus in prayer and be faithful and he will be rewarded in the right time and that’s what happened.

“We are not rich but we are happy by grace of God and have what we desire in life.”

Paulo said: “There were five king contestants and all were equally good.

“I joined because I had a dream once to stand on the stage and the topic that I spoke on was suicide.

“Why suicide happens and how we can stop is something that I felt needed to be highlighted because it has become a norm in our society.

“My message to the youths is that we all have problems in life but end­ing it with our own hands is against God’s will.

“Look at my life I am faced with so many problems and being away from parents for five days in a week yet I have chosen to live away from them because I want to make them proud.”

Edited by Ranoba Baoa


Fiji Sun Instagram
Fiji Plus