SPORTS

Sanasana Key To Success

When the Fiji International presented by Fiji Airways is broadcasted to millions of golf fans around the world, the Natadola Bay Championship Golf Course is very much at the centre
28 Jul 2018 10:23
Sanasana Key To Success
Sanasana villagers with 2017 Fiji International champion Jason Norris . Photo: Fiji International

When the Fiji International presented by Fiji Airways is broadcasted to millions of golf fans around the world, the Natadola Bay Championship Golf Course is very much at the centre of attention.

But the 18-hole championship venue and accompanying stunning InterContinental Fiji Golf Resort & Spa hotel is just the centrepiece of the village of Sanasana, whose residents are the traditional owners of the land where the resort sits.

The people of Sanasana have extremely close ties not only to the facility but to the tournament itself, an event of which they feel extremely proud.

Many of the staff who work year-round on site are from Sanasana Village and since its inception in 2014 the Fiji International presented by Fiji Airways has been a source of tremendous pride for the locals.

Each year there are several representatives from Sanasana on hand to take part in the traditional sevusevu ceremony which officially signals the start of tournament week and is an important part of the early week festivities.

For the people of Sanasana Village, the Fiji International presented by Fiji Airways is seen as an ideal vehicle to showcase the beauty of Fiji, and in particular the Natadola region, to the world.

They are honoured to showcase their village and the nation as a whole, recognising the economic and tourism benefits of both the Natadola Bay resort and the Fiji International presented by Fiji Airways itself.

“The people of Sanasana Village are extremely important to the tournament and everything that comes with it,” says Gavin Kirkman CEO of the PGA of Australia which owns the ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia and along with Sports and Entertainment Limited owns the Fiji International presented by Fiji Airways.

“The Fiji International presented by Fiji Airways is much more than a golf tournament for the people of Sanasana Village. We are honoured to play our part in helping to showcase what is a very special place in the world.

“We are also grateful to the people of Sanasana Village for being involved in the tournament. It is important to us that every aspect of the Fiji International presented by Fiji Airways be authentically Fijian and the Sanasana people certainly ensure that the Fijian way of life is honoured at the tournament.

He said each year players who came to Fiji for the first time were stunned by the beauty of the nation and the hospitality of the people.

“We hear it every year without fail from our first time players,” says Kirkman.

“They come expecting to find a beautiful island paradise but what they find goes so far beyond what they imagined.

“In fact, it is one of the main reasons so many of the players come back each and every year. Yes, they love the competition on the course but the unique experience of what Fiji has to offer away from golf is of equal appeal.”

While the tournament is underway many of the local men work as caddies for the week while the women have the opportunity to display and sell traditional Fijian handicrafts on site at Natadola Bay as part of the Fijian Made display.

In previous years the Fiji International presented by Fiji Airways has contributed rugby uniforms and training equipment a well as gym equipment to the village.

There has also been training provided for many of the local women in producing traditional handicrafts.

“It’s been a wonderful collaborative relationship which has been very beneficial to both parties,” says Gavin Kirkman.

 

Feedback:  oseab@fijisun.com.fj



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