NATION

Villager Keeps Family Tradition, Sells Handicraft

Apakuki Tabuakuro de­pends on the money he gets from selling hand­icraft to tourists and Friday was no different. The 69-year-old hails from Nabukaluka Village in Waid­ina, Naitasiri, with maternal links
23 Sep 2018 12:17
Villager Keeps Family Tradition, Sells Handicraft
Apakuki Tabuakuro with some of his own designs, which he sells in Suva to tourists, some of whom came onboard the Majestic Princess ocean cruise liner on September 21, 2018 berthed at the Port of Suva. Photo: Wati Talebula

Apakuki Tabuakuro de­pends on the money he gets from selling hand­icraft to tourists and Friday was no different.

The 69-year-old hails from Nabukaluka Village in Waid­ina, Naitasiri, with maternal links to Suvavou Village where he lives. Growing up he saw how his uncles and grandpar­ents made and sold souvenirs and he learned from them.

At 12 years old Mr Tabuakuro started selling souvenirs with his mother on Saturdays.

“When I was three years old we started living at Suvavou. I saw the good thing about sell­ing souvenirs to the tourists while growing up and when my mother died I decided to venture into what my mother used to do,” Mr Tabuakuro said.

“I am not well educated, I only went up to Class Six. I put my talent to good use.

“When I was 15 years old my mother passed away and I started selling souvenirs.

“I started buying things for myself because I didn’t want to depend on my older siblings. I am the youngest of 14 siblings.

“I have been selling souve­nirs until today and I was able to send my seven children to school from the income I re­ceived from selling souvenirs.

“I worked for the old Grand Pacific Hotel for seven years, but then I went back to selling souvenirs.”

Mr Tabuakuro said selling souvenirs now was better than before.

“Before selling souvenirs was cheap, but now we can get good income and the quality of what we sell is good,” he said.

“Nowadays big ships come to our shores, but before it was only small ships. One thing I learned from selling souvenirs is that tourists will buy your souvenirs depending on how you approach them.

“You need to talk and tell them what your products are and why they should buy sou­venirs from you.

“When big ships come to our shores my children help me and I pay them $50 a day. Yes, they stay with me, but I need to pay them because they are get­ting money for me.

“I was able to make $1000 by selling souvenirs to tourists who came on the Majestic Prin­cess today and after paying our water bill and paying off small debts my profit is $700.”

Mr Tabuakuro is also the President of the Fiji Crafts and Tourist Guides Association.

Edited by Epineri Vula

Feedback: wati.talebula@fijisun.com.fj

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