When The Going Gets Tough, Kabakoro Gets Going

Working in a male domi­nated work environment is always a challenge but for Nanise Kabakoro, her perse­verance through challenges has assisted her progress in the field. The 28-year-old Naweni, Caka­udrove
02 Jan 2019 10:17
When The Going Gets Tough, Kabakoro Gets Going
Nanise Kabakoro (right) discuses an issue with a collegue during one of her assesments at the Mua-i-walu port in Suva

Working in a male domi­nated work environment is always a challenge but for Nanise Kabakoro, her perse­verance through challenges has assisted her progress in the field.

The 28-year-old Naweni, Caka­udrove native is a trainee port engineer with the Fiji Ports Cor­poration Limited, a place she had worked since August 2017.

“Working in a male dominated field is good and challenging,” Miss Kabakoro said.

“I am grateful for Fiji Women In Maritime Association, for where I am today,” she said.

“I first heard about Fiji WIMA through a colleague who I met whilst attending a South Pacific Community sponsored event, the Maritime Technology Cooperation Centre (MTCC) launch. It was then I realised that, there were other women involved throughout the maritime sector as a career. For a young women it was a challenge.

“Fiji WIMA through its network­ing with ladies within the sector encourages development of one’s career.

“In engineering we have our good days and off days here and there, but I’m enjoying the challenges that come with it,” she said.

“As a port engineer, I am constant­ly on the move, sharing my time between sites, the office and even at different geographical locations.”


Miss Kabakoro’s main area of fo­cus is the ports infrastructure, for Suva, Lautoka and Levuka Ports.

“My scope of work includes coor­dinating with engaging consultants and contractors on port related pro­jects, approving or seeking approv­al from management, coordinate and make appropriate adjustments for non-routine repairs.

“I also estimate and plan budgets for projects (maintenance works), monitoring and updating of docu­mentation, maintenance plans, ensuring that management and stakeholders are well informed of project update.”

Prior to that, Ms Kabakoro was FPCL’s graduate bridge & struc­tural engineer.

“I had learned and worked along­side highly experienced personnel as I was part of the Bridges and Structural team.

“In my previous role I had pro­vided assistance to project techni­cal leads, project managers and senior technical personnel during meetings with team members and clients.

“I carried out site surveys, inves­tigations and feasibility studies for proposed bridge projects.

“Produced calculations, specifica­tions and drawings to ensure that technical bridge designs provide appropriate solution.

I also provide support to specific project which included assisting with planning and report writing.”


Miss Kabakoro had obtained her Bachelor’s Degree in Civil Engi­neering from the Fiji National Uni­versity in 2014.

She had attended Veiuto Primary School then to Suva Grammar School before attending Hamilton Girls High School in New Zealand.

As the youngest of six siblings, five girls and one boy, Miss Kaba­koro attributes her success to her upbringing and the values instilled into her as a child by her parents.

“Looking back at my childhood, my parents emphasised two main things at home,”

“One was that in all things we did as a family, God was to be first and two was to achieve academic suc­cess.

“My parents always taught us that there were no shortcuts to success.

“That we must do things the right way and family time was impor­tant.

“These have stuck with me since.”

“While growing up my Ratu and Qei had their hands full raising six children.

“They were both had full time jobs, but somehow they always knew what mischief we would get up to.

“One rule, my Ratu had at home when I was in primary school was, everyone had to have their shower by 5pm.

“Soon after that we were expected to start with our homework that by the time he got home we were al­ready on it.

“As kids, we always got carried away playing and one day we lost track of time; we realised that he was almost home. We ran to the bathroom at once.

“My two older sisters were in one bathroom while me and my brother were in another.

“We could have easily fooled my Ratu but he noticed that our hair was still wet and my brother didn’t wash out the soap around his ear. We got the belt that day, not for playing till late, but for trying to trick our Ratu.


“I was fortunate to be, a recipi­ent of a 15-day IMO (International Maritime Organisation) fellow­ship for a senior port management training held at the Galilee Inter­national Management Institute, in Nahalal, Israel.

“The programme took place at the Galilee International Management Institute, Israel from November 14 to 27 last year.

“The 15 days was devoted to a sys­tematic study of some of the criti­cal management problems faced by managers in general and port executives in particular.

“Participants in the programme examined managerial problems relating to institutional policy and strategy; the application of sys­tems;

Analysis and decision theories; environmental and legal influences and constraints;

Financial management and con­trol; organisational behaviour; de­sign and development.”

The Vanua Levu lass will further her education in Australia this year in which she hopes to gradu­ate with her Masters in Engineer­ing (Civil & Structural).

“I am a 2019 recipient of the Australian Awards Scholarship, so I will be travelling to Australia later in January to commence my Masters in Engineering (Civil & Structural) at the University of Ad­elaide,”

“The programme is for two years. I will return to Fiji, re-join FPCL as a certified, qualified port engineer to assist in the maintenance, up­grade of the port structures needed to sustain operations before new structures are built.”

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