NEWS

 Jeke Matereti: How A Shark Attack Shaped My Life

Being attacked by a shark eight years ago has not stopped Jeke Matereti of Nukudamu Village live life to the fullest – with one arm severed. Not only has it
23 Dec 2019 21:58
 Jeke Matereti: How A Shark Attack Shaped My Life
Jese Matereti with mum Talica Vakasawaqa in Nukudamu Village on December 17, 2019. Photo: Laisa Lui

Being attacked by a shark eight years ago has not stopped Jeke Matereti of Nukudamu Village live life to the fullest – with one arm severed.

Not only has it given him a differ­ent perspective to life, it has devel­oped in him a positive outlook of adapting and doing the things he loves best, even with one arm.

Today, he still enjoys diving but he has dedicated his time more on farming and generating a lot of in­come to support his three children.

The attack

Mr Matereti was attacked while free diving with his parents in the coast off Udu Point. He said the at­tack happened in the blink of an eye.

“I had noticed something white, swim underneath me from where I was diving, before I reached the surface, the shark had positioned itself for an attack,” he said.

“The rubber from my spear gun had loosened and I could not de­fend myself, as the shark was too fast for me and very swift in its at­tack.

“It headed for my stomach, but I braced my forearm and it took me over the surface and down in the depths of the ocean.

“I used the spear gun to poke its face, and that was how the shark released my arm and I made it to the surface. The boat was far away from me, but I had to get to it before my blood attracted other sharks.

“This is the first time this has ever happened to me because I have been diving the coast for more than 20 years and I know the location to find the large size fish,” Mr Matereti said.

Raising his injured left forearm above the water, he swam towards the boat with the help of his flip­pers. Bleeding heavily, Mr Matereti was rushed to the hospital.

Staying positive

Lying in his hospital bed for al­most two months made him think hard and long about surviving with one arm.

Since his release from his hospi­tal bed Mr Matereti has planted 5000 dalo tops. Two years ago, he saved another man who was also attacked by a shark in Savusavu.

“My experience has given me an­other level of strength, to endure the hardships of life,” Mr Matereti said.

“I have also planted more than 7000 yasi, yams, pineapples, wa­termelon as my short-term crops. This is the eighth year of my pro­ject.

“Before, I was only an expert in diving, but after my shark attack experience I am using the land as another source of livelihood and targeting millions for my three children.

“I believe that God is keeping me alive for a reason only known to Him. This kind of experience moulds us and brings out the best in us when we look at it positively,” he said.

Edited by Naisa Koroi

Fiji Sun Instagram
Fiji Plus
Subscribe-to-Newspaper
error: