Jacinda In Fiji: ‘Jacinda Made My Tea’

Mere Biu Vunibaka says the New Zealand PM’s act was both humbling yet empowering.
28 Feb 2020 10:11
Jacinda In Fiji: ‘Jacinda Made My Tea’
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern (left) makes tea for Lavenia Tuitabu, Mere Vunibaka, Filomena Saukuru, Sereima Jesoni, Yishu Lal and Amalaini Waqaceva during the official opening of the Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre (FWCC) in Namaka, Nadi, on February 27, 2020. Photo: Waisea Nasokia

Yesterday, New Zealand Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, yet again showed what true leadership means when she prepared and served tea to the designated tea ladies in Nadi.

Ms Ardern insisted and told the ladies at the newly-opened Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre branch in Martintar that she would be the one to serve them tea. Not the other way around.

And she did just that!

“The New Zealand way,” she told the women.

One of the women, Mere Biu Vunibaka, says she will treasure the fine gesture for the rest of her life.

The 63-year-old of Vatukana, Ono-i-Lau, said the act was both humbling yet empowering.

“I feel very honoured to be given that cup of tea made by New Zealand Prime Minister and I will not forget that moment for the rest of my life. I will tell this story to the rest of my family,” she said.

“The Prime Minister of a country made my tea. I asked her that I would make her tea but instead she looked and said to me that she will make it,” she said.

“It shows her humility. I will not forget this moment easily. I have learned something from her as well. She sets good example.”

Ms Vunibaka has three children and 13 grandchildren. She is also a song composer and a retired senior councillor and advocate who’s spent 26 years looking after the vulnerable.

She also played an important part at the opening of the Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre in Namaka by Ms Ardern.

She and her and her colleague composed a song about Ms Ardern in just three days. The song was sung to Ms Ardern as they parted ways. The song, in iTaukei, captured the lasting memory of a leader, who understands what leadership means – to serve the people.

Ni sa bula vinaka mai na gone marama Jacinda Ardern

Nuisiladi Liutaka nomuni yaco mai e rui ka lagilagi

Me mai dolavi kina Crisis Centre e Nadi

Isa lei Jacinda Nomu yalo qaqa nomu rai, e maqosa yalodei talega

Keimami nuitaka mo tutaka talega na noda Cakacaka ena gauna kecega

Keimani na marama, gone yalewa talega keimami marau ka uqeti talega

Nomu veiliutaki E veivakayadrati Ni kauta mai Na veisaututaki
Ena Veigauna sa oti tu nomudou veiqaravi, Rui Uasivi tu nomudou lomasoli

Kei na veitokoni tou mai semati vata, nodra vukei na marama
Noqu sere meu tinia vakavinavinaka cekia DFAT na tabana

Au na tawa guilecava nodatou Duavata

Kei na nodatou sasaga MFAT e rui vinaka me noda na kalougata
English translation

Good day Lady Jacinda Ardern lead New Zealand

Your presence glorious to open Nadi Crisis Centre

Oh Jacinda (Admiring) your strength, your vision stand out fearless we hope

You stand on working together is maintained all the time

We women and girls we are glad we are inspired in your leadership

it alerts us brings hope to freedom

Every time in the past your partnership is awesome

Your contribution support binds us to enhance women’s life

Closure to my chant (farewell) thank you enormously DFAT

I will not forget our partnership, your vision and objectives

MFAT is wonderful we are blessed.

Edited by Ranoba Baoa

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