The Story Behind Nalawa The Fighter

“My high school education was short lived due to an illness that had me partially paralysed from hip down. I don’t hold any tertiary qualifications, yet!”
13 Dec 2021 11:20
The Story Behind Nalawa The Fighter
Apakuki Nalawa with Australian actress Rebel Wilson.

Among the types of people in this world, there are some rare ones who have the spirit of a warrior.

Not so much war like but a fighter nonetheless.

A fighter who can punch through everything thrown at him.

These are battles which require a lot of strength.


In some cases, the battles become a test of your faith, enthusiasm, courage and energy.

This is how it had been for Apakuki Nalawa, also known as Kuki.

People see him as a musician, entertainer, music manager and artist.


What many have not seen is the teenager who saw his world crash at 14 when he developed an illness.

He was partially paralysed from his hip down.

A school dropout, he fought and endured.

“I found music and it became my teacher,” said Kuki.


The Journey Starts
Kuki was born in Lautoka.

His father worked for the iTaukei Lands Trust Board, the Fiji Police and then retired as the Deputy Secretary for the Ministry Of Lands.

His mother was a bank officer for more than 30 years.

And he is the youngest, he has three older sisters.


“I grew up at Laucala Beach during my Primary School days, a lot of adventures around the neighbourhood with friends, every school holiday we would either go to Macuata, my mum’s family estate or to my village – Drauniivi Ra,” Kuki said.

“By high school, we had moved to Namadi, same thing, adventures with friends, playing cowboys, touch volleyball, biking and other things.”

“I went to Marist Brothers Primary, finished off as deputy head boy then off to Marist Brothers Hight School.”


According to him, these were the foundations to the many great memories with lifelong friends.

As it is, being at Marist Brothers brought an automatic brotherhood bond that stays for life.

“I am blessed to have experienced it for myself,” he said.


“My high school education was short lived due to an illness that had me partially paralysed from hip down. I don’t hold any tertiary qualifications, yet!”

As he said, music became his teacher. The passion he had for music led him to believe in himself.

That made him learn. He made up for the things he missed out at school.


Life as musician
For the last nine years, Kuki has been a full time musician.

He started with the band ‘Inside Out’ and is also a solo artist.

“Being an entertainer in Fiji is not easy.


“I turned entrepreneur in 2018 as I established a sister company called Resonance Entertainment, managing live music entertainment at resorts along the Coral Coast,” Kuki said.

“Doing sound and lighting setups, created Fiji’s first ever stand up comedy show called LOL Mada.”

All these ventures were going good until the pandemic reared its ugly head.


“The entertainment industry in Fiji was always challenging, COVID-19 just brought a new meaning to challenging,” he said.

“We will eventually have to live with it like the common cold or flu, we need to all get vaccinated to help curb the problem.”

While Kuki has been strong, he found that if there is support around you, things become easier.

“My parents are my motivation, ever so hardworking. My beautiful wife has always supported me through my journey and my beautiful sons Levi and Kali, my reason why I do what I do.”

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