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Farmer Returns From NZ Work, Ends Struggles, Enhances Family Welfare

Osea Tikotabua, 45, once struggled to make ends meet, but today he oper­ates a thriving business.
15 May 2022 15:07
Farmer Returns From NZ Work, Ends Struggles, Enhances Family Welfare
Two-time Pacific Labour Scheme recipient, Osea Tikotabua in his cattle farm on May 9, 2021

Osea Tikotabua, 45, once struggled to make ends meet, but today he oper­ates a thriving business.

This is thanks to opportunities handed to him by the National Employment Centre (NEC)

The two-time Pacific Labour Scheme (PLS) worker from Deladamanu Village in Naitasi­ri, travelled to Central Otago in New Zealand in the hopes of putting an end to his strug­gles and enhancing the welfare of his family.

The father of six children had been farm­ing for 30 years to feed his family while his wife sold kai (fresh water mussels) for extra income.

Today, Mr Tikotabua owns a canteen, a cattle farm, a pig farm, extended his house, bought furniture and also supports his chil­dren’s tertiary education.

He recalled the struggles he faced in Fiji to provide for his family.

“Before this I used to do farming, I planted cassava all my life, it was a big struggle,” Mr Tikotabua said.

“I knew about the scheme when the NEC team came right to my village and I thought of taking a chance.

“I applied in 2017 and got the news in 2019 that I was selected. I was happy because liv­ing in a village, but I faced a lot of difficulties in earning money.”

Mr Tikotabua said before he left Fiji, they discussed their main goal as a family.

“Before I left, I had set up my target; I spoke to my family on what we wanted to do with the money we earned,” he said.

“I was sending money to my wife and she did everything. Two of my children were also schooling at the university and I used to pay their fees.

“Now three of them are in the university and I pay their fees from the money I saved.”

Mr Tikotabua was also able to extend his house and buy furniture.

“In the first trip, I extended the house and bought furniture from New Zealand and shipped to Fiji and in the second trip, I built a canteen and started cattle farming with 25 cows and a pig farm,” he said.

“I hardly had any furniture in my house so I bought wardrobes and beds.

“My canteen business is going well and my aim now is to supply milk.

“I have spent about $10,000 to $12,000 on all of that.”

The father of six children said his purpose to go overseas under the Pacific Labour Scheme for the second time was to save mon­ey for his children’s tertiary education and he did exactly that.

“I went to New Zealand under this scheme in 2019 for seven months for pruning,” he said.

“I was at home in 2020 and then went there again in 2021 for one year and two months.

“In 2019, I saved $30,000. I did not withdraw unnecessarily, this is how I saved.”

He thanked the Fijian and the New Zealand Governments for giving him the opportu­nity.

“I want to thank them for the opportunity and no more struggle in the village.”

His advice to those who were working un­der the Pacific Labour Scheme was to follow the rules and stick to the plan they had made before they left.

Mr Tikotabua said he wanted to work un­der the scheme again to save money for his children’s education.



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