Let's Go Local | SUNBIZ

Navai At The Foot Of Mt Tomaniivi

Viliame Waqalevu is one of the senior researchers at the world’s largest and most expansive marine-life aquarium, SeaWorld, in Abu Dhabi.
30 Sep 2022 04:00
Navai At The Foot Of Mt Tomaniivi
Tourists at Mount Tomaniivi in Navai Village, Viti Levu. Inset: Viliame Waqalevu.

Marine biologist Villame Waqalevu hails from the village of Nabouono, Macuata and shares maternal links to Navuso, Naitasiri.

He is one of the senior researchers at the world’s largest and expansive marine-life aquarium, SeaWorld, in Abu Dhabi.

Mr Waqalevu specialises in larval capture, identification, and aviculture of marine fish. His recent research involved studies on early marine larval development, digestive enzymes and metabolic processes in marine fish, live feed development for first feeding marine fish and various collaborative studies on coral reefs in the Asia and Pacific region.

 

Outside of his research work he loves watching and playing rugby. He played in Fiji (USP – SRU competition), Japan (Konan – Kyushu Club Top League; Rokko Fighting Bulls – Kansai League and national championships; Kobelco Steelers – twice pro team trialist only) and more recently now in UAE (Abu Dhabi Harlequins – UAE Premiership).

His philosophy is balance, try everything, prioritise and designate appropriate effort into each, fill our life with experiences and not things, have stories to tell and not stuff to show.

 

How many places have you visited around Fiji?

I have visited most places in Fiji for work, school field trips and for holidays.

The only places I have yet to visit in Fiji are the island groups of Yasawa and Lau.

Islands in the Lau Group

Islands in the Lau Group

What is your favourite backyard spot?

Lawaki, Beqa.

I stayed briefly at the Lawaki Beach House, a Fijian-Swiss owned hostel, back in 2010 and I have not since forgotten about it.

I dived in the reefs in the lagoon, ate good food and was also welcomed warmly by the neighboring village.

 

What is one place in Fiji you would take visitors to and why?

I would recommend them to either visit Navala in Ba or Navai in the highlands at the foot of Mt. Tomanivi.

To highlight the often not recognised beauty of the interior of Fiji, with high mountains, meandering rivers, traditional houses, and friendly locals that live there.

Mount Tomaniivi in Navai Village, Viti Levu.

Mount Tomaniivi in Navai Village, Viti Levu.

What is your favourite place for coffee and why?

Growing up in the late 90’s, I used to frequent the tea house in Epworth House which was operated by a group of elderly women.

One of my grandmother’s used to bake and make hot cups of tea/coffee there with my grandfather often helping her, I used to go there and be treated to an extra pie or chocolate cake by the ladies, all of whom I used to all call “Bu”.

I have fond memories of this place and of my grandmother who has since passed. Because of the warm memories I have of this place, I would regularly visit it when I can.

 

What is one place in Fiji you would like to visit and why?

I have yet to visit the island group of Lau, it is on my bucket list of places to visit.

I have heard and seen YouTube videos on the pristine oceans and beautiful island scenery in Lau, so I would love to go diving or sailing around the group of islands.

Lau Group

Lau Group

Story by: Sosiveta Korobiau

Feedback: sosiveta.korobiau@fijisun.com.fj



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