NATION

New Zealand Hero Returns Home

Sulendra Raju, dubbed a ‘Hero’ builder by New Zealand media and the mayor of Auckland, Phil Goff, for his role in helping South Auckland homes after they were hit by a tornado last year, has finally re­turned home.
03 Jul 2022 14:30
New Zealand Hero Returns Home
Sulendra Raju, dubbed a ‘Hero’ builder by New Zealand media and the mayor of Auckland. Photo: Waisea Nasokia

Sulendra Raju, dubbed a ‘Hero’ builder by New Zealand media and the mayor of Auckland, Phil Goff, for his role in helping South Auckland homes after they were hit by a tornado last year, has finally re­turned home.

Mr Raju spent most of his childhood days at the Nadi municipal market. As a toddler, he would take naps inside empty wooden banana boxes while his parents attended to their business as market vendors.

After more than two decades, he has returned home to set up an invest­ment of FJ$300,000 in his hometown of Nadi.

He has opened two shops – All in One Restaurant and Fast food and All in One Cakeshop.

Over the years he has supported the Nadi Football Association and recent­ly signed an MOU with the Nadi Rugby Union.

“I always wanted to give back to the community, not forgetting my roots – the community of Nadi,” he said.

Background

Mr Raju, 47 was brought up in Nawa­ka. He attended Andrew Primary School before he completed his second­ary education at Sangam Sadhu Kup­puswamy Memorial School (SSKMC).

He followed the footsteps of his father, Ananda Raju who was a well-known market vendor where he sold peanuts and later became a carrier driver.

“I spent most of my early childhood in the market area. I used to sleep in the empty banana box. I used to sell peanuts moving around the market area. Then I got my driving license and started to drive carriers. I made a lot of friends and it helped me grow as a person,” he added.

Moved to NZ

He moved to Papatoetoe, New Zea­land, in 1997 on a fruit picking job but had a falling out with the farm owner.

Finding himself with nowhere to go, he slept on the streets and bus bays for some time trying his hand at various small jobs such as being a petrol atten­dant.

“There are no shortcuts to success, you just have to work hard from the start,” he said.

“There are a lot of challenges but al­ways be positive and go for every op­portunity.”

Little by little, through his connec­tions, he established All in One Build­ers Company Limited in 2012 which specialized in subdivision works, commercial, renovation and electrical works.

He was coined the ‘Hero’ builder by NZ media for his assistance in fixing up 60 homes when a tornado hit the South Auckland area in June 2021. To­gether with his team of 65 men, they set out repairing damaged roofs, win­dows and fallen fences.

He is married to Mami Raju, a beauti­ful lady from the Cook Islands and to­gether they have eight children.

Mr Raju says “Without the support from home, I wouldn’t be able to make it.”

Feedback: waisean@fijisun.com.fj



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