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Islandliving fiji from the editor

SUMMER 2016/17 | ISSUE 18

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ext issue, we will be celebrating four years of Pacific Island Living. We started this magazine for Pacific people – to find, review and recommend things to see and do, and ultimately, buy. We are proudly an aspirational magazine, we want our readers to sit back and indulge just as much as we want to tell the world how great the Pacific really is. From Georgie Gordon’s health and beauty columns, to Carolyn Ernst’s gardening tips, we hope you agree Pacific Island Living has something for everyone. In four years our market has grown from Vanuatu and Nauru Airlines to cover most of the Pacific. We’re particularly proud of our market share in Fiji and the Solomon Islands as well as our distribution in Australia through Qantas Club lounges. As I write this column I’m in Fiji, having just flown in from Vanuatu. Next month it will be Nauru then the Sollies. Pacific Island Living truly is a Pacific magazine and we’re so pleased you have enjoyed it and helped its growth over the last four years. Please do keep in touch via our website, Facebook page, Instagram or Twitter. Happy reading. Tiffany Carroll

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and Instagram at instagram.com/pacisliving or read this and all our magazines online at www.pacific-island-living. com Cover images - Fiji Island Living courtesy Adrenalin Fiji; Solomon Island Living, by David Kirkland; Nauru Airlines Cover courtesy Nautilus Resort, Kosrae; Vanuatu cover courtesy Pavol Stranák. Copyright: All rights reserved. The contents of this publication may not be reproduced without the permission of the publisher. Articles express the opinions of the author and not necessarily those of Nauru Airlines, Tourism Fiji, Vanuatu Tourism Office or Pacific Island Living.

CRUISING I DINING I DIVING I GOLD IN RIO EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW FOR YOUR PERFECT FIJI HOLIDAY PLUS FOOD I FASHION I BEAUTY I HEALTH I FINANCE islandliving | 1 pacific


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Ni Sa Bula

PICTURE: Warwick Fiji Resort, by Craig Osment.

Bula Vinaka! With 330-plus verdant islands and jeweled-coloured reefs to distract you, it’s easy to forget that Fiji is also home to a rich and fascinating culture. But if you’ve visited us before, you’ll probably agree that our famously friendly people are our greatest asset. After all, it’s hard to stay detached when children enthusiastically wave at you or you are warmly greeted by total strangers. After some time here, you may even find yourself offering a hearty ‘Bula’ to the next uninitiated tourist. For a shot of culture, a visit to a local village will leave you with a greater appreciation for family, community and life’s small luxuries. The traditional house structures may have disappeared but customs like fishing and cooking practices, handicraft making and the welcoming ‘sevusevu’ ceremony with its obligatory tongue-numbing kava consumption live on.

We also recommend trying the traditional ‘lovo’ prepared in an underground oven if you get the chance. The feast takes many hours to cook but the result is a delightfully smoky, succulent fare of meats, seafood and root crops. Most resorts host a Fijian ‘lovo’ night, often accompanied by traditional song and dance (meke) and performed by grass-skirted, club wielding warriors and demure, graceful women. You’ll be expected to join in the performance at the end so be prepared to kick off your shoes, dig your toes in the sand and get your hips swaying too. We hope to see you soon!

Vinaka! Islandliving | 1 Fiji


Fijian culture 2 | Islandliving Fiji


e One Fiji r u t l u c & y r o hist

a proud

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he Fiji Islands is home to many different peoples. The Itaukei or the indigenous people and Fijians of Indian decent, the decedents of indentured laborers from India predominantly inhabit the islands with part Europeans, Chinese and other Pacific Islanders in smaller numbers – but all share a common pride in their culture and a determination to keep it alive. According to archaeological evidence the islands were first settled about three and a half thousand years ago. The land was volcanic and very fertile.The sea, full of marine life, was a benevolent provider. The early settlers were called the Lapita People after the discovery of a distinctive type of pottery, remains of which have been found in practically all the islands of Melanesia, Micronesia and in the islands of Tonga and Samoa in Polynesia. Fijian culture is an intricate network of peoples. While the legendary King of Bau, Ratu Seru Cakobau and his successors controlled a large area of Eastern Fiji before colonization, at no time was Fiji politically united. Nevertheless, these islands exhibit certain characteristics that set them apart from neighbors and it is these characteristics that contribute to a distinctive Fijian culture. The first explorers to Fiji spoke very highly of Fiji’s early society. Captain James Cook, William Bligh and later D’Entrecasteaux described the Fijians as fearless warriors and builders of great sailing vessels in the Pacific. The agent of Fijian culture is usually the community, and not necessarily blood relations. Work is carried out, ceremonial obligations fulfilled and pride and shame felt by groups rather than individuals. Among the physical symbols by group interaction, two items stand out as being of great importance: Yaqona and tabua. Yaqona is the cultivated plant, Piper methysticum, and the drink made from its roots is known more widely, again through Cook’s influence, by its Tongan name kava. It is the social drink of Fiji and flows at any gathering with the ritual preparation and the order of drinking denoting the social order. Yaqona is presented as a sign of goodwill or hospitality, but when an important request is being made and yaqona may not be sufficient, then it is the tabua that is presented. The tabua is the polished tooth of the sperm whale. The intimate expression of Fijian culture is the solevu, an enormous feast where two groups meet to exchange wealth,

produce and food to renew and strengthen ties. The occasion may be marriage or the formal introduction of children to their mother’s kin but the event reaches far beyond the individuals concerned. Because Fijians are essentially members of communities, the children are part of a living and eternal organisation that is bigger and more important than any individual. This community spirit underlines the friendliness for which Fiji is famous. Even the casual visitor notes the easy smile, the gracious manner and the constant invitations to join in with the people. Fijians are, of course are no longer alone in these islands. Nearly 40 percent of the population is made up of descendants of Indian labourers brought to work in sugar plantations over 130 years by British colonisers. These indentured laborers were offered a passage back to India when the indentured labourer system came to an end, but most preferred to stay, and they have become prominent in agriculture and commerce in modern day Fiji. They too took pride in preserving their language although inevitably the two major communities in Fiji today have borrowed selectively from each other. 

Islandliving | 3 Fiji


Music Magic @ Uprising

The Uprising 12-hour continuous music festival will hold its ninth event in 2017.

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he Uprising Beach Resort in conjunction with Pacific Coast Events and Promotions will host the 9th Festival of Music, Dance and Lights in November 2017. The Corona Uprising Festival of Music, Dance and Lights aims to make the annual event globally known and visible by showcasing Fiji, involving the people of the country, and visitors alike. The 2016 edition of the event was the biggest in terms of attendance and on-stage content. Each November, since 2009, this spectacular show kicks off from 12 midday to 12 midnight. The event organisers pledge to patrons is to guarantee 12 hours of exciting music and spectacular dance in the hope to showcase local flair and offer visiting guests (tourists) a promise of first class entertainment. According to the hosts, the name, Festival of Music, Dance

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and Lights came about to coincide with the Diwali Festival of Lights, celebrated around October/November of each year. Apart from presenting music and dance, the program also incorporates the ‘lights’ concept. “The Uprising Beach Resort has always kept their promise every year where they put on a dazzling display of ’lights’ for the last seven years and in true Diwali style, Uprising’s efforts in keeping with the theme leaves no one disappointed.” What can be expected at the event? The line-up of artists and performers includes some of Fiji’s most distinguished and reputable musicians. However, each year the event organisers introduce new artists into the mix including international performers. Program developers this year will see a new line-up to include six overseas artists, courtesy of Fiji Airways; another major sponsor since 2014. These artists took to the stage


and exhibited some of the most stunning performances throughout the festival. Jay Hoad, made his sixth appearance at the event this year. The dance troupes, Rako Pasifika, Vou and the Shobna Chanel Dance Troupe are professional performers who have danced on the world stage, having taken their acts internationally, on many occasions. 2017 will see some new material from the new line-up of these contemporary dancers. The program is purely about live music, dance and movement, and the celebration of its components. The added ‘lights’ feature is at its best at sundown, boasting the Pacific Ocean as a backdrop! Each year we lend a more carnival feel by introducing other attractions like food vendors, a glass blower, face painter, henna artist, hair braider, weaver (hats, motifs, baskets and other smaller items). The idea is to make this a family fun day as well, and share the business with some of our smaller community ‘cottage’ traders, in and around Pacific Harbour. The event will also feature a sponsored ‘Kiddies’ Station’ which will be managed by capable and trained teachers as minders. This station will feature games and fun activities with prizes, complimentary food and beverage for each child, under the age of 12 years. In keeping with catering to the needs of families, in a carnival mood, the organisers plan to provide the younger festival comers with a fun-filled day, under strict guidelines and supervision in compliance with OHS regulations. 

Look for this logo T

he Fijian Government wants you to buy Fijian made products and not just because they are good for you, but also because doing so benefits Fijians.. Every chef we interviewed for Fiji Island Living told us that “you can’t beat locally grown products”- and a visit to the Suva markets on a weekend shows an abundance of colour and variety. Tours to the market can be arranged on a Saturday morning (contact Patricia Kailola – pkailola@gmail.com ) or you can pop down during the week yourself. Minister for Industry, Trade, Tourism, Lands and Mineral Resources Hon. Faiyaz Koya said Fijian made products are also branded Fijian for identification purposes. “The Fijian Made – Buy Fijian Campaign commenced in 2011 with the approval of an industry emblem decree and the subsequent launch of the emblems by the Honorable Prime Minister,” the Minister said. The Fijian Made and Buy Fijian Campaigns aim to promote and raise the profile of Fijian made products both domestically and internationally through branding and marketing strategies. The Fijian Made branded products carry the emblems or logos on the products to distinguish them from imported products. “This Campaign aims to build a sense of loyalty amongst

Fijians to buy our own creations and for visitors to buy locally made souvenirs and products to expand employment in the manufacturing and agricultural sectors,” Minister Koya said. To be certified Fijian Grown, all products must be in an unprocessed state such as fruit and vegetables and products harvested and obtained by hunting and fishing. “You’ll no doubt see billboard, television, print and radio commercials promoting the campaign while you’re here. Know that when you buy Fijian Grown and Fijian Made, you’re getting the very best quality food, grown in our mostly organic family gardens which supports local Fijian people,” he said. 

Islandliving | 5 Fiji


out and about

Fiji DiningteGuide buds on

s a t r u o y t ge

Tiffany Carroll took time out in Fiji to discover some of the best restaurants in the Pacific.

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iji’s gastronomy scene has matured as of late and visitors have an abundance of local and international foods to choose from. Less than 10 kilometres from Nadi, Denarau Island is home to a cornucopia of resorts, most with fabulous restaurants that offer the ultimate in dining – lavish fine diners, elegant waterfront restaurants and casual poolside hangouts – it’s all there. Local chefs are getting creative with cooking styles, sometimes fusing modern techniques with traditional cooking methods, and international chefs are bringing their own experiences and adding it to the mix.

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Suva on the other hand has endured living in the shadow of Nadi, its western big brother for tourism, beaches and, up until recently, its dining scene. Suva can now share the accolades of Denarau with some of Fiji’s best restaurants serving up delicious food, unique ambience and fresh local food.

Governor’s

This gem of a restaurant quickly became my favourite hang out in Suva for its friendly staff and historical photographs and memorabilia, each capturing the essence of the romantic


South Seas. From posters for movies filmed in Fiji to photographs of Royal visits and colonial wharf scenes your lunch could take an hour to come out (which it doesn’t) and you wouldn’t get bored wandering around the historic house. Governor’s is housed at the former residence of Fijian High Chief and Pacific statesman, Ratu Sir Lala Sukuna. It’s a gorgeous colonial home, lovingly restored without losing any of its original charm by owners Ken and Carolyn MacDonald. The clientele is local business people, mums taking a day off, visitors and government workers. The menus are extensive and chef Jason Allport prides himself in sourcing local, sustainable food. “We spend a lot of time at the market and only buy fresh fish, in season so as to protect breeding stock in Fiji. If something is not available fresh, we simply don’t offer it,” he said. Being a sometime Melbourne girl, going out for breakfast is high on my priority list, but to be honest, I’ve found breakfast choices in the South Pacific a little limited. Not at Governor’s however. Their breakfast selection includes frittatas, eggs many ways, banana and coconut pancakes, a filling South Seas full breakfast as well as crunchy muesli with fresh fruit and French Toast. For lunch, Governor’s has a large salad range, burgers, seafood specials, soups and the Fijian speciality Kokoda – a traditional fish salad cooked in lemon juice. Make sure Governor’s is first on your list for breakfast, lunch, dinner or drinks. Phone: +679 337 5050

Grand Pacific

The Grand Pacific Hotel is Suva’s answer to Raffles in Singapore, a colonial era masterpiece recalling the days of pith helmets and elegant cocktails by the pool. But while tradition is important here that doesn’t mean there isn’t innovation and fresh offerings on the food front. Treat yourself or someone special to a Grand High Tea every Sunday. Experience the colonial splendor of a traditional afternoon tea on the upper balcony overlooking Suva Harbour. Twining’s loose leaf tea, imported bone china, cucumber sandwiches, heavenly scones, specially prepared pastry treats and live music all coming together to transport you to another time. For lunch or dinner, seven days a week, the Grand Pacific showcases the flavours and traditions of Pacifica by concentrating on the best of local produce, food that smells great and tastes even better. One example being Vudi Vakasoso a dessert which pays homage to a Fijian favourite featuring plantain bananas poached in coconut milk, infused with cinnamon and cardamom before getting a drizzle of sugar cane caramel and a mint garnish. So relive past times in splendour, from the liveried doorman to grand galleried entrance hall, perfect! The Grand Pacific Hotel, Victoria Parade, Suva. For reservations, contact the restaurant manager on +679 322 2010 or email: restaurant@gph.com.fj

Islandliving | 7 Fiji


V Restaurant

Just a stone’s throw away French chef Jean-Marc Ruzzene presents diners with a sophisticated French-inspired menu at the suave V Restaurant at Sofitel Fiji Resort and Spa (below). Unlike the perennially busy Salt Restaurant which overlooks the gigantic family pool and the softly lapping waves of the calm see, step into V Restaurant and enter another realm, one where thatched roofs and palm fronds don’t exist, instead an elegant interior colour scheme of browns, crèmes and beiges dominates the elegant room. Here everything is beautifully presented (think crisp table linen and beautiful menus), service always comes with a smile, and dishes whizz out looking like artworks. An out-of-this world experience … in the tourist centre of Fiji.

Paridiso

A newbie on the Suva restaurant scene, Paridiso has a club-like feel to it, overlooking the tennis courts and rugby field opposite the Grand Pacific Hotel. It’s the sort of place you want to sit back with a Pimms and lemonade and watch the afternoon sports on a weekend. And while you can do this, Paridiso is better known for its delicious Italian food and freshly squeezed juices. As you would expect, there are plenty of pastas on the menu including Bucatini Aglia e Olio (long pasta with garlic, olive oil and chilies), Bolongnese, Canelloni and Lasagne. Other favourites include Beef fillet, grilled tuna and Mahi Mahi and woodfired pizzas (above). For dessert, the sticky date puddings are amazing as are the selection of gateau. Open Tuesday-Sunday for breakfast and lunch. Phone: +679 777 2303

Flying Fish

At Sheraton Fiji Resort’s (sheratonfiji.com) al fresco waterfront Flying Fish restaurant (Peter Kurivita’s signature brand) Polish newcomer Pawel Klodowski is wowing customers with polished, tantalising dishes every night. Fijian seafood is prominently featured on the menu and à la carte dining is always popular, however now there’s a new concept for patrons wanting something a little bit different. Book for a Chef’s Table dinner and get up close and personal with the creators. Private or communal, the idea is that guests watch the chefs do their meticulous work and indulge in both a degustation and show.

8 | Islandliving Fiji

Rhum Ba

The Yacht Club at Port Denarau went through a major upgrade in 2015 culminating in the opening of the Rhum Ba. Quality finishings, unmatched views from the top floor function room and the best part of all – over 150 rums on offer set a new standard for sophisticated eating and drinking at the Port. Even if you’re not a rum drinker (and what would-be sailor can claim not to be?) the cocktail list is sophisticated and interesting. It’s not all about rum at the Rhum Ba, with late breakfast, lunch and dinner on offer too, there’s plenty to enjoy. Choices include local and imported seafood (oysters are the house specialty), tender beef cuts, spiced chicken, lamb, pasta and salads. The menu is all about what is fresh and what is best and the function room upstairs caters for more than 200 people. We spent a couple of afternoons at the Rhum Ba (which led to a couple of evenings too) – the marina is full of activity, the people and boat watching, plus the relaxed atmosphere and friendly staff at the Rhum Ba made it near impossible to leave.


From top left clockwise, The Rhum Ba; Cardo’s, Bar and Steak Grill; Flying Fish at the Sheraton Fiji; Lulu’s at Port Denarau.

Cardo’s

The thing that’s great about Port Denarau is after the cruise ships have departed, the shops have shut and the sun begins to set, the locals come out to play. Famed for their imported NZ steak, friendly, efficient staff who get to know you by name and great cocktails, Cardo’s is an institution in Denarau. The locals go there because they know they’ll get great food, enjoy live music and watch all the big games on big screens. So if the footy, rugby, cricket or soccer is on, you won’t need to set the home recorder, head down to Cardo’s to enjoy a few drinks, a beautiful waterfront setting and the game. Proprietor Richard (Cardo) Slatter, a fun, feisty and flamboyant (well, perhaps well dressed is a better description) Fijian is the life and love of Cardo’s. A sharp wit and just as sharp a tongue, Cardo has been doing what he does best – restaurants and bars for longer than he cares to admit or remember. This experience and charm is why locals, repeat guests and visiting journos keep coming back. It’s the sort of place you want to hang out with mates, or join a table of expats and locals. It is a favourite of Fiji Island Living.

Lulu’s

Speaking of local haunts, it’s not just tourists that flock to Lulu’s either – locals love Lulu’’s and for good reason – the food is great and it’s affordable. Having resisted the temptation to mark up, it’s no tourist trap, rather good quality food and service. Lulu’s philosophy is to use only the best quality ingredients available, prepared in simple yet delicious recipes, and served with friendly Fijian service and a smile. Open daily, offering breakfast, lunch and dinner; the menu has something for everyone. Renowned for in-house roasted coffees, fresh fruit juices, burgers and made to order sushi. From the bar you can expect icy cold beers, a selection of wines or an exciting cocktail such as an Espresso Martini or a Mojito. Lulu’s is the ideal place to meet old friends for a couple of drinks, make new friends while you watch the world go by, or just enjoy a good meal with fair prices and portions. Look out for their new bar/cafe at Nadi International Airport departures too – a welcome addition to airport fare with the same great food and service as Denarau. www.lulubarfiji.com 

Islandliving | 9 Fiji


From cultural tours to cruises, weddings to rafting, Fiji has something for everyone. Bula and welcome!

Fiji: The Facts

We have two seasons: warm and even warmer. It’s a sunny, tropical climate that’ll wash the winter chills from your bones. That doesn’t mean it never rains here, but you can expect May to November, our cooler months, to range from 19° to 29°C. And from December to April, the temperatures move up the register to range from 22° to 33°C.

Geography

Fiji is a very hospitable land of blue-green lagoons, lush rainforests, pine forests, mountains and 1,666 kilometres (1000 miles) of white sand beaches spread over 300 islands scattered across 18,270 square kilometres (11,350 square miles) of ocean.

Time Zone

Straddling the 180th meridian, Fiji has frequently been called ‘the crossroads of the Pacific’. In fact, the International Date Line has been adjusted so that the entire archipelago falls into the same time zone, 12 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time. From November to February Fiji moves one hour ahead with its own daylight savings.

10 | Islandliving Fiji

Population and language

Fiji’s population is approximately 837,000 made up of indigenous Fijians, Indians, Chinese, Europeans and South Pacific Islanders. English is the official language with Fijian and Hindustani also spoken.

Religion

Fiji is a multi-cultural nation with many religious beliefs. The people are primarily of the Wesleyan persuasion. Various protestant denominations, Roman Catholicism, Hinduism and Islam are also represented.

Local customs

It is important to dress modestly when away from hotels and resorts and particularly when visiting a Fijian village. Avoid wearing a hat in a village, it is considered an insult to the village chief. It is also insulting to touch someone’s head. It’s best to not wear shoes if visiting someone’s house. When visiting a village it is customary to present an inexpensive gift of yaqona or kava to the ‘Turaga Ni Koro’, the traditional head of the village. Be prepared to shake hands and answer personal questions as to where you are from, whether married; and, if so, how many children.

PICTURE: Adrenalin Fiji, Port Denarau.

The temperature


Health

Fiji is free from malaria, yellow fever and major tropical diseases. Inoculations are only required if travelling from an infected area. There is an effective medical system in place with government and privately run hospitals, clinics, surgical centres, dental services and pharmacies.

Phone calls and Internet

Fiji’s country code is +679. Many hotels and resorts have direct dialling facilities (IDD), and card phones are available in many shops and stores. Look for the Telecom call card signage on display. Fiji is well serviced by local mobile networks including Vodafone Fiji Limited, Digicel and Inkk Mobile. You can also arrange roaming status before travelling here as well as on arrival. Access to the internet and email is available in most parts of Fiji. In addition to sites at all major hotels, internet cafés are abundant in major cities and towns.

Currency and banking

The Fijian dollar is the basic unit of currency, available in denominations of $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100. Coins are 5c, 10c, 20c, 50c, $1 and $2. Normal banking hours are 9:30am to 4:00pm, Monday – Friday and 9:00am to 1:00pm on Saturdays in selected areas. There is a 24-hour currency exchange service at the arrivals concourse at Nadi Airport. ATMs are located around the country and at larger resorts and hotels.

Bargaining

You’ll find many sophisticated retail outlets here, suitable for traditional tourist shopping. And if you venture a little further, you’ll discover fruit and vegetable markets, overflowing with produce, curio and handicraft vendors, Indian merchandise and specialty gift stores. It’s here that you might find yourself in a bargaining session over price. It’s all part of the experience, so go ahead and enter into the spirit of it.

Tipping

We don’t encourage tipping, but you may, if you wish, offer extra payment for an outstanding service.

Electricity

The electric current is 240 volts AC 50Hz. Fiji has threepin power outlets, which are identical to Australia and New Zealand. Leading hotels and resorts offer universal outlets for 240v or 11v shavers, hair dryers and other electrical appliances.

Quarantine

To avoid the introduction of foreign plant and animal pests and diseases, we prohibit the importation of vegetable matter, seeds, or any animal product without a permit from the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forests.

Taxes

A 15% Government Value Added Tax (VAT) is applicable to all goods and services in Fiji. Visitors staying in hotels and resorts are subject to 5% Hotel Turnover Tax (HTT).

VAT refund scheme

The Fiji VAT refund scheme allows tourists to claim a refund (subject to certain conditions) of VAT paid on goods purchased in Fiji and taken out of Fiji via Nadi International Airport or Suva Wharf as the final port of departure to a foreign destination.

What are the conditions of the scheme?

To be eligible for a VAT refund under the Scheme, you must satisfy all of the following: Spend a minimum of FJ$500 (VAT Inclusive) in any of the approved licensed retailer outlets during your stay in Fiji and take the goods out of Fiji within two months from the date of purchase. Carry the goods with you as check-in baggage or hand luggage. Purchase the goods from an approved licensed retailer. You must ask the retailer for a refund form and a tax invoice(s) for goods purchased. So if you are spending over FJ$500 at Jacks, Tapoo etc make sure you ask them for the refund form. The licensed retailer must complete the form and attach receipts.

Customs duty and duty free concessions

A bona fide passenger disembarking in Fiji is entitled to the following duty and VAT free concessions: Dutiable goods accompanying passengers (other than alcohol and tobacco products) not exceeding FJ$1,000 in value. Goods that are owned by passengers and not intended as gifts or for sale – personal effects, household effects for returning residents or intending residents, articles taken out of Fiji on departure on which duty and tax have been paid. Every passenger 17 years and over can bring into Fiji the following goods duty and VAT free, provided they are accompanied and not for sale: • Cigarettes, not exceeding 250 sticks or • Cigars, not exceeding 250 grams net weight or • Tobacco not exceeding 250 grams net weight or • Any combination of (1) to (3) above, provided the total net weight does not exceed 250 grams • Spirituous liquors not exceeding 2.25 litres or • Wines, not exceeding 4.5 litres or • Beer, not exceeding 4.5 litres or • Any combination of the goods in paragraph (5) to (7) above, provided that the combination does not exceed the equivalent quantity under any one paragraph • Other dutiable goods, not exceeding F$1,000 in value.

Islandliving | 11 Fiji


adventure

I

Gold inRio

PICTURE: Rio Olympics Official Media.

ncredible scenes erupted across Fiji in September when the men’s rugby sevens team steamrolled their way to gold in the inaugural Olympic tournament, bringing home our first ever medal. Social media sites had Fiji trending as the whole world got behind the gold medalists. The homecoming was just as memorable, with a series of public celebrations throughout the country. Two of the Fiji 7s sponsors, Vodafone Fiji and HFC were not in the least bit surprised at the team’s success. The Vodafone consortium of sponsors invested millions of dollars towards the development of rugby at all levels in the country. Ther sponsorship of rugby is by far the biggest sports sponsorship in country’s history. “This is another step forward in our relationship with Fiji Rugby Union to offer more opportunities to many Fijian youths who love the sport and is fast becoming a highly paid professional sporting career,” Vodafone Fiji said. “Through our sponsorship, the for the first time, the elite 7’s players have been contracted with Fiji Rugby Union on an annual salary to ensure we are able to retain the core of 7’s players in the country who were previously lured by overseas contracts because of the money on offer. “We also introduced handsome performance incentive payments to ensure consistently higher performance. As a result of this re-organisation and performance incentives combined with a better administrative framework FRU has

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seen the Vodafone 7’s team deliver a back to back World 7’s series win and the Gold medal win at the Olympics,” the telco said. HFC Bank’s relationship with Rugby in Fiji goes back a long way. They have been sponsoring and supporting secondary schools and provincial rugby union well before they joined the Vodafone-led consortium in 2014 to sponsor Fiji Rugby Union. “As part of our Corporate Social Responsibility, we have been giving back to the community in this form for the development of the sport. Whilst many sponsorships offer value in kind to the FRU and the Provincial Unions, HFC Bank has mostly supported with much needed cash sponsorship,” the bank said. “We are extremely proud (of the team). The entire country stopped to watch the games and all Fijians in Fiji and offshore were so proud of the boys, coach Ben Ryan and his staff.” Celebrations actually began before the final. The instruction from HFC CEO Ross Munn to his staff on the day of the final was to find a TV by 10:00am. He was anxious to declare a day-off for HFC Bank staff soon after the final whistle, knowing the celebrations would be huge in the country. In the end, a public holiday was declared for all of Fiji to celebrate the monumental occassion – an occassion that no doubt would not have been possible without the support of Vodafone, HFC and of course the talented and hardworking Fiji Rugby 7s players, coaches and support staff.

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Pacific Island Living Issue 18 Fiji Edition  

Read the Fiji section of Pacific Island Living Issue 18.

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