“My Dad was the biggest influence in my life. He has shaped the man I have become. He laid the foundation to my views, ideas and general philosophy towards life. His mentoring has significantly shaped my parenting styles and approach.
The best days would be just sitting around with him and listening to old stories he would tell me about our relatives back in the village or when he was growing up as a kid my age.
I remember just visiting the village twice in my whole life and it was both for a funeral.
I speak the general Fijian language that every Fijian speaks, but even within my village there are about 4-5 different dialects.
I was not taught our traditional dialects but my dad spoke it a lot, so I could understand when someone was speaking them but I was not good at speaking the language. Most nights, we would come home and he would mix a local drink called Kava. It’s the root of a plant, which matures at around two to three years. You will have to uproot it, chop it up and then dry it in the sun for a week. It really has to dry up. Then you grind it to powder and mix it in water using a strain or cloth and it looks literally like muddy water, it’s very brown. It is an alcohol but has the opposite effect of alcohol, it slows you down. It’s our Fijian version of beer.
My dad died of cancer when I was 14. It was very quick; he died a year after the diagnosis and he was 68 or 69 years old. It was very sad when he died. My mum and dad are quite opposites in the sense that my dad was very open-minded in his approach to most things, but my mum was very strict and traditional. My dad wanted us to have a strong connection towards education and looking after ourselves.
Migrating to Australia also happens to be my first time overseas. I had never left the country, never planned to leave the country and just thought I would teach in Fiji and die teaching. Then I met Hannah in 2013 and things just sort of aligned perfectly.”