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Marama's skill is her life

Atasa Moceituba
Thursday, March 01, 2018

MARAMA Tukana is a skilled weaver who makes a living selling hand woven mats, baskets, fans, grass skirts, salusalu and hats made from voivoi (pandanus leaves)

Originally from Daliconi Village in Vanuabalavu Ms Tukana said her love for weaving began when she married and was taught by her mother-in-law the late Asena Tuiloma. She said she was instantly intrigued to learn.

"My mother-in-law would teach me how to weave, make baskets, fans and I credit all this knowledge to her," Ms Tukana said.

Acquired with new skills, Ms Tukana sold her handiworks to her aunty Mere Fa who operated a business at the Suva Handicraft Centre.

On other times she did odd jobs operating her own catering business, cleaning at the Colonial War Memorial Hospital and working as a cook at Twomey Hospital, Tamavua.

It was not until sometime later when her aunty approached her to take over the business at the handicraft centre — that Ms Tukana got her break.

She said her aunty saw her as an ideal candidate to replace her when she got ill.

Ms Tukana said she took over the stall in October last year and enjoys her work. She continues to look after her aunty.

"I've never regretted the decision to look after the stall," she said.

Ms Tukana says her handiworks are available at an affordable price.

"I can weave a small mat for two and a half hours, fans and baskets for a whole day, salusalu for two hours and purses for only two hours."

She says she sells five days a week and opens from 10:30am to 4:30pm.

Ms Tukana said the voivoi (pandanus) she used to make her handiwork were ordered from clients or relatives in the village.

Like any other businesswomen she said business had its ups and downs.

"The only time people buy our handiwork is when there's a cruise ship. I can serve at least four to five people or 10 depending on the tourists' preferences."

She enjoys selling and looks forward to every selling day.

Apart from weaving she said she loved to cook.

Ms Tukana has four children, three sons and a daughter who now resides in the UK with her family.

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