Love for weaving keeps her busy

RIGIETA Nuku, 49, is a skilled weaver who makes a living selling mats to clients in the greater Suva area who order her products.

She is capable of weaving all kinds of mats such as vakabati, i coco and i vakamalumu to name a few.

Ms Nuku is the sole breadwinner in her family.

Just like any other village girl she grew up in Tovu, Totoya, Lau surrounded by women who were rich in the knowledge of weaving all kinds of mats for different occasions.

She said her mother was strict and made sure she knew how to weave a mat at a young age of 10 and this somehow had a huge impact in her life which she was forever grateful for.

It was when she actually started weaving that she realised her talent was right there and that she could make a living out of it.

“Weaving is part of my everyday living, it is my life and it is our main source of income at home.”

Married with three children Ms Nuku said she was always proud of this gift and the fact that her daughters knew how to weave as well.

She said the pandanus or voivoi used for weaving her unique mats were either from her village or from Vatoa in Lau as that was where quality and pure white voivoi was found in Fiji.

Ms Nuku said the mats were sold for $200 each depending on the size ordered adding it could take her a week to weave some mats.

She said she had been running her own weaving business since 1989 and had never looked back since as it allowed her to make money from the comfort of her own home in Daniva Rd, Valelevu outside Suva.

Ms Nuku said she could earn $1000 to $2000 in a month from selling mats alone and was happy that she was still able to weave and provide her family and relatives with mats whenever there was a need to.

She said she was blessed to have a supportive family who always helped her out with the rolling and straightening of pandanus leaves before she started sitting down to weave.

Ms Nuku who was weaving another vakabati in her humble home when this newspaper visited her said her mats were usually ordered by friends and relatives who either called her or came personally to order.

Apart from all the shows she attends like career expos and those organised by the Fiji Arts Council she said weaving was part of her daily life.

“I weave from the morning until the evening daily while my three daughters and husband take care of all the household chores because I don’t want to disappoint my customers as I work hard to meet my orders and their deadlines.”

She said the art of weaving had taught her a lot of lessons such as the proper use of resources, time management and respect for natural resources that surround us because everything has its value and worth.

Ms Nuku attributed her weaving knowledge to her mum who had been her pillar of strength and had passed on her wealth of knowledge to her which she has in turn passed on to her daughters so they could also earn a living from it.

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