Man capitalises on his art to earn a living for his family

Marika Rasaubale with his bamboo plaited wall. Picture: LUKE RAWALAI

HOTELIERS from as far as the West and the North have travelled to Nawaisomo Village in the interior of Naitasiri to purchase Marika Rasaubale’s famed bamboo plaited walls.

The 67-year-old father and grandfather who almost lives as a hermit, spends his days meticulously perfecting his art which has been sought far and wide by resort owners in the country.

Mr Rasaubale explains that he was not taught the art of making walls for houses from plaited bamboos adding it was an art that he has learnt to perfect in the silence of the Naitasiri forests.

Instead of using his talent to make walls hoteliers have improvised and used Mr Rasaubale’s art for other architectural decorative purposes such as the construction of bure ceilings and other furniture.

“In 1980 I began tapping into bamboo plaiting as a source of income learning to improvise the designs of my products,” Mr Rasaubale said.

“At the moment I am the only one that knows how to plait bamboos to make walls for houses and I am also teaching my 32-year-old son.

“Orders come from hoteliers and sometimes they send their representatives to come right here in Nawaisomo and place their orders.

“The slender bamboo species like bitu dina (Schizostachyum) are used for the plaiting process because they are easy to mould and strip.”

The bamboo walls are sold for more than $100 a piece depending on their designs.

Mr Rasaubale makes the cross and diamond designs which is in high demand from hoteliers.

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