Rewa boat builder imparts knowledge to youths

Josaia Rokotuira who hails from Drekena Village in Rewa. Picture: ATU RASEA

MANY of us catch onto things very fast after watching things being made.

One person who has that ability is Josaia Rokotuira who hails from Drekena Village in Rewa.

The 59-year-old is probably the first iTaukei-registered boat builder here in Fiji.

Mr Rokotuira learned how to build boats by watching his Indo-Fijian boat builders at work and he convinced himself that he could do it too.

Surrounded by the Rewa River, it takes four minutes to reach the village from Nasali landing.

It is here that Mr Rokotuira has a boat building shed outside his home where he operates from.

Since becoming a registered boat builder in 2016, Mr Rokotuira has never looked back and so he put his self-taught boat building skills at work.

“It takes me a month to complete building a boat and I sell it for $1000 each once it is done. Other places may charge more but I keep my price low because most of us who live by the river or sea need a boat to go out fishing or diving.”

“For instance here at Drekena, one has to have a boat to survive as we also rely on the sea for food to consume and also to sell at the markets.”

So far, Mr Rokotuira has built 10 boats which have been sold to villages in Naitasiri, Tailevu and Rewa.

“Most of these villages are situated by the river or sea and I am getting more orders to build more boats.”

Since age is catching up with Mr Rokotuira, he is also imparting his knowledge to the youths in Drekena and nearby villages who come to the boat shed to assist him with his work.

“I am always encouraging the youths to learn the skills and they are lucky they are getting hands-on learning experience free of charge.”

The former Ratu Kadavulevu School woodwork student hopes the youths will learn as much as they can and carry on his boat building legacy that he started.

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