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Fiji Time: 23:59, Saturday 19th Apr 2014
Untitled Document

The Journey

Vijay: Those are the voices of Sevanaia and Elizabeth Matana, and Louis Tanumi. They have one thing in common. They have close links to the Fiji Islands. Today we will take you on their journey and see how anyone can succeed in life if they take the opportunities that come their way and focus on their goals and objectives. They all live in Sydney and life is definitely very different when you compare the lifestyle and culture of Australia and Fiji.

Why focus on this? Well the number of people born in Fiji, living in Australia, has drastically increased over the last 50 years or so. In the mid-1950s there were only 2,000 Fijians in Australia.

50 years later the number has increased to over 44,000. Many have been successful while some are worse off than when they lived in Fiji. These are Fijians who are overstaying with no light at the end of the tunnel for them while others are barely making ends meet.

Sevanaia Matana isn't one of these. He was living in Navua but his life changed when he met an Australian woman.

Sevanaia on his dream while in Fiji

Vijay: You may have passed Sevanaia about three years ago if you went into the Nadi International Airport. He worked as a security guard there. He says he had never travelled in a plane and he used to look out of the Departure and Arrival Lounge and see people boarding or disembarking from the planes. Sevanaia never dreamt of doing the same as it seemed impossible based on his circumstances back then.

Sevanaia first time on the plane

Vijay: It was love at first sight for Sevanaia when he met his wife to be in 2005. He says nothing in life is a coincidence and it was meant to be that Elizabeth would come to Fiji for a holiday and meet him in Navua Town. Sevanaia also says that it is no coincidence that she would also live right next door to him in Navua during her holiday.

Sevanaia meeting Elizabeth

Vijay: Two years later he went to Sydney to see Elizabeth. He was in for a big shock.

Sevanaia's first impression of the Sydney Airport and the city

Vijay: Sevanaia and Elizabeth got married in February last year and he moved to Sydney. He says he faced a number of challenges but focused on changing for the better rather than holding on to the past.

Sevanaia on cross cultural marriages

Vijay: Impossible is nothing. That is now the change in attitude for Sevanaia. He knows he can make it despite the challenges. Although he had a major culture shock when he came to Sydney just over two years ago, he is now more familiar with the Australian way of life.

Sevanaia Now In Sydney

Vijay: Life just gets better for Sevanaia and he says people should never lose hope despite the challenges and difficulties they may face. He says anyone can make a positive out of a negative situation.

Sevanaia on Life

Vijay: Sevanaia's soul mate, Elizabeth says their beautiful journey continues. Elizabeth says she admires her husband's determination in everything he does.

Elizabeth Matana on Seva's journey to Sydney

Vijay: Louis Tanumi has lived in Australia for the last 31 years. She always had a dream when she was in Fiji to move to Australia as many of her friends were moving to NZ to look for jobs.

Louis Tanumi on intention to move to Australia

Vijay: Although in the first year Louis felt lonely and missed her family and Fijian food, she says opportunities came her way and she took them.

She worked in Sydney and went for further education at the university. This resulted in her graduating with a degree in Social Science. Louis is currently completing her Masters in International Relations. Along the way, in 1991, she started an NGO called the Southern Princess or Bulou Ni Ceva. This was established to give something back to the people of Fiji.

Louis Tanumi on taking medical supplies in 1995

Vijay: For Louis Tanumi, she says Fiji is always in her heart and she has some major plans.

Louis Tanumi on returning to Fiji

Vijay: Life goes on for these people but there's no doubt that Fiji is always in their hearts. Sevanaia and Elizabeth Matana are always in contact with their family in Fiji while Louis Tanumi takes at least one trip a year to go and see her country of birth.

Louis says its even better now with Fiji having announced a dual citizenship law as she was forced to let go of her Fijian citizenship years ago because her country of birth didn't recognise dual citizenship.

Despite the many challenges and the major differences between Fiji and Australia, they say anyone can succeed in anything they do if they have the right attitude, believe in themselves and never lose hope.




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