7 Amazing People I Met in 2017

We’re at the end of another year and I hope you’ve had a fantastic 2017! 

If it wasn’t a great year for you, then hold on; the best is yet to come. 

As it is becoming tradition, I love including at least one easy blog before the year ends. Just a slight departure from the norm of deep and meaningful. And I get to use smiley emojis anyhow I want 😀 [ hold your horses blog-police 😉 ].

My year has been good across the board and I got to meet some amazing people along the way. All of them are from or associated with my island paradise of Fiji:

1. Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama of Fiji
It was an honour to be invited to the Fiji-Queensland trade symposium in Brisbane back in July, with PM Bainimarama as guest speaker. We had a great time discussing how to roll out our business plans into Fiji whilst making great connections along the way.  

In my non-biased political opinion and simply from a businesswoman’s point of view, I believe PM Bainimarama is doing an effective job providing opportunities for ex-pats like myself to start a business in Fiji and contribute to our island home’s economy.

2. Petero Civoniceva

Dec17 Petero

Met this gentle giant and true rugby legend over watching Broncos versus Bulldogs at the Suncorp Stadium’s corporate box in July. Fiji-born Petero grew up in Australia, where he has represented both countries in rugby league.

The Petero Civoniceva Foundation assists young people back in Fiji by harnessing the power of sports to transform lives. The foundation also develops young leaders for the nation’s future.

3. Paulini Curuenavuli

Dec17 Paulini

Watching this talented young woman belt out Whitney Houston songs as she starred in The Bodyguard Musical was one of the greatest highlights of my year.

Fiji-born Paulini shot to fame back in 2003 when she appeared on Australian Idol. She has released many hit songs since then and has become a celebrity in her own right. It was a pleasure to have met Paulini in Sydney last May and to be connected.

4. Hupfeld Hoerder

Dec17 Huppy2

Huppy, as he is better known as, is one of my all-time favourite fashion designers in Fiji. The first time I saw his collection on runway was at the Fiji Fashion Week back in 2009.

It was wonderful to meet him personally after he accepted an invitation to appear at our Brisbane based Pacific Fashion Festival in October this year. A humble man with a great eye for detail.

5. Jarryd Haynes 

Dec17 Jarryd

Had a wonderful time watching the Rugby League World Cup in November, where my two nations took on the field for a great game. Although the downer was Fiji losing to Australia, the best part was meeting Jarryd, a skilful and brilliant athlete.

Through his Fijian father, Jarryd was able to represent Fiji on the national Bati rugby team. A great guy and I’m excited to see what the future holds for him.

6. Fijian Drua rugby team

Dec17 Fiji Drua (2)

I got to watch my university play against my country of birth who were supported by a brand that carries my surname. Wow! 🙂 It was exciting to be amongst it all back in November.

Bond University came out strong against Fijian Drua in the National Rugby Championship, but I was all smiles to meet the team personally afterwards. Seeing my surname, Ratu, on the back of their t-shirts was pretty neat.

7. UB40

Dec17 UB40

Yes, I am aware that the UB40 band are not Fijian, but they might as well be! 🙂 Almost every Fijian I know of grew up listening to UB40 in their childhood. Even these days, when I am back in Fiji for a visit, I will most likely hear a UB40 song playing somewhere.

It was a great way to end the year seeing this fantastic band live in November. Singing all their songs word for word, especially “Red Red Wine,” took me right back to my island home.

“So that wraps up a fabulous 2017. As we enter another festive season, I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a magnificient new year. Thank you for your support, especially with the release of our vlogs through ‘Pacific Dialogue.’ See you in 2018,” Miri.

December 18, 2017

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