18 February, 2007

Viliame Naupoto's story

A good story about Suva resident, Viliame Naupoto, current Director of Immigration and former Navy Commander, is in today's Fiji Times. The story covers the time he came from the islands, his study at Queen Victoria School, his struggles, his wife and children, the positions he holds and his ambition to be a 'talatala' (i.e. church minister). First, some background :
  • I met Commander Naupoto when he was head of the Naval Division and we were each representing our organisations (I was representing the Reserve Bank of Fiji where I was at the time) to the Counter Terrorism Officials Group - a committee set up by Government to help put together a contingency plan to deal with an unlikely event there was a terrorist attack on Fiji. We were assigned to be in a smaller subcommittee which was to draft the plan with the head of the subcommittee being Mr Isikia Savua, former Fiji Representative to the United Nations and former Commissioner of Police.
  • From the little time that we were together on that subcommittee/Group, my own recollection of Commander Naupoto was that he was a very intelligent person, someone very easy to get to know and one who can hold his own in a good debate or discussion of issues at hand. From that glimpse of the man, I had a lot of respect for him.
  • He was one of the few senior army, police or navy officers at the subcommittee/Group who contributed freely to the discussions and without rancour.

His story in the Fiji Times today has some "humorous" bits to it, for example :

  • When talking about how his wedding had to be deferred due to him being called back to work to move the naval boats to calm waters on the eve of a cyclone, this is what happened. "He walked from Gladstone Road where he then resided to the home of his wife-to-be. "When I got there, one of her aunts said I couldn't see the bride on the eve of the wedding. So I said the wedding's off. Lillian (his wife-to-be) appeared at the door and so I explained to her what was happening." In the course of their conversation, he gave her the keys to their new home but Lillian threw it into the nearby banana patch. "So I spent the next half an hour searching for the keys in the banana patch", he said."
  • He also says that he loves 'lairo' (land crabs) and would, on occasion, drive to Nasese to pick up the stray ones on the road there. "My wife would come along but that's all she does - come along. I have to stop the car, get out, catch the lairo and put it in the bucket. My wife opens the lid - that's all she does. She hates it (lairo)."

Read more on Commander Naupoto's story here.

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