Birmingham 2022: Bula festival attrachs Fijians

Lakalaka Waqanivere, left, at the Bula Festival in the UK. Picture: ROHIT DEO

The 2022 Bula Festival in the United Kingdom had a big turnout with more than 5000 people turning up for the two-day event.

Among them was former Fiji 7s rep Lakalaka Waqanivere.

Waqanivere represented Fiji 7s from 1996-1998 on the world stage.

“I moved to the United Kingdom in 2000. It was just during the 2000 coup in Fiji so I decided to settle here with my wife who is a nurse,” Waqanivere said.

He joined the Cornish Pirates club in 2000 which also had fellow Fijian Nacanieli Saumi.

Waqanivere now works as a Civil Supervisor in the railways and said he didn’t regret moving to England.

“I still have my house in Fiji. I have my dad living there in Nadawa and Fiji will always be at heart. I have settled here in Stoke now and it is great to have my kids grow here. I’m glad they have a bright future.”

Originally from Nukuni in Ono-i-Lau, the former RFMF soldier encouraged rugby players and youngsters to try for the opportunities available overseas.

“It was so difficult during our time but now there are so many opportunities available. Be it rugby or the British Army or any other work overseas, there are so many opportunities. One person getting a better life improves the lives of so many in the family,” he said.

He played for the Suva 15s side as a flanker from 1996-1999.

His wife hails from Tarukua on Cicia Island and they have three sons.

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