Through the lens of a seasonal worker
By Apenisa Marau, Fijian worker and Lismore volunteer
Suva’s Kshatriya Hall closed in on me and I panicked. My vision blurred and I was embarrassed that my eyes were brimming with tears. I turned away suddenly to wipe them and hoped no one in ANZ’s MoneyMinded session noticed.
A week earlier, I received a call from the Fiji National Employment Center (NEC) advising I was a successful candidate destined for Australia under the Pacific Labour Scheme (PLS). The two-year long wait was finally over. At the time I sunk to the floor of my Tavua home in disbelief, my family around me. Even now, I still feel so lucky to have the opportunity to provide for my family.
Two months later, I arrived in the in northeastern New South Wales town of Lismore, ready to work with a group of other Fijians hoping to build our future.
Soon after we arrived though, the town was devastated by floods. Although we experience flooding events in Fiji, this was like nothing any of our group had ever seen.
We got a call from a council representative requesting to borrow our truck. To his surprise, the truck arrived with all 45 Fijian seasonal workers - meat packers at the local abattoir – ready to lend a hand in any way possible.
To help someone in need is a selfless act and we tried our best to do this for the Lismore community to reflect the values we were raised with.
We sang as we worked to lift spirits, helping comfort the local community we call home for now.
In early March, another life-changing call came through. ANZ Director Financial Institutions Group Ben Moceiwai surprised us all by gifting us tickets to watch the Fijian Drua team play Super Rugby against the Waratahs at the CBUS Stadium on the Gold Coast.
We were so grateful. ANZ had provided our group with MoneyMinded training before we left Fiji and it was nice to see their partnership followed us here to Lismore.