Dravuni families are grouped into two ‘mataqalis’ (larger family grouping; ‘tokatoka’ being the smaller family grouping). Navusalevu Mataqali is the second of these family groupings, and its members make up the bulk of the owners of this private limited company.
NICL’s principal activity at present is stock trading in the South Pacific Stock Exchange (SPSE) and in other unlisted stocks in Fiji’s capital market. There have been initiatives taken in other economic activities like kava, t-shirts, sulu (sarong) and beche-de-mer trading. However, these have under-performed. Nevertheless, their contribution to the ‘learning curve’ for the company has been critical.
NICL’s letterhead above displays tribal totems in the ‘vonu’ (turtle), vesi tree (Intsia bijuga) and ‘secala’ (kingfisher).
NICL matters are discussed whenever the mataqali meets, i.e. bi-monthly. Its board, however, sits when the company business demands it.
NICL is Mataqali Navusalevu’s first tentative attempt at breaking into business. It is Suva-based consequently, but involving all Mataqali members on Dravuni and elsewhere. It has gone in with a long term view and with a social conscience. It recognizes that it faces a steep learning curve, and it has to take along its shareholders at a pace with which they can cope. This means that there will be setbacks. There will be road humps and quirky turns along the road to progress. But there is commitment to persevere regardless.
It has opted for stock trading as its first principal economic activity as a means for initial stability whilst it delves into other side activities, involving budding business man and women, and where business acumen and business culture can be learned and acquired without, hopefully, too much knocks and bumps.
NICL is the business arm of Mataqali Navusalevu. As such, it invariably supports cost centres, critical for the operations of the Mataqali, but do not necessarily guarantee returns. It has financed, for instance, the annual Navusalevu Day celebrations for Mataqali members since inception. Part of the celebrations is the ‘soli’ which is a means for raising equity capital.
Up to 2008, Navusalevu Day’s format and theme were more celebratory. This format changed for 2009. In 2009, Navusalevu Day became the Navusalevu Family Fun Day (NFFD) with appropriate activities and prizes. It was still celebratory, but it called for the participation of all, especially the whole families and children. The first ever NFFD was enjoyed by all (see pictures below). The shareholders on Dravuni itself had their own NFFD in the village. That, too, proved to be a sizzler!