Joana Adivukailagi Vatuloka – Suva
Joana is currently Landscaper/Gardener at Suva City Council. She is an advocate for the efficient use of natural resources and healthy outdoor lifestyles. She aspires to be the best and most experienced landscaper in the Fiji.
‘A good working culture has to be cultivated so there is mutual respect.’
I have a Certificate 1, 2 and 3 in Horticulture, Floriculture, Landscaping, Propagation and Nursery management, Land Management and Vegetable farming. My current work entails designing gardens, beautification of the city, nursery supervision, plant propagation, grafting, marcotting, layering (air or soil layering), division and planting.
Joining local government
My love for nature was my motivation to join the Council as a landscaper and gardener. I grew up in a family whose main source of income was farming. My family imported agricultural produce. I also gained experience form a Taiwanese Agricultural mission and did a lot of field work with them.
I get to put to practical use whatever I have studied and can use my knowledge and experience to actually see things grow around me. I work the normal working hours and have enough time with my family, so there is good balance of work and home life.
Working with my male colleagues in the field and initially getting respect for my work. My relationship with them is now as someone who leads and gives direction. I also disseminate and share information to achieve optimum results. This builds mutual respect.
I am responsible for garden designs around the city’s main new developments e.g. Morris Hedstrom City Central complex, the Suva Market Crossing and other gardens within the city.
Planting more trees and gardens within the city would be my priority. I would also like to work with schools to educate younger people to appreciate nature and have civic pride. I would like council to initiate campaigns to bring about more awareness on civic pride and keeping people from damaging and stealing.
Words of Advice
Working with men is challenging but a lot has to do with behaviour and attitudes. A good working culture has to be cultivated so there is mutual respect. Education is also very important and that women should keep exploring new avenues to upgrade themselves and achieve their goals.