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meet the makers

For Part 3 in our Meet the Maker series, we'd love to introduce you to one of our Seamstresses, Nesi.
We hope you enjoy learning a little more about her story below. 

 How long have you lived in NZ?
I moved to New Zealand 7 years ago, on 23rd March 2013. I moved over by myself. My mother, son and other family still live back in my hometown Savusavu in Fiji.
Did you have family here when you moved over?
Yes! When I moved over, I lived with my brother in Hamilton for 6 months until I got a job. My brother had been living in Auckland for 20 years already, so it made it easier to settle in. My first job here was sewing, which I’d been doing ever since high school in Fiji. I got a job sewing curtains in Hamilton. A few years on, I met my husband and moved up to Auckland after we got married. Standard Issue was my first job here in Auckland, and my first time working with knitwear, which was very different to what I was used to. Because I was experienced it made it easy to adapt quite quickly.


Where did you start in the industry?
I started sewing straight out of high school aged 18, in the main Fijian town of Lautoka. My father died when I was young, and so my mother raised me and my three siblings alone. It was best for me to go straight into a job, because we couldn’t afford for me to go and study. The first day of my first job was hard, I knew nothing and had to learn everything there. The second day was a little better, and it got good after that. I’m now 42, so have been sewing for 24 years! It means that I can now see a dress and know what kind of pattern I should create to make it. In fact, yesterday I made a dress and when my husband came home from work, he said it looked beautiful and asked where I got the pattern from! I told him I saw a dress I liked online, looked at the pattern once, and made it from that!
Does your family live back in Fiji still?
Yes. My son is 20 and lives in Fiji. Working here means I am able to support his education and send money over, especially in difficult times like right now. They’re in lockdown too, and it’s great that I can help by ordering groceries online here, for them to pick-up. We can top up their phones here too, which means we get to talk for 30 minutes each day.
What has been your proudest moment since living in New Zealand?
My proudest moment would be when I got my first job. I remember when my first boss called to say I had a job, I yelled down the phone I was so excited! He said it sounded like I had won the lotto, and it felt like I had! I was so excited to be able to sew and use my talent in New Zealand. 

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