Committee Members

 
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Sereima Tawake

Sereima is an ambassador for Recruit for Spouses and a Governor for Alanbrooke Primary School in Topcliffe, North Yorkshire.


Sereima holds a Level 5 Award in Total Facilities Management from Leeds Beckett University and is IOSH qualified. She holds various qualifications in Lean Management techniques, Logistics, Finance and Project Management. She has a wide range of business experience ranging from business administration, sales and marketing, project support, and conferencing and logistics management. In 2015 she was awarded Segment Support Employee of year from Sodexo for North of England and NI region. She has worked in UNDP multi country office in Fiji, Nestle Fiji Limited and part of the team that produced Fiji's first ever real-life television show ‘Nescafe Join the Band’. She has also worked in Aramark Defense services and an attachment with North Yorkshire County Council.


She has organized and worked in various community projects to help communities back in Fiji and well represented in the Fijian UK Methodist Fellowship. She is married to Pele, a serving member of the British Armed Forces and they have three children Nia, Lucy and Pele (Jnr). Sereima has recently joined the MOD civil service and is an affiliate member of the Institute of Workplace and Facilities Management.


'I heard about the Fijian Women’s Forum (which was organised by Communities Fiji Britain) via social media. In that first session, I knew right away this is where I need to be, to help and assist in whatever way I can. My dream for MAUK is to help “empower” and “motivate” fellow Fijian women from whatever background to become what they want to be in a demanding work force where gaps in our career, limited skill sets and constant changes in our circumstances, limits our employability. In most instances, most of these factors are beyond our control. But if we do not let it define us, then we eventually create versions of ourselves that are positively in tuned to adapt to any changing circumstance.'

Leonora Sinclair

Leonora is Rotuman, from Fiji and a British citizen. She is married to Edward Sinclair, part Fijian and a British Army veteran. They live in Tidworth, Wiltshire with their son, Ethan.


Prior to joining her husband in 2004, Leonora worked in tourism in Fiji and the Cook Islands. She has an undergraduate degree in Tourism Studies and Management and Public Administration from the University of the South Pacific. As an army wife for 12 years, she worked in various roles in the UK and Germany to gain experience and build a career. She tutored and supported adult learners at an army education centre, where she gained an adult teaching qualification. She trained and mentored volunteers for a UK charity, Home-Start, in British Forces Germany. These work experiences positioned her effectively for challenging roles.


Leonora gained her MSc degree in Development Management with the Open University in 2012. Her research explored the constraints foreign and Commonwealth army wives faced in British Forces Germany, impacting capacity building and their personal freedoms.


Upon returning to the UK in 2014, she joined the MOD Civil Service a year later. She worked in programme and project management roles within procurement. She now works in international engagement for defence science & technology.  


She enjoys writing book reviews and travelling to new places. She volunteers as a grant proposal writer for a small UK charity.  


‘I am grateful for my journey and to be able to give back. I believe that mentoring or knowledge sharing can help ethnic minority women realise their potential, with appropriate guidance and support to build capacity. My bold dream for MAUK is to become the 'golden thread' that brings the Fijian community together in the UK, through our work aimed at empowering women for a resilient, integrated community.’

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Filomena Tuivanualevu

Filo is originally from Bua in Vanua Levu.  She lives in Fleet, Hampshire with her husband Selesitino Naqarase, who is currently attached with the 10 Queen’s Own Gurkha Logistics Regiment.


Filo currently works at a Social Integration charity called The Challenge, where they deliver programmes for 15 – 17 year olds in Surrey during the Summer and Autumn school breaks.  Prior to working at the Challenge, she worked in the areas of gender equality, youth and community development for the past 10 years.


These are areas that Filo is passionate about; and she went on to further cover these topics while pursuing a M.A in International Development, specialising in participation, power and social change at the University of Sussex in Brighton.

In her spare time, she enjoys reading and crafting, and she also volunteers at her local church – The Holy Trinity Catholic Parish in Church Crookham. 


'I am really excited about bringing these skills to the work that MAUK is envisioning, and to also learn from the women and community that we encounter along the way.


My dream for MAUK in the next 10 years is to have an efficient and authentic group; whose organisational systems and procedures allow for standards of excellence, and relevance to the beneficiaries of our work.'

Suliana Tuiteci

Currently residing in North Yorkshire where her husband, Revoni Lotawa,  is based in the Artillery regiment, Suli is a mother to 3 young ladies. At the moment she is working two jobs; one as a General Assistant at the Officers Mess and the seoncd being a Teaching Assistant at the local school. Suli is also a keen hobby baker. 

Having studied Journalism and Industrial Relations at the University of the South Pacific, Suli worked as a Journalist for Fiji Living then Mai Life Magazine before moving to the UK in 2008. Since moving to the UK, she has worked odd jobs, however for her, the job that has taught her the most was being a carer, which Suli did for over 2 years.  

She is very passionate about immigration issues affecting Fijians and volunteers a lot of her free time to helping anyone needing assistance by signposting them to relevant organisations and providing them with general information and support. Adding to this, Suli also invests a lot of time helping potential recruits from Fiji wanting to join the British Army with their applications by helping them navigate things they find confusing. 


Suli is firm believer in the importance of empowering Fijian communities in the UK to be well informed and self sufficient when it comes to their immigration status as it affects all facets of their life. 

She also fervently believes in supporting and empowering women to tap into the power and influence they have within themselves, shifting the narrative and challenging the stigma often placed on Fijian women in the UK.


And as an individual, Suli lives by always trying to project love, kindness and empathy in all places, around all people, as she feels that this is the basis in which we can truly thrive as a community.

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Luisa Matatolu

Luisa moved to join her husband in the UK in 2012 and currently lives in Scotland, after having lived in North Yorkshire in England and Pembrokeshire in Wales due to her husband's career postings. She works for a high street bank and has been with the banking group since 2012, leaving only for a year from 2014-2015 to work briefly on a summer contract with Tesco, and part-time with Halfords, before re-joining the group full-time in 2016.

Luisa is Fijian-Tongan. She was raised in both Fiji and Tonga and speaks both languages fluently in addition to English. She graduated from the University of Waikato in New Zealand with a Bachelor of Communication Studies, majoring in Management Communication and Public Relations, and in her final year she was inducted into the International Golden Key Honour Society.

Prior to moving to the UK, Luisa worked in both Fiji and Tonga in corporate communications, media consulting, journalism and diplomatic relations. In addition to working full-time with the bank, Luisa is a consultant linguist in her free time, in both the Fijian and Tongan languages, and has worked actively as a Freelance Linguist for the past 10 years. She is passionate about languages and is a firm believer that language is the key to understanding a culture and its people.

Nelson Mandela said ‘If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him to his own language, that goes to his heart’.

“To be voted in to MAUK as the representative committee member for Scotland in the beginning of 2020 was a great honour for me. I had only been in Scotland for a year and when MAUK was calling out for places to hold their networking events, I suggested Scotland and was delighted when they chose Inverness! We held the first ever MAUK event in Scotland in March about a week before the UK lockdown (due to the Covid-19 pandemic) began. I look forward to helping MAUK amplify its reach not only within our community but also beyond that, to inspire communities that they can do the same or better! I am also excited about working with other key stakeholders to galvanize MAUK’s vision using the platform that it has created’’.

Sainimili Kata Rockett

aving grown up between the UK and Fiji, Sai experienced many different opportunities and obstacles in relation to her gender, ethnicity and level of education. Often Sai felt that she fit neither here nor there and was forced to navigate between two different ideals.

This has largely influenced her life, education and career choices and as a result, led her to find her passion in the study of anthropology. She completed her BSc in Anthroplogy at Brunel University in London, and after a year off, pursued an M.A in Anthropology of Development and Social Transformation. Both the thesis' for her degrees were based on research that she conducted in Fiji, and were largely driven by her position as not only a student but an indigenous Fijian.


Sai currently works for the Council for World Mission, a Christian charity which was formerly London Missionary Society. Her role is Programme Associate for Europe and this involves planning and implementing programmes with partner organisations in Europe. 


Sai lives in Kent with her son, Levi and husband, Mana. Now that she is a mother, she has become more passionate about making sure that there are spaces for Fijians living and growing up in the UK to meet, socialise and thrive in. . 

'My dream for MAUK in the next 10 years to have an organisation that is established and recognised within the community so that it can be a safe place for women to express who they are as Fijian women, however they wish to interpret it. I dream about an organisation that will become a pillar of strength and encouragement for Fijian women, and a platform whereby they are able to voice their hopes and fears, and also a sisterhood where they will find support to nurture their needs.

What we start today will influence the women and children of tomorrow and I believe that this organisation will grow to be a great tool of empowerment for all Fijians, and will be a place where especially women from all different backgrounds can come to unite.'

SKR
 

Advisory Members

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Katrina Igglesden

Katrina is of British and indigenous Fijian ancestry and grew up within the Fijian diasporic community of Vancouver, Canada. Through this, and time spent in Fiji, she developed a profound appreciation and love for Fiji’s material culture; this has been reflected in her career working in museums around the world.


She came to the UK in 2011 to work on the AHRC - funded Fijian Art research project and has recently completed a PhD focusing on the transformation and adaptation of masi when encountered in urban contemporary contexts. A research associate at the Fiji Museum, she is also a Trustee of Communities Fiji Britain (registered charity 1160206) and has been involved in other initiatives involving Fijian cultural heritage including artistic installations, performances and exhibitions.

Kara Riley

Kara enlisted into the Royal Corps of Signals as a Communications Systems Engineer in 2000 after completing her tertiary education in Civil Engineering under a New Zealand Government Scholarship that was awarded to women pursuing what was perceived traditionally male dominated fields of study or career at the time.

She has retrained to become a member of the Army Welfare Service, she is currently based in Brunei supporting the British Armed Forces Community with emotional and therapeutic support. Her career in the British Army has seen her assigned or deployed on operations to Cyprus, Canada, Germany, the Falkland Islands and Afghanistan.

Kara’s love for sport has seen her represent the British Army in rugby allowing her to travel extensively within the United Kingdom and abroad.


Kara is married to Paul and they have two children, Lauren and Oliver.

 

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