In February 2016, one of the worst Tropical Storms ever recorded in history passed directly over Wakaya Island. It was a true showing of the immense force of nature and, in its wake, left a barren island and a bewildered community. Fortunately, no one was hurt and there was minimal structural damage. Many people would have struggled to get back on their feet, yet the Fijian spirit is one of positivism, hope and community. The local community saw it as an opportunity.
There was a tremendous amount of work to be done both on the Island of Wakaya and throughout Fiji to help other devastated villages. True to Fijian community values, villages throughout the islands sent teams to help our Island and in return we supplied materials to re-build theirs.
Giant trees lay fallen throughout the Island, and not wanting a single tree to go to waste, we decided to incorporate the majestic giants into our new design and preserve the remaining wood for future use. Within months life returned to the Island, and in the country as a whole. A force grew within the people of Fiji; there where echoes of “Stronger than Winston” and of course on social media; #strongerthanwinston. Over the course of the year, the Fijian rugby team went on to win the country’s first Olympic medal, indeed, a gold medal, in their national sport, Rugby 7’s and the whole country stood strongly united and proud.
The Island will forever remember Tropical Storm Winston as an opportunity. It left us with a deeper respect for nature, and a strong motivation to honor the beauty of the environment and the spirit of the Fijian culture.
For decades, the Wakaya Club & Spa was known as one of the most exclusive and prestigious resorts in the world, hosting some of the most well-known celebrities, royalty and business people. We are proud to have restored and brought Wakaya back in all its glory to continue the legacy in today’s era.