15 Nov Suli on the run – staff profile
Running was how Suli got to work back in ’97 when he got his first job. And not just a little run. He would start at 5am and run from Mangere Bridge to Glenn Innes to be there by 8am. And at 5pm he ran back again. It’s not surprising that when he got his first pay packet the first thing he did was buy a car!
To get that job with no money let alone a car, he spent a whole day walking between interviews – from Mangere to Manukau, then to Mt Wellington, followed by GI to Penrose and Onehunga, and then back to Mangere again. It was a whole day marathon that paid off.
As one of a family of seven girls and three boys, Suliasi Naulivou (Suliasi is Fijian for Julius, Naulivou means New Direction) calls the Lau Group in the Fijian Islands home and tries to get back twice a year.
Suli’s Dad, a former soldier, was a jack of all trades so it was natural for him to get a trade certificate in automotive engineering. That qualification landed him a job with the Fiji Electrical Power Board where he had to fix everything from weed eaters to diesel engines – not so different from his role at Natural Habitats now. His two elder brothers are a Civil Engineer and an Electrical Engineer
“My hobby is fixing things,” explains Suli. “I just need to look at or listen to some equipment to know what is wrong with it. There is a sense of peace when everything is running well.”
And there’s a lot to get running well. Apart from the huge variety of tools – there are now 81 vehicles to fix or prepare for COFs and WOFs – there were only 37 when he started with Natural Habitats seven years ago.
“My main priority is to keep the boys rolling,” says Suli. “I make sure all vehicles and tools are ready for each day. There’s a lot of site servicing from one end of Auckland to the other. It never stops – I have to find time to sit down and do the paperwork.”
Married and very proud of his three kids and the professional careers they are developing, after hours, Suli is mad keen on rugby – he was a loose forward for Onewhero Ruby Club – and a respected Methodist Elder that has spent 12 years of his 20 year’s residence in NZ looking after their Church funds.