A vibrant personality

Hasmukh Patel at the Rarawai mill. Picture: SUPPLIED.

Hasmukh Patel is a popular face in the FSC Rarawai Mill facility. Everyone knows him, in fact, within the whole company, everyone knows of the vibrant personality that is Mr Patel.

Mr Patel, of Gujerati and iTaukei descent is fluent in his mother’s dialect, from Natalecake in Ba, his dad’s language, Hindustani and is well-versed in English.

He commenced his employment at the Rarawai mill in 2004 as a weigh-bridge clerk and later moved to the chemical department as a shift lab analyst after a year.

He became permanent in 2006, when he took up the role of transport clerk, a role he held for three years. “In 2009, I moved to Tavua to take up a field clerk role,” says Mr Patel.

The only time he was based out of the factory environment, he relished this role because he was out and about in the field, in the farms, interacting on a daily basis with growers, trying to understand their needs.

In 2010, he moved back to the Rarawai mill as a traffic assistant, a role he undertook for three years until he became Rarawai’s mill sardar.

Last year, there was a role name change and his position is now known as human resources assistant. In his current role, he checks on the manning requirements at the mill’s various stations prior to the start of the crushing season.

“We have an existing database of seasonal and casual employees, who are already trained and skilled in the mill’s various stations. “And we draw from this pool of employees whenever the crushing season starts,” says Mr Patel.

In terms of what he did in his spare time, Mr Patel is an ardent soccer player and he also loves netball.

Every year for the past five years, he has been going to Auckland, New Zealand, during the Easter weekends, to play goalkeeper for the Flying Arrows team.

“When I first went across to play, I went with the Fiji Gujerati soccer team.

“I was the goalkeeper, now I play for the Flying Arrows team of Auckland,” says Mr Patel.

He also plays netball for the Ba team in the mixed and men’s grade.

Apart from sports, studies are also keeping him busy.

Working towards a degree, he is presently undertaking a TAFE Diploma in HR and management.

A Ba boy through and through, Hasmukh recalls his childhood in the soccer crazy town, with much fondness.

Back in the day, Sundays were spent with families picnicking at the Ba river, swimming or “sili kai” (diving for mussels).

These days this is no longer the case as kids and adults, in his words are “mostly confined to the home”. But he is adamant that Ba is still the number one place to be in Fiji!

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