Bu Kini always backs Fiji

Bu Kini ready to farewell the royal visitors in Nadi. Picture: SHAYAL DEVI

KINISIMERE Rabulugaga has always been seen at major national rugby matches and major state functions around the country.

For many years, she has graced international visitors with her Bula smile and is sometimes the first woman to welcome the Fiji 7s team after winning an international tournament.

Commonly known as Bu Kini, the Waitolu lady from Naitasiri has a more interesting account of life to share regarding her love for rugby and for Fiji.

“When I was young, I loved to entertain and I love being a happy person,” Bu Kini shared.

“I love to make people laugh and going to functions and meeting new people has always been a part of my life.

“This is why you will always see me in many functions especially in rugby matches happening around the country as I always love to talk to people, share stories and joke with them.”

Last week, she was spotted waving her Fiji flag to the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle as they bade goodbye to the Fijian people as the couple jetted off to the Kingdom of Tonga as part of their royal visit.

Her excitement also followed the unveiling of a statue of the late British Army special forces soldier Sergeant Talaiasi Labalaba.

She was 23 years old when Princess Diana and Prince Charles visited Fiji and she made sure she was there to witness the royal visit.

Having to be part of their son’s (Prince Harry) visit to Fiji was again an emotional moment for her and even though she was not feeling well on the day, she made an effort to join thousands of other Fijians at the Nadi International Airport to farewell the prince.

Even though she is from the Naitasiri highlands, her heart belongs to Nadi because it has been her home for many years.

She was married to the late Eneri Varo of Saunaka in Nadi and they had a son Eneri Vono Jr. Bu Kini has never missed any major national match and she is probably one of the Fijian women who have watched the most number of rugby matches in Fiji.

She even recalled the first international match that she watched was when Fiji played against the British and Irish Lions at Buckhurst Park in 1977 and won that match 25–21.

This was one of her rugby proudest moments especially watching Pio Tikoisuva, Joape Kuinikoro and Ilaitia Tuisese playing with pride for their country that day.

“Ever since that day I have never missed a local or international tournament, I have been to every game no matter where the game is held.

“I travel all the way from Naitasiri to the different grounds, Nadroga, Nadi, Nausori, you name it I have been there. I even travel to the Nadi airport to welcome the team when they return.”

For the 81-year-old, rugby and Fiji are two main words that remain in her heart forever. In 2014, the Fiji Rugby Union rewarded her with a Fiji rugby shirt to acknowledge her support towards the national teams.

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