Tagata Pasifika

The Pacific voice on
New Zealand television
since 1987

Tagata Pasifika

The Pacific voice on
New Zealand television
since 1987

Samoan florist carries on her late grandmother’s legacy

Samoa lockdown recovery will be ‘very difficult’, local entrepreneur says

Samoa has so far managed to subdue the threat of Covid-19 through its State Of Emergency (SOE) restrictions but it has come at a cost for businesses. 

So far, around 4000 jobs have succumbed to the SOE and up to 50 hotels have closed their doors since the pandemic began.

In the Apia village of Vaivase-Uta, self-employed florist Siagiagi Nuusila has been battling with financial hurdles from the outset.

“Business has been very slow.  The restrictions from the government shutdown has really taken a hit on not just us but the majority of businesses,” she said.

Siagiagi owns Sopoalemalama Floral Inspiration, which is largely a duo operation with her husband Siligatusa who spearheads the business’ marketing campaign.

Their decision to keep the business within the family has come as a relief during these unprecedented times.

“We are just glad that it’s a family business. My husband and my kids are the helpers. If we had employees it would be difficult to pay them.”

However, even without employees, it has still impacted on the running of their day-to-day lives by forcing them to cut down on their spending.

“We are delaying some purchases hopefully until the business picks up, but we’re buying what are essentials for our family and business.”

Earlier this month, the Government announced a $23.6 million package to combat the effects of Covid-19.

The Asian Development Bank also responded with a further $2.9 million to support vulnerable groups including businesses.

“It’ll be very difficult to get back to where the business was. We are not complaining, because [lockdown] is for our protection, but it comes down to how we pick ourselves up. We are resilient people,” Siagiagi says.

But it hasn’t all been doom and gloom, with support continuing to pour in from local and overseas clients who are beginning to plan ahead.

“It has been tremendous. Clients touch base with us on their upcoming chapel decoration and beautification.”

“We also got confirmation from our main hotelier that business will re-establish once the shutdown is lifted, which is humbling, and we are grateful.” 

Samoa’s State Of Emergency is in place until May 2nd.

By Anauli Karima Fai’ai



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