On the Fijian island of Matacawalevu I met Ruben – master in the art of weaving pretty much anything out of the leaves cut from a coconut tree. Ruben proudly admits that he learnt all he knows from his mother, and it’s quite rare for a man in Fiji to be such a keen and talented weaver! Traditionally the coconut leaves, which are in no short supply on the islands of Fiji, are used to make practical items such as bags, baskets and roofs on the village bures (huts). However these days with such a huge tourist population visiting Fiji year-round several Fijians including Ruben have taken to making special souvenir objects for the visitors to their communities. It was a regular occurrence whilst island-hopping to see fellow travellers sporting similar sun hats with varying degrees of decoration, some even carrying mini handbags!
The pictures below illustrate how Ruben created a beautiful sunhat for me and my friends, starting with freshly cut coconut branch and finishing up with a rather stylish woven sunhat.