Even if you’ve not been to Fiji previously, you’ve more than likely to have heard the phrase “Fiji Time”. But it’s got nothing to do with the difference in time between where you are and what time it is in Fiji.
To the unaccustomed, Fiji Time is a way of life. It’s island time. It’s low stress. It’s an easy come, easy go attitude that is ingrained in society. Fiji Time is a mind-set – similar to the Australian stance of “she’ll be right mate”.
American biology professor Mark Hay who was used to a fast paced lifestyle of his home state of Georgia, spent some time living in the South Pacific island a few years ago. He described Fiji Time as the nature of Fijians not stressing about time. Tasks “will eventually get done, and if it doesn’t, it is not that big a problem anyway,” he explained.
So how does Fiji Time relate to couples planning to wed in Fiji? Well it’s plain to see the frustration Fiji Time has on brides. A quick look at online forums and Facebook pages sees the topic raised all too often, with brides posting messages of concern or distress, asking for assistance in getting a reply from a Fijian supplier who appears to have vanished as they have not acknowledged an email. As I deal with Fijian suppliers on an hourly basis, I think I’m qualified to give an opinion. I’ll be the first to admit Fiji Time can cause its share of frustrations. It’s not uncommon for I Do Fiji Holidays to experience delays receiving feedback from some businesses too. You just have to accept that this is how things are done. And that’s the advantage of dealing with a Fiji wedding specialist agent. I Do Fiji Holidays has been working with dozens of suppliers in Fiji for years. Rather than dealing with a generic “info@” email address at a resort or with a photographer (or any other wedding supplier based in Fiji), I have a direct point of contact. This helps vastly in getting a quicker response time for your requests.
One such contact is Leanne Golf from Totoka Hair & Make Up. The New Zealand native has worked in Auckland, Melbourne, Wellington and now resides in Nadi from where she operates her business. I asked Leanne for her take on Fiji Time. She admits it has been one of the “biggest challenges” running her company.
However, I think it helps to understand the nature of business and job roles is often very different here to overseas. For example, many businesses are owner operated like mine. If I have a busy couple of days in the salon or out at weddings, time in the office can be limited to a couple of days at a time and email responses are prioritised accordingly.
I do my best to always have a response to someone within 24-48 hours, as no one appreciates having to chase up emails. I’ve realised time management is something you have to be strict about with your team and they have to be aware how important timeliness is to us from abroad. It is not acceptable to be late or unprepared to bookings, ever. The reality here though is my team are less in control of their own timekeeping than my business in New Zealand. None of them drive so are dependent on unreliable public transport. So ensuring they know that they allow plenty of time for this and have a backup plan (such as grabbing a cab) in the event they won’t be there on time is imperative. I’m more lenient on days where we do not have a wedding (I don’t freak out at 10 minutes late and also am flexible with start times) but really strict on wedding day bookings. There is no Fiji Time on wedding days!!There has been give and take between myself and my team on ‘Fiji Time’ – I have learned to relax a little bit and they have learned to keep stricter time. We are always both working on this!
Leanne Golf – Totoka Hair and Make Up
In all my years assisting couples with their big day, I’ve never once had Fiji Time cause a hiccup, so when you arrive in the country, adjust the time on your watch and embrace the Fiji way of life.