Sina Tufuga’s dream of owning her own small business is a reality.
She is the proud owner of Tasha’s Coffee Shop located at the Catholic Tu’utu’uilelotoloto Hall at Matafele.
But Sina could not have realised her dream shop if it was not for the New Zealand Recognized Seasonal Workers initiative.
Now in her 7th year with the Bay of Plenty based Opotiki Packing and Coolstorage Ltd, (O.P.A.C), Sina has done her fair share to support her family from her wages as a Seasonal Worker under the Samoa-New Zealand R.S.E scheme.
On top of her coffee shop which also sells handicrafts and clothing, her wages funded her family’s new three bedroom home at To’omatagi.
She debuted with O.P.A.C in 2010 as a packing staff and has since been elevated to team leader in charge of 14 young women from Samoa recruited by the company.
The promotion as come with a salary increase of close to $30tala an hour, which is greatly welcomed by Sina.
“Its hard work but I’m not complaining. It’s giving me the chance of a lifetime to contribute to my family,” she said.
As a team leader, she plays the motherly role, as mum, counselor, friend and colleague to the young Samoan female workers at O.P.A.C.
“My role as leader has given me the self-confidence to become an archiver and it’s quite an improvement compared to staying home seven years ago,” said Sina.
She is heading back to the Bay of Plenty later this month and she is mindful that all good things must come to an end.
“Tentatively, the plan is to build up my savings to expand the coffee shop after RSE. But at the moment, my entire focus is to perform to my best abilities so that I will remain on the OPAC’s payroll.
“If it wasn’t for the Seasonal Workers scheme, none of this would have happened for me and my family,” said the 37-year-old single lady who is adopted mother to her nephews and nieces as she payrolls school fees and other education expenses for them.
“This has all been made possible because of the seasonal employment opportunities and faafetai, faafetai tele lava to O.P.A.C.”
This year O.P.A.C will be celebrating their 30th year since the company was formed. It is also the 10th anniversary since they were inducted into the NZ Recognized Seasonal Employees initiative.