When the contract finished, Steve and Gail retired on Nananu-I-Ra, and the boys headed off to boarding school in New Zealand. Things came full circle for Steve Junior, who after high school enrolled in a dive instructor course in New Zealand and soon returned to Fiji to work as a guide on the Coral Coast. It wasn’t long before he made his way back to Rakiraki to work for Ra Divers, where it all began for Volivoli.
Shortly after Steve started working at Ra Divers, the owner of the dive shop and his family were unable to be in Fiji full-time to run the business due to illness, and when the opportunity presented itself—just over a decade after initially moving to Fiji—Steve and his mother made the spontaneous decision to buy Ra Divers while Steve Senior was back and forth between New Zealand renovating a small pub.
With Steve and Natalie at the helm it didn’t take long for the shop to gain momentum, and with more divers, the need for affordable accommodation was inevitable. One morning while Steve Senior and Steve Junior were fishing they spotted a large, beautiful sand bar and beachfront piece of land. They knew then it was special, tracked down the owner, which turned out the belong to their housekeeper’s family. They put in an offer and that fortuitous decision led to the creation of Volivoli Beach Resort.
After traveling for a few years, the youngest son, Nick, made it back to Rakiraki with his girlfriend after a call from Steve Senior asking him to come help run the resort, which at the time was just 65 dorm-style bedrooms. He caught him at the perfect time—on a cold, rainy Sunday morning while he was living in London. Within a week he was on a plane back to Fiji and quite naturally fell into the marketing side of the business. Now, both sons, Steve and Nick have raised their families in their private homes on the property, and are immersed in Fijian life. Following in their father’s footsteps, all the children attend local Fijian school, and are learning to snorkel and dive with Ra Divers.
As time went by and the resort kept growing. Then cyclone Winston hit—a massive tragedy that allowed for positive change at Volivoli. The resort suffered significant damage, but created an opportunity for a completely fresh start. The family decided together to rebuild, and at the same time to go in a brand new direction concentrating on a new market—a boutique, four-star resort, focused on providing the best value accommodation on the Suncoast. In March of this year we were awarded the quality accommodation award for Fiji, making us very proud of the the relaxed, luxury resort that Volivoli is today.