Rugby holds a very special place in the hearts of the people of Fiji. Something close to a religion, it’s the nation’s most popular sport with profound cultural significance across the nation’s many islands. In Fiji, rugby transcends boundaries, unites communities, and is a source of national pride that represents the hopes and dreams of the nation.
In early 2023, FIJI Water and The Wonderful Company partnered with the Fiji Rugby Union (FRU) to announce a multimillion-dollar sponsorship of Fiji’s national men’s 15s rugby team, which immediately became known as the ”FIJI Water Flying Fijians.” The partnership helped ensure the team was in the strongest position to compete at the 2023 Rugby World Cup in France. Leading up to the World Cup, the team’s jerseys – or” kits,” as they’re called in Fiji – were emblazoned with the FIJI Water logo during games and practices, at events, on social media, and more.
Stewart Resnick, co-owner of The Wonderful Company – the parent company of FIJI Water – highlighted the role of sports, especially rugby, in transcending cultural barriers and uniting communities. “Every one of us at FIJI Water shares the passion and excitement of the nation as we watch them on this rugby journey,” Resnick stated, underscoring the enthusiasm that FIJI Water has for this partnership.
An Unforgettable Visit to the Heart of FIJI Water
The partnership between FIJI Water and the FRU extends beyond the field. The FIJI Water Flying Fijians made a surprise appearance at the FIJI Water bottling plant, exciting over 150 employees. The visit was filled with camaraderie, tradition, and the joy of being part of a larger rugby family, and the team witnessed firsthand the process of bottling Earth’s Finest Water.
However, it wasn’t just about witnessing the process. The players and employees participated in a Q&A session, selected staff members were chosen to share FIJI Water merchandise with each visiting player, and the team and employees enjoyed a friendly game of touch rugby – a moment that bridged the gap between fans and athletes. The visit concluded with an “Isa Lei” farewell song, which was led by the FIJI Water Choir.
Simon Raiwalui, head coach of the FIJI Water Flying Fijians, expressed his gratitude, saying, “We’re deeply honored and immensely grateful for the incredible support from FIJI Water, which puts our team in the strongest position to do well in France.”
Uniting Through Rugby and Beyond
FIJI Water paused operations to allow its employees to attend the first test match against Tonga, demonstrating a commitment to the team and its employees alike. This act of unity resulted in more than 600 employees gathering at the stadium, surrounded by FIJI Water banners – a testament to the shared pride and excitement that this partnership has generated.
Michael Lynch, associate vice president of operations at FIJI Water, perfectly captured the sentiment of employees, saying, “In Fiji, there is no better way to bring people together than through the game of rugby.”
As the matches progressed, FIJI Water also held a watch party for employees to gather together and support their team, and rolled out a competition where employees could share their excitement for the games to win the ultimate prize pack for hosting their own at-home watch party with family and friends, including a large TV, food voucher, and merchandise pack.
A Partnership for Positive Change
Beyond the sporting games, FIJI Water’s collaboration with the FRU mirrors its commitment to responsible business practices and making a meaningful impact. The partnership strives to make a difference not just today, but also for future generations. This ethos aligns with FIJI Water’s long-standing commitment to sustainability, the environment, and local communities, and is a prime example of how businesses can be a force for positive change.
Every one of us at FIJI Water shares the passion and excitement of the nation as we watch them on this rugby journey.
Co-owner of The Wonderful Company – the parent company of FIJI Water