SAN FRANCISCO, July 12, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — The Bay Area is about to be overtaken by Fijian happiness, thanks to the arrival of the Fiji Airways Men’s 7s rugby team and a series of exciting public engagement events throughout the city, July 16-19, 2018.  Tourism Fiji and Fiji Airways have partnered to bring Fiji’s world-renowned happiness and the “bula!” spirit to town (“bula” is the Fijian word for “life,” “good health,” and it is an overall general pleasant greeting.)

“In Fiji, happiness finds you. Whether you’re exploring world-class dive spots or your own private island, happiness is effortless and felt throughout the islands.  Now we are bringing this spirit to San Francisco with a series of events and interactions with Fijian locals,” explains Matthew Stoeckel, Chief Executive Officer, Tourism Fiji. “The Fijian rugby players are our national heroes, and we see this as an opportunity to give San Francisco more than a good rugby match.  We decided to bring San Franciscans the same type of boundless happiness we enjoy in Fiji.”

A series of Happiness Lands in San Francisco events, some open to the public, will bring to life the famed Fijian happiness, along with Fijian culture of dances and songs. They include:

Monday, July 16, 2018 from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. – Kava Ceremony, Kava Lounge San Francisco
Many parts of the world know kava as a trendy drink. In Fiji, kava is central to cultural ceremonies and everyday social life; performed at special occasions as a sign of respect, welcoming, and camaraderie among family and friends. Kava, made with the crushed root of the yaqona plant, a relative of the pepper plant. Guests will learn about and experience the Fijian kava ceremony, with Fijian cultural expert Master Laisiasa Rokobuludrau. Fijian warriors will perform traditional songs and dances. The event is open to the public.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018 from 10 a.m. to noon – Fijian Warrior Performances, Union Square Fijian warriors will shake up downtown San Francisco’s Union Square with pop-up performances of lively dances called “meke” which tell the story of Fijian culture through dance and song. The event is open to the public and is free.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. – Fiji Airways Men’s 7s Visit to UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital, Oakland
The Fiji Airways Men’s 7s rugby team will pay a special visit to the sports medicine department at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital in Oakland. The team will meet with patients and the hospital community, along with local youth rugby program participants from the Oakland Warthogs. Please note that this event is not open to the public.

Thursday, July 19, 2018 5 p.m. – Rugby World Cup Sevens Welcome Ceremony, Embarcadero Plaza 
Free and open to the public, come join Fijian warriors as they pump up the energy during the official welcome for the 2018 Rugby World Cup Sevens. The event will welcome the competing countries and their representative teams who are in town for the tournament –including the Fiji Airways Men’s 7s rugby team.

 “Our rugby players inspire and instill national pride in all Fijians. There is a significant Fijian community in Northern California and we hope our events bring together Fijians from both sides of the Pacific. Beyond reaching out to our fellow Fijians, we hope to inspire all San Franciscans to travel to Fiji, and experience firsthand the beautiful people and culture that we have given them a hint of, through these events,” shares Fiji Airways CEO Andrew Viljoen.  

This is the first time the Rugby World Cup Sevens tournament has been played in the United States. The Fiji Airways Men’s 7s rugby team is in town to compete in the 2018 Rugby World Cup Sevens tournament at AT&T Park, July 20-22 2018.

The Fijian 7s National Men’s Rugby Team rose to worldwide fame in 2016 with their historic win at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, in the newly-introduced rugby sevens event, earning Fiji its first-ever Olympic medal.

About Fiji
Fiji is located in the heart of the Pacific, just 10 hours from Los Angeles (LAX) or San Francisco (SFO) and only seven hours from Honolulu, Hawaii (HNL). Fiji is comprised of 333 islands and boasts luxurious private islands, all-inclusive resorts, world-renowned spas, outdoor explorations, scuba diving and a wide array of culinary adventures. Fiji is most widely celebrated for its culture, which uniquely welcomes its visitors “home to Fiji.” Fiji where happiness finds you.

About Fiji Airways
Fiji Airways, Fiji’s national airline, offers non-stop service from San Francisco (SFO) to Nadi, Fiji (NAN) on A330 aircraft.  With a convenient 10-hour overnight flight from SFO, the airline offers twice-weekly direct service from San Francisco to Nadi on Thursdays and Sundays. Founded in 1951, Fiji Airways Group comprises Fiji Airways, Fiji’s national airline and its subsidiaries: domestic and regional carrier Fiji Link, Pacific Call Comm Ltd, and a 38.75 percent stake in the Sofitel Fiji Resort & Spa on Denarau Island, Nadi. From its hub at Nadi International Airport, Fiji Airways and Fiji Link serve 49 destinations in 13 countries (including code-shares). Destinations include Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Singapore, Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu, Kiribati, Vanuatu and Solomon Islands. Fiji Airways rebranded from Air Pacific in June 2013. Visit for more information.

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Kristen Bergevin

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SOURCE Tourism Fiji