The Water Engineer

Kolinio TamanisauWanting to make a difference in the lives of people, Kolinio Tamanisau was determined to pursue further studies in the engineering field.

“I chose to pursue an engineering course because I hoped to make a difference in people’s lives.  Engineering looks for practical solutions to daily problems and this influenced my decision to pursue the field,” he said.

Today, Tamanisau is a Graduate Water Engineer in the Planning and Design Unit for the Water Authority of Fiji (WAF).

Born in Naisaumua, Tailevu, Tamanisau was raised in Suva. He is the youngest of five brothers. He attended Vatuwaqa Primary School and Marist Brothers High School to complete his pre-tertiary education.

After completing Form Five, he pursued a holiday job at Architect Pacific Limited for two months. His duties included filing, storage, running errands and making tea during conferences and meetings.

Being around architects peaked Tamanisau’s interest in the field and so in 2007, he enrolled in the Diploma in Architectural Technology programme at the Fiji Institute of Technology (FIT), now the College of Engineering, Science and Technology (CEST).

Tamanisau was determined to graduate and work as an architect. As part of his practical, he worked for IAP Irwin Alsop Engineering Consultants as a Draughtsman and attaché, assisting in developing designs for clients as per requirements and briefs received, and, preparing proposals and schematic drawings in 2D and 3D.

Although the practical requirement was only for six months, his good work did not go unnoticed and he ended up working for the company for 11 months.

He graduated with a Diploma in Architectural Technology in December 2009.

Following his graduation, in 2010, he joined SDG Architects as an Architectural Draughtsman and Technician. His role here included assisting in developing designs for clients as per requirements and briefs received, preparing proposals and schematic drawings in 2D and 3D, doing tender and construction drawings which receive National Fire Authority (NFA), Occupational Health and Safety (OHS), respective statutory bodies and respective councils approval, and, assisting in the architectural detail drawing and specifications. He was also a liaison for NFA, OHS and respective council comments on contract drawings vetting for approval, assisting in contracts, providing project management on site, and conducting site inspections.

He worked here for two years before returning to university to pursue another engineering degree; a Bachelor of Civil Engineering at the Fiji National University (FNU). This was a three-year programme with six months of workplace attachment. He graduated in 2016.

Tamanisau states that he learned a lot during his time at FNU.

“I learnt many different aspects of what goes into a project, general processes of how a project is initially planned, developed and completed and how to manage time well,” he said.

Tamanisau completed his workplace attachment at WAF. Following this, he was offered a job as a Graduate Trainee Engineer. He was then promoted to Graduate Water Engineer.

Speaking about his job, Tamanisau said, “I enjoy the intrinsic satisfaction that comes with looking for a practical solution to  problems. I enjoy learning new things and familiarising myself with essential components of water supply and distribution system, understanding design parameters, understanding designing of all components of water supply and distribution,” he said.

Tamanisau’s advice to students is to have a positive attitude and constantly strive to give their best effort.

He also shares his top tips for graduates starting out in their careers.

“Put God first in everything you do and strive for success, find what drives you and use that to motivate you. Work constantly with discipline and you will achieve what you thought impossible. Take risks professionally and don’t be afraid to make mistakes; this is the only way you will learn,” he said.

Tamanisau is married with a one-year-old son.