Petrus Faller (left) with a friend in Germany. The businessman was drawn to the South Pacific’s natural charm and culture in 1997. Since then, he has established a number of ventures.
By SHERYL LAL
“From an early age, I had a vision that I would live on a tropical island in the South Pacific.” After first arriving to Fiji in 1997, Petrus Faller felt very much at home. The happiness of the people, the different cultures that came together at such a small place and the untouched nature were things he loved about Fiji.
Wanting to give back to the country and its people, Faller invested about $30,000 in his new jewellery business ‘TaraNiVanua’ based in Suva.
As a foreigner, the bureaucracy, system and lifestyle of Fiji were difficult to understand along with language barriers. However, Faller’s determination to launch his third business rose above all the challenges he faced.
Faller was born in Germany in 1964 and began his journey as an entrepreneur at the age of 26. He grew up as an only child to a family of businessmen. His father was a tailor and his mother worked in the automotive industry. As a child, he wanted to be a fashion designer or a fashion-artist.
His best memory from home was playing by the river as he absolutely loved water, the smell of new fabrics in their fashion room and the beauty of fashion. Growing up, Faller took an interest in philosophy, psychology and later meditation, seeking spiritual truth.
“After high school, I began my intense search for truth. This impulse was leading me after high school, in my earlier 20s and in the middle of my fashion career to India. Living there for months in temples like a wandering monk, meditating for months in caves, trying to find perfect freedom and truth itself,” he shared.
While studying, travelling and exploring different parts of Europe and Asia, Faller established two businesses. His chocolate and ice cream company in Freiburg, Germany trades organic vegan chocolate truffles, chocolate products and ice cream in Europe under the brand ‘Booja Booja’ for more than 20 years. He also sells 100 per cent natural fragrances perfume under the brand ‘Green Gorilla’.
Faller loves writing and poetry is his passion. His second business is poetry writing with a publication under his Fijian name ‘Momo Pete’. He writes poetry, stories and his journey in German, which is also published in the English and Fijian languages.
The inspiration behind each business, he says, is “Beauty! Serving humanity in a good, sustainable way and making money for my living and further project. Money should always be like a river, constantly flowing and nourishing the growing of people and used for new projects. Never stocked and used just for prestige and self-glorification. It’s very borrowing and in some sense destructive. It should always be in movement.”
Amid the exciting journey, Faller lost his parents and divorced. His daughter, Sonnja, helps him in his business endeavours and plays an important role in his life.
“I’ve always had visions of pure white light; stories that were communicating something about the South Pacific,” he said.
Faller stayed on Taveuni and a remote island in the Lau Group when he arrived in Fiji. He travelled back and forth and finally migrated to Fiji in October 2017. He has been living in Suva for a couple of months. In 2019, Sonnja visited Fiji and decided to stay as well.
They find Fiji as, “A place where your creativity is very much inspired by the nature and the different kind of people from all over the world. The mix is very fascinating. It can be and is a true sign of one world, beyond nations and religiosity.”
In March 2021, while on Taveuni, Petrus, Sonnja and his Fijian friend Mark thought about establishing a jewellery business in Fiji. With COVID-19 affecting Fiji drastically, they had to put a hold to his dreams and launched this business in 2022. Faller is using his time and experience in India to relate to his business in Fiji.
“It is all about beauty, or as Mr Booja Booja says, ‘All that is loved is beautiful’. We are at home in the Fiji Islands and design and produce our ‘Sacred Jewellery’ line, made in Fiji, on site. All our Viti Mala necklaces and Viti Mala bracelets are individual high-quality designer pieces.
“We work with natural raw materials such as rudraksha beads, gemstones, natural healing stones and, sea water and fresh water pearls. We invest and support regional projects and source our pearls, shells, stones and wood beads as far as possible from Fiji or the islands of the South Pacific. Our company philosophy is sustainable and ecologically oriented as far as our entire production and company activities are concerned.”
‘TaraNiVanua’ portrays a mixture of Fijian and Indian relationship. Tara means touching, feeling and knowing in Fijian and star in Hindi. While vanua means land in Fijian. So, it could be ‘feeling the land’ or ‘star of the land’.
“People interested in health, yoga, meditation and fashion would love these jewellery. It should always look beautiful and support the beauty of human beings,” he said.
“It can be very interesting for tourist who are looking for high quality, unique design items, that will remind them as place of relaxation and untouched beauty.”
With all the energy, time and effort spent in handcrafting these jewelries, Faller has also employed locals to assist him in other aspects of his business.
His jewellery prices range from $25 to $500 depending on the quality and uniqueness of each piece. The TaraNiVanua showroom and office is located at 28 Suva Street in Toorak.
Along with so many plans, Faller faced challenges such as delays in receiving permits and transfer of cash from Germany to Fiji.
However, he has been successful and says his jewellery might help bring Fijian and Indian cultures together. He plans to establish the brand as a Fijian South Pacific brand for unique handmade beauty and quality.
Expressing the humankind family of – one world. Faller decided to stay and serve the people of Fiji.
“Always serve the people of Fiji and the vanua. Our label “Ni Vanua” means respect tradition – support art – preserve climate. Think of one world, think of vanua,” he said with finality.