The start of the Tappoo dynasty

SIGATOKA is the cradle of the Tappoo dynasty. It was in the dusty outback of Sigatoka that the Tappoo Group founder, the late Tappoo Kanji, founded the family business.

Years of sacrifice as a child and later as an apprentice with various employers enabled him to rent a small 10ft by 10ft workshop in a small wooden house from where he hand-made his silver jewellery.

Fonder picture (600x500)

The late Mr. Tappoo Kanji’s first work shop (10ft x 10ft) in Sigatoka in 1941.

This workshop was his first store, founded 75 years ago on 23rd August 1941. This was the first of his many first-time achievements in Sigatoka.

Today Sigatoka remains the base for one of Tappoo’s magnificent retail department stores. The Tappoo signature blue department complex located alongside the Sigatoka river, opposite the old Sigatoka bridge, is a visual artistry in itself.

Further down from the complex is the Tappoo headquarters, a symbol of the Tappoo Group’s commitment to the township it calls home. It is a sentimental decision that recognises and cherishes their humble beginnings. Their ties, fostered almost 75 years ago, were forged beyond the municipal confines of the township.

They extend deep into the exotic wilderness of Sigatoka, into Kavanagasau and the surrounding villages and settlements.

It is Kavanagasau in the interiors of Sigatoka Valley where the Tappoo founder lived as a 14-year-old child when he first came from India to make Fiji his home.

“It has always been our desire, in accordance with the wishes of our founding father, to commit to our community of Sigatoka,” said Kanti Tappoo, the chairman of the Tappoo Group of Companies and the eldest son of the late founder.

“An integral part of his vision was that the company was a vehicle to do good. We find honour in this.”

He added that the town will always have “a special place in our hearts”.

Tappoo first shop

Mr Tappoo Kanji and Mrs Ladhiben Tappoo standing in front of their first shop. Photo taken 55 years later

“After all, it has been our home for several generations, and it will be the home base for more generations to come,” said Mr Tappoo, who had served as Sigatoka’s mayor for 14 years.

“The family has always been involved in the town’s development — in capacities where we have been asked to contribute, and in capacities where we have taken the lead after being inspired by others or developments elsewhere,” he said.

This year, Tappoo will partner and support several of the council’s major projects. One notable project would be the construction of the River Bank jetty and beautification of the town.

“These projects recently announced by the council are commendable and will undoubtedly add value to Sigatoka town’s reputation as a tourist destination,” Mr Tappoo said.

“With the rest of the township, we are excited and energised to maintain the authenticity and attraction that is uniquely Sigatoka.”

The Tappoo Group of Companies will commemorate 75 years of its existence on August 23.

TAPPOO sigatoka exterior pic, final

Tappoo Sigatoka Shop (Current )

Source: The Fiji Times June 16 2016 (

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