Fiji

A DigitalNZ Story by National Library of New Zealand Topics

Fiji is an archipelago of more than 300 islands and a popular holiday destination in the Pacific. You find here a range of items related to Fijian history, customs, economy, including the impacts of climate change and New Zealand’s bilateral relations with this island nation.

social_sciences, arts, history, health, science, technology

The Fiji islands

Manatū Taonga, the Ministry for Culture and Heritage

Fijians: The Fijian community

Manatū Taonga, the Ministry for Culture and Heritage

New Zealand visitors to Fiji

Manatū Taonga, the Ministry for Culture and Heritage

TEAL poster

Manatū Taonga, the Ministry for Culture and Heritage

Poster, 'Fiji By Air By Teal'

Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa

Girmit

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History of Fiji

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The culture of Fiji

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Fiji - empire outpost

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EPIC

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Fiji

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Virtual Museum of Fiji

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Levuka is the old capital of Fiji. It was built on the Ovalu Islands as a trading port by the early Colonial Government around 1820. In 1871 Chief Seru Epenisa Cakobau crowned himself King. He made Levuka the capital of Fiji. The town managed to retain its original wooden architecture from the 1800s and is now listed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

Levuka, Fiji

Alexander Turnbull Library

Fijian Indian farmers and boys

This photograph of Fijian and Fijian Indian farmers reflects the demography of Fiji. Indians were brought to Fiji by the British between 1879 to 1916 to work on sugarcane, coconut and cotton plantations. They were indentured labourers, bound for ‘girmit’, an agreement to work in Fiji for 5 years. The system of indentured labour stopped in 1920, but many of the Indians decided to stay and make Fiji their home. Today half the population of Fiji is made up of descendants of these Indians.

Fijian Indian farmers and boys, Fiji

Alexander Turnbull Library

Nandi, the main international airport of Fiji, is located on the west side of the main island of Viti Levu. The airstrip, built in 1939 by New Zealand, was financed by Fiji’s British colonial rulers. The airstrip was used extensively during the Pacific War in 1941. New Zealand took control of the airport in 1946 and built its first runway. The airport was later taken over by the Fijian Government when they gained independence in 1970.

Nandi Airport

Alexander Turnbull Library

Hurricane at Fiji

Tropical cyclones are known to wreak havoc in Fiji during December, January and February. This report of a hurricane that hit Fiji in January 1904, was one of the worst experienced then. Today, Fiji like most islands in the Pacific are in the path of huge cyclonic storms that have increased in recent years due to climate change. Recently Cyclone Winston made landfall in Fiji on February 2016 with wind gusts around 200mph. Ironically Fiji had just become, in the same month, the first country to sign the Paris climate change agreement that was adopted by world leaders the previous year.

HURRICANE AT FIJI. (Clutha Leader 26-1-1904)

National Library of New Zealand

Loyal Fiji

When Britain declared war on Germany in 1914, it called on all its colonies to support its war efforts. To do their bit, British settlers in Fiji promoted a huge carnival and hoped that tourists from New Zealand would attend and help gather funds to help the Empire’s war efforts. On December 1914, the British Army Council telegrammed an acceptance of 60 recruits from Fiji, provided they were of British descent. The first contingent left for Britain in January 1915. They fought in the battles of Flanders. It was only in 1917 that native Fijians were accepted to serve in the British Army.

LOYAL FIJI (Otago Daily Times 24-9-1915)

National Library of New Zealand

Frank Bainimarama

Frank Bainimarama staged a military coup in 2006 and took control of Fiji. In 2008 he announced that the promised elections for 2009 were being postponed because electoral reforms he wanted were not in place. In 2008 leaders of the Pacific Island Forum were to meet in Niue. Fiji’s political situation and their democratic elections were to be one of the key items on the agenda. Bainimarama and the interim Foreign Minister decided not to attend saying they had more important local political issues to deal with.

Frank Bainimarama. 24 August, 2008

Alexander Turnbull Library

Vegetable market in Suva

These Fijian women queue patiently, baskets in hand, waiting for the vegetable market to open its doors. Suva’s vegetable market, now Suva’s Municipal Market was established in 1950. It is Suva’s major food supplier of dry goods, seafood, fruits, vegetables and other agricultural products. On Fridays and Saturdays, it houses around 3500 vendors who come from far and near to sell their produce.

Vegetable market in Suva, Fiji

Alexander Turnbull Library

Samoa

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Cook Islands

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Kiribati

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Tokelau

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Tonga

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Niue

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Tuvalu

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Digital Pasifik

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