FIJILOCATION, SIZE, AND EXTENT
FLORA AND FAUNA
ENERGY AND POWER
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
BALANCE OF PAYMENTS
BANKING AND SECURITIES
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TOURISM, TRAVEL, AND RECREATION
Republic of Fiji
FLAG: The national flag of Fiji consists of the red, white, and blue Union Jack in the upper left corner of a light blue field, with the Fiji shield centered on the right side.
ANTHEM: God Bless Fiji.
MONETARY UNIT: The Fiji dollar (f$) of 100 cents is the national currency. There are coins of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, and 50 cents, and notes of 1, 2, 5, 10, and 20 Fiji dollars. f$1 = us$0.57700 (or us$1 = f$1.7331) as of 2004.
WEIGHTS AND MEASURES: The metric system is official, but some British weights and measures are still in use.
HOLIDAYS: New Year's Day, 1 January; Constitution Day, 24 July; Independence Day, 10 October; Christmas Day, 25 December; Boxing Day, 26 December. Movable religious holidays include Good Friday, Easter Monday, Dewali, and Milad anNabi.
TIME: 12 midnight = noon GMT.
Fiji, situated in the South Pacific about 4,450 km (2,765 mi) sw of Hawaii and 1,770 km (1,100 mi) n of New Zealand, comprises some 850 islands, of which only about 100 are inhabited. The island of Rotuma, added to Fiji in 1881, is geographically separate from the main archipelago and has an area of 44 sq km (17 sq mi). The total area (including Rotuma) is 18,270 sq km (7,054 sq mi). Comparatively, the area occupied by Fiji is slightly smaller than the state of New Jersey. Fiji (not including Rotuma) extends 595 km (370 mi) se–nw and 454 km (282 mi) ne–sw. The largest islands are Viti Levu, with an area of 10,386 sq km (4,010 sq mi), and Vanua Levu, with 5,535 sq km (2,137 sq mi). Fiji's total coastline is 1,129 km (702 mi).
Fiji's capital city, Suva, is located on the island of Viti Levu.
The larger Fiji islands are volcanic, with rugged peaks and flatland where rivers have built deltas. Coral reefs surround the islands. Viti Levu's highest point, Tomanivi, is 1,323 m (4,340 ft). About 28 other peaks are over 910 m (3,000 ft). The lowest point is at sea level (Pacific Ocean). The main river, the Rewa, is about 150 km (95 mi) long, but only navigable by small boats for 113 km (70 mi).
Temperatures at sea level range from 20–29°c (68–85°f); easterly trade winds blow during the greater part of the year. Annual rainfall is well distributed and averages 305 cm (120 in) in Suva. At sea level on the leeward sides of the islands there are well-defined wet and dry seasons, with a mean annual average of 178 cm (70 in) of rain.
The cyclone season, from November to April, brings storms that generally cause extensive property damage and loss of crops as well as numerous deaths.
The larger islands have forests on the windward side and grassland on the leeward slopes. Mangroves and coconut plantations fringe the coasts. Among indigenous fauna are bats, rats, snakes, frogs, lizards, and many species of birds. A red and white flowering plant called the tagimaucia is found only on the banks of the Tagimaucia River in the mountains of Taveuni island.
The main challenges to the environment in Fiji are deforestation, soil erosion, and pollution. Approximately 30% of Fiji's forests have been eliminated by commercial interests. The rainfall pattern, the location of agricultural areas, and inadequate agricultural methods contribute to the loss of valuable soils. Fiji is also concerned about rising sea levels attributed to global warming caused by the burning of fossil fuels in the industrial world.
The land and water supply are polluted by pesticides and chemicals used in the sugar and fish processing industries. The nation has about 6.9 cu mi of water with roughly 60% used for farming purposes and 20% used for industrial activity.
Fiji's natural environment is protected by the National Trust, which under the 1981–85 development plan began to establish national parks to conserve the island's unspoiled landscape, reefs, and waters, as well as indigenous flora and fauna. According to a 2006 report issued by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN), threatened species included 5 types of mammals, 13 species of birds, 6 types of reptiles, 1 species of amphibian, 8 species of fish, 2 types of mollusks, and 66 species of plants. Threatened species included the Fiji banded iguana and crested iguana, the Fiji petrel, the insular flyingfox, and the Samoan flyingfox. The barwinged rail has become extinct.
The population of Fiji in 2005 was estimated by the United Nations (UN) at 842,000, which placed it at number 154 in population among the 193 nations of the world, but ranked it second (after Papua New Guinea) among the Pacific Island nations. In 2005, approximately 4% of the population was over 65 years of age, with another 30% of the population under 15 years of age. There were 103 males for every 100 females in the country. According to the UN, the annual population rate of change for 2005–10 was expected to be 1.5%, a rate the government viewed as satisfactory. The projected population for the year 2025 was 939,000. The population density was 46 per sq km (119 per sq mi), with about 70% of the population living on the island of Viti Levu.
The UN estimated that 46% of the population lived in urban areas in 2005, and that urban areas were growing at an annual rate of 2.11%. The capital city, Suva, had a population of 210,000 in that year.
In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, about 50,000 Indian laborers arrived in the islands to work on sugar plantations. Recent immigrants have come from neighboring islands. There has been steady internal migration from rural to urban areas. There are no restrictions on emigration, and 40,000 have done so since 1987, following the coup. Most of these emigrants were professionals or IndoFijians. In 1996, it was estimated that Indians emigrated at a rate of between 4,000 and 5,000 a year. In 2002 Fiji received $53 million in remittances.
In 2005 the net emigration rate was estimated as -3.04 migrants per 1,000 population.
The indigenous Fijian population is predominantly Melanesian, with a Polynesian admixture. The population was estimated to be 54% indigenous Fijian and 40% Indian. European, other Pacific Islanders, and overseas Chinese are the minorities.
English is the official language, but Fijian and Hindi are also used in Parliament. Fijian dialects belong to the MalayoPolynesian language group; the Bau dialect is used throughout the archipelago except on Rotuma, where Rotuman is spoken. Hindustani (a local dialect of Hindi) is the lingua franca of the Indians of Fiji.
About 52% of Fijians are Christians, primarily Methodist (37%) and Roman Catholic (9%). About 33% of the people are Hindu and 7% are Muslim (Sunni). Religion tends to run along ethnic lines. Most of the indigenous Fijians are Christian while the Indians are Hindu or Muslim. Confucianism is practiced by a portion of the Chinese community.
The constitution provides for freedom of religion, and the government reportedly respects this right in practice. Though there is no state religion, the Methodist Church has been supported by a large number of the country's chiefs, leading to accusations that the government is leaning toward the establishment of a Christian state. Certain Christian, Muslim, and Hindu holidays are observed as national holidays.
During the late 1970s, Fiji completed a new highway between Suva and Nadi and constructed 885 km (550 mi) of rural roads. As of 2002, Fiji had 3,440 km (2,138 mi) of main roads, of which 1,692 km (1,051 mi) were paved. Registered vehicles numbered 128,350 in 2003, of which 76,000 were passenger cars and 52,350 commercial vehicles. A private rail system of about 597 km (371 mi) serves most of the sugarproducing areas. Major ports are Suva, Lautoka, and Levuka. In 2005, Fiji had seven merchant ships in service, of 1,000 GRT or over, with a capacity of 6,372 GRT. Inland waterways consist of 203 km (126 mi), of which 122 km (76 mi) are navigable by motorized craft and 200-ton barges. There were an estimated 28 airports in 2004, but only 3 had paved runways as of 2005. An international airport at Nadi serves regularly scheduled flights to neighboring Pacific islands, Australia, and New Zealand, via Air Pacific. Fiji Air provides domestic and charter service. In 2001 (the latest year for which data was available), 612,700 passengers were carried on scheduled domestic and international airline flights.
Voyagers from the east settled Fiji at least 2,500 years ago. Some of their descendants later moved on to settle the Polynesian islands to the west. The first known European contact came when the Dutch navigator Abel Tasman sighted the Fiji group in 1643. English Captain James Cook visited it in 1774, and Charles Wilkes headed a US expedition there for three months in 1840.
European sandalwood traders, army deserters, and shipwreck survivors also landed on the islands during the first half of the 19th century, a period in which the chiefs of Bau rose to a dominant position. Protestant missionaries from Tonga arrived in 1835, and French Catholic priests in 1844. After a few chiefs had been converted, more and more Fijians embraced Christianity, usually in the form of Wesleyan Methodism.
In the course of a civil war in the 1850s, Cakobau, the most powerful chief in Fiji, combined forces with the king of Tonga to become paramount chief of western Fiji. The growing presence of Europeans contributed to political and economic instability. In 1871, some 3,000 Europeans supported Cakobau's claim to rule as king of all Fiji, but unrest continued. Cakobau's government appealed to Britain for assistance and, on 10 October 1874, Fijian chiefs signed a Deed of Cession making Fiji a British Crown Colony.
From 1879 to 1916, more than 60,000 indentured laborers from India arrived to work on Europeanowned sugar plantations, and by 1920 they had settled as free farmers. European settlers were granted elective representation in the Legislative Council in 1904, and Indians were admitted in 1929. Ethnic Fijian representation was based on traditional hierarchies until 1963, when the council was reconstituted; the franchise was extended to women, and direct election of Fijian members was provided. In 1966, the council was enlarged and again reconstituted, and Fiji attained virtual internal self-government.
On 10 October 1970, Fiji became a sovereign and independent state within the Commonwealth of Nations, with Kamisese K. T. Mara, head of the Alliance Party, as prime minister. He and his majority party won elections in 1972, 1977, and 1982, but lost the April 1987 elections to a coalition of the Indian-based National Federation Party and the Labour Party. The new government was shortlived, however. Within a month, it was toppled by a military coup led by Lt. Col. Sitiveni Rabuka and aimed at restoring political leadership to ethnic Fijians. On 20 May thousands of rioting Fijians attacked Indians. Under a compromise reached the next day, the governor-general temporarily was to head the government, assisted by an 18-member advisory council, including the coup leader and former Prime Minister Mara. Elections were to be held within six months, and the council was to propose constitutional revisions that would safeguard the political dominance of indigenous Fijians.
On 25 September 1987, however, Rabuka led a second coup. He subsequently suspended the constitution, dissolved the parliament, and declared Fiji a republic. The governor-general, Ratu Sir Penaia Ganilau, was appointed president of the republic, and Mara was reappointed prime minister. Full civilian rule returned in January 1990 when Rabuka gave up his position as minister of home affairs and returned to barracks as head of the armed forces.
The second coup in 1987 and the adoption of the 1990 constitution, which favored ethnic Fijian control of the government, led to heavy Indian emigration, especially among those Indians with sufficient capital to move. This emigration caused serious economic difficulties for Fiji, but it also ensured that the native Fijian population became the majority. In May of 1992 the Soqosoqo ni Vakavulewa ni Taukei (SVT) or the Fijian Political Party, led by now Major-General Rabuka, won 30 of the 37 seats reserved for ethnic Fijians. Rabuka formed a coalition government with the General Voters Party (GVP) and with the informal support of the Fijian Labour Party (FLP), and became prime minister. After President Ganilau's death in December 1993, the Council of Chiefs elected Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara as the new president in January 1994. Rabuka's government fell in November 1993 when the legislature defeated the government's budget. New elections were held in February 1994. The SVT won 31 seats, and Rabuka was able to form a coalition government with the GVP. However, Rabuka's hold on power was tenuous as pressure mounted from within and outside the country for constitutional reform.
Beginning in 1995, a Constitutional Review Commission spent almost two years to develop a system that would avoid purely ethnic politics and, at the same time, take account of the concerns of the native Fijian community. Its recommendations were unanimously adopted by Parliament in July 1997. In 1999, parliamentary elections were held that resulted in a government led by Mahendra Chaudhry, leader of the Fiji Labour Party (FLP), who became the first Indian prime minister of Fiji.
On 19 May 2000, ethnic Fijian nationalist George Speight, a failed businessman and son of Sam Speight, an opposition member of Parliament, took Parliament by show of force and held Prime Minister Chaudhry and most of his multiracial cabinet hostage for 56 days. In exchange for the hostages' release, the military—which imposed martial law during the crisis—agreed to replace Chaudhry's government, grant an amnesty to the rebels taking part in the coup, and to abolish Fiji's multiracial constitution. One of Speight's demands was a new constitution that would permit only indigenous Fijians to hold the posts of prime minister and president. The coup resulted in widespread civil unrest and attacks against ethnic Indians, and caused a drop of 41% in tourism. Speight and 369 of his supporters were arrested in July 2000, and the military installed ethnic Fijian Laisenia Qarase as prime minister in a caretaker government. He was charged with organizing Fiji's next general election and drawing up a new constitution. Fiji's Great Council of Chiefs appointed Ratu Josefa Iloilo—a former father-in-law of Speight's brother—president.
Eighteen political parties fielded 351 candidates for office in parliamentary elections held in August and September 2001. Qarase was elected prime minister as the head of his newly created party, the nationalist Soqoso Duavata ni Lewenivuana Party (Fijian United Party or SDL), which took 32 out of 71 parliamentary seats. Qarase's campaign focused on indigenous Fijians' fears of political domination by ethnic Indians, who make up 44% of the population. Almost all ministers in Qarase's new government were indigenous Fijians. In February 2002, the Fijian Supreme Court ruled that Laisenia Qarase had to include ethnicIndian members of the Fiji Labour Party in his cabinet.
Speight won a seat in Parliament while facing treason charges in court, but was later denied parliamentary status. He was originally sentenced to death for treason in February 2002, but the sentence was commuted to life imprisonment.
As of January 2003, more than 14,000 ethnic Indians had left the country since the May 2000 coup, mainly professionals and skilled workers. In May 2005 Prime Minister Qarase sought to heal the wounds left by the coup with the release of the Promotion of Reconciliation, Tolerance, and Unity Bill 2005. This proposed legislation called for the creation of a Reconciliation and Unity Committee, which would undertake inquiries into human rights violations during the period from 19 May 2000 to 15 March 2001, and a National Council on Reconciliation, Tolerance, and Unity. The goals of this act were based upon restorative rather than retributive justice, and included granting both amnesty and reparations. The bill was met with controversy, particularly in regards to the offering of amnesty to those convicted of complicity in the 2000 coup. In October 2005 the bill was still under parliamentary review. Prime Minister Qarase pledged to modify the amnesty clause in response to the opposition it generated.
Before December 1987, the head of state was the British monarch, as represented by a governor-general. The cabinet, responsible to the parliament of Fiji, consisted of a prime minister and ministers appointed by the governor-general on the former's advice. The electoral process was distinctive in establishing communal, or ethnic rolls, in which only members of a specified group might vote, versus national rolls in which anyone could vote. The senate consisted of 22 members: eight nominated by the council of chiefs, a traditional body that had veto power over bills passed by the house involving native Fijians' customs or land rights; seven by the prime minister; six by the leader of the opposition; and one by the Rotuman Council.
The new post-coup constitution went into effect in July 1990. It established Fiji as a sovereign, democratic republic with a bicameral legislature. Fiji's president was to be appointed to a five-year term by the Great Council of Chiefs, which would also nominate 24 Fijians to the 34-member Senate. Nine seats were guaranteed to Indians and other races, and one to Rotuma. The senate would have veto power over legislation affecting Fijians. The 71-member House of Representatives was to be elected every five years by universal suffrage under the communal system. In addition to stipulating that the office of the prime minister must be held by an ethnic Fijian, the 1990 constitution also guaranteed a majority of seats to the Fijian community. This constitution prohibited crossrace voting; that is, Fijians could only vote for Fijians and Indians only for Indians. It provided for an independent judiciary.
The 1997 constitution specifies that the president, who is head of state, must always be a native Fijian. It also gives considerable recognition to the Great Council of Chiefs, which not only nominates and participates in electing the president, but also maintains its responsibility for matters relating to native Fijians. Parliament consists of two houses. The lower, where all legislation must originate, has 71 members. Of these, 46 are communal: 23 for Fijians, 19 for Indians, 3 for general electors, and 1 for Rotumans. The remaining 25 are "open" seats contested on a common roll basis without any reference to ethnicity, either for the voters or for the candidates.
The president appoints as prime minister the member of parliament who commands majority support in the lower house, or House of Representatives. The constitution also provides for mandatory power sharing in cabinet. Any party holding more than eight lower house seats is invited to join the cabinet in proportion to the number of seats it holds. The upper house or Senate consists of 32 appointed members: 14 nominated by the Great Council of Chiefs, 9 by the prime minister, 8 by the leader of the opposition, and 1 by the Council of Rotuma. Parliament serves for a maximum of four years after a general election, though the president on the advice of the prime minister can dissolve it.
In the May 1999 election, the first held under this constitution, the Fiji Labour Party won a stunning victory, gaining 37 seats and an absolute majority of the house of representatives. Rabuka's SVT took only eight seats, and the once powerful NFP won no seats at all. Mahendra Chaudhry, leader of the FLP, became the first Indian prime minister of Fiji. The 1999 election was the first test of the amended constitution and introduced open voting for the first time at the national level.
In the August 2001 election, Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase's nationalist Soqoso Duavata ni Lewenivuana Party (Fijian United Party or SDL) took 32 seats in the house of representatives and the FLP took 27. In March 2002, Qarase was ordered by the supreme court to allow for 8 seats in the senate from the opposition FLP, as stipulated by the constitution, 4 more than he had originally awarded it.
In October 2005 the public service commission developed a plan to improve productivity and better manage the budget by consolidating the 16 departments of the Civil Service into 7 departments: education, finance and economic development, foreign affairs, government administration, health, law and order, and natural resources.
Fiji's political parties were in a state of flux after the FLP's unexpected victory in 1999. FLP is a multiethnic party, though some see it as Indiandominated. After SVT's disappointing showing, Sitiveni Rabuka resigned as leader, and this Fijian-based party was headed by Ratu Inoke Kabuabola, leader of the opposition. As of 2005, it was headed by Felipe Bole. The Fijian Association Party, also focused on ethnic interests, was led by a woman, Adi Kuini Speed. It is not clear if the Indian-based National Federation Party will ever come back from its stunning defeat. After the August 2001 parliamentary elections, the NFP, for nearly 40 years the dominant Indian party, was entirely eliminated, as was the SVT. The FLP, led by Mahendra Chaudhry, has a support base of trade unions, workers and farmers, providing it with an efficient, grassroots campaigning structure. The Soqoso Duavata ni Lewenivuana Party (Fijian United Party or SDL) was created by caretaker Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase in an attempt to consolidate his support and unite the Fijian vote. The SDL has been accused of not broadening its appeal to Indian voters, and some have accused it of racism.
The next parliamentary election was due in 2006.
Local government is organized under provincial and urban councils. Fiji is divided into 4 administrative divisions, which are subdivided into 14 provinces, each with its own council. Some members are appointed, but each provincial council has an elected majority. The councils have powers to make bylaws and to draw up their own budgets, subject to central government approval. Within the provinces, districts and councils are organized around extended family networks, and have their own chiefs and councils. Cities Suva and Lautoka have city councils, Nadi a town council, and certain other urban areas are administered by township boards. A few members of urban councils are appointed, but most members are elected on a common roll of taxpayers and residents.
The 1990 constitution reorganized the judicial system, but it retains elements of the British system. The courts include the Magistrate Courts, a High Court, the Court of Appeals, and the Supreme Court. There are no special courts, and the military courts try only members of the armed forces.
The Magistrate Courts are courts of first instance that try most cases. The High Court hears more serious cases in first instance and hears appeals from decisions in the Magistrate Courts. The appellate courts, including the High Court, may engage in constitutional review. The High Court has jurisdiction to review violations of individual rights provided by the constitution.
The 1990 constitution makes the judiciary independent of the other branches of government. Due process rights are similar to those in English common law.
Dependents have the right to a public trial and to counsel. A public legal adviser assists indigent persons in family law cases. Detainees must be brought before a court within 24 to 48 hours. Incommunicado and arbitrary detention are illegal. The criminal law permits corporal punishment as a penalty for certain criminal acts, but this provision is seldom invoked.
Fiji's armed forces in 2005 numbered 3,500 active personnel, supported by some 6,000 reservists. The Army totaled 3,200 with 300 in the Navy. The Army's equipment consists of 16 artillery pieces, 1 support, and 1 utility helicopter. The Navy operates 9 patrol/coastal vessels and 2 logistics/support ships. Of Fiji's seven infantry battalions, one is deployed abroad in Egypt (MFO), while two observers were stationed in Sudan. There was also an infantry company in the Solomon Islands. Fiji's defense budget in 2005 totaled $32.9 million.
Since joining the UN on 13 October 1970, Fiji has been a leading spokesman for Pacific island states and has contributed contingents to UN peacekeeping forces in Lebanon (1978) and the Sinai (1982). The country has also supported UN efforts in Kosovo (est. 1999) and East Timor (est. 2002). In September 2002, Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase reaffirmed Fiji's continued willingness to participate in UN peacekeeping operations. Fiji belongs to ESCAP and all UN nonregional specialized agencies except IAEA. A member of the WTO, Fiji also is a member of the Asian Development Bank, the Colombo Plan, the ACP Group, G-77, the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS), Sparteca, and the Pacific Island Forum (formally called the South Pacific Forum). Its membership in the Commonwealth of Nations was said to have "lapsed," according to a meeting of Commonwealth heads of government held shortly after the September 1987 coup. However, Fiji rejoined the Commonwealth in 1997.
On 10 December 1982, Fiji became the first nation to ratify the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. Fiji's delegates had taken a prominent role in framing the document. Other efforts in environmental cooperation include participation in the Convention on Biological Diversity, CITES, International Tropical Timber Agreements, the Kyoto Protocol, the Montréal Protocol, the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, and the UN Conventions on Climate Change and Desertification.
Agriculture, mining and fishing have dominated the economy in the past, but manufacturing and tourism are becoming progressively more important in Fiji. The first five years after independence (1970–75) were years of high growth for Fiji, when growth averaged 5.9%, driven by primary commodities. In the next five years, growth continued but at a slower rate—about 3.5% per year. In 1980–86, Fiji suffered the effects of high inflation, especially in energy prices. It also endured three recessions. In 1986, growth rebounded, with GDP increasing 8.1%. This was immediately stopped by the 1987 coup. From 1987 to 1996 the economy grew at average annual rate of 2.5%; counting from independence to 1996, the average annual growth rate for GDP was 3.3%. In 1996, the economy grew 3%, but then, caught in the Asian financial crisis, it declined 3.9% in 1997 and grew at only 1.4% in 1998. Fiji saw a burst of recovery in 1999, as GDP shot up 9.7% (7.8% in real terms), only to be cut short, as happened in 1987, by a coup that sent the economy into recession, registering a 2.85% fall in GDP for 2000. Amid continued high political tensions the GDP increased in real terms only 1% in 2001, an improvement attributed mainly to some recovery in tourism.
The economy expanded by 3.8% in 2004, up from 3.0% in 2003, but down from 4.2% in 2002; in 2005, the GDP growth rate was estimated at 3.1%. The inflation rate was fairly stable, and at 3.3% in 2004 it did not pose a problem to the economy. Fiji is one of the most developed economies in the Pacific, but it continued to have a large subsistence sector, and more than a quarter of its population lives under the poverty line. Tourism and sugar processing are the major sources of foreign exchange, but while visitor numbers have recently increased, the sugar sector is threatened by a subsidy cut by the European Union—the main export market for this commodity.
The US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) reports that in 2005 Fiji's gross domestic product (GDP) was estimated at $5.4 billion. The CIA defines GDP as the value of all final goods and services produced within a nation in a given year and computed on the basis of purchasing power parity (PPP) rather than value as measured on the basis of the rate of exchange based on current dollars. The per capita GDP was estimated at $6,000. The annual growth rate of GDP was estimated at 2%. The average inflation rate in 2002 was 1.6%. It was estimated that agriculture accounted for 16.6% of GDP, industry 22.4%, and services 61%.
It was estimated that in 1991 about 25.5% of the population had incomes below the poverty line.
In 1999, the latest year for which data was available, the entire labor force in Fiji totaled 137,000 workers. Subsistence agriculture and farming accounted for an estimated 70% of the workforce in 2001. The unemployment rate was about 7.6% in 1999.
The law protects the right of workers to unionize with some restrictions. All unions must be registered, but they are not controlled by the government. Wages and conditions of employment are regulated by agreements between trade unions and employers. The only central labor organization is the Fiji Trade Union Congress (FTUC). Workers have the right to collective bargain and strike, although a union may not strike in connection with a union recognition dispute. About 36% of the paid workforce was unionized as of 2005.
The normal workweek ranges from 40 to 48 hours but there is no statutory regulated workweek for adult males. Adult females are prohibited from working in mines, but are free to work elsewhere. There is no national minimum wage and the enforcement of child labor regulations are ineffective. Minors under 12 years of age cannot be employed except in a family-owned business or agricultural enterprise. Children between 12 and 15 can be employed in nonindustrial work that does not involve machinery, and under the provision that every night, they return home to their parents or guardian. Minors between the ages of 15 and 17 cannot be employed in occupations where heavy machinery is used and they must also receive specified hours and rest breaks. Health and safety standards are not closely monitored.
In 2004, agriculture comprised about 31% of Fiji's export earnings. More than three-quarters of all households engage in agriculture, livestock production, forestry, or fishing. A total of 285,000 hectares (704,000 acres), or over 15.6% of Fiji's area, was used for crop production in 2003. Sugarcane production was 3,000,000 tons in 2004. In 2004, sugar exports accounted for about 15% ($103 million) of total exports and 48% of agricultural exports. Fijians retain legal ownership of the lands, but Indians farm it and produce about 90% of Fiji's sugar. In 1995, the average sugarcane farm was four hectares (9.9 acres), produced 183 tons of cane, and made f$9.810. Cane is processed into raw sugar and molasses by the Fiji Sugar Corporation, which is 68% owned by the government. The sugar industry is vital to the national economy; as such, the government plays a leading role in all aspects of its production and sale.
Production of coconuts in 2004 was 140,000 tons; paddy rice output was 15,000 tons. Corn, tobacco, cocoa, ginger, pineapples, bananas, watermelons, and other fruits and vegetables are also grown.
Beef production was some 8,400 tons in 2005; pork, 3,900 tons; and goat meat, 1,000 tons. A breed of sheep highly adapted to the tropics was introduced in 1980. Fiji's poultry production was 13,000 tons in 2005, and egg production was 2,700 tons that same year.
The fishing industry has expanded in recent years, and a new cannery has increased tuna exports. The fish catch in 2003 was 35,963 tons, 30% of which was tuna. Barracuda, snapper, grouper, mackerel, and mullet are other principal species caught. In the early 1980s, several new fish farms began to produce carp, prawns, oysters, eels, and mussels. In 2003, prepared and preserved fish exports were valued at $45 million.
Some 45% of the land area is forested, and 253,000 hectares (625,000 acres) are suitable for commercial use. Largescale planting of pines under the 1986–90 development plan involved reforestation of 50,000 hectares (120,000 acres). Output of logs in 2003 totaled 303,000 cu m (13,520,000 cu ft). Exports of sawn timber and other wood products were valued at $20.6 million in 2003. The first exports of pine logs started in 1980.
Fiji's mining sector in 2003 is centered on gold, produced solely at the Vatukoula Mine by Australian-based, Emperor Mines Ltd., which is also the secondlargest private employer, with more than 2,100 employees. Gold has been mined and exported continuously since 1933. The country was also richly endowed with deposits of copper, lead, and zinc. Gold production rose steadily in the mid1990s, reaching 4,671 kg in 1997. It has since remained relatively static, with the 2003 total at 3,250 kg, down from 3,731 kg in 2002. Silver was also produced in 2003. Silver mine production that year totaled an estimated 1,500 kg. Hydraulic cement production was estimated at 100,000 metric tons in 2003. In addition to resources at existing sites, 930 million tons of copper (in Viti Levu) and gold reserves have been reported, and prospecting continued for oil and phosphates, and at base metal sulfide deposits, disseminated porphyry copper deposits, epithermal preciousmetal deposits, residual bauxite deposits, and manganese and heavy-mineral sand deposits that have previously been identified and evaluated. None has been shown to have sufficient tonnage to be economically viable. Ownership of minerals was vested in the state, which granted mining and prospecting rights.
The Fiji Electricity Authority, set up in 1966, is responsible for the generation and distribution of electricity, which provides only about 10% of energy consumed. Sugar mills generate their own power, as do hotels and other establishments outside town limits. To lessen dependence on imported oil, the Monasavu hydroelectric project was completed in 1984, with a capacity of 80 MW. Total generating capacity in 2002 was 0.199 million kW, of which conventional thermal was 0.120 million kW and hydroelectric was 0.079 million kW. Electricity production in 2002 came to 0.750 billion kWh, of which 0.605 billion kWh and 0.145 billion kWh came from hydropower and conventional thermal sources, respectively. Consumption of electricity in 2002 was 0.698 million kWh. Exploration for oil and natural gas has taken place, but has been unsuccessful. In the 1990s, the government formed a stateowned petroleum company, Finapeco, to act as the exclusive petroleum importer to Fiji.
With no known reserves of oil, as of 2002, all refined petroleum products must be imported. In 2002 refined petroleum products came to 10,490 barrels per day, with consumption at 8,220 barrels per day Finapeco is also a supplier of petroleum to smaller countries in the region (Kiribati, Tonga, and Tuvalu). Refined oil product exports in 2002 totaled 2,260 barrels per day.
Fiji's industry is based primarily on processing of agricultural products, mainly sugarcane and coconut, and on mining and processing of gold and silver. Other major product groups are processed foods, and garments. In 2001 sugar production fell 14% to 293,000 cubic tons, well short of previous norms of close to 350,000 cubic tons. The government ascribes problems with sugar production to expiring land leases, poor mill performance, high incidence of cane burning, and cane transportation problems. Years of underinvestment in farms, sugar mills and power, water, and transportation infrastructure have resulted in declining quality as well as quantity. In February 2003 the Japanese rejected a shipment of Fiji sugar because of poor quality.
The gold industry suffered due to low world market prices (below $300 oz.) prevailing from late 1998 to mid-2002, but faces better prospects in the sharp rise to over $370 oz. in early 2003. Gold production is concentrated in the 66-yearold Vatukoula mine operated by Emperor Mines, which calculates that the mine will last another 10 or 15 year.
The garment industry in Fiji began in 1988 and in 2002 produced a record value of about $150 million. In 1996, there were at least 68 garment manufacturing factories operating in taxfree zones, earning $141 million. About a dozen factories were closed in 2001, with a loss of 5000 to 6000 jobs, but other operations were expanding. Garment industry exports, at $143 million for 2001, were down, however, due to disruptions in relations with customers from trade sanctions.
Overall, the value of merchandise trade declined about 9% in 2001, and is not expected to surpass the $557 million of 1997 or even the $532 million of 1999 until 2003. Tourism receipts were $228.9 million in 2001, an improvement on 2000, but still constrained by postcoup political uncertainties. Expensive power, lack of trained labor, and the limited local market have also inhibited industrial production. Overall, the value of manufacturing in Fiji, which had declined 6.2% in 2000, increased an estimated 11.5% in 2001, but is projected, by the IMF, to have increased only 1.5% in 2002, with nonsugar manufacturing down. 9% in value.
Most of the country's revenues come from the services sector, with industry taking the second spot, and sugar processing accounting for a third of all industrial activity. Agriculture is the smallest contributor to the GDP, but the largest employer in the country, with a considerate number of people being engaged in subsistence agriculture.
The University of the South Pacific at Suva, founded in 1968, has schools of agriculture and pure and applied science. Other institutions of higher education are the Fiji College of Agriculture at Nausori, and the Fiji Institute of Technology and the Fiji School of Medicine, both at Suva. The major learned societies are the Fiji Society, concerned with subjects of historic and scientific interest to Fiji and other Pacific islands, and the Fiji Medical Association, both in Suva.
Fiji has several large trading corporations and hundreds of small traders. The corporations own retail stores, interisland ships, plantations, hotels, travel services, copracrushing mills, and breweries. Small enterprises range from a single tailor or shopkeeper to larger family businesses, most of which are operated by Indians or Chinese.
Businesses are normally open from 8 am to 1 pm and from 2 to 4:30 pm on weekdays, and from 8 or 8:30 am to 1 pm on Saturdays. Retail outlets are generally open from Monday through Friday, with half a day on Saturday. Most nonessential services and retail establishments are closed on Sundays. Though most major businesses and retail enterprises accept credit cards and travelers' checks, a number of smaller, local businesses and shops operate on cash only.
Like most developing countries that export primarily basic commodities—which are subject to wide market price fluctuations—and import highvalued manufactured products, Fiji has traditionally run a merchandise trade deficit. The years of 1995 and 1996 saw unprecedented trade surpluses while the 1998 merchandise trade deficit was $263 million. In 2000, however, the country reversed again to a trade surplus, this time totaling $227 million.
Clothing production dominates Fiji's export commodities, with over a third of export revenues tied to the apparel trade (33%). Sugar and honey are in second place in export sales (24%). Other exports include fish (7.2%) and gold (7.0%). Most of Fiji's exports go to Australia, the United Kingdom, and New Zealand.
In 2004, exports reached $862 million (FOB—Free on Board), while imports grew to $1.2 billion (FOB). The bulk of exports went to the United States (24%), Australia (19%), the United Kingdom (12.6%), Samoa (6.5%), and Japan (4.1%). Imports machinery and transport equipment, manufactured goods, food, and mineral fuels, and mainly came from Australia (25.9%), Singapore (23.1%), and New Zealand (21.1%).
Fiji has traditionally had an annual trade deficit and an annual deficit on current accounts. Longterm capital inflows, both public and private, generally cover the deficits; however in 1991, the trade deficit was $37 million, down from $84 million in 1990.
|US Miscellaneous Pacific Islands||16.7||…||16.7|
|China, Hong Kong SAR||7.9||32.5||-24.6|
|(…) data not available or not significant.|
|Balance on goods||-115.6|
|Balance on services||135.3|
|Balance on income||-35.5|
|Direct investment abroad||-53.0|
|Direct investment in Fiji||-33.2|
|Portfolio investment assets||…|
|Portfolio investment liabilities||…|
|Other investment assets||-62.2|
|Other investment liabilities||44.4|
|Net Errors and Omissions||32.5|
|Reserves and Related Items||44.9|
|(…) data not available or not significant.|
By 1992, the current account balance registered a surplus (as in 1989), due to increased earnings from exported sugar cane and growing tourism. The next year, however, deficits returned, but by 1996, the government was again posting a surplus. In 1997, Fiji just about broke even, but the 1998 figure reported a current account deficit equal to 2.5% of the GDP. A banking collapse due to mismanagement and corruption in the National Bank of Fiji severely damaged the financial account that year.
In addition to sugar exports, strong garment exports and agricultural exports other than sugar were expected to improve the balance of payments situation in the early 2000s.
The US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) reported that in 2000 the purchasing power parity of Fiji's exports was $572 million while imports totaled $833 million resulting in a trade deficit of $261 million.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) reported that in 1999 Fiji had exports of goods totaling $538 million and imports totaling $653 million. The services credit totaled $525 million and debit $390 million.
Exports of goods and services reached $1.2 billion in 2003, while imports grew to $1.5 billion. The resource balance was consequently negative, reaching -$264 million. The current account balance was also negative, slightly improving from -$249 million in 2003, to -$152 million in 2004. Foreign exchange reserves (including gold) grew to $478 million in 2004.
The Reserve Bank of Fiji is the central bank, (formerly the Central Monetary Authority), created in 1983 to replace the currency board; the Fiji Development Bank is the main development finance agency. Commercial banking facilities consist of the National Bank of Fiji (NBF) and branches of several foreign banks. As of 2000, there were six commercial banks in Fiji. The NBF enjoys the status of a commercial bank, but it does little business. The troubled NBF is undergoing a process of restructuring following revelations of a high level of nonperforming loans. The government had to spend upwards of $105 million to keep the bank operating. Other banks include two Australian banks, one Indian bank, one Pakistani bank, and the Bank of Hawaii. The governmentowned Fiji Development Bank provides financing for development projects.
Growth in money supply has fluctuated widely in response to trends in foreign trade, affecting the level of reserves. The government tends to follow a cautious monetary policy, which has concentrated on maintaining price stability and on managing high levels of liquidity in the commercial banking system resulting from low levels of private investment. Total assets of financial institutions in 1997 reached $2.3 billion, an increase of only 0.7% from 1996. The government devalued the currency by 20% in January 1998 due to economic woes. The International Monetary Fund reports that in 2001, currency and demand deposits—an aggregate commonly known as M1—were equal to $272.7 million. In that same year, M2—an aggregate equal to M1 plus savings deposits, small time deposits, and money market mutual funds—was $644.4 million. The money market rate, the rate at which financial institutions lend to one another in the short term, was 0.79%. The discount rate, the interest rate at which the central bank lends to financial institutions in the short term, was 1.75%.
The Suva Stock Exchange operates in Suva, Fiji.
In 1986, there were 11 insurance companies, five of which were life insurance firms. Premiums were divided almost equally between life (49%) and nonlife (51%) insurance. Thirdparty motor liability coverage is compulsory. Some of the companies listed as doing business in Fiji in 1995 were Dominion Insurance, Fiji Reinsurance Corp., Guardian Royal Exchange Assurance, National Insurance Co., the New India Assurance Co., Panpacific Insurance Com., and Queensland Insurance.
From 1985–96, Fiji suffered a crisis in both private and public investment. Total investment—both public and private—stood at 21.3% of GDP in 1985 and had dropped to 15.8% in 1994. Investment in public enterprises rose for the same period, however, from 3.2% of GDP in 1985 to 6.5% in 1994. The fiscal position of the government also worsened after 1996 due to the collapse of the National Bank of Fiji. During that time, the public deficit increased to 6.5% of GDP, but fell to 2.4% of GDP in 1998.
The US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) estimated that in 2000 Fiji's central government took in revenues of approximately $427.9 million and had expenditures of $531.4 million. Revenues minus expenditures totaled approximately -$103.5 million. Total external debt was $188.1 million.
Local councils levy taxes to meet their own expenses. National taxes include a nonresident dividend withholding tax (15%), an interest withholding tax (10%), and a 15% tax on royalties. Dividends from a resident company paid to other resident companies are tax exempt. The standard corporate tax rate in 2005 was 31% on resident companies. Other taxes include a land sales tax, an excise tax, and a valueadded tax (VAT) of 12.5%. Gambling and financial services however, are exempt from the VAT.
About one-third of Fiji's revenues derive from customs duties. Tariffs range from 0–35% on most goods except motor vehicles, alcohol and tobacco, and chemical products, for which the tariffs imposed can be up to 60%, 60%, and 70%, respectively. Duties are levied on the cost, insurance, and freight (CIF) value of the goods.
There are several taxfree zones (TFZs) in Fiji, and 133 taxfree factories as of 1996. TFZs offer a 13-year tax holiday, duty exemptions on capital goods and raw materials, and free repatriation of profits.
The development of existing industries has been made possible largely by foreign investment. Fiji continued to promote overseas capital investment through the Fiji Trade and Investment Board because it requires foreign goods and services to meet many of its needs, including domestic employment. Tax and tariff concessions are offered to approved new industries, and special incentives apply to fuel-efficient or export-oriented enterprises. However, since the coup against the Chaudhry government in May 2000 political tensions have seriously hampered Fiji's prospects for attracting foreign investment in two major ways: through concerns over nativist restrictions and labor problems and through concerns that trade sanction could be imposed on the defiantly unconstitutional government. Most of current foreign investments are focused on resort hotel constructions and the tourism industry in general.
Under the development plan for 1986 to 1990, the government emphasized diversification of industries and expansion of tourism, and set the goal for real GDP growth at 5% annually. Four key areas that were supported for future economic growth were domestic and foreign development in the sugar sector; trade liberalization in major export markets; the resolution of industrial disputes; and the replacement of middlelevel skills lost to emigration caused by political turmoil. During the 1990s, Fiji attempted to diversify its economy away from the sugarcane industry by focusing on the garment manufacturing and exporting trade. Bad weather conditions and political turmoil conspire to hinder economic development in the future.
The tourism sector is booming, with major investments being made in resort hotels, and with growing numbers of visitors—532,000 in 2005, up from 507,000 in 2004; by 2008, tourist numbers were expected to soar to 658,000. The sugar processing industry however suffers from technical obsoleteness, and was under threat by EU subsidy cuts. Another source of hard currency are the remittances from Fijians working in Kuwait and Iraq.
Employed workers are eligible for retirement, disability, and survivor benefits, to which they contribute 8% of their wages, matched by their employers. Retirement is set at age 55, but is available at any age upon leaving the country permanently. Employers also pay for workmen's compensation, covering both temporary and permanent disability benefits. Benefits include medical and hospital care, surgery, medicine, appliances, and transportation.
The constitution provides women with equal rights and includes affirmative action provisions for the disadvantaged. Fijian women primarily fulfill traditional roles, although some do attain leadership roles in the public and private sectors. Women are generally paid less than men for comparable work. Domestic abuse, incest, and rape remained pervasive problems. Women's rights groups continued to press for more effective prosecution and punishment for violence against women. Foreign governments provide funding for crisis centers.
The government overtly promotes the rights of ethnic Fijians over that of other ethnic groups. Ethnic Fijians predominate in senior government positions and in the ownership of land. Although IndoFijians may be found in senior positions in the private sector, few are in government. IndoFijians are sometimes subject to discrimination. Human rights abuses are occasionally reported.
Fiji's health standards are relatively high. Medical facilities included three main hospitals and three specialized hospitals; a total of 27 hospitals had 1,743 beds. In 2004, there were 34 physicians, 196 nurses, and 4 dentists per 100,000 people. Cardiovascular disease and cancer have become the top two causes of death in hospitals during the last few years. The increasing mortality has been attributed to hypertension and diabetes mellitus. Diabetes, once relatively unknown in the Fijian community, increased tenfold among Fijian urban dwellers between 1967 and 1980. A cancer survey conducted in 1989 showed extremely high dietary intakes of fat and cholesterol.
The fertility rate was an estimated 2.8 in 2002. In 2005, the infant mortality rate was estimated at 12.62 per 1,000 live births and estimated average life expectancy was 69.53 years. The estimated overall death was 5.7 per 1,000 people and the birth rate was 23.2 per 1,000. Between 1991 and 1994, 96% of children were immunized against measles. Venereal diseases have increased in recent years and infantile diarrhea persists. The HIV/AIDS prevalence was 0.10 per 100 adults in 2003. As of 2004, there were approximately 600 people living with HIV/AIDS in the country. There were an estimated 200 deaths from AIDS in 2003.
According to government estimates, Fiji requires more than 4,200 new houses each year to maintain adequate housing standards. Natural disasters such as cyclones and tropical storms have caused problems in creating and maintaining adequate housing stock.
The Fiji Housing Authority provides accommodations for urban workers and extends credit for houses it builds and sells. At last estimate, housing stock exceeded 126,000 units, of which about 30% were made of corrugated iron or tin; 30% were concrete; more than 25% were wood. At the last government census (1996), there were about 144,239 households. About 59.9% of all households had piped water; 13.4% used well or river water. Only 62% of all households had electricity. About 43.6% had flush toilets. The average number of people per household was about 5.3.
There are government schools as well as private schools operated by individual groups or by missions under government supervision. Primary education lasts for eight years. This is followed by four years of junior secondary and two years of senior secondary school. Students may choose a final year of study known as seventh form, the completion of which is required for continuing in higher education. The academic year runs from February to November. The primary language of instruction is English.
Primary school enrollment in 2001 was estimated at about 99% of age-eligible students. The same year, secondary school enrollment was about 77% of age-eligible students; 73% for boys and 80% for girls. Most students complete their primary education. The student-to-teacher ratio for primary school was at about 28:1 in 2003; the ratio for secondary school was about 17:1.
The University of the South Pacific opened in Suva in 1968. Its students are drawn from several Pacific island states. In 2001, there were about 115,000 students enrolled in higher education programs. The adult literacy rate for 2004 was estimated at about 92.9%, with 94.5% for men and 91.4% for women.
As of 2003, public expenditure on education was estimated at 5.6% of GDP, or 19.4% of total government expenditures.
The Ministry of Education runs the Library Service of Fiji in Suva and provides public, special, and school services through 3 mobile libraries and 33 government libraries with a total collection of over 960,000 volumes. Suva maintains its own public library of 77,000 volumes, most of which is a children's collection. The library at the University of the South Pacific contains 750,000 volumes and serves as a depository library site for the United Nations. There are several libraries associated with theological institutions and colonial cultural centers. The Fiji Library Association was established in 1972. The Fiji Museum, established at Suva in 1906, has a collection of Fijian artifacts and documents Fijian oral traditions.
Suva and its surrounding area are served by an automatic telephone exchange that had 80,901 mainline telephones in 1999. Fiji is a link in the world Commonwealth cable system and has radiotelephone circuits to other Pacific territories. In 2003, there were about 102,000 mainline telephones in use nationwide, along with an additional 109,900 mobile phones.
The Fiji Broadcasting Commission offers programs in Fijian, English, and Hindustani over Radio Fiji on three channels. In 1998, there were 13 AM and 40 FM radio station. As of 2001, there is one television broadcast station, Fiji One TV, which is owned by private and government interests. In 1999, Fiji had 541,476 radios and 88,100 television sets nationwide. In 2003, 493 Internet hosts were serving 55,000 subscribers.
The two daily newspapers, both published at Suva, are the Englishlanguage Fiji Times (with an estimated circulation of 34,000 in 2002) and Fiji Daily Post (9,000). The Fijian Nai Lalakai and the Hindi Shanti Dut (1995 circulations, respectively, 9,600 and 10,750) are two of the most widely read periodicals.
Freedom of speech and press are said to be generally respected by the government and political figures, and other citizens can speak out against the government freely.
The main chamber of commerce is located in Suva. Two organizations representing the interests of employers and business owners are the Fiji Employers' Federation and the Fiji National Training Council. The Fiji Trades Union Congress serves as a larger advocate for worker's rights. At last estimate there were more than 1,200 registered cooperatives. The International Labour Organization has an office in Suva.
Unions and professional associations exist for several occupations, including manufacturing industries, sugar cane growers, teachers, and optometrists. The Fiji Medical Association promotes research and education on health issues and works to establish common policies and standards in healthcare. There are also several associations dedicated to research and education for specific fields of medicine and particular diseases and conditions. The Fiji Law Society promotes ethical standards and practices in the legal profession.
Youth organizations include the Fiji Youth and Student League, Junior Chamber, YMCA/YWCA, the Fiji Scout Association, and Fiji Girl Guides. There are several sports organizations promoting amateur competition in such pastimes as baseball, badminton, track and field, and tae kwon do. There is also a Fiji Islands Blind Sport Association. Oceania National Olympic Committees encourages regional participation in the Olympic Games. National women's organizations include The National Council of Women, Women's Action for Change, and the Fiji Women's Rights Movement.
The Fiji Council of Social Services serves as an umbrella organization to promote the work of social and community welfare and development groups. There is a national chapter of the Red Cross Society.
Popular tourist attractions are the beach resorts and traditional Fijian villages. Visitors must have a valid passport, proof of sufficient funds, and an onward/return ticket. A certificate of vaccinations against yellow fever is required if traveling from an infected area. Spectator sports include football (soccer), cricket, rugby, and basketball; Fiji has excellent golf facilities.
In 2000, there were 294,070 tourist arrivals, nearly 60% from East Asia and the Pacific region. In that same year, gross receipts from tourism amounted to us$537 million. There were 6,142 rooms in hotels and other establishments with 14,292 beds and an occupancy rate of 56%.
In 2005, the US Department of State estimated the cost of staying in Suva at us$208 per day. The cost of a stay in Nadi was estimated at us$258 per day in 2004.
The best-known Fijians are Ratu Sir Lala Sukuna (d.1958), the first speaker of the Legislative Council in 1954; Ratu Sir George Cakobau (1911–89), the first Fijian to be governor-general; and Ratu Sir Kamisese K. T. Mara (1920–2004), considered the "founding father" of modern Fiji, who served as prime minister from 1970–92 and as president from 1993–2000. Ratu Josefa Iloilovatu Uluivuda (b.1920) has been president since 2000.
Fiji has no territories or colonies.
Dun and Bradstreet's Export Guide to Fiji. Parsippany, NJ: Dun and Bradstreet, 1999.
Kaplan, Martha. Neither Cargo Nor Cult: Ritual Politics and the Colonial Imagination in Fiji. Durham: Duke University Press, 1995.
Kelly, John Dunham. A Politics of Virtue: Hinduism, Sexuality, and Countercolonial Discourse in Fiji. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1991.
Lawson, Stephanie. Tradition Versus Democracy in the South Pacific: Fiji, Tonga, and Western Samoa. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996.
Leibo, Steven A. East and Southeast Asia, 2005. 38th ed. Harpers Ferry, W.Va.: StrykerPost Publications, 2005.
Lilley, Ian (ed.). Archaeology of Oceania: Australia and the Pacific Islands. Malden, Mass.: Blackwell, 2006.
Premdas, Ralph R. Ethnic Conflict and Development: The Case of Fiji. Aldershot, England: Avebury, 1995.
Toren, Christina. Mind, Materiality, and History: Explorations in Fijian Ethnography. New York: Routledge, 1999.
"Fiji." Worldmark Encyclopedia of Nations. 2007. Encyclopedia.com. (July 26, 2016). http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-2586700197.html
"Fiji." Worldmark Encyclopedia of Nations. 2007. Retrieved July 26, 2016 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-2586700197.html
Republic of Fiji
Lautoka, Levuka, Nadi
This chapter was adapted from the Department of State Post Report 2001 for Fiji. Supplemental material has been added to increase coverage of minor cities, facts have been updated, and some material has been condensed. Readers are encouraged to visit the Department of State's web site at http://travel.state.gov/ for the most recent information available on travel to this country.
Fiji is a tropical archipelago with all the advantages and disadvantages associated with island geography. The country offers beautiful scenery, friendly people, interesting work and excellent opportunities for outdoor recreation. It also features a full complement of tropical conditions, including heat, humidity, rain, mildew, tropical diseases (but not malaria), significant political issues and a shortage of urban amenities to which Americans are accustomed.
Fiji is the crossroads of the Pacific, a center for transportation, trade and regional organizations. The Embassy has responsibilities in three other independent countries-Tonga, Tuvalu and Nauru-and three French overseas territories. Officers with regional responsibilities can expect substantial official travel.
Racial tensions between the indigenous Fijian and Indo-Fijian communities exist and have been exacerbated by two military coups in 1987 and an attempt& coup and unconstitutional change of government in 2000. Although these problems have led to isolated incidents of violence, Suva, for the most part, and the rest of the country continue to retain a friendly atmosphere. A good standard of public courtesy prevails in spite of the communal differences. Those willing to make the effort will be able to make friends in all of Fiji's assorted racial communities.
For the person who appreciates its attractions, Suva can be a pheasant assignment. Adherents of scuba diving, snorkeling, boating, golf and tennis will find their leisure hours well occupied when it isn't raining. Suva's shops are well stocked, so shortages of basic goods are seldom a problem. But Suva is not Sydney; nor is it a holiday destination as you might imagine. It is small and urban, and functions primarily as a commercial and government center. Visitors whose preferences run to theater, television, shopping, concerts or other forms of city-life entertainment may find Suva somewhat dull.
The capital, Suva, is the chief port and only sizable city in Fiji (population approximately 166,000, metropolitan area approx. 300,000). It boasts a natural harbor and lies on a peninsula on the southeastern coast of the main island of Viti Levu ("Great Fiji"). Suva's business center is adjacent to the wharf and harbor frontage; a light industrial park is on the north along the shore; and a complex of government buildings and government housing extends south. On the surrounding low hills are scattered residential areas, including the better sections of Tamavua, Domain and Muanikau. Another popular residential area, Lami, lies along the coast to the west. Across the harbor from the city rises an amphitheater of rugged mountains. Suva's airport is 26 kilometers (15.6 miles) to the east on the Rewa River, just past the small, outlying town of Nausori.
Newer residential housing consists of concrete, ranch-style or two-story houses with surrounding gardens.
Some older houses have verandas, often identified with tropical colonial outposts. Most houses have corrugated tin roofs.
Throughout the city, lush tropical growth is supplemented by municipal and private plantings of hibiscus, poinsettias, orchids, gardenias and varieties of tropical trees such as bananas, papayas, coconuts, palms, mangoes and breadfruit. Islands in Suva Harbor provide small swimming beaches, but the nearest sand beach frontage is 56 kilometers (35 miles) away at Pacific Harbour.
The city's shops are generally small and owned mostly by Indo-Fijians. Most greengrocers are Chinese. The Suva Central Market is the largest public market in the South Pacific and offers a large quantity and variety of fruits and vegetables in season. Suva has a number of large department-type stores and associated supermarkets, including the American company, Cost-U-Less, a warehouse-type store that opened in Nadi and Suva in 1998. A small number of business people, a few missionaries, some teachers and a few Americans married to Fijians comprise the small American community. The Europeans of Suva are divided among a small group of old families dating from Fiji's earliest colonial days and a more transient population of expatriates (Australians, British, and New Zealanders) in the civil service, business, and education.
Water quality is generally good but may decline with excessive rain, breaks in the water main or disruption in treatment schedules. Electricity is relatively reliable, though current can fluctuate, and outages do occur. Current is 220v-240v 50Hz, AC. Electrical outlets are three-pronged, and adapters are available locally. Transformers are available locally but are expensive. Bring small appliances that will run on 50 Hz current.
Frozen, fresh, and canned foods from Australia and New Zealand are available in a reasonable variety and regular supply. The American store Cost-U-Less provides a limited selection of American products. Food supplies are not as varied or of the quality found in the U.S. The cost of living, including food prices, is higher than in Washington, D.C.
Seasonal tropical fresh vegetables and fruits are plentiful and excellent.
Temperate-zone fruits such as apples, pears and oranges, and vegetables such as broccoli, celery, beets and leeks are imported and usually available, though expensive.
Baby food is available, but of poor quality. Bring a blender or food grinder to provide for your baby's needs. Australian, but not U.S., formulas are available. Sterilized and pasteurized milk is available, as is powdered milk. Butter and cream are also available. Locally produced sour cream, cottage cheese, and yogurt are available. Eggs are plentiful. American coffee is readily available, either ground or instant, but expensive. Australian coffee in instant form is readily available and is comparable in price to U.S. coffee.
Most beef and all pork sold in Fiji are locally produced and are acceptable. Imported beef, lamb and veal are also available, but are expensive. Fresh fish, sweet-water crabs, clams and smoked fish are sold in the central market and specialized stores. Local frozen poultry is available and reasonably priced. Frozen turkeys and fresh and frozen local fish are available.
Many people buy the locally produced beer, which is excellent. Locally bottled (under franchise arrangements) soft drinks and mixers are good. Australian-and U.S.-produced diet beverages are available in limited quantity and are expensive.
The traditional Fijian diet, different from what most Americans are used to, consists mainly of starchy root crops, green leafy vegetables, seafood and coconut products. Fresh ingredients for Chinese and Indian dishes are available.
Clothing in Fiji is more expensive and generally of poorer quality than clothing bought in the U.S. Plan to bring most of what you will need. Dress is casual. At work women wear lightweight dresses or blouses and skirts. Men wear long trousers and short or long-sleeved shirts.
Women dress smartly, but casually, and seldom wear pants. At more formal functions, men wear a shirt and tie while women wear simple evening or cocktail dresses. Hats are rarely worn and are never required, since neither Fijian nor Indian women wear hats as part of their dress. (Traditionally, Fijians regard the head as sacred and refrain from touching the head of another person or putting anything on their own.)
Dressmakers are inexpensive by U.S. standards and have a good selection of fabrics, but the quality of the work is variable.
The climate necessitates' frequent changes of clothing. Therefore, the most suitable type of clothing for both men and women is that which is cool, e.g., cotton, and easily washable. Drycleaning facilities and adequate laundry facilities are available, but quality varies. Cardigan sweaters are useful in the evening during cooler months, or when attending air-conditioned movie theaters and restaurants.
Infants' clothing is available, but is of limited variety. A dressmaker can sew satisfactory children's clothing, which can be supplemented by clothes ordered from the US. School-children wear uniforms made locally.
Bring an adequate supply of shoes for your tour. Shoes available locally are of poor quality and often do not fit well.
This is especially true of sport shoes. In deciding on quantity, bear in mind that with frequent rainy days, shoes will wear out more rapidly than they would in a drier climate. Fair-quality children's sandals are available locally; the International School uniform specifies black sandals.
Also bring non-tropical clothing for travel to New Zealand, Australia or back to the U.S.
Supplies and Services
The larger local stores stock adequate supplies and varieties of toiletries and cosmetics, but prices are higher than in the US. and American products are usually not available. Bring a supply of your favorite toothpaste, shampoo and cosmetics, as they may not be available locally.
Most household items are sold locally at much higher prices than in the U.S. Dishes, glassware, cook-ware, and plastic and paper products are expensive and of poor quality by U.S. standards. If you have children, bring a supply of toys, including some gifts, since those available locally are expensive and of limited supply and variety. Many people use mail-order catalogs to purchase such items. Gift wrap paper and cards are also in short supply and very expensive.
Baby bottles, disposable diapers and other infant supplies are stocked, but cost much more than American equivalents. American-made bottles and nipples are not sold in Fiji.
A large range of Japanese and some European electronic and photographic equipment is available locally. American TVs and VCRs, which are formatted in the NTSC system, will not receive local TV broadcasts or play local videotapes, which are formatted in the PAL system. Some people overcome this problem by purchasing multi-system TVs and VCRs, but they are expensive. Video cassettes (in the PAL system) can be rented at local shops. However, such tapes are often of very poor quality, which may damage or reduce the life span of your VCR. Generally, VHS tapes are more widely used than Beta. Many 240v household appliances, ranging from mixers and food processors to washing machines and microwave ovens, are available in Suva but are more expensive than those available in the U.S.
In addition to garbage collection, the Suva City Council provides grass-mowing services, garden debris removal and drain cleaning services along the roads. Dry-cleaning and shoe repair services are available. Routine electrical, plumbing and mechanical repairs are adequate. With auto repairs, some patience is required. Barbers and beauticians are inexpensive and adequate.
Well-trained domestics are hard to find. Cooks are difficult to find, but most servants can prepare breakfast and lunch if they are sufficiently trained. Most live-in maids prefer to cook their own meals and will often ask to install a small stove in their quarters.
Most servants are paid about F$60-$90 per week (current rate of exchange is about F$2.10 = US$1.00), plus quarters. They work a 5, 5-1/2, or 6-day week, with 2-4 hours off in the middle of the day. Domestics need at least some training to ensure that they understand what you want them to do. Most local maids are happy to take care of children, but training is required in this area as well.
English-language services are held in many Suva churches, including Anglican (Episcopal), Wesleyan, Seventh Day Adventist, Presbyterian, Methodist, Latter-Day Saints, Pentecostal, Roman Catholic and the Assembly of God. Most churches have charitable organizations affiliated with them. Hinduism, Islam, and other world religions are also represented in Fiji. Suva has a small Jewish community. However, no synagogue exists.
Suva has several preschools or kindergartens that take children from age 3 for 3 to 5 days a week, 4-6 hours per day. Fees are reasonable and the preschool training appears to be adequate.
Most Americans attend the International School of Suva (ISS), which encompasses both elementary and secondary levels. Preschool classes opened in 1996-97. The school offers the International Baccalaureate Program. ISS is accredited by ECIS, the European Council of International Schools. It is not accredited by any American association.
Other Suva schools that might be considered minimally adequate at the elementary level include Yatsen School (run by the Chinese community), the Catholic Stella Maris and Marist Brothers Schools, the government-operated Suva Grammar School (grade 4 through high school), and the Holy Trinity Anglican Primary School.
Schools in Fiji other than the ISS are very crowded. All schools maintain strict teacher-pupil ratios and cannot guarantee placement.
Schools in Fiji, like those in many other southern hemisphere countries, begin their school year at the end of January and end in November. ISS divides terms into quarters. For others, the school year is divided into three terms. Summer vacation occurs from the end of November through the end of January.
Special Educational Opportunities
The University of the South Pacific (USP) began offering undergraduate degree courses in 1969. In the mid-1970s, it established master's and doctoral programs. These programs are available to the 11 member countries and have recently become available to overseas graduate students, including Fulbright grantees from the U.S. From an academic point of view, families with college-age children would be wise to have them study outside Fiji, since USP's methods and standards of instructions differ significantly from those of U.S. colleges and USP degrees are not easily recognized in the U.S.
The University's Extension Service offers a variety of academic, cultural and practical courses for those working full time, as well as students who cannot enroll for residential or part-time studies. Adults may participate in day or evening classes in Pacific cultures and languages. The USP Extension Service, with French and Japanese Government sponsorship, offers language-training programs. The Fiji Institute of Technology (FIT) offers some evening courses.
The people of Fiji are keen sportsmen and women, and there are many sporting activities available. However, sporting goods, clothes and shoes are expensive and sometimes unavailable. Bring them with you or plan to purchase them from the States through mail-order catalogs.
Boating and water sports enthusiast will find Suva's waters and boating facilities quite good, weather permitting. The lack of beaches in the Suva area makes ownership of a small boat attractive. Small sailboats and motorboats made locally are available at prices higher than those in the U.S. The local purchase of an imported boat is expensive because of high customs duties. Motors, fishing tackle, and snorkeling, scuba, and water skiing equipment are available in limited range and at high prices. Motorboats and snorkeling gear can be rented. Deep-sea fishing is available, but expensive. Fresh water fishing is possible along the interior rivers, but you will need a guide.
Scuba diving is popular in Fiji with two active dive clubs organizing day and weekend trips. Commercial dive operators offer trips near Suva, at several island resorts and on live-aboard and charter dive vessels. U.S.-recognized instruction is offered in Suva and at some resorts. Fiji's coral reefs are among the world's most beautiful. Dive sites range from shallow coral gardens suitable for beginners to challenging open water diving that will satisfy the most experienced hard-core fanatic. The omnipresent sharks are well-fed and generally non-aggressive; most divers quickly get used to their presence. A limited selection of equipment is stocked locally, but prices are higher than U.S. levels. It is best to bring all equipment, including at least two tanks per diver. Underwater photographers should bring all their own gear. Diving safety standards in Fiji are reasonable, but the generally low standard of medical care and transport renders any accident more serious than in the U.S. or the Caribbean. There is only one decompression chamber in the country, located in the city of Suva.
Golf is a popular sport in both the expatriate and local communities. Suva has an 18-hole golf course at the Fiji Golf Club, which is only 10 minutes from the Embassy. The course condition is poor, especially due to frequent rain, but playable and very convenient. Membership is relatively inexpensive; as of September 2000 it was US $150 per year. A Robert Trent-Jones designed championship course (that is also frequently wet) is available at Pacific Harbour, about 30 miles west of Suva. Annual fees there are US $140 per couple and US $93 per individual member. The best course in Fiji of international standard is located at the Sheraton Denarau Resort near Nadi, about 3 hours by car from Suva. Membership there is more expensive, at about US $925 per year, which allows a maximum of 60 games annually. Carts are not available at the Suva course. Golf equipment is sold locally, but selection is limited and expensive so bring your own. Membership is not required to play at any of Fiji's courses. Green fees are reasonable by American standards, as are caddie fees.
Other popular sports are squash, tennis and lawn bowling. Tennis is very accessible and popular. Both lawn and synthetic courts are available. Local selection of tennis and squash equipment is limited, so bring your own. Two health/exercise clubs are available: Polaris and the Rabuka Gym. Suva has an Olympic sized pool, though water quality can be a problem. An organized swimming club for children meets at the pool and swimming lessons for both children and adults are offered periodically.
Spectator sports include soccer, cricket, rugby, volleyball and basketball.
No hunting is done in Fiji.
Touring and Outdoor Activities
Suva's small Fiji Museum, located in Thurston Gardens (the local botanical garden) has good Fiji and South Pacific ethnographic collections. Orchid Island, west of Suva, and the Fiji Cultural Center at Pacific Harbour also offer interesting glimpses of traditional Fijian village life, handicraft making and traditional ceremonies. Fijians make decorative woodbark cloth with geometric designs called "Masi" (Tapa). They also are accomplished at wood carving and mat weaving.
Fiji has a very well developed tourism sector. Information on services and facilities is readily available. Cruises to the outer island of the Fiji group can be arranged at reasonable cost on small inter-island vessels that service the country. These trips can take from several days to one or several weeks, with stops at many small copra loading points. Long weekend or holiday trips to the beaches and hotels on the southwest coast of Viti Levu can provide a pleasant break from Suva's more urban atmosphere. Hiking is possible along a nature trail, with waterfalls at Colo-i-Suva just 7 kilometers from the city, though crime has been a problem at times. "Blue Lagoon" cruises to the Yasawa Islands northwest of Viti Levu, a stay at the off island resorts in the Yasawas, or a weekend at Toberua Island near Suva can give comfortable exposure to the traditional idyllic South Pacific island image. Rivers Fiji offers river rafting and kayaking as well as sea kayaking. There are a number of ecotourism opportunities.
For many, the great drawback to living in Suva, aside from the frequent rain and the isolation of island life, is the relative lack of cultural, social, intellectual or simply diverting activities for a person who is not sports-minded. The Fiji Arts Council sponsors performances by touring artists, usually under the auspices of other governments, but they are very infrequent. The drama group of the Fiji Arts Club puts on several productions each year utilizing local dramatic talent. Other sections of the club offer arts and crafts, photography, music and dance. The fine arts group organizes shows of members' work.
The American Women's Association holds monthly luncheons for its members, frequent social events for couples and holiday parties for children. In addition the International Women's Association has a monthly morning tea with a speaker; the Corona Society does many good works; and the Rucksack Club sponsors several trips each month to explore Fiji's interior, coastline and islands.
One six-screen, very modern multiplex cinema theater and three other movie theaters in Suva show European, American, and Hindi films. Movies often reach Suva within a couple of weeks of release in the U.S., especially if they are action flicks. Movie prices are low (about US $2.25).
Dining in Suva is improving, but is limited by its population. There are several good Chinese restaurants, an excellent Indian restaurant and a very good Japanese restaurant. There are also several restaurants offering good Continental cuisine. Several establishments offer good seafood and a number of small pizza restaurants and snack bars exist. The pizza is very mediocre. Those who travel to Tahiti or New Caledonia can enjoy good French cuisine.
Rock and reggae music are popular in Suva, with a number of good local bands. Two of the town's several discos are upscale enough to be widely patronized by government officials and expatriates. Hotels occasionally hold "island night" dances with live bands. Urban Fijians have carried their traditional love of music and dancing into the city with them, making the nightclub scene surprisingly lively.
Fijian rituals are often colorful. The best known is the fire-walking ceremony of the islanders of Beqa (pronounced Bengga). The "Meke" (traditional dancing and singing) is performed occasionally at Suva hotels and regularly at the larger coastal resorts. Indians also perform ritual fire walking, but this is more religious in nature.
Photography is a popular hobby in Suva and several well-stocked photography stores exist. Film is expensive to purchase and develop here. Black-and-white film and color prints can be processed in Suva at costs much higher than the US. Bird-watching is also a popular hobby in Fiji because of the many varieties of birds that flourish in the islands.
The larger towns in Fiji celebrate various festivals. Suva hosts the week-long Hibiscus Festival in August, which includes parades and native dances. Similar events on a smaller scale are held in Lautoka, Nadi, and Sigatoka.
Using a camera at Fijian events is permitted but requires some care. Fijians can become upset if amateur photographers disrupt the dignity of their traditional ceremonies. Standing up, even in front of your seat, is particularly frowned upon. You may take as many pictures as you wish from a seated position.
Since the American community is small, few social activities are planned exclusively for Americans. The American Women's Association sponsors some activities and a fair amount of non-representational entertaining is done by individuals.
Clubs play an important part in the social life of many local residents. A few clubs are for men only, with an occasional day when women are permitted. Others are essentially private drinking clubs. Except for a few hotel cocktail lounges and some squalid public bars, the bars of the various clubs are the center of much of the local social life, especially for men. Most of the sporting clubs (open to women) have a yearly formal or semi-formal dance and occasional "island night" dances. Hobby-oriented clubs, such as the shell collectors club, hiking clubs, diving clubs, etc., offer opportunities for social contacts.
The Fiji Women's Club offers a wide selection of social and volunteer activities and international contacts for women.
LAUTOKA , the second largest city in Fiji with a population of about 36,000 (1996 est.), lies on the dry, west coast of Viti Levu. It is a major center of the country's sugar industry. The Colonial Sugar Refining Company has a huge mill here that ships raw sugar to New Zealand. Residents are Indian shopkeepers, workers, and artisans. Lautoka is a base for interisland cruises. A number of water sports-oriented beach resorts are located nearby. Local administration is conducted by a town board.
LEVUKA is located on Ovalau Island just east of Suva. It is a seaport and an historic town that was once the capital of Fiji. The population is approximately 1,400.
NADI (also spelled Nandi) is a village on the west coast of Fiji's main island, Viti Levu. It lies at the mouth of Nandi River and has an international airport. Nadi is a duty-free port. About 9,000 people live in Nadi (1996 est.).
Geography and Climate
Tourist literature on Fiji refers to "300 islands in the sun." Of the 320 islands and islets that make up the Fiji group, only about 150 are permanently inhabited. The total land area of the country, 18,272 square kilometers (7,055 square miles), is about the size of the State of Hawaii. The largest island, Viti Levu, 10,386 square kilometers (4,101 square miles), is about the size of the Big Island of Hawaii. Viti Levu has a mountainous interior penetrated by few roads. Most agricultural land and all towns are near the sea or along the river valleys. The highest point, Mt. Victoria, rises 1,323 meters (4,341 feet). Twenty-eight other peaks exceed 914 meters (3,000 feet). Vegetation on the windward side of the islands is luxuriously tropical, while grasslands prevail on the leeward sides.
The climate is warm and humid. Suva, on the eastern "wet" side of Viti Levu, averages 120 inches of rain annually. The western and northern sides of the island are drier and sunnier. Temperatures in Suva range from the high 60s in the winter, to the mid 90s in the summer.
Most of Fiji's sugarcane, the nation's primary crop, is grown on the western side. Nadi (pronounced Nandi), site of the international airport, lies on the western side, benefiting from the better weather and visibility. Many of Fiji's tourist resorts, some ranking among the best in the world, are in the West.
The wet summer season lasts from December through March. The cooler, drier winter season falls between May and October. Although temperature changes are noticeable, the average number of days of rainfall in Suva varies little from month to month. Humidity during summer is usually high, often reaching 90% and above. Fiji is in the hurricane zone. The last hurricane to hit Suva directly was Cyclone Kina, in January 1991. In March 1997, Cyclone Gavin swept through northern Vanua Levu and the northwestern part of Viti Levu, devastating several outer island-groups. Southeast trade winds blow steadily from March to October, with variable winds during the Southern Hemisphere summer. Mildew and corrosion present constant problems. The use of air conditioning, dehumidifiers and "hot closets" reduce the danger of mildew damage to clothes, video tapes and other possessions.
Non-malarial mosquitoes are numerous, particularly in the summer. An epidemic of mosquito-borne dengue fever, which reoccurs every few years, occurred in early 1998. Poisonous insects, snakes and sea life are not common, though scratches and cuts, particularly those suffered while swimming or diving, need to be treated promptly as they can easily become infected.
Fiji lies near a major fault line and has suffered major earthquakes. Although the last severe quake was in 1953, small tremors are occasionally felt. In November 1998, quakes registering as high as 4.3 occurred on the island of Kadavu, southeast of Viti Levu.
Fiji's population was estimated at 776,000 at the end of 1997. According to official figures, ethnic Fijians now outnumber Indo-Fijians. The Fijians are descended from Melanesian voyagers who arrived in the islands hundreds or thousands of years ago. Most of the Indo Fijian population is descended from indentured laborers who arrived in the late 19th century to work on sugar cane plantations and stayed on when their indentures expired.
Emigration among the Indian population, already an established trend, accelerated after the 1987 military coups. Many emigrants were professionals and managers, resulting in serious consequences for human resources and the economy. As many as half of Fiji's doctors and lawyers emigrated in the 18 months following the first coup. According to the last census, official population estimates for December 31, 1997 are as follows: Fijian 51%, Indian 42.5%, Others 6.5%.
The "others" category includes part Europeans (the local term for persons of mixed Fijian and European ancestry), Rotumans (Rotuma is an outlying island whose population is Polynesian), other Pacific islanders, Chinese and Europeans (whites).
Fiji straddles an ethnic line between Melanesia to the west and Polynesia to the east. As a result, Polynesian influence is prevalent in Lau, the eastern islands of the Fiji group. Fiji's diversity is also reflected in its many religions. The indigenous Fijian population is mainly Methodist, with strong minorities of other Protestant groups and Roman Catholics. Fijians, like most Pacific islanders, are devoted to their religion and maintain a strict Sabbath. Many Chinese are Roman Catholic. The majority of Indo-Fijians are Hindu; the remainder are Muslims, Sikhs, or Christians.
English, Fijian and Hindi are the three languages of the islands, with English being the official language of the government and the media. The older Chinese speak Cantonese as well as English. Despite the use of English in the country's schools, it is estimated that outside of the major urban areas, only 20% of Fiji's population can speak English fluently.
Fiji's several ethnic communities have maintained their unique cultural patterns, giving the country an attractive, multi-cultural atmosphere. Although various ethnic groups support separate churches, many schools are integrated.
A decade after two military coups in 1987, Fiji made significant progress toward the restoration of democracy with the approval of an amended Constitution in 1997, which encouraged multi-ethnic government while protecting traditional indigenous Fijian cultural and land interests. Under the amended Constitution, which included a strengthened bill of rights, the Prime Minister and the President could be of any race. For the first time, in addition to communally allocated seats, open seats were created that were not allocated to any racial community in the Lower House.
Democratic elections were held in May 1999, the first under Fiji's revised, more democratic Constitution, resulting in a change in government. The Labor Party-led coalition headed by Mahenda Chaudhry, was elected with a large parliamentary majority. Chaudhry was Fiji's first Indo-Fijian Prime Minister.
However, in May 2000, an armed group of militant ethnic Fijian nationalists, joined by a few military officers, seized the Prime Minister and his Cabinet in the Parliamentary complex and held them hostage for 56 days. Following continued political turmoil, the army usurped governmental authority, forced the resignation of President Ratu Mara, abrogated the 1997 constitution and installed an Interim Prime Minister and Cabinet. A commission to formulate a new constitution has been established by the Great Council of Chiefs and elections are promised by August, 2001. Fiji is likely to remain an undemocratic state for at least two or three years.
Fiji has a wide variety of nongovernmental, fraternal, and charitable organizations such as Rotary, Lions, Jaycees, YMCA/YWCA, Red Cross, Girmit Council, Muslim League and women's groups. Some such organizations are communally based; others are multiracial.
Arts, Science and Education
As a small, primarily agricultural country, far removed from any metropolitan center, Fiji has limited self-generating cultural activities or major scholarly centers. The Fiji Arts Council, with government support, sponsors a number of local arts and crafts clubs. The Fiji Arts Club presents five or six quality productions each year. Dancing, singing and various Fijian and Indian religious and secular celebrations and ceremonies are a colorful and authentic continuation of a long tradition.
The University of the South Pacific (USP), established in 1967 in Suva, contributes to the intellectual life of the regional community. Founded as a regional university for the English-speaking areas of the South Pacific, USP concentrates on educating professionals and teachers. Institutes of Marine Science, Natural Resources, and Research; Education and Extension in Agriculture; Social Sciences Administration; and Pacific Studies are expanding USP's scope of research and teaching. USP's School of Agriculture is located in Samoa, and the School of Law is in Vanuatu.
The small, but excellent, Fiji Museum has a good collection of traditional Fijian artifacts, as well as displays from throughout the Pacific. Art and other exhibitions by local or visiting artists provide some cultural diversions.
Commerce and Industry
Fiji is primarily an agricultural country, dependent on sugar and, to a lesser degree, other agricultural commodities for export income. In recent years, tourism has been the fastest growing foreign-exchange earner in Fiji and may well become the most important industry in future years. Gold is mined in the interior of Viti Levu. although production varies with market price. Timber, particularly Caribbean pine, is an important export due to a major forestation project begun by the government in 1972. Major stands of mahogany, planted 30 or more years ago, are maturing and ready for harvest. Some light industry, including marine repair facilities, a brewery, flour mills, several rice mills, a cooperative dairy plant capable of producing both fresh and ultra-high temperature (UHT) milk, a steel-rolling mill, and a household paint factory have been established. Sugar and tourism constitute the mainstays of the economy, accounting for more than half of the nation's foreign exchange earnings.
Fiji imports from Australia, New Zealand, Japan, the U.S. the UK, and Southeast Asia. It is a member of the International Sugar Organization and exports sugar to the European Community under the Cotonou Convention.
Land in Fiji is either Crown land (owned by the government, 10%), freehold land (7%), or native land (83%). As in most of the Pacific, native land is held in common by extended family groups. Some land was alienated from these groups before Fiji became a British possession in 1874 and it is now freehold. Once Fiji became a colony, native land was protected and no further significant land sales were allowed. The native land is controlled by the Native Lands Trust Board, which administers the land for the family groups. Substantial areas of native land, however, are mountainous with only forestry as a potential commercial activity. Immigrant groups (mainly Indians) have had difficulty buying land and, as a result, have become tenant farmers or have entered commercial fields. Most agricultural land is currently leased for a period of 30 years, after which it reverts to the traditional land-owning group unless negotiations succeed in establishing new lease arrangements. Much of Fiji's land remains under-utilized. As leases expire, Fiji faces a dilemma. Ethnic Fijian landowners are increasingly eager to farm their own land or are demanding high lease rates. Consequently, many Indo-Fijian farmers face the prospect of becoming displaced.
Fiji's largest commercial firms are, for the most part, owned by expatriates or naturalized European-Fijians. Business methods are predominantly Australian, New Zealand and British.
The undemocratic change of government in May 2000 had a devastating effect on the economy. GDP declined by over 10 percent. Tourism declined nearly 40 percent, resulting in the loss of thousands of jobs. The garment industry has faltered in the face of sanctions by Australia and New Zealand, costing many more jobs. In all, it is estimated that 7,000 jobs were lost in the four months following the May crisis. The 2000 sugar harvest was not immediately affected. However, the EU is reassessing its preferential sugar pricing for Fiji in light of the loss of democracy. Fiji also may lose preferential markets for its textiles. Such changes in preferential pricing would have devastating impacts on the sugar and garment industries. A serious contraction of the economy is expected in 2000 and beyond.
You will want a personal vehicle. Travel on the main island of Viti Levu is mostly by road and moves on the left. The maximum speed limit is 80 kph (50 mph).
Fiji operates on the metric system and traffic moves on the left. Before shipping an American car by sea freight, consider the advantage of buying a right-hand drive car in Fiji. Vehicles manufactured in Japan and Australia are available. All imported cars must be inspected (called a warrant of fitness in Fiji) if it was previously registered in a foreign country. Do not attempt to convert a left-hand drive vehicle to right-hand drive in Fiji.
Adults (ages 18 and over) must have a Fiji driver's license. A valid US license or a license issued by any other foreign country may be used for 6 months only. Third-party insurance is mandatory, but inexpensive. Bring "no-claim" letters for a discount, which will bring the cost down.
Resale of locally purchased cars is unrestricted. Applicable customs duty must be paid by the seller.
Given that unleaded gas is now readily available in Fiji, there is no longer any need to remove the catalytic converter from vehicles imported from the U.S.
Suva has sufficient paved streets for the number of cars in the city. A generally good paved road circles most of the main island of Viti Levu. From Suva to Lautoka, following the southern and western coasts, the coastal road is called the Queens Road. Many of Fiji's tourist hotels are located along this stretch. From Lautoka to Suva, following the northern and eastern coasts, the road is called the King's Road and includes a 30-mile stretch of rough gravel road along the northeast coast. It takes about 50 minutes to drive to the Pacific Harbour Beach and Golf Resort to the west of Suva, and about 3 hours to drive from Suva to Nadi and the international airport.
Avoid driving out of the main cities and towns at night. Stray livestock occasionally wander in the road and have caused fatal accidents in the past.
Public transportation by bus is frequent and inexpensive, but the bus fleet is aging. Taxis are plentiful, equipped with meters and inexpensive. Most, however, are in poor condition and it is common for taxi drivers to speed and otherwise drive in an unsafe manner. Motorcycles and bicycles are rare in Suva. Frequent rain and hilly terrain make them impractical.
Air Pacific, Fiji's international flag carrier, and other regional airlines have international flights that connect Fiji with Los Angeles, Honolulu, Australia, New Zealand, Tonga, American Samoa, Samoa, Tuvalu, Kiribati (formerly the Gilbert Islands), New Caledonia, Tahiti, Vanuatu (formerly the New Hebrides), and Japan.
International airlines serving Fiji from the U.S. are Air Pacific (in a code share with American Airlines from Los Angeles) and Air New Zealand (in a code-share with United Airlines from Honolulu). U.S. government travelers must travel on one of these code-share flights. Currently, no American flag carrier serves Fiji directly.
Air Pacific, Fiji Air and Sun Air operate routes within Fiji. They provide several daily flights between Suva and the international airport at Nadi, and also service the islands of Vanua Levu and Taveuni. Air Fiji and Sunflower fly to smaller airports in the Fiji group and Tuvalu, and Turtle Airways connects various resort areas by small amphibious aircraft. There is a helicopter service.
Telephone and Telegraph
Local telephone service is good. Fiji is served domestically by Telecom Fiji Ltd, while international communications are provided by Fintel, Ltd. Telephone connections with Australia, Canada, the U.S., Europe, and most of the rest of the world are excellent, but do experience occasional "fade out" and disconnection. Regional communications to the neighboring and smaller islands is somewhat less reliable and can vary in quality depending on the time of day and prevailing climatic conditions. E-mail and Internet communications are available through Telecom Fiji Internet Services, but are expensive, slow and subject to disconnection. Telephone Calling Cards are available as well as mobile (Vodafone) telephone services and voice mail. International and domestic telegram services, including Western Union, are available 24 hours and are reliable. Though Fiji's communication services are good and generally keep up with emerging technologies, prices are high by US. standards.
International airmail takes up to two weeks to and from the U.S. Packages sent by international surface mail are transported via sea and can take up to 3 months to arrive. No censorship exists and packages pass through customs without delay. However, there have been complaints, though rare, about packages being stolen from the Fiji mail system.
Correspondents in the U.S. however, should be cautioned to put sufficient postage on letters and to clearly mark them "AIRMAIL" to ensure they are handled as airmail and not as surface mail.
Radio and TV
Fiji has one commercial TV station, which offers one free channel and two cable channels: Sky Entertainment and Sky Sports.
Two radio stations operate in the country. The government-owned Island Network Corporation broadcasts nationwide in three languages: Hindi, Fijian and English. Established in 1954, it is run by the Fiji Broadcasting Commission and broadcasts 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It directly rebroadcasts foreign news from BBC and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC). It also uses prerecorded and packaged music and current affairs programs to supplement local productions. FM 96 is commercially run and has a 24-hour, all-music format geared to younger listeners. It also broadcasts in three languages, and has brief news programs. It derives its world news output from the BBC, ABC, and VOA. FM 96 has transmitters in Suva and Lautoka.
Japanese short wave radios are available locally. Reception from Australia and New Zealand is good, but the same cannot be said for VOA or BBC.
Newspapers, Magazines and Technical Journals
Currently, the country has three daily English-language newspapers, The Fiji Times, The Fiji Sun and the Post. Locally published monthly magazines include Pacific and The Review. Hindi and Fijian language newspapers are published weekly by the Fiji Times. Up-to-the-minute news on Fiji can be found on the Internet at www.fijilive.com, a website run by The Review magazine.
Overseas papers are not readily available. Australian and New Zealand papers usually arrive several days late. The New Zealand editions of Time and Newsweek are sold locally at newsstands or by subscription. Some American magazines are available locally (House and Garden, Vogue, etc.), but arrive late and are expensive.
The Suva City Library has a small, dated selection of fiction and nonfiction.
The University of the South Pacific has a good library and limited bookstore. A small and expensive selection of paperbacks is available at bookstores in town.
Health and Medicine
Most medicines are available at the many drugstores around town. Local doctors are competent to care for common ailments.
Most routine laboratory tests are performed by their staff or are sent to the main laboratory at the national hospital (Colonial War Memorial (CWM) Hospital) in Suva. Some tests, previously sent overseas, can now be tested at the two new private pathology laboratories in Suva. The Health Care Pacific Hospital (a new private hospital) houses one of the two private pathology labs. The Plaza Imaging facility provides private ultrasound and basic X-ray services in Suva. Special X-rays, ultrasound, CAT scans and echocardiogram services are available at CWM in Suva.
A 60-bed private hospital (Health Care Pacific), associated with Colonial Insurance Company, opened in mid January 2001. It offers outpatient and inpatient services, operating theater services and a modern state-of-the-art pathology laboratory staffed by local and overseas specialists.
Due to the political crisis in Fiji that began in May 2000, professional people such as doctors, nurses, accountants, dentists and medical technicians are leaving the country. According to the president of the Fiji Medical Association, it is estimated that by January 2001 there will be a manpower loss of up to 30% not only among private practitioners, but also local and expatriate doctors currently staffing the main government hospital in Suva.
A cut in salaries in 2000 due to the political crisis has prompted even more nurses to resign and emigrate. As a result there is a move to hire ward assistants (nurses aides) to look after the basic nursing care of patients in the hospitals. In addition, many of the most qualified local nurses have been recruited from the Ministry of Health to staff the new private hospital (Health Care Pacific). This nursing shortage is likely to greatly affect the quality of care for patients in the government hospitals and community health centers in the country.
The Suva Colonial War Memorial Hospital is not recommended for treatment except in an emergency for the stabilization of a patient either in the coronary or intensive care units prior to an evacuation. The original hospital buildings are old and have only slowly been renovated and painted. The newer extension houses the Accident and Emergency Units, all specialty clinics, operating theatres, acute care wards, critical care units, the main laboratory, the pharmacy and lecture theatres for the medical students. The hospital does not meet sanitation standards of American facilities. It is understaffed and the local training of medical and nursing personnel is not comparable to that found in the U.S. Nonetheless, the hospital is the best facility to cope with immediate treatment of serious medical emergencies until medical evacuation can be arranged. Most cases of serious illness or pregnancy are evacuated to Honolulu.
A new Children's Hospital (a new addition to CWM), which opened in April 2000, is a very clean and spacious facility and includes a neonatal unit, outpatient and inpatient services for children, a pharmacy and neonatal training facilities.
There are several American doctors currently working on contracts for the Fiji School of Medicine in Suva. They specialize in pediatrics, general surgery and research.
Dental care and orthodontic services are available in Fiji. There is only one qualified orthodontist in Fiji who is based in Lautoka on the western side of the island, 220 km. from Suva. He is good and inexpensive. Although several private dentists can provide routine care and are comparatively inexpensive, sanitation may not be up to U.S. standards.
Replacement eyeglasses are available in Fiji, and there are a few qualified ophthalmologists who offer limited eye diagnostic services. However, it is recommended that eye problems be taken care of before arriving in Fiji. Contact lens users should bring a supply of solutions with them, as supply and selection are limited.
If you require regular prescription medicine, make arrangements for refills to be sent to you from an American pharmacy.
Pharmaceuticals in Fiji are imported mainly from Australia and New Zealand, with a few imported from the U.S., Canada and India. Intravenous fluids are imported from Baxter Company in Australia. Insulin is imported from Lilly Company. Most antibiotics are imported from Alpha Med in Australia. Vaccines are imported from New Zealand and Australia. Fiji has no capacity to test the quality of these imported drugs, other than screening drugs for expiration dates and any unusual characteristics such as color or shape. Questionable drugs are sent overseas for testing. American over the-counter medicines are generally not available. Bring a supply of anything you regularly use, or arrange for it to be sent to you.
Sanitation in Suva is good by developing world standards. The general health of the population is also good. Filariasis and dengue fever exist in the islands. Infectious hepatitis is common but infectious disease rates are generally low. Leptospirosis has been the cause of several deaths in Fiji lately and preventive measures have been taken to educate the public on how to prevent contracting this disease. Tap water in Suva is usually potable, but not always. Boiling drinking water is recommended, especially during periods of heavy rainfall. The post provides water distillers at all residences. Most restaurants are safe. Homes in several residential areas use septic tanks rather than the sewer system. Garbage disposal is adequate. Vermin and insect pests, which thrive in this hot, wet climate, are always a problem that requires vigilance.
Lizards, lawn toads and mosquitoes are numerous but harmless, except in the case of the mosquitoes during dengue fever outbreaks. Bring a supply of insect repellent for use outdoors. Take care in choosing an appropriate repellent for children. Malaria does not exist in Fiji or in the island countries to the east of Fiji. Typhoid outbreaks can occur, but are quickly contained and rarely seen in Suva. Sexually transmitted diseases are on the rise, as are the number of HIV positive cases, especially among young people.
Only the usual State Department immunization requirements are necessary. Gamma globulin shots are recommended before you come. Yellow fever and typhoid vaccines are available in Fiji for preventive measures if needed for regional travel. There is no malaria or yellow fever in Fiji.
NOTES FOR TRAVELERS
Customs, Passage & Duties
Proof of sufficient funds, an onward/return ticket, and a passport valid for at least three months beyond the date of departure from Fiji are required for entry to Fiji. A visa is not required for tourist stays up to six months. Yachts wishing to call at the Lau group of islands need special permission granted at the first port of entry into Fiji. Fiji collects a departure tax, payable in local currency. For more information about entry/exit requirements, travelers may contact the Embassy of the Republic of Fiji, 2233 Wisconsin Avenue, N.W., No. 240, Washington, D.C., 20007; telephone (202) 337-8320, or the Fiji Mission to the United Nations in New York. This is particularly important for travelers planning to enter Fiji by sailing vessel.
U.S. citizens are encouraged to carry a copy of their U.S. passports with them at all times, so that, if questioned by local officials, proof of identity and U.S. citizenship are readily available. According to Fijian law, a criminal detainee may be held for a maximum of 48 hours before charges are brought. INTERPOL normally advises the U.S. Embassy of the detention or arrest within 24 hours of the incident. Nevertheless, U.S. citizens who are detained are encouraged to request that a consular officer at the U.S. Embassy in Suva be notified U.S. citizens are encouraged to register at the U.S. Embassy in Suva. The Embassy will also be able to provide updated information on travel and security in Fiji. The U.S. Embassy in Fiji is located at 31 Loftus Street in the capital city of Suva. The telephone number is (679) 314-466, and the fax number is (679) 302-267.
It is relatively easy to import pets from Australia, New Zealand or England. For pets originating from other countries, the procedures can be extremely cumbersome and expensive, e.g. long-term quarantine in England and Australia, or 6 months of quarantine in Hawaii, to be followed by 3-month quarantine in Fiji. However, a recent arrival's positive dealing with the Quarantine Department indicated that there has been a change in policy, resulting in less restrictive procedures. Depending on the type of pets, quarantine restrictions differ. Generally, however, importation requirements of dogs and cats originating from the mainland U.S. are: Directly from mainland U.S with 3 months of quarantine in Fiji. Via Hawaii with one month of quarantine in Hawaii, followed by 1 month of quarantine in Fiji.
Nonetheless, the process remains protracted and complicated.
The following breeds of dogs are prohibited from importation into Fiji: Dogo argentino, film brazileiro, Japanese tosa, pit bull terriers (including American pit bull terriers), rottweilers, staffordshire terriers or crosses of any of the above.
Firearms and Ammunition
The importation of firearms is prohibited. No exceptions are made.
Currency, Banking, and Weights and Measures
The official unit of currency in Fiji is the Fiji dollar. One U.S. dollar in September 2000 equaled Fiji dollar 2.10. The rate is determined daily and fluctuates slightly. Fiji currency is divided into cents, with 1, 2, 5; 10, 20, 50 cent and 1 dollar coins; and 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50 dollar notes.
Many commercial banks in Suva maintain exchange facilities. Personal Fiji dollar checks may be cashed at any of these banks and will be accepted at most Fiji hotels and shops. U.S. dollar traveler's checks and greenbacks may be used to purchase Fiji dollars at any of the exchange facilities.
Fiji uses the metric system of weights and measures. Gasoline is bought by the liter, and the temperature is measured in Celsius.
Taxes, Exchange, and Sale of Property
All purchases in Fiji are subject to a 10% value added tax (VAT) placed on all goods and services.
Jan. 1 …New Year's Day
Mar/Apr. … Good Friday*
Mar/Apr. … Holy Saturday*
Mar/Apr. … Easter*
Mar/Apr. … Easter Monday*
June (2nd Sat) …Queen's Birthday celebrated*
Aug. … Bank Holiday*
…Prophet Mohammed's Birthday*
Oct. … Fiji Day*
Nov. … Prince Charles' Birthday celebrated*
Dec. 25 …Christmas Day
Dec. 26 …Boxing Day
These titles are provided as a general indication of the material published on this country.
Adrian. Peasants in the Pacific. A Study of Fiji Indian Rural Society.
Brown, Stanley. Men From Under the Sky.
Derric, R. A. A History of Fiji.
Suva. Colony of Fiji.
Lonely Planet Publication. Fiji, Ravel Survival Kit.
Oliver, D. The Pacific Islands. Honolulu: University of Hawaii.
Nayacakalou, R. R. Leadership in Fiji. Oxford: Oxford Press.
"Tradition and Change in the Fijian Village Suva." Fiji Times.
Pacific Islands Year Book.
Ratu, Sir Rabuka, Sitiveni, Autobiography-No Other Way.
Ratu, Sir Kamisese Mara. The Pacific Way. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press.
Siers, James. Fiji in Color.
Fiji Celebration. London: Collins. Shapham (editor). Rabuka of Fiji. Central Queensland University.
Tarte, Daryl. Island of the Frigate Birds (Mostly about Banaba and Nauru).
Tompson, Peter. Kava in the Blood. Trumbul, R. Tin Roofs and Palm
Trees. Seattle: University of Washington Press.
Williams, Thomas. Fiji and the Fijian. Fiji Museum, Suva.
"Fiji." Cities of the World. 2002. Encyclopedia.com. (July 26, 2016). http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-3410700176.html
"Fiji." Cities of the World. 2002. Retrieved July 26, 2016 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-3410700176.html
Republic of Fiji
LOCATION AND SIZE.
Fiji is a Melanesian island group located in the South Pacific at 175 degrees east longitude and 18 degrees south latitude. The islands are about 1,770 kilometers (1,100 miles) north of New Zealand. The group comprises 332 volcanic islands scattered in a horseshoe across an area of ocean some 595 kilometers (370 miles) across. Fiji has a total land area of 18,270 square kilometers (7,054 square miles), of which 87 percent is made up by its 2 largest islands, Vanua Levu and Viti Levu. Comparable in size to New Jersey, with a coastline of 1,129 kilometers (702 miles), Fiji has more land mass and people than all the other Melanesian islands put together. The capital of Fiji is Suva (pop. 77,366), on the southeast shore of the island of Viti Levu. The country's highest point, also on Viti Levu, is Mt. Victoria (Tomanivi) at 1,324 meters (4,344 feet).
Fiji's population was estimated in 2000 at 832,494, up from 775,077 in 1996, and 715,375 in 1986. If its annual growth rate of 1.41 percent continues, Fiji's population will have passed the million mark by 2014. Relatively high standards of health care have given Fijians a life expectancy at birth of 67.94 years, with an infant mortality rate of 14.45 per 1,000. The population remains young, with a median age of 21; about 34 percent of the population is clustered between the ages of 5 and 20.
Only a third of Fiji's 332 islands are inhabited, and three-quarters of Fijians live on Viti Levu, the largest of them. In 1996 53.6 percent of the population lived in rural areas and 46.4 percent in cities. Of the latter group, 46.7 percent, or a little less than a quarter of the total population, live in the greater Suva district. The other main urban center is Lautoka (pop. 36,083), on the northwest shore of the island of Viti Levu.
Fiji's ethnic composition is largely split between indigenous Melanesian Fijians, who constitute a narrow majority (51 percent), and those of Indian descent (44 percent); the remaining 5 percent is comprised of Europeans, Chinese, and other Melanesians. Fiji's religious situation reflects this division: 52 percent are Christian (including 37 percent Methodist and 9 percent Roman Catholic), 38 percent Hindu, and 8 percent Muslim. The proportion of Fijian Indians in the population has been decreasing since 1987, when army forces allied with indigenous Fijians staged a coup against the Fijian Indian-led government. (Fijian Indians are primarily the descendents of Indian indentured laborers brought to Fiji by British colonizers between 1879 and 1916.) As recently as the 1986 census, Fijian Indians made up a slight majority in population, with 48.7 percent as compared to 46 percent for the indigenous Fijians. But a slightly higher indigenous birthrate—27.3 per 1,000, compared to 17.2 for the Fijian Indian population—and heavy rates of Indian out-migration (the large-scale departure of persons from one region to another) have changed the population balance. The out-migration rate for 2000 is estimated at 3.6 per 1,000 per year, with most people moving to the United States, Australia, and New Zealand. Ongoing interethnic disputes threaten to further change population distribution.
OVERVIEW OF ECONOMY
As the largest and most resource-rich nation in the central South Pacific, Fiji also enjoys the region's largest and most developed economy. Still, its reliance on a single resource—sugar—makes it economically vulnerable, exposed both to an unpredictable tropical climate and an unstable world market. Attempts to expand and diversify the economy are being seriously undercut by Fiji's ethnic tensions and ongoing political uncertainty.
Since its introduction by Fiji's British colonizers in the 1870s, sugar production has been the mainstay of the Fijian economy. While the country has had some significant success in developing supplementary industries in mining, fishery, timber, clothing, and especially tourism, sugar continues to account for nearly a quarter of its export earnings. The industry's fragility was painfully demonstrated in late 1998 when an unusually severe drought, followed by widespread cyclonic flooding, saw sugar exports drop by almost 30 percent and earnings by more than US$100 million. Similarly, upsets in the world sugar cane price can be sudden and sharp. If pressure from the World Trade Organization (WTO) erodes the special, fixed prices (well above world market levels) that Fijian sugar enjoys in the European sugar market, the industry will face even further strain.
Recent ethnic strife between indigenous Fijians and the nation's East Indian population continues to threaten the stability of the nation's government. From 1879 to 1916, Britain imported tens of thousands of contract laborers from India to work on the sugar plantations, and their descendants remain an ethnically and culturally distinct community. In 1987 hostility erupted during the first of a series of coups designed to preserve and formalize indigenous Fijian political power. Subsequent efforts at reconciliation have failed to achieve a workable solution. In early 2000 there was a fresh outbreak of violence and rioting against Indian businesses, and Fiji's government buildings were seized by armed indigenous dissidents. Such unrest has had a devastating effect on Fiji's economy, paralyzing its tourist industry, and frightening away much of the foreign investment the country needs to develop its infrastructure and expand its economic base. The Reserve Bank of Fiji, its central bank, forecast an economic contraction of 8 percent in 2000 (down from its original estimates of 13-15 percent, however). Growth since 1987 has averaged less than 2 percent—well below half that of the average for developing nations.
Ethnic tensions also have a direct impact on the sugar industry. Indian planters control some 90 percent of Fiji's commercial sugar cane production, but 80 percent of plantations are on land leased from indigenous Fijian property owners. Given the country's volatile ethnic politics, it is expected that many of these 18,000 leases will be ceded to indigenous growers, thus threatening widespread displacement of Fijian Indian farmers. This is a problem for which the government has not yet found an adequate solution.
POLITICS, GOVERNMENT, AND TAXATION
Annexed as a colony of the British Empire on 10 October 1874, Fiji gained its independence exactly 96 years later, on 10 October 1970. For the next 17 years Fiji remained a British-style parliamentary democracy within the British Commonwealth.
In April 1987, the Alliance Party (AP), which had ruled Fiji since independence, was defeated at the polls by a coalition headed by the Fijian Labor Party (FLP) and the National Federation Party (NFP). The defeat represented a momentous shift in Fijian politics by introducing for the first time a substantial Fijian Indian presence in the government (although the coalition's leader and new prime minister was an indigenous Fijian, Dr. Timoci Bavadra). The new coalition moved power away from Fiji's traditional rural oligarchy and towards its long under-represented urban small-business and working class. Seeing its position threatened, the old order turned to racial politics, and the eruption of ethnic tension that resulted provided the pretext for a coup a month later led by Lieutenant-Colonel Sitiveni Rabuka. Four months later, fearing foreign intervention, Fiji's parliamentary leaders brokered a power-sharing accord between the AP and FLP-NFP coalition. But the newly promoted Brigadier Rabuka, feeling the accord had sacrificed the coup's central aim of securing indigenous domination, staged a second coup that revoked Fiji's 1970 constitution and declared the country a republic.
Two months later civilian government was restored, though it excluded the FLP-NFP, and a new constitution was drafted. In the first election under the new constitution in May 1992, a coalition led by now-Major General Rabuka won office, and he became prime minister. A series of crises over budgetary matters forced an early election in February 1994. Although Rabuka survived, dissatisfaction mounted at his government's failure to address the country's political divisions and its economic crises. Heavy out-migration by Fijian Indians resulted in a crippling flight of capital and expertise.
In June 1997 a new and more equitable constitution was adopted. In the first election under it in May 1999, the Rabuka government was overwhelmingly defeated, and a new FLP-led coalition took office under Fijian Indian prime minister Mahendra Chaudhry. While Chaudhry won the election on a promise of better economic management, his victory also re-kindled fears of a Fijian Indian "takeover." Protests by indigenous groups led to widespread civil violence and rioting against Fijian Indian businesses, culminating on 19 May 2000 with the seizure of the government buildings by armed extremists. After holding the cabinet at gunpoint in a 2-month long hostage drama, the extremists managed to have the president and new government dismissed by the military on July 5. Although the military subsequently restored the civilian government on July 18, and discussed the drafting of a new constitution, Fiji's political stability and international credibility remain grievously damaged. Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase was given a second title—Minister for National Reconciliation—to highlight the job that lay ahead of him in the coming years.
Fiji's revenue base is taxation. In 1998, according to the Fiji Islands Statistics Bureau, 58.4 percent of its revenue (US$251.7 million) came from income tax , estate and gift duties , and 27.0 percent (US$116.1 million) from customs duties and port dues. Its revenue shortfall for that year was US$917.8 million. Quarterly indicators from 2000 suggest that the imbalance is likely to worsen. Economic reforms by the government in 1992 designed to stimulate business saw the top individual and corporate tax rate drop to 35 percent, and a new 10 percent value-added tax (VAT) was introduced on goods and services, replacing previous sales and excise taxes . Attempts by the government to re-ignite the economy after the 2000 coup have followed a similar tack: the 10 percent VAT (removed by the previous coalition) was reinstated, and the corporate tax rate was reduced to 34 percent, with similar cuts scheduled for 2002 and 2003. With these measures, government revenues will be reduced and lower-income families will have to shoulder a proportionally larger tax burden.
INFRASTRUCTURE, POWER, AND COMMUNICATIONS
Fiji has a fairly well-developed infrastructure, with a reasonably comprehensive system of bridges and highways. The islands have 2,137 miles (3,438 kilometers) of roadway, nearly half of which is paved, and 371 miles (597 kilometers) of rail lines. In 1998 Fijians registered 2,265
|Country||Telephonesa||Telephones, Mobile/Cellular a||Radio Stations b||Radios a||TV Stations a||Televisions a||Internet Service Providers c||Internet Users c|
|Fiji||72,000||5,200||AM 13; FM 40; shortwave 0||500,000||N/A||21,000||2||7,500|
|United States||194 M||69.209 M (1998)||AM 4,762; FM 5,542; shortwave 18||575 M||1,500||219 M||7,800||148 M|
|Philippines||1.9 M||1.959 M (1998)||AM 366; FM 290; shortwave 3 (1999)||11.5 M||31||3.7 M||33||500,000|
|Solomon Islands||8,000||658||AM 3; FM 0; shortwave 0||57,000||0||3,000||1||3,000|
|aData is for 1997 unless otherwise noted.|
|bData is for 1998 unless otherwise noted.|
|cData is for 2000 unless otherwise noted.|
|SOURCE: CIA World Factbook 2001 [Online].|
new motor vehicles, 1,424 being private cars. The country also has 5 commercial ports and 25 airports, 3 with paved runways. An international airport, the hub for most trans-Pacific air traffic, is located in Nandi, outside Suva.
Telecommunication systems are also expanding, with full inter-island and international telephone and teleprinter connections, cable links, and satellite access. In 1997 Fiji had 71,403 subscriber telephone lines, or about 1 for every 10 Fijians. A Fijian-British joint venture has attracted the investment of US$7.1 million in a cellular telephone network. As of 1998, there were 4,300 cellular phones in the country. The government intends to further its deregulation of telecommunications by privatizing all or part of Telecom Fiji and opening the market to new Internet service providers (ISP). As of 1999, there were 2 ISPs in Fiji.
Fiji's mountainous terrain is favorable to the development of hydroelectric generation, which supplies 80 percent of its electricity; the remaining 20 percent is produced from imported fossil fuels.
Despite government attempts to diversify the economy, the relative profile of Fiji's different economic sectors has changed little since 1992. Agriculture is still dominant and, along with forestry and fishing, accounted for 16.5 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) in 1999. But the manufacturing sector, especially the garment industry, and the retail and service sector, especially those businesses related to tourism, are also vitally important. Industry and services contribute 25.5 percent and 58 percent of GDP, respectively. The government has actively encouraged both the manufacturing and tourism sectors in an attempt to broaden the country's economic base, increase foreign exchange receipts, and expand the number of wage and salary earners. Fiji's political strife, however, has seriously undermined the effectiveness of these attempts.
Agriculture continues to be the bedrock of the Fijian economy, accounting in 1999 for some 16 percent of its GDP and two-thirds of its 310,000-strong workforce. Sugar, the most important agricultural product, generated almost 30 percent of Fiji's agricultural GDP in 1998, and 15 percent (through sugar processing) of its manufacturing GDP. The 364,000 tons of sugar that Fiji produced that year earned the country some US$122.9 million. The commercial future of this industry depends on the resolution of the property system that has been in place since 1909, when the British colonial government froze land-ownership titles in an attempt to protect indigenous (Fijian) property owners. As a result, only 8 percent of a total of 607,982 acres (1,519,956 hectares) is freehold (privately-owned); the remainder is either tribal-(83 percent) or government-owned (8 percent) land. As of 1993, only 9.9 percent of that total acreage was arable, with most of it in tribal hands or leased to Fijian Indian farmers, who produce 90 percent of Fiji's sugar-cane. As these leases expire and the land is returned to indigenous growers, major disruptions in sugar-cane production can be expected.
With 64.9 percent of Fiji's land area being forest and woodland, timber is also economically important, especially pine and mahogany. Attempts since the mid-1980s to bolster the industry, and offset Fiji's dependence on sugar, have encouraged significant strides in timber production. In 1999 timber provided US$27.6 million in export revenue, a 45 percent increase over 1994 levels.
The fishing industry, especially tuna harvesting, also shows significant promise. Fiji controls a 200-nautical mile (370.4-kilometer) economic exclusion zone around its shoreline. In 1998 fishing brought Fiji US$24.9 million in overseas earnings, and tuna is Fiji's fourth largest export earner.
Fiji also exports copra (dried coconut meat), ginger, and coconut oil, as well as bananas, rice (a product for which Fiji is aiming at self-sufficiency), cereals and vegetables, pineapples and other tropical fruit. Copra, in particular, has benefitted from the removal in 1998 of the ban on its export; since the licensing of a second copra-buying company, prices for producers have increased considerably. The discovery of kava's (a shrubby pepper) medicinal qualities and its potential as a pharmaceutical ingredient have also fueled the growth of a small but promising export industry.
Although Fiji lacks a heavy industrial base, it has made significant progress in mining and manufacturing. Mining and quarrying account for around 2.7 percent of Fiji's total GDP (1999). Most of this revenue is generated by gold, which in 1998 made up 6.9 percent (US$35 million) of Fiji's foreign exports. Although production capacity has increased, the low price of gold has depressed earnings. The dip in prices saw growth in production tumble from 30.9 percent in 1996 to 2.9 percent in 1997. In 1998 mining in 2 gold mines was suspended and further exploration discontinued. Fiji's uncertain political climate has also made it difficult to attract the foreign financing it needs to sustain the industry. In September 2000 the government was forced to issue tax concessions worth nearly US$2 million to rescue one its largest mining companies and preserve its 2,000 jobs. Fiji also produces silver and copper. When the copper mining venture launched at Namosi in 1997 hits full production, earnings of as much as US$178 million per annum are possible.
Responsible for 14.5 percent of GDP in 1999, this sector is one of Fiji's diversification success stories. Whereas it once comprised largely the processing of agricultural products, especially sugar and timber, the introduction in 1987 of tax exemptions for factories exporting more than 70 percent of their annual production has seen the rapid emergence of a vibrant garment industry. Since 1986 the volume of garment production has grown twelve-fold, and in 1998 it provided 30 percent of Fijian exports, valued at US$152.4 million. However, the Australian government's refusal in September 2000 to renew its highly favorable tariff concessions for Fijian imports (a reaction to the coup) has clouded the future of this industry.
. Fiji's beaches, climate, and relative proximity to Australia and New Zealand have helped tourism become one its most important revenue earners; in 1997 hotels, restaurants, and cafés made up 3 percent of GDP, accounting for 40,000 jobs. But tourism has been one of the biggest casualties of Fiji's political upheavals. In 1999, according to the Fiji Islands Statistics Bureau, 409,995 tourists visited Fiji, bringing with them US$274 million in foreign exchange. This represented an increase over the previous year of 38,000 visitors and US$30 million, a growth rate that showed every sign of continuing. But after the 2000 coup, visitor numbers dropped drastically, forcing some of Fiji's biggest resorts to close. Despite an energetic campaign by the industry to restore visitor confidence, and government tax incentives for investors, this sector has not recovered.
Fiji's commercial banking sector is served by 6 banks, including the Bank of Hawaii and several other merchant banking providers and insurance companies, as well as the Fiji National Provident Fund (NPF, Fiji's national pension scheme), and Fiji Development Bank. The government-owned banking sector, on the other hand, is less stable. Mismanagement of the National Bank of Fiji led to its near-collapse in the mid-1990s and forced the government in 1997 into a US$105 million bailout. The relationship between government and commercial banking sectors has yet to be properly defined. As part of its economic stimulation program, the Fijian government is working to strengthen the financial system by expanding the Fijian Stock Exchange, decentralizing the NPF, and allowing greater investment flexibility for insurance companies.
With more than half of Fiji's population living in rural areas, and a large proportion of these outside the wage and salary economy, Fiji's retail sector is understandably small. Fiji's isolation makes imported goods expensive, further inhibiting its consumer culture, and leaving most retailing at the level of basic foods, clothing, and essential merchandise. The capital, Suva, has a variety of stores, including specialty stores that cater to tourists. The larger retail sector, taking into account wholesale suppliers, hotels, and restaurants, accounted for 15.2 percent of Fijian GDP in 1999.
With Fiji's own limited resources and industrial base, the country relies on imports for many of its basic
|Trade (expressed in billions of US$): Fiji|
|SOURCE: International Monetary Fund. International Financial Statistics Yearbook 1999.|
goods, making international trade essential. As Fiji's political woes have worsened, however, its balance of trade has become less favorable. In 1999 Fiji ran a US$115.6 million trade deficit, or about 7.37 percent of GDP. In 1998 it had exports of $393 million and imports of $612 million. While the post-coup devaluation of the Fijian dollar will help Fijian exporters, it will also make Fiji's imports more expensive.
Fiji's main trading partners are its Commonwealth neighbors (Australia, New Zealand, other Pacific islands) and old and new regional powers (United Kingdom, United States). The chief importer of Fijian wares is Australia, which in 1999 bought 33.1 percent of all Fijian exports. Other important partners include the United States (14.8 percent of exports) and the United Kingdom (13.8 percent). Penetration into Asia has been limited and variable, and only significant with Japan and Singapore. Fiji's imports come primarily from Australia, whose dominance in the Fijian market (41.9 percent) continues to rise. Other suppliers include the United States (14.1 percent of imports) and New Zealand (13.3 percent). The main imports are manufactured goods (27.3 percent), machinery and transport equipment (26.3 percent), food (14.4 percent), and mineral fuels (11.1 percent).
Since 1995 the Fijian dollar has been in steady decline. During the Asian financial crisis of the late 1990s, the government announced a 20 percent devaluation in 1997, when it was valued at around US$0.69. Further depreciation followed, accelerated by the 2000 coup. In 2001 the dollar stood at around US$0.44. Fiscal policy is now focused on controlling the deficit and reducing Fiji's large national debt , both of which are long-standing problems made worse by the costs of political crisis. A target deficit of 1.9 percent of GDP in the 1999 budget was found to be unattainable; 2000-01 targets stood at 4 percent, the equivalent of a debt level of around 45 percent of GDP.
|Exchange rates: Fiji|
|Fijian dollars (F$) per US$1|
|SOURCE: CIA World Factbook 2001 [ONLINE].|
POVERTY AND WEALTH
Fiji's traditional tribal structure creates wide status differentials, and there are wide gaps between the income levels of rich and poor. Although much of the land in Fiji is collectively owned, it is controlled by tribal chiefs who derive most of the economic benefit. Traditionally, Fiji's political leaders come from the eastern part of the country, from Vanua Levu and the Lau Group, where the feudal structure is best preserved. Fiji's cities and industry, on the other hand, are concentrated in the west, on Viti Levu in and around Suva, where most of the population lives. The result is a very unequal distribution of wealth and political power, which has survived because it has become connected with racial issues. Despite a very small Fijian Indian entrepreneurial class, many members of which have left the country, most Fijian Indians are no better off than indigenous Fijians since both groups suffer under a political system that concentrates power in the hands of the ruling class. The burden of Fiji's economic difficulties falls heaviest on its poorer citizens, who are obliged to commit a greater proportion of their incomes to basic essentials.
Fiji's workforce numbers around 310,000 people, and the official unemployment rate hovers at a low 6 percent. This figure is misleading since only a third of this work-force is in paid employment; the remaining two-thirds are
|GDP per Capita (US$)|
|SOURCE: United Nations. Human Development Report 2000; Trends in human development and per capita income.|
|Household Consumption in PPP Terms|
|Country||All food||Clothing and footwear||Fuel and power a||Health care b||Education b||Transport & Communications||Other|
|Data represent percentage of consumption in PPP terms.|
|aExcludes energy used for transport.|
|bIncludes government and private expenditures.|
|SOURCE: World Bank. World Development Indicators 2000.|
subsistence farmers and fishermen (subsistence workers produce just enough goods to support their own subsistence, with rarely any surplus to sell and generate additional income). There are 4 times as many young people in the workforce as there are available jobs. The unemployment rate also conceals large-scale under-employment such as seasonal workers in agriculture and casual laborers in the construction industry. While the numbers of wage and salary workers have been rising (8.5 percent over the period from 1993 to 1998), Fiji's economic crisis threatens to offset these gains. The loss of tens of thousands of professionals and skilled workers through out-migration has also produced a skills deficit, which poses a further obstacle to future growth. Labor disputes are another symptom of tension, and in 1999, an average of 19.7 worker-days were lost due to strikes, though this figure was atypically high. Part of the government's recovery program is to deregulate the workforce and shrink the public sector .
COUNTRY HISTORY AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
1643. Abel Tasman, the Dutch navigator, sites the Fiji island group.
1774. Captain Cook visits southern Lau.
1835. The first Methodist missionaries arrive.
1854. King Cakobau renounces his traditional gods and accepts Christianity.
1857. First British consul appointed at Levuka.
1862. King Cakobau invites the British to annex Fiji; Britain refuses.
1874. Britain, fearing Fiji will fall to another power, accepts Fiji as a colony.
1879-1916. Indentured laborers are imported from India.
1904. First elected Legislative Council.
1909. System of property leases instituted.
1966. Internal self-government achieved.
1970. Fiji becomes independent.
1973. Sugar industry nationalized .
1987. Defeat of Alliance Party by Fijian Indian-backed opposition coalition; the first Fijian coup by Sitiveni Rabuka removes Prime Minister Bavadra from power; Fiji declared a republic.
1994. New constitution enacted; Rabuka becomes prime minister.
1997. Fiji rejoins Commonwealth.
1999. Landslide victory by the Fijian Indian-led opposition coalition.
2000. Armed forces led by George Speight seize Parliament; dismissal of the Mahendra government by the military. Ratu Josepha Iloilovatu Uluivuda becomes president, and Laisenia Qarase prime minister.
Before the return of the political problems that gripped Fiji in late 1999 and 2000, Fiji was believed by many observers to have, in the words of the Wall Street Journal, "the South Pacific's most promising economy." It was widely believed that Fiji was capable of increasing its production of every major exportable product, and capable of reducing its debt load accordingly. But the recent problems leave the growth of Fiji's economy in doubt. Striking problems remain: rising unemployment; declining investor confidence; a drastic fall in tourist visits, which reverberates throughout the economy; and the lack of any long-term solution to the political conflict between Fijian Indians, who control most of the sugar production companies, and indigenous Fijians, who own most of the land and provide most of the labor. Fiji's problems have left the country both politically and economically isolated, as former allies, potential investors, and tourists have all withdrawn their support from the country. The government's attempts to re-stimulate the economy will continue to fail unless the root causes of Fiji's ethnic tension can be adequately addressed and substantive cooperation achieved, an unlikely prospect in the near future. However, if the potential mediation of outside entities returns Fiji to political stability, the island nation should be well-equipped for further growth.
Fiji has no territories or colonies.
Bank of Hawaii. Pacific Economic Reports. <http://www.boh .com/econ>. Accessed July 2001.
Economist Intelligence Unit. Country Profile: Fiji, 2000. London: Economist Intelligence Unit, 2000.
Economist Intelligence Unit. Country Report: Fiji, December 2000. London: Economist Intelligence Unit, 2000.
Fiji Islands Statistics Bureau. <http://www.statsfiji.gov.fj>. Accessed February 2001.
Lal, Brij V. Broken Waves: A History of Fiji in the Twentieth Century. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1992.
U.S. Central Intelligence Agency. The World Factbook, 2000. <http://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook>. Accessed January 2001.
U.S. Department of State. Country Commercial Guide, FY 1999: Fiji. <http://www.state.gov/www/about_state/business/com_ guides/1999/eastasia/fiji99.html>. Accessed February 2001.
Fijian dollar (F$). One Fijian dollar equals 100 cents. Coins are in amounts of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, and 50 cents. Notes come in denominations of F$1, 2, 5, 10, and 20.
Sugar, garments, gold, timber, silver, fish.
Machinery and transport equipment, petroleum products, food, chemicals.
GROSS DOMESTIC PRODUCT:
US$5.9 billion (purchasing power parity, 1999 est.).
BALANCE OF TRADE:
Exports: US$537.7 million (f.o.b., 1999). Imports: US$653 million (f.o.b., 1999).
Schubert, Alexander. "Fiji." Worldmark Encyclopedia of National Economies. 2002. Encyclopedia.com. (July 26, 2016). http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-3410100131.html
Schubert, Alexander. "Fiji." Worldmark Encyclopedia of National Economies. 2002. Retrieved July 26, 2016 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-3410100131.html
Fiji (fē´jē) or Viti (vē´tē), officially Republic of Fiji, republic made up of a Melanesian island group (2005 est. pop. 893,000), c.7,000 sq mi (18,130 sq km), South Pacific. Suva is the capital.
Fiji comprises c.320 islands, of which some 105 are inhabited. Viti Levu, the largest, constitutes half the land area and is the seat of Suva. The other important islands are Vanua Levu (the second largest), Taveuni, Kadavu, Koro, Gau, and Ovalau. In the group's center is the Koro Sea, east of which is the Lau group. The Yasawa and Mamanuca groups are west of Viti Levu. The larger islands are volcanic and mountainous; the highest peak, Mt. Victoria, or Tomaniivi (4,341 ft/1,323 m), is on Viti Levu, which has the longest river, the Rewa. Fiji's climate is warm and humid. There are dense tropical forests on the windward sides of the islands and grassy plains and clumps of casuarina and pandanus on the leeward sides; mangrove forests are abundant, and hot springs are common in the mountain regions. The chief towns are generally seaports: Suva and Lautoka on Viti Levu; and Levuka, on a small island E of Viti Levu.
Indigenous Fijians are mainly of Melanesian origin with Polynesian elements, which are much more pronounced in the eastern islands; they account for more than half the population. Indo-Fijians, who mainly came from the subcontinent from 1879 to 1916 as indentured workers for the British, make up not quite four tenths of the population and are engaged chiefly in the sugar industry and commerce. In the mid-1960s Indo-Fijians constituted slightly more than half of Fiji's inhabitants; many left after the 1987 coup (see under History) and as a result of political and economic crises since then. There are also small groups of Europeans, Chinese, and Micronesians. Indigenous Fijians are mainly Christian; about three quarters of the Indo-Fijians are Hindu and one quarter are Muslim. The official languages are English and Fijian; Hindi is also spoken.
Fiji's fertile soil yields sugarcane, coconuts, cassava, rice, sweet potatoes, bananas, pineapples, and lumber. Cattle, pigs, horses, and goats are raised. Sugar, whose processing accounts for a third of Fiji's industrial production, is the main export. The industry has suffered since the late 1990s because of low world prices, drought, and inefficiencies, and the government is seeking to diversify the island's commercial agriculture. Tourism and mining are important to the economy, as are remittances from Fijians working abroad. Sugar, clothing, gold, silver, timber, fish, molasses, copra, coconut oil, and farmed pearls are exported. Imports consist largely of manufactured goods, machinery and equipment, petroleum products, foodstuffs, and chemicals. Australia, Singapore, the United States, and New Zealand are the main trading partners.
Fiji is governed under the constitution of 2013. The president, who is a largely ceremonial head of state, is elected by the parliament to a three-year term; the president may serve for two terms. The government is headed by the prime minister. The unicameral parliament has 50 members who are elected proportionally to four-year terms. Administratively, Fiji is divided into 14 provinces and the dependency of Rotuma.
Polynesians presumably arrived in the islands more than 3,000 years ago; they were largely conquered and absorbed by Melanesian invaders c.1500 BC The first Europeans to visit Fiji were the Dutch navigator Abel Tasman in 1643 and British Capt. James Cook in 1774. In the early 1800s the first European settlement was established at Levuka, which became an important whaling port in the mid-1800s. A Fijian national government, with a tribal chief as king, was established in Levuka in 1871, but in 1874, at the request of Fiji's tribal chiefs, Great Britain annexed the islands. The capital was moved to Suva in 1882. During World War II the islands were an important supply point.
In 1970, Fiji gained independence as a member of the Commonwealth with Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara as prime minister. In 1987, Col. Sitiveni Rabuka led two coups that wrested control of the racially divided nation's government from the ethnic Indians. Fiji was declared a republic; it also was expelled (1987–97) from the Commonwealth. In 1990 a new constitution granted nonurban native Fijians a disproportionate say in the government. Two years later Rabuka became prime minister, and in 1994 Mara was appointed president.
The constitution was amended in 1997 to give nonethnic Fijians a larger voice, and in May, 1999, Labor party leader Mahendra Chaudhry was the first ethnic Indian to become prime minister of Fiji, replacing Rabuka. A May, 2000, coup attempt led by Fijian businessman George Speight took Chaudhry hostage and demanded an end to Indian participation in Fijian politics; the crisis led the army to seek Mara's resignation and briefly take power. The army appointed (July, 2000) an ethnic Fijian–dominated government headed by Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase; Ratu Josefa Iloilo became president. Speight, after releasing his hostages, demanded a strong influence in the new government but was arrested by the army, and his insurgency was quashed. In 2002 he pled guilty to treason and was sentenced to life in prison.
Qarase's government was subsequently ruled illegal by the courts, and Ratu Tevita Momoedonu was appointed prime minister of a caretaker government in Mar., 2001. New parliamentary elections in August–September resulted in a victory for the Fiji United party (SDL), which formed a Fiji-nationalist coalition government with the Conservative Alliance; Qarase again became prime minister. The post-coup period saw many Indo-Fijians forced off leased farms when ethnic Fijian landowners, who control roughly 90% of the land, did not renew leases.
In July, 2003, Qarase's government was ruled unconstitutional because it did not include members of the opposition Labor party. In September the Labor party refused to join the government when Qarase excluded Chaudhry, and the situation remained unresolved until late in 2004 when Chaudhry decided to lead the opposition. Also in 2004, Ratu Jope Seniloli, the vice president, was convicted on charges stemming from his appointment as president by George Speight during the attempted coup in 2000; he subsequently resigned after serving a shortened sentence.
A government proposal in mid-2005 to offer amnesty to persons involved in the coup sparked protests from the opposition and from the army, whose commander threatened to intervene if such a law was passed. The Great Council of Chiefs, however, supported the proposal. Tensions between the government and army continued into 2006. The military chief, Commodore Voreqe "Frank" Bainimarama, was accused in the spring by Qarase's party of illegally campaigning against it, and later in the year Bainimarama called for Qarase's government to drop ethnically divisive legislation or resign. Meanwhile, President Iloilo was reelected in Mar., 2006. Qarase's coalition won the May parliamentary elections, and the Labor party subsequently agreed to participate in the multiparty cabinet, although Chaudhry did not accept a post.
In November Qarase agreed to drop the coup amnesty proposal, but relations between the government and military remained tense; the preceding month Qarase had attempted to replace Bainimarama as military chief, but the proposed replacement refused the post. The military ultimately overthrew the government in December, and Bainimarama initially assumed the post of interim president. The Commonwealth partially suspended Fiji in response (and fully suspended Fiji three years later). Opposition from the Council of Chiefs led Bainimarama to restore Iloilo to the presidency in Jan., 2007, but at the same time the president announced that he supported the commodore and Bainimarama became interim prime minister. In April the Bainimarama's government suspended the members of the Great Council of Chiefs because of the lack of cooperation with the government. The move followed the council's refusal to approve the government's choice for vice president.
A "people's charter," intended by Bainimarama to complement the constitution and to unify Fiji and end its racially divisive politics, was completed in Aug., 2008, and approved by the president in December. In Apr., 2009, after the courts declared Bainimarama's government illegal, he resigned as prime minister. President Iloilo subsequently abrograted the constitution, dismissed the judiciary, appointed himself head of state "under a new legal order," and then appointed Bainimarama interim prime minister; judges aligned with the government were appointed in May.
In July, 2009, Bainimarama announced that work on a new constitution would begin in 2012 and democratic elections would be held two years later. A draft constitution was completed by a constitutional commission by the end of 2012, but copies of the draft that were disseminated were confiscated by the government, and the government announced that it would revise the draft.
Meanwhile, Iloilo resigned as president for health reasons in July, 2009. Vice President Ratu Epeli Nailatikau became acting president and then, in Nov., 2009, president. By early 2010, Bainimarama's government was taking increasingly repressive moves against its critics, including tight restrictions on the media. In Mar., 2010, a cyclone caused significant damage in N Fiji.
Bainimarama abolished the Great Council of Chiefs in Mar., 2012. The council, which had been established under British rule in 1875, had elected the president and consulted in the appointment of senators. Former prime minister Qarase was convicted of corruption in July, 2012; the charges related a company directorship he held in the 1990s. In Sept., 2013, a new constitution was finally adopted. Bainimarama resigned as Fiji's military chief in Mar., 2014, but he remained the country's interim prime minister. Former prime minister Chaudhry was convicted in Apr., 2014, of violating Fiji's Exchange Control Act. Bainimarama's Fiji First party handily won the Sept., 2014, parliamentary elections, and he became prime minister. Following the election, Fiji's suspension from the Commonwealth was lifted. In 2015 Jioje Konrote was elected Fiji's president. Many parts of the country suffered extensive destruction from a severe tropical cyclone (hurricane) in Feb., 2016.
"Fiji." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. 2016. Encyclopedia.com. (July 26, 2016). http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1E1-Fiji.html
"Fiji." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. 2016. Retrieved July 26, 2016 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1E1-Fiji.html
Official name: Republic of the Fiji Islands
Area: 18,270 square kilometers (7,054 square miles)
Highest point on mainland : Mount Tomanivi (1,324 meters/4,344 feet)
Lowest point on land: Sea level
Hemispheres : Southern and Eastern
Time zone: Midnight = noon GMT
Longest distances: 595 kilometers (370 miles) from southeast to northwest; 454 kilometers (282 miles) from northeast to southwest
Land boundaries: None
Coastline: 1,129 kilometers (702 miles)
Territorial sea limits: 22 kilometers (12 nautical miles)
1 LOCATION AND SIZE
Fiji is an island nation in the South Pacific located about 2,735 kilometers (1,700 miles) northeast of Sydney, Australia; 1,769 kilometers (1,100 miles) north of Auckland, New Zealand; and 4,466 kilometers (2,776 miles) southwest of Honolulu, Hawaii. It is roughly one-third of the way from New Zealand to Hawaii. Fiji consists of around three hundred islands—about one-third of which are inhabited—and some five hundred islets, covering a total land area of 18,270 square kilometers (7,054 square miles).
2 TERRITORIES AND DEPENDENCIES
Fiji has no territories or dependencies.
Fiji's tropical climate is modified by easterly trade winds. Temperature variation between seasons is modest. High temperatures in the summer (October to March) reach 29°C (85°F); winter lows drop to only 20°C (68°F). Cooler temperatures are recorded at higher elevations.
Annual rainfall ranges from an average of 178 centimeters (70 inches) on the drier leeward sides of the islands to 305 centimeters (120 inches) on the windward sides. The leeward sides have a dry season from April to October, while rainfall is distributed throughout the year on the windward sides. The hurricane season lasts from November to April, but disastrous hurricanes are rare.
4 TOPOGRAPHIC REGIONS
There are no specific topographic regions in Fiji.
5 OCEANS AND SEAS
Fiji is located in the South Pacific Ocean and surrounds the Koro Sea.
Seacoast and Undersea Features
Coral reefs fringe the islands, and circular or U-shaped coral atolls and barrier reefs encircle large coastal lagoons. The reefs, rocks, and shoals in the waters off Fiji make navigation on the Koro Sea dangerous.
Sea Inlets and Straits
The Somosomo Straits separate the islands of Vanua Levu and Taveuni. Taveuni is in turn separated from the Lau island group by the Nanuku Passage. Several other passages separate the various islands and island groups. The coastline of Vanua Levu is much more deeply indented than that of Viti Levu and includes the long, narrow Natewa Bay.
Islands and Archipelagos
By far the two largest islands in Fiji's archipelago are Viti Levu, near its western end, and Vanua Levu, which reaches almost to the northernmost point. The fifty-seven easternmost islands are collectively known as the Lau Group. With a land area of only 160 square kilometers (62 square miles), they stretch over an expanse of ocean covering 112,000 square kilometers (43,232 square miles).
The islands in the central part of the archipelago make up the area called Lomaiviti, or Central Fiji. There are seven larger islands and several smaller ones. At the northwest end of Fiji lies a string of islands called the Yasawa Group. The Polynesian island of Rotuma, located 708 kilometers (440 miles) north of Suva, also belongs to Fiji, although it is separate from the rest of the island group. The larger islands are generally mountainous, with flatter land along their river deltas and fertile coastal plains.
Fiji is known for its sandy beaches, which support a thriving tourist industry. Mangrove swamps are found on the eastern coastlines of many of Fiji's islands.
6 INLAND LAKES
Fiji has no inland lakes.
7 RIVERS AND WATERFALLS
On Viti Levu, the largest island, the major river is the Rewa; this river is navigable for 113 kilometers (70 miles). The island also has other river systems, including those of the Nadi, Ba, and Sigatoka. All of these rivers rise in the island's central mountains. The main river on Vanua Levu is the Dreketi.
There are no deserts on Fiji.
9 FLAT AND ROLLING TERRAIN
The western parts of Fiji's larger islands are flat, dry grasslands.
10 MOUNTAINS AND VOLCANOES
Fiji's largest island, Viti Levu, has a central mountain range dividing it down the middle, with some peaks rising higher than 914 meters (3,000 feet), including Fiji's highest mountain, Mount Tomanivi. The mountain system includes the picturesque Nausori Highlands. The next-largest island, Vanua Levu, also has a central range, which spans its length and has peaks of roughly equal height. Fiji's other large islands are also mountainous, with slopes that often rise dramatically near the shoreline.
11 CANYONS AND CAVES
There are no notable caves or canyons on Fiji.
12 PLATEAUS AND MONOLITHS
Some of the higher mountain peaks on Fiji's large islands give way to plateaus before descending to the lowlands near the coast.
13 MAN-MADE FEATURES
There are no significant man-made features affecting the geography of Fiji.
DID YOU KNOW?
The tagimaucia, a beautiful red-and-white flowering plant that resembles the hibiscus, blooms in only one place in the world: on the banks of the Tagimaucia River in the mountains of Taveuni Island.
14 FURTHER READING
Fiji: A Lonely Planet Travel Survival Kit. Berkeley, CA: Lonely Planet, 2000.
Lal, Brij V. Broken Waves: A History of the Fiji Islands in the Twentieth Century. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1992.
Wright, Ronald. On Fiji Islands. New York: Viking, 1986.
Fiji Online. http://www.fiji-online.com.fj/ (accessed March 23, 2003).
Rob Kay's Fiji Guide. http://www.fijiguide.com/ (accessed June 20, 2003).
"Fiji." Junior Worldmark Encyclopedia of Physical Geography. 2003. Encyclopedia.com. (July 26, 2016). http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-3425900095.html
"Fiji." Junior Worldmark Encyclopedia of Physical Geography. 2003. Retrieved July 26, 2016 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-3425900095.html
|Official Country Name:||Republic of Fiji|
|Language(s):||English, Fijian, Hindustani|
Fiji, officially the Republic of Fiji, is a nation and archipelago in the South Pacific Ocean that is part of the Melanesian Island group. It is comprised of 540 islets and 300 islands of which about 100 are inhabited. All the islands are volcanic in origin, and the largest of these are Vanua Levu and Viti Levu where the capital city of Suva is located.
Formerly a British colony, Fiji became independent in 1970. According to a July 2000 estimate, the total population of the islands is 832,494. The population consists of: Fijian (51 percent), the indigenous group whose heritage is a mixed Melanesian-Polynesian stock; Asian Indians (44 percent), descendants of laborers brought to the islands by the British in the nineteenth century to work on the sugar plantations; and European, Chinese, and other Pacific Islanders (5 percent).
The Indian population outnumbered the Fijians in the early 1980s and dominated both government and politics. However, this changed in 1987 after a coup and the creation of a new constitution that favored the Fijian ethnic group. This change in the power structure resulted in a large Indian emigration, which in turn shifted the population to a Fijian majority. However, the constitution was amended in 1997—granting access to political power to all groups.
Fiji has a high literacy rate (91.6 percent) and, although there is no compulsory education, more than 85 percent of the children between the ages of 6 to 13 attend primary school. Schooling is free and provided by both public and church-run schools. Generally, the Fijian and Hindu children attend separate schools, reflecting the political split that exists in the nation.
The structure of the Fijian educational system is divided into primary school, secondary school, and higher education. The language of instruction is English.
The primary school system consists of 8 years of schooling and is attended by children from the ages of 6 to 14 years. Upon completion of primary school, a certificate is awarded and the student is eligible to take the Secondary School Examination.
Entry into the secondary school system, which is a total of five years, is determined by a competitive examination. Students passing the exam then follow a three-year course that leads to the Fiji School Leaving Certificate and the opportunity to attend senior secondary school. At the end of this level, they may take the Form VII examination, which covers four or five subjects. Successful completion of this process gains students access to higher education.
The University of the South Pacific, called the crossroads of the South Pacific because it serves ten English speaking territories in the South Pacific, is the major provider of higher education. Admission to the university requires a secondary school diploma, and all students must take a one-year foundation course at the university regardless of their major. Financing for the university is derived from school fees, funds from the Fiji government and other territories, and aid from Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and the United Kingdom. The Ministry of Education, Women, and Culture is the administering body.
In addition to the university, the Fiji also has teachertraining colleges, as well as medical, technological, and agricultural schools. Primary school teachers are trained for two years, whereas secondary school teachers train for three years; they then have the option to receive a diploma in education or read for a bachelor's degree in arts or science and continue for an additional year to earn a postgraduate certificate of education.
The Fiji Polytechnic School offers training in various trades, apprenticeship courses, and other courses that lead to diplomas in engineering, hotel catering, and business studies. Some of the course offerings can also lead to several City and Guilds of London Institute Examinations.
In addition to the traditional educational system, Fiji also offers the opportunity to obtain an education through distance learning. The University Extension Service provides centers and a network of terminals in most regional areas. For students taking non-credit courses, no formal qualifications are necessary. However, students who enroll in the credit courses may be awarded the appropriate degree or certificate upon successful completion of their studies through the extension services.
The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). The World Factbook 2000. Directorate of Intelligence, 1 January 2000. Available from http://www.cia.gov/.
International Association of Universities (IAU). "Educational System-Fiji," 1996. Available from http://ftp.unesco.org/.
—Jean Boris Wynn
Wynn, Jean Boris. "Fiji." World Education Encyclopedia. 2001. Encyclopedia.com. (July 26, 2016). http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-3409700078.html
Wynn, Jean Boris. "Fiji." World Education Encyclopedia. 2001. Retrieved July 26, 2016 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-3409700078.html
|Official Country Name:||Republic of Fiji|
|Region (Map name):||Oceania|
|Language(s):||English, Fijian, Hindustani|
Fiji is located in the South Pacific Ocean between Hawaii and New Zealand. Despite the periodic threats to Fiji's democratic status, the press enjoys one of the most liberal and robust environments in the South Pacific. Successive governments have tried to use legislation to control the media, but these efforts have met with strong resistance from an organized Fiji media community.
Fiji has three daily newspapers, all published in English. The Fiji Times, owned by News Limited, is the oldest and biggest. Its content appears online through the fijivillage.com Web portal. The Daily Post is partially owned by the government; its content also appears on the fijilive.com Web portal. The Fiji Sun is the smallest and newest. Its news is posted online through a dedicated Web site.
There are also a variety of weekly newspapers. Nai Lalakai has been published by the Fiji Times Group since 1962. The same company has published the Hindi newspaper Shati Dut since 1935. Na Tui, founded in 1988, appears weekly, and Sartag, a Hindi weekly, also has published since 1988. The weekly Fiji Republic Gazette highlights local business issues.
There are 53 radio stations, 13 AM and 40 FM, broadcasting to a 500,000 radios. One television station broadcasts to more than 20,000 televisions. There are two Internet service providers.
Though Fiji was known to the European world as early as the seventeenth century, it was not until 1874 that it was pronounced a British colony, well after it had established itself as an important trade outpost. Fiji became an independent nation in 1970, with a president serving as chief of state and a Prime Minister heading the government.
The legislative branch is a bicameral, 32-seat senate and a 71-seat house of representatives. The government has, however, has been interrupted by several attempted coups stemming from the ethnic segregation of Indian and Melanesian populations. The most recent unrest was in May 2000, when terrorists stormed the Parliament and held the Prime Minister and his government hostage for 56 days. The population is just under 850,000, with a 91 percent literacy rate. Fiji's instability has harmed its economy, turning away tourists and foreign investors in its primary cash crop, sugar.
Australian Press Council. Country Report, Fiji. 2002. Available from www.presscouncil.org.au.
Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). "Fiji." World Fact-book 2001. Available from www.cia.gov.
Fijilive.com. 2001. Available from www.fijilive.com.
Fiji Sun. 2002. Available from www.sun.com.fj.
FijiVillage.com. Available from www.fijivillage.com/news.
Jenny B. Davis
Davis, Jenny B.. "Fiji." World Press Encyclopedia. 2003. Encyclopedia.com. (July 26, 2016). http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-3409900077.html
Davis, Jenny B.. "Fiji." World Press Encyclopedia. 2003. Retrieved July 26, 2016 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-3409900077.html
English in Fiji ranges from low-prestige varieties (the BASILECT) to a high-prestige variety (the ACROLECT). The language of education is STANDARD ENGLISH on a BrE model. A stable pidgin English did not develop, although some early plantation labourers knew MELANESIAN PIDGIN ENGLISH and later labourers arrived speaking a stable variety of the same PIDGIN, learned in Queensland. A pidginized Fijian was used on plantations. Features of local English include: (1) The focus marker ga (You ga, you ga tell it It's you who tells it) and the politeness marker mada (Wait mada). (2) Use of one as an indefinite article, as in varieties of IndE: Tonight I'm going to one party. (3) Use of us two as the first-person dual inclusive (myself and one other): I can't give you us two's money because us two poor. (4) The use of fella as the third-person pronoun with human reference: Fella put that fella's hand in front He put his hand in front. (5) Local words such as Fijian tanoa a bowl for making kava, and Hindi roti Indian flat bread. Such features as us two and fella are similar to those in Melanesian Pidgin English and indigenous languages; others are shared not only with pidgin and creole English but also with basilectal varieties of English as in Singapore, such as the use of been as a pre-verbal marker of past tense (He been swear He swore) and lack of copula (That one nice house That is a nice house).
TOM McARTHUR. "FIJI." Concise Oxford Companion to the English Language. 1998. Encyclopedia.com. (July 26, 2016). http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1O29-FIJI.html
TOM McARTHUR. "FIJI." Concise Oxford Companion to the English Language. 1998. Retrieved July 26, 2016 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1O29-FIJI.html
"Fiji." World Encyclopedia. 2005. Encyclopedia.com. (July 26, 2016). http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1O142-Fiji.html
"Fiji." World Encyclopedia. 2005. Retrieved July 26, 2016 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1O142-Fiji.html
J. A. Cannon
JOHN CANNON. "Fiji." The Oxford Companion to British History. 2002. Encyclopedia.com. (July 26, 2016). http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1O110-Fiji.html
JOHN CANNON. "Fiji." The Oxford Companion to British History. 2002. Retrieved July 26, 2016 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1O110-Fiji.html
Identification. The Republic of the Fiji Islands is a multicultural island nation with cultural traditions of Oceanic, European, South Asian, and East Asian origins. Immigrants have accepted several aspects of the indigenous culture, but a national culture has not evolved. Commercial, settler, missionary, and British colonial interests imposed Western ideologies and infrastructures on the native peoples and Asian immigrants that facilitated the operation of a British crown colony.
The indigenous name of the islands is Viti, an Austronesian word meaning "east" or "sunrise." Ethnic Fijians call themselves Kai Viti ("the people of Viti") or i Taukei ("the owners of the land"). Until the advent of colonial rule in 1873, the population of Viti Levu, the principal island of the Fiji group, was divided into hierarchically organized coastal peoples and more egalitarian highland peoples in the interior.
People from different parts of India, now called Indo-Fijians, came to work as indentured laborers on sugar plantations. After their term of service, many remained in Fiji. Some became merchants and business-people, others remained on the land as free peasant cultivators. The early immigrants were joined later by freely-migrating people from India's merchant castes, mostly from Gujarat. European immigrants came primarily from Australia, New Zealand, and Great Britain.
Location and Geography. The republic includes approximately 320 islands, but only about one hundred are inhabited. The land area is 7,055 square miles (18,272 square kilometers); Viti Levu and Vanua Levu account for 87 percent of the landmass. Viti Levu contains the major seaports, airports, roads, schools, and tourist centers, as well as the capital, Suva.
The maritime tropical climate is characterized by high humidity and rainfall along the windward coasts and a drier climate in the interiors and along the leeward coasts, where savanna grassland was the natural vegetation. Much of the original savanna was turned into sugarcane plantations during the colonial period.
Demography. In 1996, the population was 775,077. Fifty-one percent of the population is Fijian, and 44 percent is Indo-Fijian. In the nineteenth century, epidemic diseases decimated the indigenous population, and the arrival of South Asian workers beginning in 1879 caused Fijians to become temporarily a minority in the islands from the late 1930s to the late 1980s. There are small populations of Europeans, Pacific Islanders, Rotumans, Chinese, and persons of mixed European-Fijian ancestry.
Linguistic Affiliation. Fijian, Hindi, and English became the official languages after independence in 1970, and linguistic autonomy was guaranteed by the constitution of 1997. English is the language of interethnic communication, administration, government, trade and commerce, and education. Fijian and Hindi often are spoken at home and are used in religious contexts and on radio and television.
The indigenous languages belong to the Central Oceanic branch of Eastern Austronesian and are divided into eastern and western branches. The Bauan dialect of Fijian was used by Christian missionaries and subsequently became "standard Fijian." The Euro-Fijian community tends to be bilingual, particularly among the educated classes. Fijian Hindi is related to several Hindi-related North Indian languages, and the Chinese community is primarily Cantonese-speaking.
Symbolism. The national flag includes the British Union Jack and Fiji's coat of arms, which still bears British national symbols and, in Fijian, the motto "Fear God and Honor the Monarch." Three of the quadrants of the shield on the coat of arms depict sugarcane, the coconut palm, and bananas, and the fourth quadrant shows a dove of peace. The national anthem is based on a Fijian hymn, but the words are in English. Government offices, police and military uniforms still display the British crown, while the currency (the Fijian dollar) continues to bear a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II.
History and Ethnic Relations
Emergence of the Nation. Indigenous Fijians are descended from the Lapita peoples, a seafaring group from eastern Indonesia or the Philippines who probably arrived in the Fiji Islands during the second millennium b.c.e. and later interbred first with Melanesians from the west and subsequently with Polynesians (also Lapita descendants) from the east. Before European contact, Fijian social organization featured (as it still does) patrilineal clans, subclans, and lineages, and by the nineteenth century there were forty chiefdoms, twelve of which dominated the political scene.
During the nineteenth century there was an influx of European beachcombers, traders, planters, and missionaries. The planters and traders soon attempted to set up a colony on the model of those of Australia and New Zealand. The indigenous chiefs, backed by European settler interests, established several confederated forms of government, the last of which, the United Kingdom of Fiji, represented an attempt at forming a modern independent multi-ethnic state. Many of the administrative arrangements of the kingdom were subsequently accepted by the British colonial administration. After an initial refusal, in 1874 Great Britain accepted an offer of cession from the self-styled "king of Viti" and other principal Fijian chiefs.
Britain believed that the islands could be economically self-sufficient through the establishment of sugarcane plantations but did not want to end the traditional way of life of the Fijians. In 1879, the first boatload of Indian indentured laborers arrived. In the next forty years, sixty thousand Indians were shipped to the islands, becoming a class of exploited plantation workers who lived in a world of violence, cut off from their cultural roots. Depressed economic conditions in India caused most of those laborers to remain after their contracts expired, finding work in agriculture, livestock raising, and small business enterprises.
National Identity. Common citizenship, multi-ethnic institutions (some schools, colleges, the police force, civil service, civil aviation authority, etc.), an English-language mass media that caters to a multi-ethnic clientele, national sporting teams that attract intense following, and pride in the beauty and bounty of their oceanic homeland, are some of the factors that help to create a "Fiji Islands" national identity that surmounts the otherwise all-important ethnic affiliations.
Ethnic Relations. The principal ethnic groups— Fijians, Indo-Fijians, and people of mixed Euro-Fijian descent—intermingle with ease at the work place, in shops and markets, and in some educational and recreational settings, but interact much less freely at home. Religion and domestic custom tend to cause greater division than does language. But political aspiration is perhaps the greatest divisive factor, with indigenous Fijians demanding political paramountcy and Indo-Fijians, political equality. Naturalized European and part-European communities tend to mingle more closely with ethnic Fijians than with Indo-Fijians.
Urbanism, Architecture, and the Use of Space
Most of Fiji's eighteen urban centers are on the two largest islands, Viti Levu and Vanua Levu. In the first half of the twentieth century, urban centers were dominated by South Asians and Europeans, while Fijians were considered essentially a rural people. Today, however, 40 percent of ethnic Fijians live in cities and towns. These urban areas are Western rather than Oceanic in appearance, and Suva still retains much of its distinctively British-style colonial architecture, although Asians have influenced the nature of the city and all the ethnic groups trade in the central market. In the colonial period, there was some residential segregation by ethnicity.
Smaller towns usually have a single main street, with shops on both sides, that eventually merges with the countryside; some have a few cross-streets. In most towns the bus station is a center of activity, lying near the market and itself filled with vendors.
Food and Economy
Food in Daily Life. Fijians have adopted chili peppers, unleavened bread, rice, vegetables, curries, and tea from the Indian population, while Indians have adapted to eating taro and cassava and drinking kava, a narcotic drink. However, the diets of the two groups remain noticeably different.
A traditional Fijian meal includes a starch, relishes, and a beverage. The starch component, which is referred to as "real food," is usually taro, yams, sweet potatoes, or manioc but may consist of tree crops such as breadfruit, bananas, and nuts. Because of its ease of cultivation, manioc has become the most widely consumed root crop. Relishes include meat, fish and seafood, and leafy vegetables. Canned meat and fish are also very popular. Vegetables often are boiled in coconut milk, another dietary staple. Soup is made of fish or vegetables. Water is the most common beverage, but coconut water and fruit juices also are drunk. Tea and an infusion of lemon leaves are served hot.
People generally eat three meals a day, but there is much variability in meal times and snacking is common. Most food is boiled, but some is broiled, roasted, or fried. Cooked food is served on a tablecloth spread on the floor mat inside the house. The evening meal, which is usually the most formal, requires the presence of all the family members and may not begin without the male head of the household. Men are served first and receive the best foods and the largest portions. Meals are meant to be shared as an expression of social harmony. Traditional food taboos relating to totemic animals and plants generally are ignored.
Indo-Fijian meals also include starch and relishes, and men and women eat separately. The staple tends to be either flatbread made from imported flour or else locally grown rice. Relishes are primarily vegetarian, but some meat and fish is consumed when it is available. Many Indo-Fijians obey religious prohibitions against beef (Hindus) or pork (Muslims). As with Fijians, most cooking is done by women.
Restaurants, tea shops, kava bars, and food stalls are ubiquitous in the towns. In the larger towns, Euro-Fijian, French, Indian, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and American fast-food restaurants serve a multi-ethnic clientele of local people, resident expatriates, and tourists.
Food Custom at Ceremonial Occasions. In a culture of gift giving, feasting on special occasions is a common practice among ethnic Fijians. The offering of food in substantial quantities (magiti ) is an essential aspect of traditional community life. Ceremonial foods may be offered cooked or raw and often include entire pigs, oxen, or turtles as well as everyday foods such as canned fish and corned beef. The offering of ceremonial food often is preceded by the presentation of a "lead gift" such as whale's teeth, bark cloth, or kava. Among Indo-Fijians, feasting is associated with marriages and religious festivals. Kava and alcoholic drinks may be drunk on these occasions.
Basic Economy. Most ethnic Fijians who live in villages grow food in gardens where they may use swidden (slash-and-burn) agricultural techniques. The tourist industry draws vacationers primarily from Australia, New Zealand, and North America as well as Japan and Western Europe. Sugar production, begun in 1862, dominates and now engages over half the workforce. A garment industry relies on cheap labor, mostly female. The only commercially valuable mineral is gold, which has declined in importance since 1940, when it generated 40 percent of export earnings. Commercial agriculture consists of the production of copra, rice, cocoa, coffee, sorghum, fruits and vegetables, tobacco, and kava. The livestock and fishing industries have grown in importance.
Land Tenure and Property. The three types of land tenure involve native, state, and freehold land. Native lands (82 percent of the total) are the property of the ethnic Fijian community and consist of all land that was not sold to foreign settlers before colonization. Over 30 percent of native land is classified as "reserved" and can be rented only to ethnic Fijians and "Fijian entities" such as churches and schools. After 1966, Indo-Fijians were given thirty-year leases on their farmlands. The land tenure system dictates not only who can work a plot of land but which crops can be cultivated and what kind of settlement pattern can be established. Fijians who live in villages engage in subsistence farming on descent-group allotments, guided by traditional agricultural practices.
Commercial Activities. Some subsistence farmers earn cash from the sale of copra, cocoa, kava, manioc, pineapples, bananas, and fish. There are many Indo-Fijian and Chinese, but many fewer ethnic Fijian, shopkeepers and small-scale businessmen. The provision of tourist services also provides a living for some members of all the ethnic groups.
Major Industries. Most industrial production involves tourism, sugar, clothing, and gold mining. In 1994, over three hundred thousand tourists and seventeen thousand cruise ship passengers visited the islands. Most hotels are situated on secluded beaches and offshore islands; individual thatched tourist cabins are loosely modeled on village architecture. The largely government-owned Fiji Sugar Corporation has a monopoly on sugar milling and marketing. There is a rum distillery at Lautoka.
Trade. The major export items are sugar, fish, gold, and garments. The main export destinations are Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, and Singapore. Imports include mutton and goat meat from New Zealand and a wide-range of consumer goods, principally of East Asian origin.
Division of Labor. The majority of indigenous Fijians who live in rural areas are either subsistence farmers and fishermen or small-scale cash croppers, while in town they are largely in service-providing occupations, as unskilled, semi-skilled, or skilled workers. Rural Indo-Fijians are mostly cane farmers on leased land, while Indo-Fijians at the other end of the scale largely dominate the manufacturing, distribution, commercial farming, and service industries. Other non-ethnic Fijians and expatriates also have some input in these sectors, but ethnic Fijians are minimally involved, either as owners or entrepreneurs.
Classes and Castes. Precolonial society was highly stratified, with two major groups: gentry and commoners. Hereditary chiefs were distinguished by refined manners, dignity, honor, and self-confidence. Chiefs had to be addressed in a special "high language." In the nineteenth century, European settlers brought Western ideas of social class, while Indian indentured plantation laborers included people of many castes. The British colonial administration established a social hierarchy generally informed by nineteenth-century Western ideas about race and class. European people had the highest status, but Fijians, especially their chiefs, were ranked above Indo-Fijians who were tainted with the stigma of "coolie" laborers. After independence, Fijian chiefs, allied with foreign and local business interests and some wealthy Indians, dominated the national polity.
Symbols of Social Stratification. Capitalist penetration of the Fijian Islands over more than a hundred years has produced some class stratification, especially in the urban areas. There an elite that has numerous international contacts (both within the Pacific Islands and far beyond) enjoys a material lifestyle which, if not effusively affluent, certainly distinguishes its membership from that of the urban proletariat in terms of housing, the employment of domestic servants, household gadgetry, transport facilities, entertainment, and the like.
Government. As a British crown colony from 1874 to 1970, Fiji had a dual system of governance: one for the country as a whole, and the other exclusively for the ethnic Fijian population. Although a British governor administered the country and was the ultimate authority, British officials avoided interfering in the affairs of the autonomous Fijian administration. The colony had an executive council dominated by the governor and British administrators and a legislative council that eventually included resident European as well as Fijian legislators. The Indian population received the right to vote in 1929, and Fijians (previously represented by their chiefs) in 1963. The Fijian Affairs Board included an appointed Fijian secretary of Fijian affairs, Fijian members of the legislative council, and legal and financial advisers. The Council of Chiefs was established in 1876 to represent the interests of the chiefly class.
In the 1960s, the British prepared the country for independence by making the government elective rather than appointed. In 1970, Fiji obtained independence as a dominion within the British Commonwealth, and an ethnically-based parliamentary democracy with an independent judiciary was put in place. The House of Representatives had twenty-two seats reserved for Fijians, twenty-two for Indo-Fijians, and eight for all the other ethnic groups. The Senate was appointed by the Council of Chiefs, the prime minister, the leader of the opposition, and the Council of Rotuma.
In 1987, two military coups overthrew Fiji's democratic institutions, supposedly in the interests of the indigenous population. Power was handed over to a civilian government, and the constitution of 1990 provided that the prime minister and president would always be ethnic Fijians. In 1997, the constitution was revised to grant more power to the other ethnic groups, ensure the separation of church and state, guarantee equality before the law for all citizens, and encourage voting across ethnic lines. The appointment of the majority of senators by the Council of Chiefs was meant to safeguard the rights and privileges of the indigenous peoples. In 1999, an Indian-led political party won the first general election under the new constitution and an ethnic Indian became the prime minister. This situation led to an attempted coup in the year 2000.
Leadership and Political Officials. There are ethnically-based political parties as well as those that cross ethnic divides. The Fijian Association, an ethnic Fijian party established in 1956, formed the core of the Alliance Party, a coalition of conservative ethnically-based political organizations. The Federation Party grew out of conflict between Indo-Fijian cane farmers and foreign agricultural interests that culminated in a sugar-cane farmers' strike in 1960. In 1975, more radical Fijians split from the Alliance Party to form the Fijian Nationalist Party, which recommended the repatriation of all Indo-Fijians to India. In 1985, the labor movement founded its own multi-ethnic Fijian Labour Party. In 1987, a multiethnic socialist coalition was overthrown by the military. These parties have continued to vie for election, although in 2000 the constitution of 1997 was abrogated as part of a military takeover after an attempted civilian coup.
Social Problems and Control. Violent crime, alcohol and drug abuse, juvenile delinquency, unwanted pregnancy, and poor health are the major social problems. They have increased in frequency and severity as a result of migration to urban centers, where work is hard to find and traditional social restraints are frequently absent, and due to the inability of the economy to provide an adequate standard of living. Theft and assault are the major crimes.
The high court, a court of appeals, and a supreme court constitute the core of the justice system. The chief justice of the high court and some other judges are appointed by the president. The Republic of Fiji Police Force was established in 1874 as the Fijian Constabulary and now has two thousand members, over half of whom are ethnic Fijians and 3 percent of whom are female. It is responsible for internal security, drug control, and the maintenance of law and order. The police force has been invited to contribute to United Nations peacekeeping activities in Namibia, Iraq, the Solomon Islands, and several other countries. There are prisons in Suva and Naboro.
Military Activity. The Republic of Fiji Military Forces was established to defend the nation's territorial sovereignty. It is staffed almost exclusively by ethnic Fijians, some of whom have received training in Australia, New Zealand, and Great Britain. In the absence of exterior military threats, this force has assumed some policing and civic duties as well as serving abroad under the United Nations. It also fulfills a ceremonial function on state occasions. Since 1987 the army has on three occasions for a limited period of time assumed political control of the nation. A naval squadron was formed in 1975 to protect the country's territorial waters and marine economic zone. After the military coups of 1987, the size of the armed forces was doubled.
Social Welfare and Change Programs
Traditionally, social welfare was the responsibility of religious and private organizations rather than the government, but development plans have consistently stressed the need for primary health care, drinkable water, sanitary facilities, low-cost housing, and electricity for low-income and rural families. Other programs include assistance to poor families, the elderly, and the handicapped; rehabilitation of former prisoners; social welfare training; and legal aid services. The Department of Social Welfare runs a boys' center, a girls' home, and three old-age homes.
Nongovernmental Organizations and Other Associations
Voluntary and religious organizations provide services ranging from kindergartens for poor children to care for the blind, the handicapped, and the cognitively disadvantaged. Christian organizations such as the Salvation Army, YMCA, and Saint Vincent de Paul Society as well as Habitat for Humanity run rehabilitation centers and help construct low-cost housing. Hindu and Muslim religious organizations provide services to their own communities. Secular organizations also help deal with the country's social welfare needs.
Gender Roles and Statuses
Division of Labor by Gender. Men associate primarily with other men, and women's activities are performed mostly with other women. A woman's traditional role is to be a homemaker, a mother, and an obedient wife. Men are the primary breadwinners, although women also contribute to the family economy. Ethnic Fijian women fish, collect shell-fish, weed gardens, and gather firewood; men clear land for gardens, hunt, fish, build houses, and mow the grass around the home and village. Among Indo-Fijians, men and women lead largely separate lives. Women help in the cultivation of rice and sugar.
In 1996, the labor force was 76 percent male and 24 percent female, with women working primarily in education and health. Eighty-two percent of legislative and high civil service positions were held by men, along with a similar proportion of executive jobs in the private sector.
The Relative Status of Women and Men. The Fijian and Indo-Fijian societies are strongly patrifocal, and a woman is formally subordinate to her husband in regard to decision making. Unless a woman is of high rank, she has little influence in her village. Although girls do better than boys in schools, fewer women than men receive a higher education. Rising poverty levels have forced many women into the lowest ranks of wage-earning jobs, and there has been an increase in the number of female-headed households and an erosion of traditional family values. Women are often victims of domestic violence and are over-represented among the unemployed and the poor. Fijian women have made greater advances than have Indo-Fijian women, often through the efforts of the National Council of Women, which has a program that encourages greater political involvement among women.
Marriage, Family, And Kinship
Marriage. Among ethnic Fijians, marriages were traditionally arranged, with the groom's father often selecting a bride from a subclan with which his family had a long-term relationship; ties between lineages and families were strengthened in this manner. Today, although individuals choose their spouses freely, marriage is still considered an alliance between groups rather than individuals. When parental approval is refused, a couple may elope. To avoid the shame of an irregular relationship, the husband's parents must quickly offer their apologies and bring gifts to the wife's family, who are obliged to accept them. Marriage is no longer polygynous, but divorce and remarriage are common. Intermarriage is rare with Indo-Fijians, but Fijians often marry Europeans, Pacific islanders, and Chinese. Indo-Fijian marriages traditionally were also parentally arranged. Religiously sanctioned marriages are the norm, but civil registration has been required since 1928.
Domestic Unit. Among ethnic Fijians, leve ni vale ("people of the house") include family members who eat together, share their economic resources, and have access to all parts of the house. The domestic unit typically consists of the senior couple, their unmarried children, and a married son with his wife and children and may extend to include an aged widowed parent, a sister of the head of the household, and grandchildren. Older people seldom live alone. Nuclear families are becoming more common in urban areas. The male household head controls the economic activity of the other males, and his wife supervises the other women. Indo-Fijians in rural areas live mostly in scattered homesteads rather than in villages. Their households tend now to comprise a nuclear family rather than the traditional joint-family of the past.
Inheritance. Among Fijians and Indo-Fijians, inheritance is largely patrilineal. Traditionally, a man inherited the symbols, social status, and property rights of his father's subclan, although men sometimes inherit from the mother or wife's family as well. Today property other than native land may be willed to anyone. National law dictates that a surviving widow is entitled to a third of intestate property, with the remaining two-thirds apportioned among the deceased's heirs, including daughters.
Kin Groups. For ethnic Fijians, interpersonal relationships and social behavior are governed by links of kinship. Households affiliate with households with which they share a male ancestor, forming an extended family group with extensive social and economic interactions. These lineages combine to form a patrilineal subclan (mataqali ), which typically has exclusive claim to part of a village, where its members locate their homes. A village may have several subclans, among which the chiefly subclan dominates, receiving hereditary services from the others. These subclans are exogamous, and the members refer to each other by using kinship terms. Subclans come together to form clans (yavusa ) that claim a common male ancestor, often from the distant past. Indo-Fijians arrived too recently to have developed extrafamilial kin groups similar to Indian castes. Kin-related activities involve actual or fictive paternal and maternal relatives.
Infant Care. The Fijian and Indo-Fijian communities pamper infants, providing them with every comfort and convenience and enveloping them in an atmosphere of loving attention. Older people are particularly affectionate toward the very young. As an infant grows, it is disciplined and socialized by both parents but especially the mother, siblings, and other members of the domestic unit.
Child Rearing and Education. Among ethnic Fijians, a child's level of maturity is measured by its capacity to experience shame and fear. Children learn to fear being alone in the dark and to feel safe at home and in the village as opposed to the forest. Mothers warn children that at night the souls of the recent dead can snatch them away, and children are threatened with supernatural misfortune in the form of ogres and devils. Children are given a great deal of freedom but are expected to recognize shame related to bodily functions and to being in the presence of social superiors. Children are socialized between three and six years of age by being taught about their role in the subclan and their familial inheritance.
Indo-Fijians traditionally have permitted their children much less freedom but have now begun to adopt Western ideas about child raising. In traditional homes, the relationship between father and son is formal and reserved, but fathers are more affectionate toward their daughters, who will leave the family after marriage. Mothers are extremely indulgent toward their sons and strict with their daughters, whom they prepare for the role of a daughter-in-law.
Public education is strongly influenced by Western prototypes and is considered the route to economic, social, and political opportunities. Schooling is not compulsory, but every child is guaranteed access to eight years of primary and seven years of secondary education. Primary schools are free, and secondary education is subsidized by the government. Most schools are run by the local community and cater to a specific ethnic group. English becomes the language of education after the fourth year.
Higher Education. The government supports thirty-seven vocational and technical schools, including the Fiji Institute of Technology, the School of Maritime Studies, and the School of Hotel and Catering Services. Agricultural, teacher training, medical, nursing, and theological colleges draw students from other Pacific nations. Fiji makes the largest contribution to the University of the South Pacific (USP), which was founded in 1968; its main campus in Suva has over four thousand students, and there are another four thousand external students. Half the faculty members are from the region, with the remainder coming mostly from Western and South Asian countries.
Ethnic Fijians have informal personal relationships but also follow a tradition of ritual formality in a hierarchical society. In rural areas, people do not pass others without saying a word of greeting; the gentry receive a special form of greeting. In villages, the central area is where the chiefly lineage lives and people must show respect by not wearing scanty dress, hats, sunglasses, garlands, or shoulder bags, and by not speaking or laughing boisterously.
Footwear is removed before one enters a house. Guests are expected to hesitate before entering a house and to seat themselves near the door until invited to proceed further. A complex system of gift giving and receiving has existed for centuries. Sperm whale teeth (tabua ) are the most precious items of exchange and are given at marriages, funerals and other important ritual occasions. Formal and lengthy speeches accompany the presentation of a whale's tooth. Guests are given kava to drink to promote solidarity between kin, friends, and acquaintances.
Among Indo-Fijians, domestic norms are determined by gender and age, although etiquette is less formal. Sons treat their fathers with great respect, and younger brothers defer to older brothers. Females are socially segregated, but urban living has eroded this practice.
Religious Beliefs. The population is 53 percent Christian, 38 percent Hindu, and 8 percent Muslim, with small groups of Sikhs and people who profess no religion. The pre-Christian religion of the Fijians was both animistic and polytheistic, and included a cult of chiefly ancestors. There was belief in a life after death. Souls of the departed were thought both to travel to a land of the dead and at the same time to remain close to their graves. Modern Christian Fijians still fear their spirit ancestors.
Christianity was brought to the islands in the 1830s primarily by Methodist missionaries. Other denominations became active after World War II, and fundamentalist and evangelical sects have grown in membership over the last two decades.
Indo-Fijian Hindus follow a variety of religious customs brought by their forebears from India and are divided between the reformed and the orthodox. The religious practices of Hindus, Muslims, and Sikhs inherited from India are characterized by fasts, feasts, and festivals as well as prescribed rituals that cover major life events.
Religious Practitioners. Priests of the traditional Fijian religion were intermediaries between gods and men. Today, Protestant ministers, Catholic priests, and lay preachers are the dominant religious leaders of the Fijians. In the Indo-Fijian community, religious scholars, holy men, and temple priests are the most important religious practitioners.
Rituals and Holy Places. In the pre-Christian Fijian religion, every village had a temple where people made gifts to the gods through a priestly oracle. In the nineteenth century, those temples were torn down and replaced with Christian churches, which became showpieces of village architecture. Indo-Fijian Hinduism relies on stories, songs, and rituals to teach its precepts. Ritualized readings of the Ramayana and worship before divine images at home or in a temple are important aspects of religious life. Annual ceremonies are sponsored by many temples.
Death and the Afterlife. Death evokes strong emotional and elaborate ritual responses in both Fijian and Indo-Fijian communities. But here the similarities end. Ethnic Fijians, almost entirely Christian, have integrated church-focused Christian practices and beliefs with their traditional funerary customs of gift-giving, feasting, kava drinking, and observance of mourning restrictions. Favoring burial over cremation, they also erect elaborate and colorful cloth decorations over their graves. Although Christian ideas of heaven and hell are thoroughly integrated into the Fijians' present-day belief system, old beliefs in the power of ancestral spirits still linger on. Among Indo-Fijians, Hindus may cremate their dead, though this is not the norm, as it is in India; Muslims insist on burial. These two religions offer very different visions of life after death: Hindus assume that the deceased's soul will be reborn and Muslims are confident that the true believer will be rewarded with eternal life in paradise.
Medicine and Health Care
Ethnic Fijians often attribute sickness to supernatural entities in their pre-Christian belief system. Illnesses that are ascribed to natural causes are treated with Western medicine and medical practices, but illnesses that are thought to result from sorcery are treated by traditional healers, including seers, diviners, massage masters, and herbalists. Healing occurs in a ritual context as the forces of good battle those of evil. Muslims and Hindus also turn to religious leaders to request divine intervention in the case of illness.
Government-provided biomedical services are available at several hospitals, health centers, and nursing stations. The Fiji School of Medicine is affiliated with the University of the South Pacific, and there is a Fiji School of Nursing and specialist hospitals in Suva for the treatment of leprosy, psychological disorders, and tuberculosis. Treatment is not free but is heavily subsidized by the government. Government-subsidized contraception is available throughout the islands as part of the family planning program.
National holidays include major Christian, Hindu, and Muslim holy days: Christmas, Easter, the Hindus' Divali, and the prophet Mohammed's birthday. Purely secular festivals include Ratu Sakuna Day, which honors the man whom many regard as the founder of modern Fiji; Constitution Day; and Fiji Day. None of these holidays provokes intense patriotic fervor.
The Arts and Humanities
Support for the Arts. The Fiji Arts Council, the Fiji Museum, and the National Trust are the chief government-backed sponsors of the arts. Most funding for the arts comes from the tourist industry and from galleries and studios, along with aid from foreign governments. The USP's Oceania Center for Arts and Culture, founded in 1997, sponsors workshops and holds exhibitions of paintings and sculpture as well as music and dance performances and poetry readings.
Literature. The Fijian tradition of storytelling around the kava bowl has been maintained, as have recitations of the Ramayana in Hindu homes and temples. There is a small community of writers, many of them associated with the USP. Traditional legends and modern social analysis are common themes in Fijian literature, whereas Indo-Fijian literary works tend to concentrate on injustices during the period of indentured servitude.
Graphic Arts. Almost every Fijian girl learns the art of weaving baskets and mats for home and ceremonial use. The production of bark cloth is another traditional female skill; the cloth, which is used as traditional clothing and is still important in Fijian ceremonies, is now also sold to tourists in the form of wall hangings and handbags. War clubs, spears, decorated hooks, kava bowls, and "cannibal forks" are carved by men almost entirely for tourist consumption. Pottery is made by women.
Performance Arts. The traditional dance theater (meke ) combines singing, chanting, drumming, and stylized movements of the upper body to recreate stories, myths, and legends. Village-based, it is performed on special occasions such as the visit of a chief, a life-cycle event, or a ceremonial gift exchange. The Dance Theater of Fiji now choreographs these performances for modern audiences. Indo-Fijian and Chinese dances have been preserved and are taught in those communities. Ethnic Fijian choral singing is performed both during religious services and for secular entertainment; almost every village church has a choir. Western popular music is played live and on the radio. Among Indo-Fijians too, both secular and sacred music has maintained its popularity.
The State of the Physical and Social Sciences
Social science education and research are centered in the University of the South Pacific's School of Social and Economic Development and the associated South Pacific Social Sciences Association. The Institute of Pacific Studies publishes academic works in sociology, ethnology, religion, culture, and literature. The Institute of Fijian Language and Culture, which was founded in 1987, has been working to produce a Fijian dictionary; it also produces radio and television programs.
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Belshaw, Cyril S. Under the Ivi Tree: Society and Economic Growth in Rural Fiji, 1964.
Biturogoiwasa, Solomoni, with Anthony R. Walker. My Village, My Life: Life in Nadoria, Fiji, 2001.
Clunie, Ferguson. Yalo I Viti: Shades of Viti–A Fiji Museum Catalogue, 1986.
Derrick, R. A. The Fiji Islands: A Geographical Handbook, 1951.
France, Peter. The Charter of the Land: Custom and Colonization in Fiji, 1969.
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Geraghty, Paul. The History of the Fijian Languages, 1983.
Hocart, A. M. Lau Islands, Fiji, 1929.
Howard, Michael C. Fiji: Race and Politics in an Island State, 1991.
Kaplan, Martha. Neither Cargo nor Cult: Ritual Politics and the Colonial Imagination in Fiji, 1995.
Katz, Richard. The Straight Path: A Story of Healing and Transformation in Fiji, 1993.
Kelly, John D. A Politics of Virtue: Hinduism, Sexuality and Countercolonial Discourse in Fiji, 1991.
Kirch, Patrick Vinton. The Lapita Peoples: Ancestors of the Oceanic World, 1997.
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Mayer, Adrian C. Peasants of the Pacific: A Study of Fiji Indian Rural Society, 1961.
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——. Tradition and Change in the Fijian Village, 1978.
Norton, Robert. Race and Politics in Fiji, 1977.
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Routledge, David. Matanitu: The Struggle for Power in Early Fiji, 1985.
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—Anthony R. Walker
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WALKER, ANTHONY R.. "Fiji." Countries and Their Cultures. 2001. Retrieved July 26, 2016 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-3401700088.html
■ INDO-FIJIANS … 163
The people of Fiji are called Fijians. The population is estimated to be 49 percent native Fijian. About 46 percent, known as Indo-Fijians, are of Indian origin. The remainder trace their origin to other Pacific or European groups.
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"Fiji." Junior Worldmark Encyclopedia of World Cultures. 1999. Retrieved July 26, 2016 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-3435900168.html
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"Fiji." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. 2007. Retrieved July 26, 2016 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1O233-Fiji.html