FIJI (/ˈfiːdʒiː/ ( listen ) FEE-jee ; Fijian : VITI ; Fiji
Hindi : फ़िजी), officially the REPUBLIC OF FIJI (Fijian :
MATANITU TUGALALA O VITI;
Fiji Hindi : फ़िजी
गणराज्य), is an island country in
Melanesia in the
Pacific Ocean about 1,100 nautical miles (2,000 km ; 1,300 mi )
New Zealand 's
North Island . Its closest neighbours are
Vanuatu to the west,
New Caledonia to the southwest,
New Zealand 's
Kermadec Islands to the southeast,
Tonga to the east, the Samoas and
Wallis and Futuna to the northeast, and
Tuvalu to the north.
Fiji is an archipelago of more than 330 islands, of which 110 are
permanently inhabited, and more than 500 islets , amounting to a total
land area of about 18,300 square kilometres (7,100 sq mi). The
farthest island is
Ono-i-Lau . The two major islands,
Viti Levu and
Vanua Levu , account for 87% of the total population of 898,760. The
Suva on Viti Levu, serves as Fiji's principal cruise port.
About three-quarters of
Fijians live on Viti Levu's coasts , either in
Suva or in smaller urban centres like
Nadi (tourism) or Lautoka
(sugar cane industry ). Viti Levu's interior is sparsely inhabited due
to its terrain.
Fiji has one of the most developed economies in the Pacific due to an
abundance of forest, mineral, and fish resources. Today, the main
sources of foreign exchange are its tourist industry and sugar
exports. The country's currency is the
Fijian dollar . Fiji's local
government, in the form of city and town councils , is supervised by
the Ministry of Local Government and Urban Development.
The majority of Fiji's islands were formed through volcanic activity
starting around 150 million years ago. Today, some geothermal activity
still occurs on the islands of
Vanua Levu and
Fiji has been
inhabited since the second millennium BC, and was settled first by
Austronesians and later by
Melanesians , with some Polynesian
influences. Europeans visited
Fiji from the 17th century, and, after
a brief period as an independent kingdom , the British established the
Colony of Fiji in 1874.
Fiji was a
Crown colony until 1970, when it
gained independence as the
Dominion of Fiji . A republic was declared
in 1987, following a series of coups d\'état .
In a coup in 2006 , Commodore
Frank Bainimarama seized power. When
the High Court ruled in 2009 that the military leadership was
Josefa Iloilo , whom the military had
retained as the nominal Head of State , formally abrogated the
Constitution and reappointed Bainimarama. Later in 2009, Iloilo was
replaced as President by
Epeli Nailatikau . After years of
delays, a democratic election was held on 17 September 2014 .
FijiFirst party won with 59.2% of the vote, and the
election was deemed credible by international observers.
* 1 Etymology
* 2 History
* 2.1 Early history
* 2.2 Independence (1970)
* 3 Geography
* 3.1 Climate
* 4 Politics
* 4.1 2006 military takeover
* 4.2 Armed forces and law enforcement
* 4.3 Administrative divisions
* 5 Economy
* 5.1 Tourism
* 5.2 Transport
* 6 Science and technology
* 7 Society
* 7.1 Demographics
* 7.3 Family groups
* 7.5 Languages
* 7.6 Religion
* 7.7 Education
* 8 Culture
* 8.1 Holidays and festivals
* 8.2 Sport
* 8.2.1 Rugby union
* 8.2.2 Rugby league
* 8.2.3 Rugby war dance (
Cibi and Bole) and Fijian hymn
* 8.2.5 Basketball
* 9 See also
* 10 References
* 11 Sources
* 12 Further reading
* 13 External links
Fiji's main island is known as
Viti Levu and it is from this that the
name "Fiji" is derived, though the common English pronunciation is
based on that of their island neighbours in
Tonga . Its emergence can
be described as follows:
Fijians first impressed themselves on European consciousness through
the writings of the members of the expeditions of Cook who met them in
Tonga. They were described as formidable warriors and ferocious
cannibals, builders of the finest vessels in the Pacific, but not
great sailors. They inspired awe amongst the Tongans, and all their
Manufactures, especially bark cloth and clubs, were highly valued and
much in demand. They called their home Viti, but the Tongans called it
Fisi, and it was by this foreign pronunciation, Fiji, first
promulgated by Captain James Cook, that these islands are now known.
"Feejee", the Anglicised spelling of the Tongan pronunciation, was
used in accounts and other writings until the late 19th century, by
missionaries and other travellers visiting Fiji.
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History of Fiji
Pottery art from Fijian towns shows that
Fiji was settled before or
around 3500 to 1000 BC, although the question of Pacific migration
still lingers. It is believed that the
Lapita people or the ancestors
Polynesians settled the islands first but not much is known of
what became of them after the
Melanesians arrived; they may have had
some influence on the new culture, and archaeological evidence shows
that they would have then moved on to
Tonga and even Hawai'i.
The first Europeans to land and live among the
shipwrecked sailors like Charles Savage .
The first settlements in
Fiji were started by voyaging traders and
settlers from the west about 5000 years ago.
Lapita pottery shards
have been found at numerous excavations around the country. Aspects of
Fijian culture are similar to the Melanesian culture of the western
Pacific but have a stronger connection to the older Polynesian
cultures. Trade between
Fiji and neighbouring archipelagos long before
European contact is testified by the canoes made from native Fijian
trees found in
Tonga and Tongan words being part of the language of
the Lau group of islands. Pots made in
Fiji have been found in Samoa
and even the
Marquesas Islands .
Tanoa Visawaqa .
Across 1,000 kilometres (620 mi) from east to west,
Fiji has been a
nation of many languages. Fiji's history was one of settlement but
also of mobility. Over the centuries, a unique Fijian culture
developed. Constant warfare and cannibalism between warring tribes
were quite rampant and very much part of everyday life. During the
Ratu Udre Udre is said to have consumed 872 people and
to have made a pile of stones to record his achievement. According to
Deryck Scarr, "Ceremonial occasions saw freshly killed corpses piled
up for eating. 'Eat me!' was a proper ritual greeting from a commoner
to a chief." Scarr also reported that the posts that supported the
chief's house or the priest's temple would have sacrificed bodies
buried underneath them, with the rationale that the spirit of the
ritually sacrificed person would invoke the gods to help support the
structure, and "men were sacrificed whenever posts had to be renewed".
Also, when a new boat, or drua, was launched, if it was not hauled
over men as rollers, crushing them to death, "it would not be expected
to float long".
Fijians today regard those times as "na gauna ni
tevoro" (time of the devil). The ferocity of the cannibal lifestyle
deterred European sailors from going near Fijian waters, giving Fiji
the name Cannibal Isles; as a result,
Fiji remained unknown to the
rest of the world. A Fijian mountain warrior, photograph by
Francis Herbert Dufty , 1870s.
The Dutch explorer
Abel Tasman visited
Fiji in 1643 while looking for
the Great Southern Continent. Europeans settled on the islands
permanently beginning in the 19th century. The first European
Fiji were beachcombers , missionaries, whalers, and those
engaged in the then booming sandalwood and bêche-de-mer trade.
Seru Epenisa Cakobau was a Fijian chief and warlord from the
island of Bau, off the eastern coast of Viti Levu, who united part of
Fiji's warring tribes under his leadership. He then styled himself as
Tui Viti or King of Fiji, and then Vunivalu, or Protector, after the
Fiji to the United Kingdom. The British subjugated the
islands as a colony in 1874 , and the British brought over Indian
contract labourers to work on the sugar plantations as the first
governor of Fiji, Arthur Charles Hamilton-Gordon , adopted a policy
disallowing the use of native labour or any interference in their
culture or way of life. In 1875–76, an epidemic of measles killed
over 40,000 Fijians, about one-third of the Fijian population. The
population in 1942 was approximately 210,000 of whom 94,000 were
Indians, 102,000 native Fijians, 2,000 Chinese and 5,000 Europeans.
The British granted
Fiji independence in 1970. Democratic rule was
interrupted by two military coups in 1987 precipitated by a growing
perception that the government was dominated by the Indo-Fijian
(Indian) community. The second 1987 coup saw both the Fijian monarchy
and the Governor General replaced by a non-executive president and the
name of the country changed from
Dominion of Fiji to
Republic of Fiji
and then in 1997 to
Republic of the
Fiji Islands. The two coups and
the accompanying civil unrest contributed to heavy Indo-Fijian
emigration; the resulting population loss resulted in economic
difficulties and ensured that
Melanesians became the majority.
In 1990, the new constitution institutionalised ethnic Fijian
domination of the political system. The Group Against Racial
Discrimination (GARD) was formed to oppose the unilaterally imposed
constitution and to restore the 1970 constitution. In 1992 Sitiveni
Rabuka , the Lieutenant Colonel who had carried out the 1987 coup,
became Prime Minister following elections held under the new
constitution. Three years later, Rabuka established the Constitutional
Review Commission , which in 1997 wrote a new constitution which was
supported by most leaders of the indigenous Fijian and Indo-Fijian
Fiji was re-admitted to the
Commonwealth of Nations
Commonwealth of Nations .
Levuka , 1842.
The year 2000 brought along another coup , instigated by George
Speight , which effectively toppled the government of Mahendra
Chaudhry , who in 1997 had become the country's first Indo-Fijian
Prime Minister following the adoption of the new constitution.
Frank Bainimarama assumed executive power after the
resignation, possibly forced, of President
Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara.
Later in 2000,
Fiji was rocked by two mutinies when rebel soldiers
went on a rampage at Suva's Queen Elizabeth Barracks. The High Court
ordered the reinstatement of the constitution, and in September 2001,
to restore democracy, a general election was held which was won by
interim Prime Minister
Laisenia Qarase 's Soqosoqo Duavata ni
In 2005, the Qarase government amid much controversy proposed a
Reconciliation and Unity Commission with power to recommend
compensation for victims of the 2000 coup and amnesty for its
perpetrators. However, the military, especially the nation's top
military commander, Frank Bainimarama, strongly opposed this bill.
Bainimarama agreed with detractors who said that to grant amnesty to
supporters of the present government who had played a role in the
violent coup was a sham. His attack on the legislation, which
continued unremittingly throughout May and into June and July, further
strained his already tense relationship with the government.
In late November and early December 2006, Bainimarama was
instrumental in the 2006 Fijian coup d\'état . Bainimarama handed
down a list of demands to Qarase after a bill was put forward to
parliament, part of which would have offered pardons to participants
in the 2000 coup attempt. He gave Qarase an ultimatum date of 4
December to accede to these demands or to resign from his post. Qarase
adamantly refused either to concede or resign, and on 5 December the
Josefa Iloilo , was said to have signed a legal order
dissolving the parliament after meeting with Bainimarama.
In April 2009, the
Fiji Court of Appeal ruled that the 2006 coup had
been illegal. This began the
2009 Fijian constitutional crisis .
President Iloilo abrogated the constitution, removed all office
holders under the constitution including all judges and the governor
of the Central Bank. He then reappointed Bainimarama under his "New
Order" as interim Prime Minister and imposed a "Public Emergency
Regulation" limiting internal travel and allowing press censorship.
For a country of its size,
Fiji has fairly large armed forces, and
has been a major contributor to
UN peacekeeping missions in various
parts of the world. In addition, a significant number of former
military personnel have served in the lucrative security sector in
Iraq following the 2003 US -led invasion.
Geography of Fiji See also:
Flora and fauna of Fiji
Fiji's location in Oceania. A map of
Coconut palms line the beaches of
Fiji covers a total area of some 194,000 square kilometres (75,000 sq
mi) of which around 10% is land.
Fiji is the hub of the South West Pacific, midway between
Tonga . The archipelago is located between 176° 53′ east and 178°
12′ west. The 180° meridian runs through
Taveuni but the
International Date Line is bent to give uniform time (UTC+12) to all
Fiji group. With the exception of Rotuma, the
Fiji group lies
between 15° 42′ and 20° 02′ south.
Rotuma is located 220
nautical miles (410 km; 250 mi) north of the group, 360 nautical miles
(670 km; 410 mi) from Suva, 12° 30′ south of the equator.
Fiji consists of 332 islands (of which 106 are inhabited) and 522
smaller islets. The two most important islands are
Viti Levu and Vanua
Levu , which account for about three-quarters of the total land area
of the country. The islands are mountainous, with peaks up to 1,324
metres (4,341 ft), and covered with thick tropical forests .
The highest point is
Mount Tomanivi on Viti Levu.
Viti Levu hosts the
capital city of
Suva , and is home to nearly three-quarters of the
population. Other important towns include
Nadi (the location of the
international airport), and
Lautoka , Fiji's second city with large
sugar cane mills and a seaport.
The main towns on
Vanua Levu are
Savusavu . Other islands
and island groups include
Taveuni and Kadavu (the third and fourth
largest islands, respectively), the
Mamanuca Group (just off Nadi) and
Yasawa Group , which are popular tourist destinations, the Lomaiviti
Group , off Suva, and the remote Lau Group .
Rotuma , some 270
nautical miles (500 km; 310 mi) north of the archipelago, has a
special administrative status in Fiji. Ceva-i-Ra , an uninhabited
reef, is located about 250 nautical miles (460 km; 290 mi) southwest
of the main archipelago.
The climate in
Fiji is tropical marine and warm year round with
minimal extremes. The warm season is from November to April and the
cooler season lasts from May to October. Temperatures in the cool
season still average 22 °C (72 °F). Rainfall is variable, with the
warm season experiencing heavier rainfall, especially inland. For the
larger islands, rainfall is heavier on the southeast portions of the
islands than on the northwest portions, with consequences for
agriculture in those areas. Winds are moderate, though cyclones occur
about once a year (10–12 times per decade).
On 20 February 2016,
Fiji was hit by the full force of Cyclone
Winston , the only
Category 5 tropical cyclone to make landfall in the
nation. Winston destroyed tens of thousands of homes across the
island, killing 44 people and causing an estimated FJ$2 billion ($1
billion USD) in damage.
Politics of Fiji
Fiji normally take place in the framework of a
parliamentary representative democratic republic wherein the Prime
Fiji is the head of government and the President the Head
of State , and of a multi-party system.
Executive power is exercised
by the government, legislative power is vested in both the government
Parliament of Fiji , and the judiciary is independent of the
executive and the legislature.
2006 MILITARY TAKEOVER
Main article: 2006 Fijian coup d\'état
Citing corruption in the government, Commodore Josaia Voreqe (Frank)
Bainimarama , Commander of the
Fiji Military Forces,
staged a military takeover on 5 December 2006 against the prime
minister that he had installed after a 2000 coup. There had also been
a military coup in 1987. The commodore took over the powers of the
presidency and dissolved the parliament, paving the way for the
military to continue the takeover. The coup was the culmination of
weeks of speculation following conflict between the elected prime
minister, Laisenia Qarase, and Commodore Bainimarama. Bainimarama had
repeatedly issued demands and deadlines to the prime minister. A
particular issue was previously pending legislation to pardon those
involved in the 2000 coup. Bainimarama named
Jona Senilagakali as
caretaker prime minister. The next week Bainimarama said he would ask
Great Council of Chiefs to restore executive powers to the
Ratu Josefa Iloilo.
On 4 January 2007, the military announced that it was restoring
executive power to president Iloilo, who made a broadcast endorsing
the actions of the military. The next day, Iloilo named Bainimarama
as the interim prime minister, indicating that the military was still
effectively in control. In the wake of the takeover, reports emerged
of alleged intimidation of some of those critical of the interim
On 9 April 2009, the Court of Appeal overturned the High Court
decision that Cdre. Bainimarama's takeover of Qarase's government was
lawful and declared the interim government to be illegal. Bainimarama
agreed to step down as interim PM immediately, along with his
government, and president Iloilo was to appoint "a distinguished
person independent of the parties to this litigation as caretaker
Prime Minister, ...to direct the issuance of writs for an election."
On 10 April 2009, President Iloilo suspended the Constitution of
Fiji, dismissed the Court of Appeal and, in his own words, "appoint
self as the Head of the State of
Fiji under a new legal order". As
President, Iloilo had been Head of State prior to his abrogation of
the Constitution, but that position had been determined by the
Constitution itself. The "new legal order" did not depend on the
Constitution, thus requiring a "reappointment" of the Head of State.
"You will agree with me that this is the best way forward for our
beloved Fiji", he said. Bainimarama was re-appointed as Interim Prime
Minister; he, in turn, re-instated his previous cabinet.
On 2 May 2009,
Fiji became the first nation ever to have been
suspended from participation in the
Pacific Islands Forum , for its
failure to hold democratic elections by the date promised.
Nevertheless, it remains a member of the Forum.
On 1 September 2009,
Fiji was suspended from the Commonwealth of
Nations . The action was taken because Cdre. Bainimarama failed to
hold elections by 2010 as the
Commonwealth of Nations
Commonwealth of Nations had demanded
after the 2006 coup. Cdre. Bainimarama stated a need for more time to
end a voting system that heavily favoured ethnic
Fijians at the
expense of the multi-ethnic minorities. Critics, however, claimed that
he had suspended the constitution and was responsible for human rights
violations by arresting and detaining opponents.
In his 2010 New Year's address, Cdre. Bainimarama announced the
lifting of the Public Emergency Regulations (PER). The PER had been
put in place in April 2009 when the former constitution was abrogated.
The PER had allowed restrictions on speech, public gatherings, and
censorship of news media and had given security forces added powers.
He also announced a nationwide consultation process leading to a new
Constitution under which the 2014 elections will be held.
On 14 March 2014, the
Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group voted to
change Fiji's full suspension from the
Commonwealth of Nations
Commonwealth of Nations to a
suspension from the councils of the Commonwealth, allowing them to
participate in a number of Commonwealth activities, including the 2014
Commonwealth Games . The suspension was lifted in September 2014.
A general election took place on 17 September 2014 . Bainimarama's
FijiFirst party won with 59.2% of the vote, and the election was
deemed credible by a group of international observers from Australia,
India and Indonesia.
ARMED FORCES AND LAW ENFORCEMENT
The military consists of the
Fiji Military Forces (RFMF)
with a total manpower of 3,500 active soldiers and 6,000 reservists,
and includes a Navy Unit of 300 personnel.
The Land Force comprises the
Fiji Infantry Regiment (regular and
territorial force organised into six light infantry battalions), Fiji
Engineer Regiment, Logistic Support Unit and Force Training Group. The
two regular battalions are traditionally stationed overseas on
The Law Enforcement branch is composed of:
Fiji Police Force
Fiji Corrections Service
Local government of Fiji A map of Fiji's
Fiji is divided into Four Major Divisions which are further divided
into 14 provinces. They are:
* Central Division has 5 provinces: Naitasiri , Namosi , Rewa ,
Serua , and Tailevu .
* Eastern Division has 3 provinces: Kadavu , Lau , and Lomaiviti .
* Northern Division has 3 provinces: Bua , Cakaudrove , and Macuata
* Western Division has 3 provinces: Ba , Nadroga-Navosa , and Ra .
Fiji was also divided into 3 Confederacies or Governments during the
Seru Epenisa Cakobau , though these are not considered
political divisions, they are still considered important in the social
divisions of the indigenous Fijians:
Ro Teimumu Vuikaba Kepa
Ratu Naiqama Tawake Lalabalavu
Economy of Fiji A proportional representation of
Fiji's exports. Suva, capital and commercial centre of
Endowed with forest, mineral, and fish resources,
Fiji is one of the
most developed of the Pacific island economies, though still with a
large subsistence sector . Some progress was experienced by this
Marion M. Ganey , S.J., introduced credit unions to the
islands in the 1950s. Natural resources include timber, fish, gold,
copper, offshore oil, and hydropower.
Fiji experienced a period of
rapid growth in the 1960s and 1970s but stagnated in the 1980s. The
coup of 1987 caused further contraction.
Economic liberalisation in the years following the coup created a
boom in the garment industry and a steady growth rate despite growing
uncertainty regarding land tenure in the sugar industry. The
expiration of leases for sugar cane farmers (along with reduced farm
and factory efficiency) has led to a decline in sugar production
despite subsidies for sugar provided by the EU;
Fiji has been the
second largest beneficiary of sugar subsidies after
Mauritius . Fiji's
vital gold mining industry based in
Vatukoula , which shut down in
2006, was reactivated in 2008.
Urbanisation and expansion in the service sector have contributed to
recent GDP growth. Sugar exports and a rapidly growing tourist
industry – with tourists numbering 430,800 in 2003 and increasing
in the subsequent years – are the major sources of foreign exchange.
Fiji is highly dependent on tourism for revenue. Sugar processing
makes up one-third of industrial activity. Long-term problems include
low investment and uncertain property rights. The political turmoil in
Fiji in the 1980s, the 1990s, and 2000 had a severe impact on the
economy, which shrank by 2.8% in 2000 and grew by only 1% in 2001.
The tourism sector recovered quickly, however, with visitor arrivals
reaching pre-coup levels in 2002, resulting in a modest economic
recovery which continued into 2003 and 2004 but grew by a mere 1.7% in
2005 and by 2.0% in 2006. Although inflation is low, the policy
indicator rate of the
Reserve Bank of Fiji was raised by 1% to 3.25%
in February 2006 due to fears of excessive consumption financed by
debt. Lower interest rates have so far not produced greater investment
However, there has been a housing boom due to declining commercial
mortgage rates. The tallest building in
Fiji is the fourteen-storey
Reserve Bank of Fiji Building in Suva, which was inaugurated in 1984.
Suva Central Commercial Centre , which opened in November 2005,
was planned to outrank the Reserve Bank building at seventeen stories,
but last-minute design changes ensured that the Reserve Bank building
remained the tallest.
Trade and investment with
Fiji have been criticised due to the
country's military dictatorship. In 2008, Fiji's interim Prime
Minister and coup leader
Frank Bainimarama announced election delays
and said that
Fiji would pull out of the
Pacific Islands Forum in Niue
, where Bainimarama was to have met with Australian Prime Minister
Kevin Rudd and
New Zealand Prime Minister
Helen Clark .
South Pacific Stock Exchange (SPSE) is the only licensed
securities exchange in
Fiji and is based in Suva. Its vision is to
become a regional exchange.
Resort An island in the Mamanuca
Fiji has a significant amount of tourism with the popular regions
Nadi , the Coral
Denarau Island , and
Mamanuca Islands .
The biggest sources of international visitors by country are
New Zealand and the United States.
Fiji has a significant
number of soft coral reefs , and scuba diving is a common tourist
Fiji's main attractions to tourists are primarily white sandy beaches
and aesthetically pleasing islands with all-year-round tropical
weather. In general,
Fiji is a mid-range priced holiday/vacation
destination with most of the accommodations in this range. It also has
a variety of world class five-star resorts and hotels. More budget
resorts are being opened in remote areas, which will provide more
CNN named Fiji’s Laucala Island
one of the fifteen world’s most beautiful island hotels.
Official statistics show that in 2012, 75% of visitors stated that
they came for a holiday/vacation. Honeymoons are very popular as are
romantic getaways in general. There are also family friendly resorts
with facilities for young children including kids' clubs and nanny
Fiji has several popular tourism destinations. The Botanical Gardens
of Thursten in
Suva , Sigatoka Sand Dunes, and Colo-I-
Suva Forest Park
are three options on the mainland (Viti Levu) . A major attraction on
the outer islands is scuba diving.
According to the
Fiji Bureau of Statistics, most visitors arriving to
Fiji on a short term basis are from the following countries or regions
Transport in Fiji
Nadi airport – Arrivals.
The Yasawa Flyer connects Port Denarau near
Nadi with the Yasawa
Nadi International Airport is located 9 kilometres (5.6 mi) north
Nadi and is the largest Fijian hub. Nausori International
Airport is about 23 kilometres (14 mi) northeast of downtown
serves mostly domestic traffic with flights from
Australia and New
Zealand. The main airport in the second largest island of Vanua Levu
Labasa Airport located at Waiqele, southwest of
Labasa Town. The
largest aircraft handled by
Labasa Airport is the ATR42. Airports Fiji
Limited (AFL) is responsible for the operation of 15 public airports
Fiji Islands. These include two international airports: Nadi
international Airport, Fiji’s main international gateway, and
Nausori Airport, Fiji’s domestic hub, and 13 outer island airports.
Fiji's main airline was previously known as Air Pacific, but is now
Fiji Airways . An inter-island vessel sails past one of
the islands in the east of
Fiji's larger islands have extensive bus routes that are affordable
and consistent in service. There are bus stops, and in rural areas
buses are often simply hailed as they approach. Buses are the
principal form of public transport and passenger movement between the
towns on the main islands. Buses also serve on roll-on-roll-off
inter-island ferries. Bus fares and routes are heavily regulated by
the Land Transport Authority (LTA). Bus and taxi drivers hold Public
Service Licenses (PSVs) issued by the LTA.
Taxis are licensed by the LTA and operate widely all over the
country. Apart from urban, town-based taxis, there are others that are
licensed to serve rural or semi-rural areas. The flagfall for regular
taxis is F$1.50 and tariff is F$0.10 for every 200 meters. For taxis
that are allowed to charge Value Added Tax (VAT), the flagfall is
F$1.50 and tariff is F$0.30 for the first 200 meters, and F$0.11 for
every 200 meters thereafter. Taxis operating out of Fiji's
Nadi charge a flagfall of F$5. The elderly and
Government welfare recipients are given a 20% discount on their taxi
Inter-island ferries provide services between Fiji's principal
islands and large vessels operate roll-on-roll-off services,
transporting vehicles and large amounts of cargo between the main
Viti Levu and Vanua Levu, and other smaller islands.
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
Fiji is the only developing Pacific
Island country with recent data
for gross domestic expenditure on research and development (GERD). The
national Bureau of Statistics cites a GERD/GDP ratio of 0.15% in 2012.
Private-sector research and development (R&D) is negligible.
Government investment in R&D tends to favour agriculture. In 2007,
agriculture and primary production accounted for just under half of
government expenditure on R"> Native Fijian women, 1935
The population of
Fiji is mostly made up of native
Fijians , who are
Melanesians (54.3%), although many also have Polynesian ancestry, and
Fijians (38.1%), descendants of Indian contract labourers brought
to the islands by the British colonial powers in the 19th century. The
percentage of the population of Indo-Fijian descent has declined
significantly over the last two decades due to migration for various
Fijians suffered reprisals for a period after the Fiji
coup of 2000 . There is also a small but significant group of
descendants of indentured labourers from the
Solomon Islands .
About 1.2% are Rotuman —natives of
Rotuma Island, whose culture has
more in common with countries such as
Samoa than with the
rest of Fiji. There are also small but economically significant groups
of Europeans , Chinese , and other Pacific island minorities. The
total membership of other ethnic groups of Pacific Islanders is about
Relationships between ethnic
Fijians and Indo-
Fijians in the
political arena have often been strained, and the tension between the
two communities has dominated politics in the islands for the past
generation. The level of political tension varies among different
regions of the country.
The concept of family and community is of great importance to Fijian
culture. Within the indigenous (iTaukei) communities many members of
the extended family will adopt particular titles and roles of direct
guardians. Kinship is determined through a child's lineage to a
particular spiritual leader, so that a clan is based on traditional
customary ties as opposed to actual biological links. These clans,
based on the spiritual leader, are known as a matangali. Within the
matangali are a number of smaller collectives, known as the mbito. The
descent is patrilineal, and all the status is derived from the
Within Fiji, many argue that the term Fijian refers solely to
Fijians : it denotes an ancestral ethnicity, not a
nationality. Constitutionally, citizens of
Fiji were previously
referred to as "
Fiji Islanders" though the term
Fiji Nationals was
used for official purposes. However, the current constitution refers
to all Fijian citizens as "Fijians". In August 2008, shortly before
the proposed People\'s Charter for Change, Peace and Progress was due
to be released to the public, it was announced that it recommended a
change in the name of Fiji's citizens. If the proposal were adopted,
all citizens of Fiji, whatever their ethnicity, would be called
"Fijians". The proposal would change the English name of indigenous
Fijians from "Fijians" to itaukei, the
Fijian language endonym for
Deposed Prime Minister
Laisenia Qarase reacted by stating that the
name "Fijian" belonged exclusively to indigenous Fijians, and that he
would oppose any change in legislation enabling non-indigenous Fijians
to use it. The
Methodist Church , to which a large majority of
Fijians belong, also reacted strongly to the proposal,
stating that allowing any
Fiji citizen to call themselves "Fijian"
would be "daylight robbery" inflicted on the indigenous population.
In an address to the nation during the constitutional crisis of April
2009 , military leader and interim Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama ,
who has been at the forefront of the attempt to change the definition
of "Fijian", stated:
I know we all have our different ethnicities, our different cultures
and we should, we must, celebrate our diversity and richness. However,
at the same time we are all Fijians. We are all equal citizens. We
must all be loyal to Fiji; we must be patriotic; we must put Fiji
In May 2010, Attorney-General
Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum reiterated that the
term "Fijian" should apply to all
Fiji nationals, but the statement
was again met with protest. A spokesperson for the Viti Landowners and
Resource Owners Association claimed that even fourth-generation
descendants of migrants did not fully understand "what it takes to be
a Fijian", and added that the term refers to a legal standing, since
legislation affords specific rights to "Fijians" (meaning, in
legislation, indigenous Fijians).
Fiji academic Brij Lal , although a
prominent critic of the Bainimarama government, said he "would not
be surprised" if the new definition of the word "Fijian" were included
in the government's projected new Constitution, and that he personally
saw "no reason the term Fijian should not apply to everyone from
Languages of Fiji
Fijian is an Austronesian language of the Malayo-Polynesian family
spoken in Fiji. It has 350,000 first-language speakers, which is less
than half the population of Fiji, but another 200,000 speak it as a
second language. The 1997 Constitution established Fijian as an
official language of Fiji, along with English and
Fiji Hindi . Fijian
is a VOS language.
Fiji Islands developed many dialects , which may be classified in
two major branches — eastern and western . Missionaries in the 1840s
chose an Eastern dialect, the speech of
Bau Island off the southeast
coast of the main island of
Viti Levu , to be the written standard of
Fijian language .
Bau Island was home to
Seru Epenisa Cakobau ,
the chief who eventually became the self-proclaimed King of Fiji.
yadra (Pronounced Yandra)
moce (Pronounced Mothe)
Religion in Fiji
Religion in Fiji (2007)
Roman Catholic (9.1%)
Assemblies of God (5.7%)
Seventh-Day Adventist (3.9%) Anglican
Sikh (0.3%) Other or none (1.1%)
According to the 2007 census, 64.4% of the population at the time was
Christian , while 27.9% was
Hindu , 6.3%
Muslim , 0.8% non-religious,
Sikh , and the remaining 0.3% belonged to other religions. Among
Christians, 54% were counted as
Methodist , followed by 14.2% Catholic
Assemblies of God , 6.0%
Seventh-day Adventist , 1.2% Anglican
with the remaining 16.1% belonging to other denominations.
Christian denomination is the
Methodist Church of Fiji
Rotuma . With 34.6% of the population (including almost
two-thirds of ethnic Fijians), the proportion of the population
Methodism is higher in
Fiji than in any other nation. In
2012, permission was granted by the government for Methodists to hold
their annual conference, for the first time in four years, with the
conditions that the conference not coincide with the national Hibiscus
Festival and should only last for three days, and that no political
matters were to be discussed, only church matters.
Roman Catholics are headed by the Metropolitan Archdiocese of
whose province also includes the dioceses of Raratonga (on the Cook
Islands , for those and
Niue , both New Zealand-associated countries)
and Tarawa and
Nauru (with see at Tarawa on
Kiribati , also for Nauru
) and the
Mission Sui Iuris of Tokelau (again with New Zealand). This
reflects that much major
Roman Catholic missionary activity was
conducted through the former Apostolic Prefecture (created in 1863
Apostolic Vicariate of Central Oceania ), then Apostolic
Fiji , which has since been promoted to Archdiocese of
Suva, which spans the whole of Fiji.
Assemblies of God , the Seventh-day Adventists and
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) are
Fiji also is the base for the
Anglican Diocese of
Polynesia (part of the
Anglican Church in Aotearoa,
New Zealand and
Polynesia ). These and other denominations have small numbers of
Indo-Fijian members; Christians of all kinds comprise 6.1% of the
Hindus belong mostly to the
Sanatan sect (74.3% of all Hindus) or
else are unspecified (22%). The small
Arya Samaj sect claims the
membership of some 3.7% of Hindus in Fiji. Muslims are mostly Sunni
(96.4%) following the
Hanafi school of jurisprudence, with a small
Ahmadiyya minority (3.6%). The
Sikh religion comprises 0.9% of the
Indo-Fijian population, or 0.4% of the national population in Fiji.
Their ancestors originated from the Punjab region of India; they are a
fairly recent wave of immigrants who did not live through the
indenture system. The Bahá\'í Faith has over 21 local Spiritual
Assemblies throughout Fiji, and Baha'is live in more than 80
localities. The first Baha'i in the islands was a New Zealander who
arrived in 1924. There is a small Congregational presence with the
Samoan community in Suva. The Congregational
Christian Church of Samoa
built a church of Samoan architecture in Suva. A remnant of the LMS
presence in Fiji. There is also a small Jewish population of about 60
people. Every year the Israeli Embassy organises a Passover
celebration with about 50-60 people attending.
Education in Fiji
As of 2008, primary and secondary school education in
Fiji is free;
it is compulsory for eight years. As of 2001, attendance was
decreasing due to security concerns and the burden of school fees,
often due to the cost of transport. Following the government coup in
May 2000, more than 5,000 students were reported to have left school.
Culture of Fiji and
Music of Fiji Several bure
(one-room Fijian houses) in the village of
Navala in the Nausori
Fiji's culture is a rich mosaic of indigenous Fijian, Indo-Fijian,
Asian and European traditions, comprising social polity, language,
food (coming mainly from the sea, plus casava, dalo (taro) and other
vegetables), costume, belief systems, architecture, arts, craft,
music, dance, and sports.
While indigenous Fijian culture and traditions are very vibrant and
are integral components of everyday life for the majority of Fiji's
population, Fijian society has evolved over the past century with the
introduction of traditions such as Indian and Chinese as well as
significant influences from Europe and Fiji's Pacific neighbours,
Tonga and Samoa. Thus, the various cultures of
come together to create a unique multicultural national identity.
Fiji's culture was showcased at the World Exposition held in
Vancouver , Canada, in 1986 and more recently at the Shanghai World
Expo 2010 , along with other Pacific countries in the Pacific
HOLIDAYS AND FESTIVALS
List of festivals in Fiji
This is a list of holidays celebrated in Fiji:
* New Year\'s Day
* Prophet Mohammed\'s Birthday
The exact dates of public holidays vary from year to year, but the
dates for the next year can be found at the
Fiji Government Web Site
The following holidays are no longer celebrated in Fiji:
* Queen\'s Official Birthday
* National Youth Day
Ratu Sir Lala Sukuna Day
Sport in Fiji
Sports are very popular in Fiji, particularly sports involving
physical contact. Fiji's national sport is
Rugby Sevens .
This section DOES NOT CITE ANY SOURCES . Please help improve this
section by adding citations to reliable sources . Unsourced material
may be challenged and removed . (January 2016) (Learn how and when to
remove this template message )
Fiji national rugby union team during the 2007 Rugby World
Cup playing against
Canada Main article:
Rugby union in Fiji
Rugby Union is the most-popular team sport played in Fiji.
Fiji national sevens side is a popular and successful
international rugby sevens team, and has won the
Hong Kong Sevens a
record fifteen times since its inception in 1976.
Fiji has also won
Rugby World Cup Sevens twice—in 1997 and 2005. The Fiji
national rugby union sevens team is the reigning Sevens World Series
Champions in World Rugby. In 2016, they won Fiji's first ever Olympic
medal in the
Rugby sevens at the Summer Olympics , winning gold by
defeating Great Britain 43-7 in the final.
The national rugby union team has competed at five Rugby World Cup
competitions, the first being in 1987 , where they reached the
Fiji national side did not match that feat again
2007 Rugby World Cup when they upset Wales 38–34 to
progress to the quarter-finals where they lost to the eventual Rugby
World Cup winners, South Africa.
Fiji also defeated the British and
Irish Lions in 1977.
Fiji competes in the
Pacific Tri-Nations and the IRB Pacific Nations
Cup . The sport is governed by the
Rugby Union which is a member
Pacific Islands Rugby Alliance , and contributes to the Pacific
Islanders rugby union team . At the club level there are the Skipper
Cup and Farebrother Trophy Challenge .
Fiji national rugby union team is a member of the Pacific Islands
Rugby Alliance (PIRA) formerly along with
Samoa and Tonga. In 2009,
Samoa announced their departure from the Pacific Islands Rugby
Alliance, leaving just
Tonga in the union.
Fiji is currently
ranked eleventh in the world by the IRB (as of 28 December 2015).
Fiji is one of the few countries where rugby union is the main sport.
There are about 80,000 registered players from a total population of
around 900,000. One of the problems for
Fiji is simply getting their
players to play for their home country, as many have contracts in
Europe or with
Super Rugby teams, where monetary compensation is far
more rewarding. The repatriated salaries of its overseas stars have
become an important part of some local economies. In addition, a
significant number of players eligible to play for
Fiji end up
Australia or New Zealand; notable examples are Fiji-born
cousins and former
New Zealand All Blacks , Joe Rokocoko and Sitiveni
Sivivatu, current All Blacks
Waisake Naholo and Seta Tamanivalu as
well as Australian Wallabies former winger, Lote Tuqiri and current
Tevita Kuridrani , Samu Kerevi and
Henry Speight .
won the most
Pacific Tri-Nations Championships of the three
Rugby league in Fiji
Fiji national rugby league team , nicknamed the Bati (pronounced
Fiji in the sport of rugby league football and has been
participating in international competition since 1992. It has competed
Rugby League World Cup on three occasions, with their best
results coming when they made consecutive semi-final appearances in
Rugby League World Cup and 2013
Rugby League World Cup . The
team also competes in the
Pacific Cup .
Members of the team are selected from a domestic Fijian competition,
as well as from competitions held in
New Zealand and Australia. For
the 2000, 2008 and 2013 World Cups, the Bati were captained by Lote
Wes Naiqama and the legendary
Petero Civoniceva respectively.
Fiji have also produced stars like
Akuila Uate ,
Jarryd Hayne , Kevin
Semi Tadulala ,
Marika Koroibete ,
Apisai Koroisau , Sisa
Waqa and the Sims brothers
Ashton Sims ,
Tariq Sims and
Korbin Sims .
Rugby War Dance (
Cibi And Bole) And Fijian Hymn
Cibi (pronounced Thimbi) war dance was traditionally performed by
Fiji rugby team before each match. It was replaced in 2012 with
the new "Bole" (pronounced mBolay) war cry.
Tradition holds that the original
Cibi was first performed on the
rugby field back in 1939 during a tour of New Zealand, when then
Ratu Sir George Cakobau felt that his team should have
something to match the
Haka of the All Blacks. The 'Cibi' had perhaps
been used incorrectly though, as the word actually means "a
celebration of victory by warriors," whereas 'Bole' is the acceptance
of a challenge.
Fiji Bati rugby league team also gather in a huddle and perform
the hymn 'Noqu Masu' before each match.
Association football was traditionally a minor sport in Fiji, popular
largely amongst the Indo-Fijian community, but with international
FIFA and sound local management over the past decade, the
sport has grown in popularity in the wider Fijian community. It is now
the second most-popular sport in Fiji, after rugby (union 15's and
union 7's) for men, and after netball for women.
Fiji Football Association is a member of the
Confederation . The national football team defeated
New Zealand 2–0
in the 2008
OFC Nations Cup , on their way to a joint-record
third-place finish. However, they have never reached a
FIFA World Cup
Fiji won the
Pacific Games football tournament in 1991 and
Fiji qualified for the
2016 Summer Olympics men's tournament
for the first time in history.
Due to the success of Fiji's national basketball teams, the
popularity of basketball in
Fiji has experienced rapid growth in
recent years. In the past, the country only had few basketball courts,
which severely limited
Fijians who desired to practice the sport more
frequently. Due to recent efforts by the national federation
Fiji and with the support of the Australian government,
many schools have been able to construct courts and provide their
students with basketball equipment such as shoes, etc.
Netball in Fiji
Netball is the most popular women's participation sport in Fiji.
The national team has been internationally competitive, at Netball
World Cup competitions reaching 6th position in 1999, its highest
level to date. The team won gold medals at the 2007 and 2015 Pacific
Cricket is a minor sport in Fiji. The
Fiji is an Associate
member of International
Cricket Council .
Fiji U19 cricket team won
the 2015 edition of the tournament, and consequently qualified for the
2016 Under-19 World Cup , becoming the first team outside of Papua New
Guinea to qualify from the region.
* Islands portal
Bua (Fijian Communal Constituency, Fiji)
Fiji Meteorological Service
Foreign relations of Fiji
Index of Fiji-related articles
Outline of Fiji
Telecommunications in Fiji
Visa policy of Fiji
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* Wright, Ronald (1986). On
Fiji Islands. Original from the
University of Michigan , Digitized 5 December 2006. ISBN 0-670-80634-X
. Traces the colonisation of the
Fiji Islands, explains how the
Fijians have managed to keep their language and culture intact, and
* Derrick, Ronald Albert (1951). The
Fiji Islands: A Geographical
Handbook. Govt. Print. Dept Fiji, 334 pages, Original from the
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history and Geography.
* Lal, Brij V. (1992). Broken Waves: A History of the
in the Twentieth Century.
University of Hawaii Press . ISBN
0-8248-1418-5 . Details of Fiji's History, Geography, Economy.
* Mückler, Hermann (2002). "Back to the Chessboard: The Coup and
the Re-Emergence of Pre-colonial Rivalries in Fiji". In Kolig, Erich;
Mückler, Hermann . Politics of Indigeneity in the South Pacific.
Hamburg: LIT Verlag. pp. 143–158. ISBN 3-8258-5915-0 .
* Miller, Korina; Jones, Robyn; Pinheiro, Leonardo (2003). Fiji.
Lonely Planet. ISBN 1-74059-134-8 .
* Derrick, Ronald Albert (1957). A History of Fiji. Suva, Fiji:
* David Routledge: Matanitu – The Struggle for Power in Early
University of the South Pacific ,
* Scarr, Deryck (1984). Fiji: A Short History. Sydney, Australia:
Allen & Unwin. ISBN 0-86861-319-3 .
* Waterhouse, Joseph (1998). The King and People of Fiji. University
Hawaii Press. ISBN 0-8248-1920-9 .
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