May 2013
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About Fijian Culture and Cuisine – Part 1

The culture of Fiji is a combination of:
• Fijian
• Indian
• European
• Chinese
• Tongan
• Rotuman
• Other nationalities

Culture of Fiji would include:
• Culture polity
• Traditions
• Language
• Food
• Costume
• Belief system
• Architecture
• Arts
• Craft
• Music
• Dance
• Sports

Arts and crafts in Fiji

• The arts and crafts of Fiji are a combination of Polynesian and Melanesian heritage which are local to the place.
• Here men’s and women’s crafts are different according to their tradition.

Women’s Crafts
• On Kadavu Island, there is a village of Na lotu.
• This village is popular for its pottery.
• Its making is still governed by strict rituals.
• Nadroga and Rewa are other places that also produce fine pottery.
• Each region is typical to its style in the making of pottery.
• The making of Tapa cloth which is also known as masi is the product made by women.
• This is a cloth that is made out of mulberry tree.
• It comes from the bark of the paper of this tree.
• It is then highlighted and decorated with charcoal.
• They use symbolic motifs and various patterns.
• It is a fashion in modern times.
• The masi bears the makers name.
• Masi are given as gifts on formal occasions.
• The island of Vatuelele which is located on the southern coast of Viti Levu is popular for its masi products.
• Then in the crafts are Fijian mats.
• They are made out of the leaves of the pandanus tree.
The process of preparation includes:
– scraping and boiling the leaves
– drying them in the sun
• On various occasions, different mats are used.
• They imply for the occasion like weddings.
• These mats are bordered with wool which is highly decorative and bright in color.
• Kuta is a popular Fijian mat.
• These mats are made by women in Vanua Levu.
• Bua is quite popular with these mats.
• Weaving using several materials was another craft.
• There are certain weaving aspects that are confined to men.
The different types of weaving include:
– basket weaving
– coconut rope weaving
– coconut leaves weaving

Men’s crafts
• Carving is confined to men of this area.
• Carving is used for items of practical use.
• They have simple shapes and designs.
• Carving was also put into weapons and household items which were used for the home and ceremony.
• At present, carving is practiced for tourism.
• This plays no major role in Fijian society currently.
• In Tanoa it is still used from drinking Kava.

Canoe Building
• This is another craft which is confined to men.
• Canoes were important for communication and part of of Fijian society.
• This was used for gathering food and transporting of crops.
• They were used for presentation ceremonies.
• They were used in wars and politics.
• The art of Canoe building was typical of the place and there are different types with same design.
• Camakau is a canoe which was a small twin hulled canoe.
• It was used for fishing to small transportation purposes.
• Dura canoes were one of the most impressive Canoes in Fiji.
• Canoes were involved in early history of Fiji and seas battles and mighty Drua held the balance in such occasions.
• Drua was double hulled canoe.
• They are of gigantic proportions.
• Drua was a masterpiece which is special of design and craftsmanship.
• It involved whole community in its construction.
• It is a sign of human sacrifice in its launching.
• Its speed out at sea was in excess of twenty knots.
• Even then it still remained highly manoeuvrable.
• It capacity was of carrying upward of 150 warriors.
• About 6 to 7 years it took to build Drua.
• It would vary in length from 100 feet to 118 feet.
• The height of the mast was about 60 to 70 feet.

Performing Arts in Fiji

The Meke
• This is an indigenous art form of Fiji. This incorporated the sea sea which is women’s fan dance.
• A meke wesi is men’s spear dance which was incorporated in the dance.
• It is usually a narrative form of events like:
– War
– A chiefly installation
– Even a scandal
• Some mekes are many generations old.
• Meke was known to be an oracle from the gods.
• Dau ni vucu also known as composer, would often go into a trance before a performance.
• A poet laureate writes a poem in order to celebrate in an event in a Western country.
• Each district of Fiji is known for its own form of meke.
• This is performed in the local dialect.
• Other forms are of Polynesian and Melanesian dance art forms.
• They are dances of Rotuma and Tonga which are widely popular.
• There are also Indian dances and Chinese dances.
• They are performed at relevant festivals.

Best time to visit / climate

• The climate in Fiji is tropical marine and warm most of the year round with minimal extremes.
• The warm season is from November till April.
• The cooler season is May to October.
• Temperature in the cool season still averages 22 °C (72 °F).
• Temperature sensitive visitors may wish to visit during the Southern Hemisphere winter.

Location on Google Maps

View Larger Map

Or click and paste the URL below on your browser:,179.33044&sspn=0.71394,1.234589&hnear=Vanua+Levu&t=m&z=9

How to get there?

• The Nadi International Airport is situated about 9 km to the north of central Nadi.
• It is the largest Fijian hub.
• Nausori International Airport is located about 23 kms to the northeast of Suva.
• This helps serving mostly domestic traffic.
• Labasa Airport is the main airport in Vanau Levu island.
• It is situated at Waiqele.
• This is to the southwest of Labasa Town.
• The largest aircraft that is known to be handled by Labasa Airport is the ATR42.
• Airports Fiji Limited (AFL) operates 15 public airports in the Fiji Islands.
• These include two international airports.
• Nadi international Airport is the main gateway of Fiji.
• Nausori Airport is Fiji’s domestic hub.
• It is also hub for 13 outer island airports.

• Fiji’s larger islands are equipped with extensive bus routes.
• They are consistent.
• They are affordable to the common public.
• Buses are the general transport service for the public.
• They form service between the towns on the main islands.
• Rroll-on-roll-off inter-island ferries are also served by buses.
• Bus fares and routes are regulated by the LTA.

• Taxis are licensed by the LTA.
• They operator all through the country.
• The prices for regular taxis is F$1.50 and tariff is F$0.10 for every 200 meters.

Ships and inter-island ferries
Inter-island ferries also serve between islands of Fiji.

Some Travel Books about Fiji

Fiji (Country Travel Guide) Fiji (Travel Reference Map) Getting Stoned with Savages

Places to stay (hotels / restaurants along with website / contact numbers)

Hotels at
Hotels at
Hotels at
Hotels at

Blogs / Sites about Fiji

blogs at
blogs at
blogs at
blogs and reviews at

Images and photos about Fiji

images at
images at
images at
images at

Videos of Fiji


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