Looting in the streets of Suva during the 2000 coup. Successive coups destabilised the country and disrupted what had been a harmonious life for many people. Thousands of Fiji residents, of all cultural backgrounds, migrated to other countries.
Source: Photograph: AFP Photo, Fiji Times, 2000
The name Fiji evokes a paradise in the minds of many Australians. This tropical nation, whose capital is Suva, is a republic composed of hundreds of small islands and islets surrounded by the Pacific Ocean. It lies 4000 km – an easy four-hour flight – north-east of Victoria.
Fiji is home to about 900,000 people, a population of great ethnic, cultural and religious diversity. There are indigenous Fijians, Fiji Indians and many other groups, including people of Rotuman, Chinese, European and Pacific Islander origin.
Fiji is a complex modern nation, and its recent history has been dominated by political and civil unrest, with coups taking place in 1987, 2000 and 2006.
Although there has been migration from Fiji to Australia for many years, most Fiji-born people living in Victoria have arrived in the years since the disturbances. Seeking social and financial stability, as well as better educational and career opportunities, just under 10,000 Fiji migrants now call Victoria their home.
Talanoa, or story-telling, is an integral part of life both here and in Fiji. These are the stories of how and why Fiji-born communities came to Victoria, and what they brought with them to shape their settlement in a new land.