FIJIAN HISTORY & CULTURE
As an archipelago comprising 330 islands in the central South Pacific, Fiji’s has been both a destination and migratory crossroads for many centuries. Austronesian peoples are believed to have settled here some 3,500 years ago, with Melanesians following a thousand years later. In the 10th Century, the Tu’i Tonga Empire was established in Tonga, and Fiji came within its sphere of influence. This brought Polynesian customs and language to Fiji. According to legend, great chief Lutunasobasoba led his people across the seas to Fiji, where Melanesians and Polynesians mixed to create a highly developed society. In 1643, Dutch explorer Abel Tasman accidentally discovered Fiji; in 1774, English navigators, including Captain James Cook, followed. The first Europeans to land and live among the Fijians were shipwrecked sailors and runaway convicts from the Australian penal settlements. From 1879 to 1916, Indians came to work the sugar plantations. Many stayed on as independent farmers and businessmen and now comprise nearly half the population. Today, Fiji is a thriving, multi-cultural country, recognized as one of the leading island nations in the South Pacific.
Natural, gracious hospitality is at the core of Fijian culture. At Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort, the staff represents the epitome of the Fijian lifestyle and its community values, welcoming guests and friends with genuine warmth and friendship. The Fijian people play guitar and sing at every opportunity. Music seems to be everywhere. In the evenings the traditional Kava Ceremony is practiced by the resort’s musical group. You are always welcome to participate.
Nukubalavu Village (meaning “long beach”) is just two miles to the south of the resort. It is home to many of our staff. Rural villages throughout Fiji form the core the Fijian community structure. If you visit Nukubalavu you will be welcomed in a way you have never experienced anywhere else. You will witness true Fijian life and enjoy the Meke (dance and singing performance) by the village people. Visits to Nukubalavu are organized for resort guests every week.
Stroll nearby Savusavu, the local town where you’ll find a collection of interesting shops of diverse cultural origins, small restaurants. Here, along the shores of Savusavu Bay, you can also explore the Farmers’ Market brimming over with local produce. Meeting the people of Fijian will be one of your fondest memories.