Pacific Harbour

Fiji Life

Fiji History
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Welcome to Pacific Palm Marina Resort Fiji

Fiji has a relatively large Pacific Island economy, with a population of 846,085 (2005 estimate), and a per capita yearly income of approximately US$5,200 (2001 est.) The economy is diverse with a strong tourism sector, and sugar, agriculture, garments, mining, gold, tobacco, fish and timber.

Sixty percent of the population are rural dwellers. Twenty seven percent live in the greater Suva area, and the balance in other urban centers. Indigenous Fijians and ethnic Indians account for approximately equal parts of 95% of the population (with Fijians in the majority) with the balance made up of Europeans, Chinese and other Islanders. The main languages are English, Fijian and Hindi.

The formal economy is largely based on trade in goods and services, with government ownership of service utilities. For example, electricity services to the urban sector are provided by the Fiji Electricity Authority (FEA). The Department of Energy assumes the task of electrifying the largely un electrified rural sector.

Life and living
The indigenous Fijians have a communal lifestyle, belonging to tribes and clans, and landowning units known as mataqali. Depending on the size of the village, and its history, there will usually be around 3-5 mataqali. The head of the leading mataqali is the village chief.

Fiji is a predominantly Christian country - the largest denomination being Methodists, with a sizeable Catholic minority. Various introduced and largely evangelical movements have recently begun to arrive, causing some dissension in villages and families. Rural Fijians live a partially subsistence lifestyle. They are numerically strong in the civil service, and the army is almost 100% indigenous Fijian.

Fiji has democratic governance, with elections every five years under a revised constitution (1997). Voting is compulsory and takes place under a proportional representation system for a lower House Parliament of 71 members. In order to accommodate traditional culture, there is an appointed Senate which represents various sectors: the Great Council of Chiefs, the island of Rotuma, and each of the political parties. It cannot pass legislation, but can review and revise it for further consideration by Parliament.

Fiji has an oceanic tropical maritime climate, tempered by the ocean and trade winds, with a mean temperature of 28ºC. Fiji's weather is not, however, uniform throughout the islands; windward sides of the larger islands are wet while the leeward sides experience a dry season when the southeast trade winds are in force. There is a range of climates, from the hot and dry to the warm and wet, providing conditions favorable for the growth of a variety of food and commercial crops. The leeward sides of the major islands (e.g. the Lautoka or Labasa areas) are dry, with clear skies, a limited temperature range and abundant sunshine. It is on the leeward or western side of Viti Levu that most of Fiji's resorts are located. Average annual rainfall there is 165 to 180 cm. The windward sides of the islands are subject to cloudy skies and frequent rains with even temperatures and moderate sunshine. Suva is an example of a windward climatic area and averages 300 cm of rainfall annually.

The cool, dry months - which are the best time to visit - are from May to October. The so-called 'winter' begins in July. During July and August the temperature may drop to between 18ºC and 20ºC, and lower inland. Even during the winter months, however, these relatively low temperatures are by no means constant. Spells of cloudy, cool weather with occasional rains alternate with warm, sunny days, sometimes of high humidity. The hot, wet season may begin as early as November; but the conjunction of heat and humidity that most people from moderate climates find trying occurs during the first three months of the year.

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