Title: Indigenous Identity in Fiji: Na Vanua, Na Lawa, Na Kawa Ni Bobula

Presented by: Unaisi Narawa-Daurewa

Advisors: Professor Jennifer Corrin and Professor Reid Mortensen

When: 11am-12.30pm, Thursday 28 January 2021

Where: Boardroom (W353), Level 3, Forgan Smith building (1)


Indigenous identity is complex and there is yet to be agreement on its definition, the proper way to measure or calculate it, and who has (or does not have) this identity. While Indigenous people are often in the best position to determine who is and who is not a member of their community, many others have contributed views on the Indigenous identity question.

Definitions have been offered up by academics, international organisations and, to some extent, non-governmental organisations. State Constitutions and legislation have created criteria to distinguish who is Indigenous and legal discourse in the courts has explored concepts of identity. This thesis explores Indigenous identity in the context of the Pacific Island country of Fiji, where the colonial experience has had far-reaching implications for its people, Indigenous and non-indigenous.

Using a mixed methodological and insider approach to research, this thesis considers the divergent definitions employed by Indigenous Fijians, state laws, and international laws. The thesis considers how the various criteria have impacted on the Melanesians in Fiji, a unique community of Solomon Island and Vanuatu heritage, who have adopted the social, administrative and traditional structures of the Indigenous Fijians, but who have been caught up in the domino effects of the complex web of State laws and Indigenous customary laws.


Level 3, Forgan Smith building (1)
Boardroom (W353)