Chiefly Leadership in Fiji: Past, Present, and Future


Author/s (editor/s):

Stephanie Lawson, Elizabeth Hagan Lawson

Publication year:


Publication type:

Discussion paper

This Discussion Paper provides an account ofthe rise and fall of chiefly leadership and the apparentebbing of a longstanding ideology of traditionalismamong indigenous Fijians in the contextof national politics and of the claims made in thename of indigenous nationalism. It begins with abrief survey of Fiji's colonisation in the late nineteenthcentury; the establishment of the GCC andthe role of chiefs in the British colonial regime;and their domination of national politics, despitesome challenges, up until 1987. The second sectionreviews the political dynamics surrounding chieflyleadership from 1987 until the Bainimarama-ledcoup of 2006. The final sections examine the natureof chiefly involvement in national politics in thelead-up to the 2014 elections and prospects for thefuture of traditional chiefly political leadership.

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