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Suva is the capital and largest city of Fijimarker. It is located on the southeast coast of the island of Viti Levumarker, in the Central Divisionmarker, Rewa Provincemarker, of which it is the administrative centre. In 1877, it was decided to make Suva the capital of Fiji when the geography of former main European settlement at Levukamarker on the island of Ovalaumarker proved too restrictive. The administration of the colony was moved from Levuka to Suva in 1882. At the 2007 census the city of Suva had a population of 85,691 [7078]. Including independent suburbs, the population of the Greater Suva urban area was 172,399 at the 2007 census [7079].

Physical characteristics

Suva is the commercial and political centre of Fiji, though not necessarily the cultural centre, and the largest urban area in the South Pacific outside of Australia and New Zealandmarker. It is Fiji's main port city.

Although Suva is on a peninsula, and almost surrounded by sea, the nearest beach is 40 kilometres (25 mi) away at Pacific Harbour, and the nearby coast is lined by mangroves. A significant part of the city centre, including the old Parliament Buildings, is built on reclaimed mangrove swamp.

Suva is noted for its considerable rainfall, it has a markedly higher rainfall than Nadimarker and the western side of Viti Levumarker, which is known to Suva citizens as "the burning west". The First Governor of Fiji, Sir Aurthur Gordon, allegedly remarked that it rained in Suva like he had seen no where else before and that there was hardly a day without rain.


A well-known landmark is the Suva City Library or the Carnegie Library, built in 1909 as well as many other colonial buildings.

The Government buildings complex sits on what was once the flowing waters of a creek. This was drained in 1935 and over five kilometres of reinforced concrete pilings were driven into the creek bed to support the massive buildings to be erected. After the foundation stone was laid in 1937, the building was completed in 1939; a new wing was completed in 1967. Parliament, however, was moved to a new complex on Ratu Sukuna Road in 1992.

Government House was formerly the residence of Fiji's colonial Governors and, following independence in 1970, Governors-General. It is now the official residence of Fiji's President. Originally erected in 1882, it had to be rebuilt in 1928, following its destruction by lightning in 1921.

The Suva campus of the University of the South Pacific (USP) occupies what was once a New Zealandmarker military base. It is the largest of the many USP campuses dotted throughout the South Pacific and the largest University in the Pacific islands outside Hawai'imarker.

The Fiji Museum, located in Thurston Gardensmarker, was founded in 1904 and originally occupied the old town hall, but moved to its present location in 1954. The museum houses the most extensive collection of Fijian artifacts in the world, and is also a research and educational institution, specializing in archeology, the preservation of Fiji's oral tradition, and the publication of material on Fiji's language and culture.

Suva has around 78 parks, these include the new Takashi Suzuki Garden, Apted Park at Suva Point which is a popular spot for viewing sunrise and sunset, Thurston Gardensmarker which was opened in 1913 and has flora from throughout the South Pacific.

Suva also has many shopping and retail areas, notably Cumming street, which has since colonial times, been a vibrant and colourful shopping area. Features of these street include the original colonial buildings and narrow roads. More modern shopping malls, such as the Suva Central Shopping Mall, Mid-City Mall as well as the MHCC are all part of the developments to give the city a modern and sophisticated look..

Demographics of Suva

Suva is a multiracial and multicultural city. Indigenous Fijians and Indo-Fijians, the two principal ethnic groups of Fiji, comprise the bulk of Suva's population, but the city is also home to the majority of Fiji's ethnic minority populations, which include Caucasians (Europeans or Kaivalagi), Part-Europeans (of European and Fijian Descent) and Chinese, amongst others. The majority of expatriates working in Fiji are also based in Suva. The most widely spoken language is English, but Fijian, Hindustani, Cantonese, and other Indianmarker languages are also spoken by their respective communities.


Suva is host to more international and regional intergovernmental agencies and NGO than any other Pacific Island capital. Some of the bodies with a presence in Suva are:

Municipal government

Suva has municipal status and is governed by a Lord Mayor and a 20-member city council. However, The current interim-government has reformed and restructured all municipal councils as of October, 2008 and the position of Mayor is now void.


Suva Central Business District in the 1940s
Suva Central Business District in the 1950s
In return for a promise to pay off debts owed to the United Statesmarker by the Bauanmarker chieftain, Seru Epenisa Cakobau, the Australian-based Polynesia Company was granted 5000 km² of land, 575 km² of it near what was then the village of Suva, in 1868. The original intention was to develop a cotton farming industry, but the land and climate proved unsuitable.

Following the annexation of the Fiji Islands by the United Kingdommarker in 1874, the colonial authorities decided to move the capital to Suva from Levukamarker in 1877. The transfer was made official in 1882. Colonel F.E. Pratt of the Royal Engineers was appointed Surveyor-General in 1875 and designed the new capital, assisted by W. Stephens and Colonel R.W. Stewart.

Following the promulgation of the Municipal Constitution Ordinance of 1909, Suva acquired municipal status in 1910. The town initially comprised one square mile; these boundaries remained intact until 1952 when the Muanikau and Samabula ward were annexed, expanding its territory to 13 square kilometers. In October that year, Suva was proclaimed a City - Fiji's first. Tamavua was subsequently annexed; the most recent extension of the city boundaries has been to incorporate the Cunningham area to the north of the city. Urban sprawl has resulted in a number of suburbs that remain outside of the city limits; together with the city itself, they form a metropolitan area known as the Greater Suva Area.

The city hosted the 2003 South Pacific Games, being the third time in the event's 40 year history that they had been held in Suva. As part of the hosting of the event a new gymnasium and indoor sports center, swimming pool and stadium, field hockey pitch and stands were built in the area around Suva, funded by the government and a $16 million People's Republic of Chinamarker aid package[7080].


Nausori International Airportmarker caters mainly to the domestic market, but can serve smaller international aircraft. It also has service to its immediate Pacific neighbors such as Tuvalumarker and Tongamarker.


At one point Air Fiji was headquartered in Suva.

Notable residents and/or people from Suva

This is a list of famous people who are either currently living in, or are originally from Suva.

Sister cities

 Beihaimarker, Guangxi, People's Republic of Chinamarker


  1. Radio New Zealand International
  2. World Airline Directory. Flight International. 16-22 March 2004. " 63."


  • Fiji, by Korina Miller, Robyn Jones, Leonardo Pinheiro - Travel - 2003, published by Lonely Planet, pages 139-141, details on Suva City.
  • The Suva City Library: A Brief History and Development, 1909-1980, by S Baksh - 1980
  • Pluralism and Social Change in Suva City, Fiji, by Alexander Mamak - 1974, Thesis/dissertation; Ethnology (Fiji, Suva City); Suva City, Fiji Islands (Social conditions)
  • A History of the Pacific Islands: Passages Through Tropical Time - Page 162, by Deryck Scarr 2001 - 323 pages.
  • Frommer's South Pacific, by Bill Goodwin - Travel - 2004, pages 258-263

External links

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