Suva (Fijian pronunciation: [ˈsuβa]) is the capital, second largest municipality and largest municipality with city status in Fiji. It is located on the southeast coast of the island of Viti Levu, in the Rewa Province, Central Division.
In 1877, it was decided to make Suva the capital of Fiji, as the geography of former main European settlement at Levuka on the island of Ovalau, Lomaiviti province 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. Including independent suburbs, the population of the Greater Suva urban area was 172,399 at the 2007 census. Suva, along with the bordering towns of Lami, Nasinu, and Nausori have a total urban population of around 330,000, over a third of the nation's population. This urban complex (not including Lami) is known also as the Suva–Nausori corridor.
In return for a promise to pay off debts owed to the United States by the Bauan 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 cessation of the Fiji Islands by the United Kingdom in 1874, the colonial authorities decided to move the capital to Suva from Levuka, Ovalau, Lomaiviti in 1877, as Levuka's location, between a steep mountain and the sea, made any expansion of the town impractical. 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 wards were annexed, expanding its territory to 13 square kilometres. 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 centre, 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 China aid package.
Geography and physical characteristics
Suva is the capital of Fiji and is a harbour city built on a peninsula reaching out into the sea. It has a mix of modern buildings and traditional colonial architecture.
The city is perched on a hilly peninsula between Laucala Bay and Suva Harbour in the southeast corner of Viti Levu. The mountains north and west catch the southeast trade winds, producing moist conditions year round.
Suva is the commercial and political centre of Fiji, though not necessarily the cultural centre. 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.
The Central Business District encompasses an area known as the Central Ward; one of Suva's six wards, Central occupies close to the whole south-western side of the Suva Peninsula.
The city's six wards beginning from the city centre, then north, then clockwise rotation.
- Central: city centre, CBD, nucleus of the city.
- Tamavua: residential and urban area.
- Cunningham: semi-urban and residential area.
- Nabua: military base, Southern Division Police Headquarters, urban, residential, separate town centre, and industrial zone.
- Samabula: urban, residential, separate town centre, university, and large industrial zones.
- Muanikau: residential, urban, large sporting venues, university, and recreational areas.
Suva sits in the middle of an urban conurbation that stretches from Lami, to the immediate west of the city, along the Queens Highway and Nasinu town, on its eastern border all the way to the Rewa River, along the Kings Highway. This conurbation, sometimes known as the Suva Urban Complex, continues till Nausori, over the Rewa River. The north of the city to its northeast contains the rainforest park areas of Colo-i-Suva and Sawani, along the Princes Road, connecting at the Rewa River Bridge. This entire conurbation, is generally referred to by locals as Suva, although it contains four local government areas. In formal reference, this complex has come to be known as the Suva–Nausori Corridor (where Lami is generally excluded) and is the most populous area in Fiji, with over 330,000 people.
Suva features a tropical rainforest climate under the Köppen climate classification. The city sees a copious amount of precipitation during the course of the year, with no true dry season due to no month having an average rainfall below 60 mm (2 in). Suva averages 3,000 mm (118.11 inches) of precipitation annually with its driest month, July averaging 125 mm (4.92 in). In fact, during all 12 months of the year, Suva receives substantial precipitation, such that the term "fine weather" in a weather report simply means "not actually raining". Like many other cities with a tropical rainforest climate, temperatures are relatively constant throughout the year, with an average high of about 28 °C (82 °F) and an average low of about 22 °C (72 °F).
Suva has a markedly higher rainfall than Nadi and the western side of Viti Levu, which is known to Suva citizens as "the burning west". The second Governor of Fiji, Sir Arthur Gordon, allegedly remarked that it rained in Suva like he had seen nowhere else before and that there was hardly a day without rain. The most copious rainfall is observed from November to May, while the slightly cooler months from June to October are considerably drier.
|Climate data for Suva, Fiji|
|Record high °C (°F)||35.0|
|Average high °C (°F)||29.0|
|Average low °C (°F)||23.0|
|Record low °C (°F)||19.0|
|Average rainfall mm (inches)||290.0|
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, and the city is home to the majority of Fiji's ethnic minority populations, which include Rotumans, Lauans, Rambians, Caucasians (Europeans or Kaivalagi), part-Europeans (of European and Fijian descent), or Kailoma" and Chinese, amongst others. The most widely spoken language is English, but Fijian, Hindustani, and other languages are also spoken by their respective communities.
|Official figures from population censuses|
Suva has municipal status and is supposed to be governed by a Lord Mayor and a 20-member city council. The Suva City Council is the municipal law-making body of the city of Suva, Fiji's capital. It consists of 20 Councillors, elected for three-year terms from four multi-member constituencies called wards. Councillors, who are elected by residents, landowners, and representatives of corporations owning or occupying rateable property in Suva, elect a Lord Mayor and Deputy Lord Mayor from among their own members; they serve one-year terms and are eligible for re-election.
In 2009, the Military-backed interim government dismissed all municipal governments throughout Fiji and appointed special administrators to run the urban areas. As of 2015, elected municipal government has not been restored. The special administrator of Suva, along with nearby Nasinu, is Chandu Umaria, a former Lord Mayor of Suva.
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. It 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 Zealand 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 Hawaii. It offers courses which are internationally recognised and endorsed.
The Fiji Museum, in Thurston Gardens, 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 artefacts in the world, and is also a research and educational institution, specialising in archaeology, 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 Gardens which was opened in 1913 and has flora from throughout the South Pacific.
Suva has many shopping and retail areas, notably Cumming street, which has since colonial times been a vibrant and colourful shopping area. Features of these streets 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 MHCC are all part of the developments to give the city a modern and sophisticated look.
In December 2009, there was an addition to Suva's skyline with the opening of TappooCity valued at USD25.7 million (FJD50 million) a joint venture six-storey low-rise building project by FNPF & Tappoo Group of Companies as Fiji's (and South Pacific's) largest department mall at present outside Australia & New Zealand.
Construction work began in January 2011 for a FJD30 million mini-mall complex at Grantham Road behind the Sports-City Complex and close proximity to University of the South Pacific, which will house restaurants, retail outlets and cinemas. Although construction was scheduled for end 2011, this complex will now be ready mid-2012.
Unlike most cities and towns in Fiji and indeed many around the world, Suva did not grow around one industry but has gradually developed as a hub and one of the largest cities in the Pacific Islands. Fijians of Indian descent have largely shaped the economy of Fiji, contributing immensely to the growth of Suva and its status as the economic and political capital of Fiji. Suva is the commercial center of Fiji with most banks having their Pacific headquarters here, including ANZ and the Westpac Bank. Most national financial institutions, non-governmental organisations and government ministries and departments are headquartered here. At one point both Air Pacific (now called Fiji Airways and Air Fiji were headquartered in Suva.
A large part of Fiji's international shipping is conducted at Suva's Kings Wharf as well as docking of international cruise ships, which has led to a growth in Suva's tourism industry. Many services are provided in Suva and is the basis of Suva's industrial and commercial activity.
There are large industrial areas, the largest being at Walu Bay, where there is a saturation of factories and warehouses and import and export companies. This area contains many shipyards for ship building and repairs as well as container yards. There is a brewery and many printeries. Other notable industrial zones are located in Vatuwaqa, Raiwaqa and Laucala Beach.
There is a large commercial and shopping scene in Suva with streets such as Cumming Street and Victoria Parade being popular. There are many shopping complexes to visit and many markets.
Suva is host to more international and regional intergovernmental agencies and NGOs than any other Pacific Island capital. Some of the bodies with a presence in Suva are:
- The TRAFFIC Oceania South Pacific Programme – funded by the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office, is in Suva, in the offices of the WWF South Pacific Programme. The programme assists in the implementation of CITES and strengthens collaboration with the World Wide Fund for Nature.
- The Fiji School of Medicine – which is now classed as a regional agency and a member of the Council of Regional Organisations in the Pacific.
- The University of Fiji.
- The Fiji School of Nursing.
- The University of the South Pacific which operates a campus in Suva as well as at other South Pacific locations.
- The Fiji National University which is a major polytechnic in Fiji and caters students from many small Pacific Island nations. It has centres in other Fiji towns of Nadi, Ba and Labasa.
- The Fiji College of Advanced Learning.
- TPAF (The Training and Productivity Authority of Fiji).
- The Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC).
- The Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat.
- The South Pacific Applied Geoscience Commission (SOPAC).
- St John's Theological College, Suva.
- The Pacific Regional Seminary (PRS).
- The Pacific Theological College (PTC).
- Femmus School of Hospitality.
- Alliance Française.
- Greenpeace Pacific.
- UNDP Headquarters (Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu, Fiji, Tonga, Samoa, Cook Islands, Palau, Micronesia, Marshall Islands, Tuvalu, Kiribati, Niue, Nauru).
- Asian Development Bank Headquarters Pacific
- World Bank Headquarters
Entertainment and culture
Suva is host to many regional, national and local events and has very developed and advanced venue options.
Suva has many multipurpose venues, the main ones being:
- The Vodafone Arena – Seats 4000 – 5000 people depending on configuration.
- The ANZ National Stadium – Seats 30,000 people
- The FMF National Gymnasium Suva – Seats 2000
- The Civic Auditorium – Seats 1000
- Albert Park – Grandstand Seating cum Stand-up concert and sporting venue
Parks and gardens
Suva has a number of parks and a few gardens. Albert Park, in the City centre, is famous as the stage for many national-historical events such as the Independence of Fiji, the landing by Kingsford Smith on the Southern Cross and many parades and carnivals. Sukuna Park, also in the CBD is a popular recreational park and has many performances and events on a weekly basis. Thurston Gardens (named for Governor of Fiji John Bates Thurston) is the city's main botanical garden and the location of the Fiji Museum. Queen Elizabeth Drive is popular as a scenic walk along Suva's foreshore. Many city residents go to the Colo-i-Suva Forest Reserve, a short drive from the city centre, to swim under the waterfalls.
Many concerts are held in Suva, some coming from other countries to enjoy world-class performances. Concerts and shows are usually staged at one of the above-mentioned venues on a monthly basis. Some of the famous music artists to hold shows in Suva include UB40, Lucky Dube, O'Yaba, Sean Kingston and many others. Due to a favoured interests in Bollywood by all, some prominent singers and actors have held shows in the capital which includes singers like Shaan, Sonu Nigam, Sunidhi Chauhan and movie artists like Shah Rukh Khan, Priyanka Chopra, Johnny Lever, Dino Morea, Rajpal Yadav, Sunny Leone and the like.
Suva offers a varied and interesting culinary experience where almost every if not all major cuisines are represented. Particularly popular cuisines are Fijian, Indian, Chinese, American and foods from other cultural and ethnic backgrounds. Fijians of Indian descent have influenced Fiji's cuisine, in the process creating the uniquely Fiji Indian curry. Indentured labourers brought with them spices, chilies and other herbs and vegetables which now are part of the Fijian culinary experience.
During the course of the year, arts, music and trade festivals are held in Suva, albeit on a small scale. There are a few large and notable festivals that occur annually and these include the Hibiscus Festival (largest carnival in the South Pacific islands), the New Years Street Party, and the Fiji Show Case tradeshow that includes carnival rides, food as well as magic and circus performances.
Suva has a vibrant nightlife where most nightclubs and bars open in the late afternoon and remain open till 5 am. Suva's nightlife caters to all tastes, moods and likes. Food stalls are open throughout the night and the city is well policed at night. Apart from nightclubs, there are lounges and bars that cater to those seeking low-key entertainment
The seedier side of Suva is Victoria Parade where night clubs such as Signals Night Club, East Court Restaurant, and Angel Night Club are located in the same stretch.
Downtown Suva has one main cinema complex, Village Six, owned by the Damodar Brothers. The Regal and Phoenix theatres, once prominent cinema/theatre haunts before the new millennium owned by the Sharan Brothers, have since closed down. A second cinema complex is the (also owned by the Damodar brothers), in the shopping area of Laucala Bay, which has a further six screens, along with shopping and eating outlets and cafes.
Another interesting feature of Suva is the increasing number of Bollywood films being shot in the capital.
Suva plays host to many regional and national sporting events, most notably at the ANZ National Stadium. A special highlight is the Coca-Cola Games, the largest secondary school athletics meet in the world. The Capital City is represented in major sporting events by its respective rugby, netball and soccer teams.
Suva was the host of the first Pacific Games, in 1963. Forty years later in 2003 the Games returned to Fiji's capital, with a full program of 32 sports introduced for the first time. Suva held the games for the second time in 1979. Having hosted the event three times, Suva has held the Pacific Games more often than any other city.
Headquartered in Suva are the three main national television stations, Fiji One, FBC TV and MAI TV along with the Fiji Ministry of Information, which produces government programs as well as national news and current affairs bulletins. Fiji One produces and airs its evening 'National News' bulletin from its studios in Gladstone Road in Central; FBC TV airs its 'FBC News' bulletin from its studios, also on Gladstone Road. Sky Pacific and Pacific Broadcasting Services Fiji are the two pay satellite television company headquartered here.
Suva is home to the national radio broadcasters Fiji Broadcasting Corporation (FBC) and Communications Fiji Limited (CFL), between them providing 12 of the national radio stations.
The two dailies, The Fiji Times and The Fiji Sun are printed here (and, formerly, the Fiji Post). Many other weekly newspapers are headquartered and published in Suva, including Inside Fiji, Nai Lalakai (iTaukei language weekly), Shanti Dut (Fiji Hindi weekly), national magazines such as Repúblika and Mai Life as well as regional magazines such as Islands Business.
Shopping and fashion
Suva is one of the most shopper friendly cities in the Pacific and has long been known for its affordable and unique offerings, often duty-free. The city offers its shopping paradise in a cluster that is referred to as Suva Central. Areas like Cumming Street and Marks Street are for clothing, jewellery, food, electronics, pharmaceuticals and more. Terry Walk and the Flea Market offer handicrafts and local ware. Close by, huge, new shopping complexes dominate the canal area, such as MHCC (Morris Hedstrom City Center), Tappoo City and Suva Central. The general outer areas of this radius are telecommunication and electronic stores, tourist favourite – Jack's and sporting gear stores.
Every year, Suva plays host to Fiji Fashion Week (FJFW) usually held in Suva and a condensed version in Nadi over consecutive weeks in late October. The shows offer the creations of local and overseas designers as well as shows focused on wearable art. FJFW began in 2008, with a show at the Hilton Hotel in Denarau, with the 2009 show at Albert Park. In 2010, Fiji Fashion Week was a bigger extravaganza with a Fashion Film Festival as well. FJFW 2010 was held at Boron House (a state mansion) where the shows were broadcast internationally by world-renowned Fashion TV. In 2011, the show took on a distinct urban theme with the show held on the sixth floor of the Tappoo City building with the city of Suva as a backdrop and for the first time, included models from overseas (mostly, international models who were in Fiji for the World Supermodel Competition). Fiji Fashion Week 2012 brings together designers from France, USA, India, Australia, New Zealand, Philippines, Nigeria, Samoa, Cook Islands, Wallis & Futuna and Fiji. It will once again be shown on Fashion TV.
Nausori International Airport caters mainly to the domestic market, connecting Suva with Fiji's other international airport, Nadi International Airport, and serves smaller international aircraft, at one time servicing Brisbane and Sydney routes. As of August 2010, Fiji Airways will operate a twice weekly flight from Nausori International Airport to Auckland, New Zealand to complement its 13 weekly flights from Nadi to Auckland, furthermore, the Nausori – Sydney route has resumed. The airport provides services to its immediate Pacific neighbours Tonga and Tuvalu as well as the dependency of Rotuma.
Suva has a public transport system consisting of buses (Central Transport Co.) and taxis servicing the metropolitan area as well as the cities of Nasinu, Nausori and Lami town. There are bus services connecting Suva with other towns and cities on Viti levu by way of either the Kings, Queens or Princes highways, all originating within Suva, although the latter terminates at Rewa Bridge in Nausori.
There is a domestic ferry services from the Princess Wharf to the outer islands of Fiji as well as Vanua Levu. International ships and cruise liners dock at Suva's Kings Wharf.
Suva city gallery
This is a list of famous people who are either currently living in, or are originally from Suva.
- Petero Civoniceva (born in Suva), Australian rugby league player
- Noor Dean, a Fiji Indian lawyer and politician, Suva City Council, and House of Representatives
- Josua Koroibulu, plays rugby league for the Fiji national rugby league team
- Nalini Krishan, Star Wars film actress
- Craig Parker, New Zealand actor
- Paulini (born in Suva), Australian singer and songwriter
- Semi Radradra, Parramatta Eels player and plays for the Fiji national rugby league team
- Waisale Serevi, Fiji Rugby Team
- Devanesh Sharma, leading Suva lawyer and former President of the Fiji Law Society
- Sitiveni Sivivatu, All Black Chiefs (Super rugby franchise)
- Son Sungah, member of Korean female vocal group Nine Muses (band)
- Semi Tadulala, plays rugby union for Gloucester Rugby in England and Fiji in rugby union previously a rugby league player for Melbourne Storm, Bradford Bulls and the Fiji national rugby league team
- Malakai Yalimaiwai Tuiloa, plays for the Fiji national rugby league team
- Lote Tuqiri, played rugby union for the Australian national rugby union team
- Marques Whippy, professionnel basketball player
Twin towns – sister cities
- Beihai, Guangxi, People's Republic of China
Brighton, Tasmania, Australia
- Llanera, Nueva Ecija, Philippines
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- . Seasons India. 24 March 2004. Retrieved 10 October 2012.
- . Liveindia.com. Retrieved 10 October 2012.
- . Beihai Government. Archived from on 21 November 2008. Retrieved 25 November 2008.