Top Scoops

Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | Scoop News | Wellington Scoop | Community Scoop | Search


Te Karere Ipurangi - Fiji Editorial

Te Karere Ipurangi

HOMEPAGE: Te Karere Ipurangi

May 22, 2000
Comment by R.N.Himona

Two things this morning. Firstly, in their interviews over the weekend and this morning, the media have featured overwhelmingly the views of Fijian Indians, and have disregarded any indigenous Fijian viewpoint. Hardly a balanced response.

Secondly, the sanctimonious Phil Goff, NZs Minister for Foreign Affairs, is still going strong, applying "diplomatic pressure" and offering gratuitous advice.

May 21, 2000
Sunday Editorial
by Ross Nepia Himona

The attempted coup in Fiji takes most negative Maori news reportage out of the media for a while.

The media has another indigenous whipping boy, and most reportage and comment is of course against the indigenous Fijians, and sympathetic to Indian Fijians. As it was in 1987. In fact it amazes me how Pakeha New Zealand manages to feel and express so much outrage at events in the Republic of Fiji. The leftover heritage of a colonial past perhaps, this idea that white New Zealanders have a right to say what goes on in non-white countries. Perhaps also it gives them a safe outlet to vent their spleens against the subconscious threat of a growing indigenous influence in their own country.

Of course the attempted coup, in this instance, is wrong. And of course it is very damaging to the economy, and damages efforts to build a national unity, across the racial divide. But it is after all a matter for Fiji to resolve, in a Fijian way. We in Aotearoa New Zealand are bystanders and observers, nothing more. That's our only role.

Don McKinnon at the Commonwealth Secretariat fulminates and declares himself angry. Phil Goff pontificates and passes judgement. As do their Australian counterparts. Who the hell do they think they are these white boy neo-colonials?

The fact is that the Fijian troubles were caused by British colonists when they imported Indian indentured workers to labour in their canefields. The fact is that the Indians in Fiji are as much to blame for their plight as anyone is, for they have held themselves aloof from the indigenous Fijians, and have attempted to maintain an Indian homeland in another land. The fact is that they have acted as though they fully intend to eventually become the power in Fiji, and to convert Fiji into a culturally Indian country. As an indigenous Fijian wouldn't you feel threatened and outraged.

The Government, led by Mahendra Chaudhry, were warned that this coup attempt was imminent, and ignored it. The Police Commissioner warned that the Police would not be able to cope, and Chaudhry told him to shut up. The sin of Hubris is inevitably and inexorably followed by Nemesis.

That white people and their media take sides in these troubles is an expression of the tired old colonial racism that still infects the whole of the Pacific; nothing more.

One of the ironies in this situation is that the present president, His Excellency Rt Hon Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara, who is now leading the effort to restore order, predicted in Parliament in the late 1960s that the day the Indians gained a majority in Parliament would be the day that Suva would burn to the ground. He said that the only thing the Fijians would lose would be Indian records of Fijian debt. His timing was a bit out, but Suva burns.

Another irony is that the gunmen backing George Speight are members of an elite military counter-revolutionary unit set up by Sitiveni Rabuka after the 1987 coups. They are led by a former British SAS member who was brought home by Rabuka to set up the unit. Now Sitiveni Rabuka is negotiating with his own creation to back down. They are all of them quite close to Rabuka, as is his golfing partner George Speight.

Best coverage at Fijilive and its alternative site

Book Review: Rabuka of Fiji

Map of Polynesia

(For links see...

And on a personal note I watch closely for news of Adi Koila Nailatikau, Minister of Tourism, and one of the hostages. She is the daughter of Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara, and the wife of a long-time friend, Ratu Epeli Nailatikau. Brigadier (Retired) Ratu Epeli Nailatikau was the Commander of the Royal Fiji Military Forces in 1987, and was retired and replaced by the then Lieutenant Colonel Sitiveni Rabuka.

Adi Koila is one of only three hostages who is not allowed any family contact at all at the moment (midday Sunday), although her husband was called to Parliament by George Speight on Friday. She would seem to be the key hostage in Speight's standoff with Ratu Mara.

© Scoop Media

Top Scoops Headlines


Gordon Campbell: On The Use Of Existing Drugs To Reduce The Effects Of Coronavirus

So now, we’re all getting up to speed with the travel bans, the rigorous handwashing and drying, the social distancing, and the avoidance of public transport wherever possible. Right. At a wider level…so far, the public health system has ... More>>

Gordon Campbell: On Oil Market And Regulation Crusades

Safe to say, Vladimir Putin did not expect the response he has received amidships from the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia. Earlier, Russia chose to walk away from the OPEC talks in Vienna that were aimed at reaching an agreement on how to reduce world oil production (and protect oil prices) in the light of the fall in demand being caused by the coronavirus. No doubt, Russia and its allies in the US shale industry probably glimpsed an opportunity to undercut OPEC and seize some of its customers. Bad move. In reply, Saudi Arabia has smashed the oil market by hugely ramping up production, signing up customers and drastically cutting the oil price in a fashion designed to knock Russia and other oil suppliers right out of contention. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On 22 Short Takes About Super Tuesday

With obvious apologies to the Simpsons….Here’s my 22 short takes on the 14 Super Tuesday primaries that combined yesterday to produce a common narrative –Bernie Sanders NOT running away with the nomination, Joe Biden coming back from the dead, and the really, really rich guy proving to be really, really bad at politics. In the months ahead, it will be fascinating to see if the real Joe Biden can live up to the idea of Joe Biden that people voted for yesterday – namely, the wise old guy who can save the country from the political extremism of the right and the left... More>>

Gordon Campbell On Shane Jones: A Liability No-One Needs To Bear

New Zealand First has needed a diversion after weeks of bad coverage over its dodgy handling of donations, but it really, really doesn’t need what Shane Jones has chosen to provide. According to Jones, New Zealand has ... More>>

Binoy Kampmark: Strong Man Legacies: Burying Mubarak

Reviled strongmen of one era are often the celebrated ones of others. Citizens otherwise tormented find that replacements are poor, in some cases even crueller, than the original artefact. Such strongmen also serve as ideal alibis for rehabilitation ... More>>

Caitlin Johnstone: Humanity Is Making A Very Important Choice When It Comes To Assange

The propagandists have all gone dead silent on the WikiLeaks founder they previously were smearing with relentless viciousness, because they no longer have an argument. The facts are all in, and yes, it turns out the US government is certainly and undeniably working to exploit legal loopholes to imprison a journalist for exposing its war crimes. That is happening, and there is no justifying it... More>>

Gail Duncan: Reframing Welfare Report

Michael Joseph Savage, the architect of the 1938 Social Security Act, wouldn’t recognise today’s Social Security Act as having anything to do with the kind, cooperative, caring society he envisioned 80 years ago. Instead society in 2020 has been reduced ... More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Addiction To Chinese Student Fees

Last week, Australian PM Scott Morrison extended its ban on foreign visitors from or passing through from mainland China – including Chinese students - for a third week. New Zealand has dutifully followed suit, with our travel ban ... More>>

Gordon Campbell: On Coronavirus, And The Iowa Debacle

As Bloomberg says, the coronavirus shutdown is creating the world’s biggest work-from-home experiment. On the upside, the mortality rate with the current outbreak is lower than with SARS in 2003, but (for a number of reasons) the economic impact this time ... More>>

Gordon Campbell: On Dodging A Bullet Over The Transport Cost Over-Runs

As New Zealand gears up to begin its $6.8 billion programme of large scale roading projects all around the country, we should be aware of this morning’s sobering headlines from New South Wales, where the cost overruns on major transport projects ... More>>


  • PublicAddress
  • Pundit
  • Kiwiblog