The Indians in Fiji

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The Indians in Fiji is a documentary produced by Alwyn Owen to mark Fiji's independence. It looks at the western region of Viti Levu and Indian sugar cane growing communities.

The Methodist Coronation Church choir of Lautoka are heard rehearsing a hymn for Independence Day.

The sound of a steam train is heard hauling cane along Lautoka's main street.
Abdul Gafar, a Moslem Indian cane farmer is interviewed about his farm. The land is leased from indigenous Fijian owners and he explains what will happen when his 10 year lease expires. If the lease is not renewed he will get some compensation on improvements to the property but nothing for the crops.

He talks about his contract with South Pacific Sugar Mills, which pays farmers a basic minimum price for their cane, $7.75 per ton. He will get about $1200 a year for his crop.

Semisi Nadrubalava is a Fijian cane farmer. He explains how he started cane farming with no funds. He talks about banks and moneylenders. His Indian neighbours helped him with advice and implements to get his farm started.

More Fijians are turning to cane farming, competing with Indians for the good land. Indians dominate retailing in Fiji, with the duty-free sales of appliances and electronics dominating. Actuality of an Australian tourist haggling with a storekeeper.

Declan Martin of Fiji's Cooperative School talks about the inefficiencies in Fiji's economy. A typical Indian village store is described. They are the meeting place for the community. Store keeper Dharam Jit Singh talks about what stock he carries and his family's history. His father came from Gujurat. He says in Fiji the caste system does not really apply, so life is much freer. He speaks Fijian as well as he speaks Hindi.

A man describes what he thinks are the main characteristics of a Fiji-Indian: family-orientated, hard workers with a desire for their children to be well-educated. Most are descended from indentured cane workers.

Schooling is segregated along racial lines, Fijian and Indian.The head teachers from Indian and Fijian schools in Vitogo comment on attendance and the needs of their communities. Education is neither free nor compulsory, although the Indian school does not charge a fee, but holds a fund-raising bazaar instead.

An Indian man comments on the future of racial integration and inter-marriage. The superficial (and often racist) observations of tourists about race relations in Fiji are examined.

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Year 1970

Reference number 329017

Media type AUDIO

Collection Sound Collection

Credits Owen, Alwyn (b.1926), Producer
Fraser, Ian, 1948-, Narrator
New Zealand Broadcasting Corporation (estab. 1962, closed 1975), Broadcaster

Duration 00:30:11

Date 18 Oct 1970