Kadavu Province

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Kadavu Province is one of fourteen provinces of Fiji, and forms part of the Eastern Division, which also includes the provinces of Lau, Lomaiviti and Rotuma. Kadavu also belongs to the Burebasaga Confederacy, a hierarchy of chiefs from southern and western Fiji with Roko Tui Dreketi of Rewa as the paramount chief.

It consists of Kadavu Island, Ono Island, Galoa Island, Dravuni Island, Matanuku Island, Buliya Island, Nagigia Island, and a few other islands. Kadavu has a total land area of 408 square kilometers, with a population of 10,897 at the most recent census in 2017, making it the fourth least populous province. [1]

The Kadavu group is volcanic in nature, the main island being Kadavu, which is 93 km long and varies in width from several hundred metres to 13 km, All its coasts are deeply indented, some bays biting so far into the land that they almost divide the island. One geographer has suggested that the shape of Kadavu resembles that of a wasp, with the head, thorax and abdomen linked by narrow waists.

Thus Vunisea (the administrative center), Namalata Bay and Galoa Harbor are separated by only a sandy isthmus standing a few meters above sea level; and at Vunisea the heads of Daku Bay and Soso Bay are within 1100 meters of each other, with only a low ridge between.

The province is divided into nine tikina (districts), each with its own paramount chief and chiefly villages. The tikinas are Tavuki (Tavuki), Naceva (Soso), Nabukelevu (Daviqele), Nakasaleka (Lomanikoro), Sanima (Drue), Yale (Rakiraki), Yawe (Nalotu), Ono (Vabea) and Ravitaki (Ravitaki). Each high chief is a member of the Kadavu Provincial Council. There are 75 villages in the province of Kadavu.

The Kadavu dialects are almost as numerous as the tikinas but with tiny variations between dialects. The Kadavu dialects are closer to the Rewa dialect in Ono and then closer to the Beqa, Serua and Vatulele dialect in the main island with more similarities with the Nadroga and Ba dialects as one move towards the south of the island. This could all indicate the origin of the inhabitants to an extent.

Kadavu is also the home of the second-largest living organism on Earth, the Great Astrolabe Reef, which lies along the southern side of the island and stretches from the northern part of the island, Ono island, to the southern tip of Kadavu Island, Muanasika Point near Nasau village. The edges of this reef are indicated by two lighthouses: the Solo Light House near Ono Island, and the Washington Lighthouse close to Nagigia Island.

There is no town on the island but Vunisea is where all the government headquarters are, with one high school (boarding school), a primary school, police station, hospital, airstrip and at least five supermarkets. However, there are also two main other stations apart from Vunisea: Kavala and Daviqele.

Despite its proximity to the population center of Viti Levu, the population of Kadavu is deeply conservative. Perhaps the conservatism can be traced to the difficulty of getting around the island and the resulting isolation of its communities. Though remote, Kadavu is well known by divers for its rich diversity of undersea life, particularly in the Astrolabe Reef. Likewise there is a great deal of terrestrial flora and fauna of interest, particularly the birds. The colorful Kadavu Parrot, which is now a protected species, can be easily observed.

Over the last five to ten years a number of mid-range properties (as well as one uber-deluxe resort) have sprouted up on Kadavu. For visitors interested in getting away from the typical tourist haunts of the Nadi area, Kadavu is a good option. If you are not a diver, surfing during the winter months is quite good. Kadavu can be reached by air from Nadi and Suva.

There is also ferry service from Gounder’s Lomaiviti Princess on Tuesdays and Fridays from Suva (arriving respectively on Wednesdays and Saturdays). Prices are F$44 for economy and F$75 for first class. I suggest you splurge for first class. When economy seats are full, passengers are sprawled out out on any surface they can find.

Noteworthy Kadavuans

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  1. Fiji Bureau of Statistics (5 January 2018). "2017 Population and Housing Census - Release 1". Census 2017. Archived from the original on 20 March 2018. Retrieved 8 April 2018.

Coordinates: 19°03′S178°15′E / 19.050°S 178.250°E / -19.050; 178.250