Last updated

The City of Lautoka


Sugar City
Fiji map.png
Fiji's Map Showing The Location of Lautoka
Country Flag of Fiji.svg Fiji
Island Viti Levu
Division Western Division
  Type City Council
Time zone UTC+12 (GMT +12)
  Summer (DST) UTC+13 (GMT +13)

Lautoka is the second largest city in Fiji. It is on the west coast of the island of Viti Levu, in the Ba Province of the Western Division. Lying in the heart of Fiji's sugar cane-growing region, the city has come to be known as the Sugar City. Covering an area of 32 square kilometres, it had a population of 71,573 at the 2017 census, the most recent to date.


Economic activities

Lautoka is known as the Sugar City because of its sugar cane belt areas. [1] The main Lautoka Sugar Mill was founded in 1903, [2] and is the city's biggest employer by far. Built for the Colonial Sugar Refining Company (Fiji) (CSR) by workers from India and the Solomon Islands between 1899 and 1903, it hires some 1,300 employees today. Other industries include timber milling, [2] garment manufacturing, distillery, brewery, jewellery, blending, steelworks, fishing, hatchery, domestic items, paints, and construction. In 2012 Lautoka was announced as the administration capital of the western division...


The name of the city is derived from two Fijian words meaning "spear hit." According to an oral tradition, the name arose following a duel between two chiefs. As one speared the other, he was reported to have cried "Lau-toka!" ("Bull's eye!").

The first known European sighting of the Lautoka area took place on 7 May 1789. Captain William Bligh spotted and roughly charted the coasts of Lautoka while making his epic voyage to Timor, in the wake of the mutiny on the Bounty.


Incorporated as a town in 1929, Lautoka was proclaimed a city on 25 February 1977. It is governed by a 16-member city council, who elect from among themselves a mayor. Lautoka currently does not have a mayor but has a government-appointed administrator like all urban centres in Fiji since the military coup of 2006. The former administrator was Parveen Bala, who was also mayor of Ba.

A well-known past Mayor is Ratilal Patel, who was elected mayor in 1967.

Lautoka is the only city in Fiji's Western Division, and is the industrial hub of Fiji which contains more than 50 percent of the nation's population. It is also the headquarters of the Fiji Electricity Authority, the Fiji Pine Ltd, and the National Marketing Authority.

Mass media

The headquarters and studios of Mix FM Fiji are located in Lautoka. With National coverage, MixFM is the only English station in Fiji to be based outside of Suva.


Grocery store in Lautoka. Shop in Lautoka, Viti Levu, Fiji - August 2016.jpg
Grocery store in Lautoka.

Since 1970, the population of Lautoka has grown rapidly, and in the last twenty years it has also changed dramatically in structure. In the early 1970s the population was estimated to be about 12,000, the vast majority of inhabitants being Indian, as would be expected considering the early growth of the city was entirely associated with the sugar industry. Almost all of the present Indian inhabitants are descendants of the early girmityas. In 1986 the population was 39,000 and in 1996 almost 43,000, but it is not clear exactly how the boundaries of the urban area were defined at either of these censuses. In 2005 the population including the suburban zones was probably about 50,000, occupying a total area of about 16 km2. The population of Lautoka including the rural districts is around 80,000. But much of the recent growth of the city itself has been due to indigenous Fijians moving into the urban area.

The city is the birthplace of PGA Tour Hall of Famer Vijay Singh and Ghazal and Tabla star Cassius Khan.

Health and medical services

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the city recorded the first cases of the virus in the country, causing the immediate lockdown of the city. The lockdown lasted 18 days, with only essential services allowed to operate and no one allowed to enter or exit the confined area.


Port of Lautoka is the main maritime gateway for western Viti Levu and is the second largest port in Fiji. The port is mainly used for bulk sugar, molasses, woodchips, petroleum and gas. [3] The port is also used for cruises, Blue Lagoon Cruises and Nai's Cruises are based here. [4]

Lautoka is served by Pacific Transport and Sunbeam buses. Pacific Transport connects Lautoka directly to Nadi Intl Airport and Ba. [5] Sunbeam runs 8 times daily Queen's Highway Service, linking Lautoka to Suva with stops at Nadi International Airport, Nadi Town, Fijian (Shangri – La) Resort, Sigatoka Town, Abua Sands, Hideaway Resort, Naviti Resort, Korolevu, Warwick Resorts, Beach House, Crusoes Retreat Junction, Deuba Inn and Tradewinds Lami. [6]

Ferry Service by Patterson Brothers Shipping Company LTD connects Lautoka to Labasa,Savusavu and Nabouwalu (Vanua Levu).

Notable people

Notes and references

  1. Starnes, Dean; Luckham, Nana (2009). Fiji. Lonely Planet. p. 93. ISBN   9781741047936 . Retrieved 24 April 2014. Lautoka's recent history is entwined with the fortunes of sugar and it is the cane on which Lautoka depends that gives rise to its other name, Sugar City.
  2. 1 2 Stanley, David (2004). South Pacific. David Stanley. p.  737. ISBN   9781566914116 . Retrieved 24 April 2014.
  3. "Port of Lautoka". The official website of Tourism Fiji. 23 October 2013. Retrieved 21 June 2016.
  4. "Port of Suva | Fiji Ports Corporation Limited". Retrieved 21 June 2016.
  5. "Pacific Transport Limited". Retrieved 21 June 2016.
  6. "Sunbeam Transport Limited". The official website of Tourism Fiji. 23 September 2014. Retrieved 21 June 2016.

Coordinates: 17°37′27″S177°27′10″E / 17.62417°S 177.45278°E / -17.62417; 177.45278

Related Research Articles

Modes of transport in Fiji include rail, road, water, and air. The rail network is mainly used for movement of sugar cane. Suva and Lautoka are the largest seaports. There are 122km of navigable inland waterways. There are two international airports, one other paved airport, and over 20 with unpaved runways. With 333 tropical islands that make up this country, expect to use various modes of transport to get to your destination.

Fiji Country in the South Pacific

Fiji, officially the Republic of Fiji, is an island country in Melanesia, part of Oceania in the South Pacific Ocean about 1,100 nautical miles northeast of New Zealand. Fiji consists of an archipelago of more than 330 islands—of which about 110 are permanently inhabited—and more than 500 islets, amounting to a total land area of about 18,300 square kilometres (7,100 sq mi). The most outlying island is Ono-i-Lau. 87% of the total population of 883,483 live on the two major islands, Viti Levu and Vanua Levu. About three-quarters of Fijians live on Viti Levu's coasts, either in the capital city of Suva or in smaller urban centres such as Nadi—where tourism is the major local industry—or Lautoka, where the sugar-cane industry is paramount. Because of its terrain, the interior of Viti Levu is sparsely inhabited.

Suva Capital of Fiji

Suva is the capital and largest metropolitan city in Fiji. It is located on the southeast coast of the island of Viti Levu, in the Rewa Province, Central Division.

Geography of Fiji

Fiji is a group of volcanic islands in the South Pacific, lying about 4,450 kilometres (2,765 mi) southwest of Honolulu and 1,770 km (1,100 mi) north of New Zealand. Of the 332 islands and 522 smaller islets making up the archipelago, about 106 are permanently inhabited. The total land size is 18,272 km2 (7,055 sq mi). It has the 26th largest Exclusive Economic Zone of 1,282,978 km2 (495,361 sq mi).

Nadi Place in Viti Levu, Fiji

Nadi is the third-largest conurbation in Fiji. It is located on the western side of the main island of Viti Levu, and had a population of 42,284 at the most recent census, in 2007. A 2012 estimate showed that the population had grown to over 50,000. Nadi is multiracial with many of its inhabitants Indian or Indigenous Fijians, along with a large transient population of foreign tourists. Along with sugar cane production, tourism is a mainstay of the local economy.

Fiji is divided administratively into four divisions, which are further subdivided into fourteen provinces. Each province has a provincial council.

Vanua Levu

Vanua Levu, formerly known as Sandalwood Island, is the second largest island of Fiji. Located 64 kilometres to the north of the larger Viti Levu, the island has an area of 5,587.1 square kilometres (2,157.2 sq mi) and a population of 135,961 as of 2007.

Viti Levu

Viti Levu is the largest island in the Republic of Fiji, the site of the nation's capital, Suva, and home to a large majority of Fiji's population.

Ba (town)

Ba is a town in Fiji, 37 kilometres from Lautoka and 62 kilometres from Nadi, inland from the coast of Viti Levu, Fiji's largest island. Covering an area of 327 square kilometres, it had a population of 14,596 at the 1996 census. The town is built on the banks of the Ba River, after which it is named. For a long time, Ba was famous for its single lane bridge which caused major traffic problems. The old bridge was washed away in the floods of 1990s and a new bridge built downstream. This resulted in the main highway bypassing Ba Town. Jiaxing City in China is Ba Town's sister city.

Vuda Point is a headland on the west coast of Viti Levu island, in Ba Province of Fiji. It is located between the towns of Nadi and Lautoka.

Nadroga-Navosa Province Place in Viti Levu, Nadroga-Navosa

Nadroga-Navosa is one of the fourteen provinces of Fiji and one of eight based in Viti Levu, Fiji's largest island. It is about 2,385 square kilometers and occupies the South-West and Central areas of Viti Levu, Fiji's principal island. The province includes the Mamanuca Archipelago, off the west coast of Viti Levu, Vatulele, as well as the remote Conway Reef in the southwest. The population at the 2017 census was 58,931, being the fifth largest province. The main town in Nadroga-Navosa is Sigatoka, with a population of 9622.

Fiji Football Association

The Fiji Football Association is the governing body of football in Fiji. It came into existence in 1961, replacing the ethnically based Fiji Indian Football Association. The Indian Association was formed in 1938 but football in Fiji had a much humbler beginning.

Ba is a province of Fiji, occupying the north-western sector of Viti Levu, Fiji's largest island. It is one of fourteen provinces in the nation of Fiji, and one of eight based in Viti Levu. It is Fiji's most populous province, with a population of 247,708 - more than a quarter of the nation's total - at the 2017 census. It covers a land area of 2,634 km2 (1,017 sq mi), the second largest of any province.

Ayodhya Prasad Sharma was an Indo-Fijian farmers' leader and politician. He formed the most successful farmers' union in Fiji and forced the Colonial Sugar Refining Company to make concessions to farmers after 60 years of total control over Fiji's economy. However, other Indo-Fijian leaders formed rival unions and his initial success was not repeated. He also served as a member of the Legislative Council between 1953 and 1959.

Nadi is a district within Ba Province, located on the south-west coast of the island of Viti Levu in Fiji. Nadi is well known for its international airport, which long provided a communication link for travellers from North America to Australia and New Zealand. Because of its proximity to the airport and a number of uninhabited tropical islands, tourism is the main industry in the district. The district is served by the town of Nadi which has a population of approximately 12,000. In the rural areas of Nadi most farmers are involved in the sugar cane industry.

Rail transport in Fiji moves cut sugar cane to crushing mills. Also, there used to be two horse-drawn street tramway systems, some other passenger systems, an underground mine system, and some tramways on construction projects. There are multiple other modes of transport in Fiji.

Unlike the majority of Fiji's Indian population, who are descendants of Indian indentured labourers brought to Fiji between 1879 and 1916, most of the Sikhs came to Fiji as free immigrants. Most Sikhs established themselves as farmers. Sikhs also came to Fiji as policemen, teachers and preachers. In recent years large numbers of Sikhs have emigrated from Fiji, especially to the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand. Sikhs in Fiji are generally referred to as Punjabis.

This is a synopsis of organisations formed by Indians in Fiji. When they became free from the bondage of indenture and were able to organise themselves, they founded numerous organizations to seek social and political justice. These organisations promoted the teaching of Indian languages and religious practices and also to helped others in time of need. Some of the successful organisations are listed below in order in which they were established. Some, such as the National Federation Party, are no longer exclusively Indian, but are still predominantly so.

Sugar cane grew wild in Fiji and was used as thatch by the Fijians for their houses (bures). The first attempt to make sugar in Fiji was on Wakaya Island in 1862 but this was a financial failure. With the cotton boom of the 1860s there was little incentive to plant a crop that required high capital outlay but after a slump in cotton prices in 1870, the planters turned to sugar. In an effort to promote the production of sugar in Fiji, the Cakobau Government, in December 1871, offered a 500-pound reward for the first and best crop of twenty of sugar from canes planted before January 1873.

Viti FM Radio station

Viti FM is an iTaukei (Fijian) language - commercial radio station in Fiji. The station broadcasts on the 92 frequency to the cities of Suva, Navua, Nausori, Labasa, Savusavu, Nadi, Denarau, Mamanuca and Lautoka. The station also broadcasts on the 92 frequency to the towns of Coral Coast and Ba. The station broadcasts on 92 megahertz to the town of Tavua, and on 103 megahertz to Rakiraki and Nabouwalu.