Last Updated: Friday, 27 May 2016, 08:49 GMT

World Directory of Minorities and Indigenous Peoples - Fiji Islands : Rotumans

Publisher Minority Rights Group International
Publication Date 2008
Cite as Minority Rights Group International, World Directory of Minorities and Indigenous Peoples - Fiji Islands : Rotumans, 2008, available at: [accessed 28 May 2016]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.


The small, outlying formerly volcanic island of Rotuma was early incorporated into Fiji.

Historical context

Rotumans are Polynesians with a distinct Polynesian language within the more Melanesian Fiji. Rotuma is a small island with few development prospects and is dependent on agriculture. Rotuman rights were protected in the 1990 Constitution and Rotumans were identified as 'indigenous' alongside the majority Melanesian population.

Rotuma has its own Senator, three representatives in the Great Council of Chiefs and greater autonomy than other political subdivisions in Fiji. Rotumans have been highly dependent on government employment in Fiji and many have also migrated overseas. In the wake of the 1987 coup there was some interest in gaining a separate independence, but this interest has subsequently declined.

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