This new and innovative exhibition – the result of the research project Stories of an Ocean People – honours Fiji’s rich maritime history and Fijians’ longstanding relationship with the ocean. Funded and supported by the Fijian Government, Tokani: Friends of the Fiji Museum, Evolution of Fiji Fashion Show, iTaukei Trust Fund Board, Embassy of France, Embassy of the People’s Republic of China, Fiji Airways, Bebe Enterprises (Fiji), The Greenhouse Studio, Erasito Consultants, Japan International Cooperation Agency Fiji (JICA) and the Grand Pacific Hotel, the exhibition team has conducted in-depth research on cultural heritage and stories from Fiji’s multi-ethnic communities to increase awareness of these significant but little-known treasures from our shared home.
Voyages: Stories of an Ocean People is a major exhibition that explores the stories of the people of Fiji who have a close connection to the sea. Great navigators of our maritime home, our forebears were masters of the sea. Indigenous traditional wisdom has persisted down the centuries to the present. Oceanic natives of the Pacific Islands have a history of discovering uninhabited islands by navigating unaided over great distances. This includes the early Lapita people who arrived on Fiji’s shores over 3000 years ago and the skilled iTaukei craftspeople who travelled by large ocean-going drua and navigated and traded on the vast Pacific highway. More recent migrants who came as whalers, missionaries, labourers, traders from the East and West will be highlighted alongside Girmitiyas and Pacific Island labourers. All who have made Fiji home have had an impact on the Fijian coast and way of life.
Ratu Finau, our magnificent national cultural heritage icon, has recently undergone crucial conservation and will occupy a prominent position in the gallery and serve as a platform for the sharing of stories of tradition, bravery, discovery, innovation, knowledge, and adventure. The drua will also act as a backdrop for the current climate issues that modern Fijians are dealing with. As we collectively navigate a warming world, this exhibition will challenge viewers to think about what ocean legacy they are leaving for future generations.
Visit the Fiji Museum 7 days a week to experience and explore the stories and great voyages that have helped to share modern Fiji!