COMPARED to Indians who arrived in 1879 and were freed from their contract after five years, the iTaukei lived a heavily regulated life for 92 years — from 1876 to 1968 — when regulations were relaxed.
The claim was made by civil society leader Alisi Daurewa.
As part of a panel speaking at the 14th Attorney-General's Conference last week on the topic constitution and constitutionalism, Ms Daurewa presented a paper titled Colonial Structures — Understanding the Experiences of the iTaukei.
On the historical experience of the native administration, she said the iTaukei were told the British loved them so much they were preserved in villages under demarcated provinces, to protect their tradition and culture.
"While this might have saved a population that had dwindled through deaths from foreign disease, it was in fact necessary for Sir Arthur Gordon to formulate the Native Ordinance 1876 to ensure governmental objectives were met, through the introduction of indirect rule where local chiefs were used to implement the policies of government," she said.
Ms Daurewa said this was also a cheaper option for the colonial officers in London to dictate that each colony of the British Empire be self-sustainable.