Town’s historical background

WHEN “the Colonial Sugar Refining Company (Fiji) (CSR) closed in 1959, Nausori was like a ghost town for a number of years.” These were the words of Komai Nausori, Ratu Lepani Tagicakibau as he reminisced about his memories of the town.

“When I was about seven or eight years old, I can still remember people crying when the mill closed because it was their livelihood,” said Mr Tagicakibau at his village home in Nausori.

“One of my best memories of Nausori Town was the existence of the first mill. There has been lot of changes ever since but I’m glad the town is picking up very quickly in terms of development. I’m also glad the landowners are participating, which is one thing I like very much. They’re beginning to realise that it’s not just about leasing their land but also taking ownership of the development itself. Being a leader of the vanua, this is one of my big highlights — to see the vanua and the landowners participating in the development processes.”

Mr Tagicakibau says during the past 20 years he has seen a lot changes in Nausori Town like the construction of the new Rewa Bridge to replace the old one.

“We work in complement to what the Nausori Town Council is paying for the land,” he said.

“And we are working very closely with them. Development is part of growth in our economy and most people from Nausori are from the districts of Tailevu, Rewa and Naitasiri. The only thing left is for government to decentralise their ministries to areas such as ours so that people could easily access services — these are things that could help the growth of Nausori. The TLTB office was here once, now its in Suva and so is the Ministry of Lands office. These people have to travel all the way to Suva to access these services. We do have other things like the death and marriage registration office and the health centre.”

When it comes to developments, Mr Tagicakibau says the youths have become part of it and have participated with their skills.

“With the education here, it enhances their capabilities to do more in the sense of starting their own business especially to us, the owners of Nausori. Our mindset needs to change when it comes to development especially with this population growth in the Suve-Nausori corridor. I believe population growth is around 11 per cent per annum which means it requires more housing, more investment on employment opportunities and even more development on infrastructures.

“Things are looking up for Nausori and with the new extension of the airport it will boost the development.”

He hopes government would encourage them and even assist in starting a business.

“With our subdivision it is known as a commercial area and I hope the town country planning and Nausori Town Council will monitor the developments in uniform. I hope things are built in accordance with regulation in regards to commercial development because I believe commercial development is higher than any other development.”

Website nausoritowncouncil.org reports Nausori began its economic boom in the early 1880s and plays an important role in the history of Fiji, while being declared a town in 1931.

“Economic opportunities were brought by the Sugar Industry in the small town in 1882, making it the first town in the country to have a Sugar Refining Company,” reported nausoritowncouncil.org.

“There are quite a number of landmarks and historical sites within and around Nausori. This includes old fortified villages’ monuments and buildings left behind by the indentured labourers. Fortified villages established in the early colonial era (early 19th century) have been sighted in Kuku, Nausori which dates back to the 1200s to 1500s. Other historical landmarks include the Rewa Bridge, Syria monuments, indentured laborers’ quarters, CSR quarters and the first Methodist missionaries building in Fiji that was constructed in Davuilevu. Nausori was initially the home to sugarcane and rice cultivation, however due to unfavorable weather conditions these proved futile. Nausori is a getaway to the north eastern and western side of Viti Levu. The eastern side is the Nausori Airport’s location while the South Eastern side is where the Rewa Delta along with the central are part of the interior of Naitaisiri.”

Nausoritowncouncil.org adds Nausori is a town that has evolved from what was once a thriving sugar industry in the 19th century, to a rural backwater town on the banks of the Rewa River from 1937 to the present.

“It is historic in the sense that it was where the first sugar mill was established by the Colonial Sugar Refining (CSR) Co. of Australia in 1881,” reports the website.

“It also hosted the first major influx of Indian labourers to Viti Levu in 1881 to work on the sugar plantations in the Rewa Delta.

The descendants of those labourers have remained in Nausori and/or have moved to other parts of the country.”

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