Sources of indigenous Fijian ‘law’: village mores versus town-based criminal laws

Kieran James*, Henry Tuidraki, Anare Tuidraki, Semi Tabaiwalu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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The aim of this article is to reflect on oral history interview data provided by an ex-soccer star who played for Fiji and in what is now the Fiji Premier League, and reconcile his criminal past (according to town-based criminal laws) with his current village assistant headman status. The article compares and contrasts two sources of law–customary Indigenous traditions of rights and responsibilities and town-based criminal laws, which have their origins in British colonial-era laws and are now administered and enforced by the neoliberal Bainimarama government. Because the soccer star’s jewellery store robberies were of Fiji Indian-owned stores, it is difficult for them to penetrate into the world of ‘village-space’, other than as a repressed spectre, since non-Indigenous people cannot live in Indigenous villages. For the Indigenous Fijians, ‘town-space’ is a place for employment, education, venturing out and partying, beyond the gaze of village elders, whereas ‘village-space’ is the ordered space of home and community. ‘Quasi-space’ is here defined as space physically in the town, but when Indigenous people are the only ones present, or a clear majority, some aspects of village understandings can dominate in that space at least for certain time periods and with variable intensity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)465-484
Number of pages20
JournalGriffith Law Review
Issue number4
Early online date9 Sept 2022
Publication statusPublished - 2 Oct 2022


  • Fiji Indians
  • Fiji soccer
  • Indigenous Fijians
  • quasispace
  • town-space
  • village-space


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