Information Exchange

Forming a Global “Friends of” Group for Levuka, Fiji

Steve Noakes describes one way to seek international support for a local heritage group:

Levuka, Fiji: Founded by trader and settlers as early as 1830, Levuka flourished and attracted cotton and coconut planters, sandalwood and beche de mer traders. Merchants arrived to set up businesses such as shops, bars and hotels. Ships and sailors of every nationality visited, and Levuka turned into a rowdy place where anarchy ruled.  Local chiefs had trouble to maintain control, and so the self-proclaimed king over Fiji, Tui Cakabau, and his fellow Chiefs ceded the islands to the Queen of Great Britain. Fiji became a British Colony on 10 October 1874 and Levuka, on the island of Ovalau, became Fiji’s first capital.

Law and order took over, but space became an issue, so the capital moved over to Suva in 1877.

Local Levuka businessman Bhupen Kymar and other townsfolk have formed the volunteer Levuka Historical & Cultural Society to help restore and preserve  buildings of the first permanent settlement for Europeans in the South Pacific. They also support the Levuka Ovalau Tourism Association.

To help them develop international support, I founded a Facebook-based global network in 2012, Friends of Levuka Historical & Cultural Society, to aid in building a global network of persons interested in restoration, preservation and presentation of the heritage values of Levuka, the 19th century original capital of Fiji. It is gathering momentum and might also help the community’s efforts to achieve UNESCO World Heritage status for Levuka.

The ‘Friends’ Facebook site started 2012 and as a portal for information relevant to the heritage and culture of Levuka as well as a place for people interested in knowing more about, or showing support for, to gain UNESCO World Heritage Listing.

Feel free to link it/promote it anywhere you can, or become a Friend yourself:  Friends of Levuka Historical & Cultural Society.

—Steve Noakes, Pacific Asia Tourism

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