Fiji’s COVID-19 Crisis: A Closer Look

Fiji’s COVID-19 crisis is taking a toll on people, especially the poorest and the most vulnerable. We argue that understanding Fiji’s spatial and social realities are crucial to leading the country out of its current crisis. More in our ANU Devpolicy publication.

Zur Geschichte der Anthropologie im Südpazifik

Meine Forschungsergebnisse zur Geschichte der Anthropologie im Südpazifik wurden kürzlich in The Australian Journal of Anthropology (TAJA) publiziert.

Die Publikation geht dem Paradox nach, dass der Südpazifik durch Forschungen u.a. von Margaret Mead, Raymond Firth und Derek Freeman für die Anthropologie eine grosse Bedeutung hat, aber als akademische Disziplin in dieser Region meist ein Nischendasein führt.

Link zur Publikation:
Kessler KA. Anthropology at the University of the South Pacific: From past dynamics to present perceptions. Aust J Anthropol. 2021;32:33–53.

Vielen Dank an alle Forschungsteilnehmenden!

Zur Geschichte der Anthropologie im Südpazifik
USP Laucala Campus 2021 (photo taken by Kim Andreas Kessler)


History of anthropology in the Pacific Islands – New publication

Why does the University of the South Pacific (USP) not offer anthropology as a study programme? This paper in The Australian Journal of Anthropology (TAJA) investigates for the first time anthropology’s past and present status at USP.

Anthropology at the University of the South Pacific: From past dynamics to present perceptions

The Pacific Island region is a key context in the history of anthropology. Yet, while much has been written about how anthropology of the Pacific Islands contributed to Anglo‐American anthropology, the discipline’s institutional history in the Pacific Islands has received very little attention. This paper is the first to explore the history of anthropology at the University of the South Pacific (USP). Research findings demonstrate that anthropology lacked practical meaning in an institution established to modernise Pacific Island states. Fieldwork conducted at USP suggests that current perceptions of anthropology held by academic staff are strongly linked to the discipline’s classic era. I argue that the anti‐colonial version of the Pacific Way from the 1970s onward, coupled with the hegemony of political economist and anti‐culturalist approaches among the USP teaching staff in the 1980s, inhibited a meaningful engagement with the Writing Culture debate at USP. This may explain why there has been little influence by the discipline’s postmodern transformation over the past thirty years on current perceptions of anthropology at USP.

Reference: Kessler KA. Anthropology at the University of the South Pacific: From past dynamics to present perceptions. Aust J Anthropol. 2021;00:1–21. https://doi. org/10.1111/taja.12388

Many thanks to all research participants!

USP Laucala Campus 2021 (photo taken by Kim Andreas Kessler)


DevNet 2020 Conference Award Kim Kessler

DevNet 2020 Conference Awards: Kim Kessler was awarded best PhD presentation.

DevNet 2020 Conference

The Aotearoa New Zealand International Development Studies Network (DevNet) 2020 Conference is on at Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand.

Climate Change and Polar Research: OCCNet and PERT joint symposium 2019

This is a joint research symposium between the Polar Environments Research Theme and the Otago Climate Change Network, which will bring together researchers from multiple disciplines to share and discuss current research. We will have two sessions, one on polar research, and another on research related to climate change, open to all divisions and disciplines. There will also be a poster session. (Source:

There will be a session on ‘Climate Change in the Pacific’.

Date: 15 October 2019, 8.30am – 5pm

Location: Dunedin Public Art Gallery

Registration here.



Fiji Elections 2018

As the writ of election was announced today, the Fiji Elections Office (FEO) will close voter registration today at 6pm.

Until the very last minute, a great number of Fijians used the final opportunity to register, update their details, or get their lost voter ID cards replaced:

Fiji Elections 2018, FEO Station in Suva, 1 Oktober 2018, 5:30pm (photo taken by Kim Andreas Kessler)


Fiji: General Elections on 14 November 2018

Fiji’s President, Mr. Jioji Konrote, issued the writ for election this morning.

General election will be held on 14 November 2018.

Eight political parties are registered and eligible to contest. These are:

  1. Fiji First
  2. Fiji Labour Party
  3. Freedom Alliance Party
  4. Hope Party
  5. National Federation Party
  6. Peoples Democratic Party
  7. Social Democratic Liberal Party
  8. Unity Fiji Part

Party candidates must be nominated by 12pm on 15 October 2018.

Fiji National Flag (Source: Worldatlas 2016)

Fiji’s Plastic Ban

In Fiji, the plastic levy increased from 10 cents to 20 cents per bag on 1 July 2018. Studies or figures which track changes in consumer behaviour since July 2018 are not yet available. However, my personal observations at stores in Suva show that consumers are much more hesitant to buy plastic bags after the rise to 20 cents. They increasingly bring their own reusable shopping bags.

According to Fiji’s Minister of Economy, the island state aims to completely ban plastic bags by 2020. As reported by SPREP, plastic bag usage in Fiji has significantly reduced since 2010. However, there are still disastrous projections which estimate that there will be more plastic than fish in the Pacific Ocean by 2050. A recent SPREP study concludes that 97 percent of all fish species sampled in Fiji, Samoa, Rapa Nui and New Zealand had micro-plastics. This is 30 percent higher than the global average. For Fiji and other Pacific island states, where fish is one of the main protein source, this is of particular concern.

In the meantime, Fiji’s private sector becomes more engaged in the fight against plastic. This week, Raffe Hotels and Resorts announced that they will ban plastic straws across all properties in Fiji. By 10 October 2018, the group promised to replace all plastic straws with paper straws. Furthermore, straws will only be offered to guests upon request. The group operates the Fiji Gateway Hotel, the Plantation Island Resort and the Lomani Island Resort.

Some Cafes in Suva and other restaurants around the country already serve drinks with paper straws. However, straws often decompose after a short time. This is particularly a problem for fruit smoothies which seem to be popular among locals and tourists. So, why not stop using straws at all?  

Fiji, July 2018 (photo taken by Sargam Goundar)