Story behind the Song: Viti Taimi

This week we start our new feature of the history behind our Fijian Songs. If you have a story behind the song please send us an email to

Our first on this feature is on the song Viti Taimi by Viti na Wai

Pigeon, stamps and newspapers

What does a pigeon, stamps and newspapers have in common – they were all found at the Fiji Times in the 1880s. Well I didn’t know that till I was listening to this song by the Vitinawai group. Apparently they were approached to compose a Fijian song on the Fiji Times 100 year celebrations in 1969.

The Fiji Times had its humble beginnings in Levuka in 1869. The founder – George Littleton Griffiths published the first paper on the 4th of September that year. Sir Len Usher later described him as a ‘remarkable man by any standards, and a pioneer of the type that helps to mould sturdy nations.’ Before the cession of Fiji to the Queen there was no government structure or services. Mr Griffiths then set up a mail service which he called the Fiji times Express which would enable mail delivery not only locally but internationally as well to Australia, New Zealand, England and USA.

When the capital was moved to Suva by the Cakobau government, he set up the Suva Times and delayed the inevitable of moving the headquarters to Suva. This was when he utilised the pigeon service in 1884. To maintain contact and news delivery between the two offices the pigeon was used – making the journey between the two offices in 30 minutes. They even had lofts built into the buildings to cater for this new form of transport.

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