John Key visits Fiji

John Key is in Fiji at the moment. He hopes to improve relations between NZ and Fiji.

The Prime Minister of Fiji, Frank Bainimarama, welcomed Mr Key but he also complained about some journalists in NZ, Australia and the Pacific. He said they do not tell the truth about Fiji and he refused to allow them to come to Fiji.

After the 2006 military coup in which Bainimarama replaced Prime Minister Chaudhry, NZ would not allow members of the military or their family to enter NZ. However, since Fiji held a democratic election in 2014, the relationship between Fiji and NZ has improved. NZ and Australia provided aid after the cyclone in February and in fact both countries have always offered help in disasters, even before the 2014 election.

John Key wants Fiji to attend the Pacific Island Forum in September. This is a meeting of Pacific Islands. In 2009, Fiji was suspended from the Forum but not expelled. Members said Fiji would be welcomed back again after it held a democratic election.

Fiji is a group of more than 100 inhabited islands, about 2,000km north east of NZ. The economy depends mainly on tourism and sugar. The population is about 900,000 people. Most people are Melanesian but about 39% are Indian.

Listen to November 7 2009 to hear more about the background to Fiji.


• coup (the final ‘p’ is not pronounced) – short for coup d’etat, a French expression meaning a sudden overthrow of a government by force
• cyclone – hurricane
• suspended – not allowed to attend for a short time
• expelled – never allowed to return to the Forum
• inhabited (adj) – people live there