Rotumans in Australia and New Zealand: The problem of community formation | Intellect Skip to content
Volume 2, Issue 2
  • ISSN: 2050-4039
  • E-ISSN: 2050-4047



As members of the Fiji polity, people from the isolated island of Rotuma have been able to move freely about the archipelago, leading to stepwise-migration internationally, with Australia and New Zealand as primary destinations. Rotuman men engaged in the pearl-diving industry in the Torres Strait in the late nineteenth century, who married local women, were among the first documented migrants to Australia. Following World War II, a steady stream of Rotumans, many of them married to white spouses, emigrated and formed communities in urban settings like Sydney, Brisbane, Auckland and elsewhere, where they have been remarkably successful. Their very success in the work force, along with high rates of intermarriage and dispersed households, makes getting together a challenging prospect, requiring strong motivation, effective leadership, and a commitment to preserving their Rotuman cultural heritage.


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