Suva is the capital of Fiji and is a harbour city built on a peninsula reaching out into the sea. It has a mix of modern buildings and traditional colonial architecture. The city is perched on a hilly peninsula between Laucala Bay and Suva Harbour and is located on the southeast coast of the island of Viti Levu, in the Central Division, of the Rewa Province. In 1877, it was decided to make Suva the capital of Fiji when the geography of the former main European settlement at Levuka on the island of Ovalau proved too restrictive. The administration of the colony was moved from Levuka to Suva in 1882.
Suva is the commercial and political centre of Fiji, though not necessarily the cultural centre, and the largest urban area in the South Pacific outside of Australia and New Zealand. It is Fiji’s main port city. The Central Business District [CBD] encompasses an area known as the Suva Ward and one of Suva’s five wards. Suva occupies close to the whole south-western side of the Suva Peninsula.
The city’s five Wards are:
- Suva – City centre, CBD, nucleus of the city.
- Tamavua – Residential and urban area.
- Extension – Semi-urban and residential area.
- Samabula – urban, residential, separate town centre and large industrial zones.
- Muanikau – Residential, urban, large sporting venues, university, and recreational areas.
Suva features a tropical rainforest climate under the Koppen climate classification. The city sees a copious amount of precipitation during the course of the year. Suva averages 3,000 mm of precipitation annually with its driest month, July averaging 125 mm of rain per year. In fact, during all 12 months of the year, Suva receives substantial precipitation. Like many other cities with a tropical rainforest climate, temperatures are relatively constant throughout the year, with an average high of about 28°C and an average low of about 22°C. Suva is noted for its considerable rainfall, it has a markedly higher rainfall than Nadi and the western side of Viti Levu, which is known to Suva citizens as “the burning west”.
Suva is a multiracial and multicultural city. Indigenous Fijians and Indo-Fijians, the two principal ethnic groups of Fiji, comprise the bulk of Suva’s population, but the city is also home to the majority of Fiji’s ethnic minority populations, which include Caucasians (Europeans or Kaivalagi), Part-Europeans (of European and Fijian Descent), and Chinese, amongst others. The most widely spoken language is English, but Fijian, Hindustani, Cantonese, and other Indian languages are also spoken by their respective communities.