Fiji will gain its independence after 96 years as a British colony on Saturday (October 10).
GV Suva and port
SV visitors round souvenir stalls (3 shots)
GV section of souvenir market
GV cane cutters at work
SV & MV women working on tapestries
GV PAN work on welcome stadium
GV men working on flower decor in Victoria Parade
MV men working on flower bowls
GV store with "Fiji independence" sign
GV rehearsal welcoming activities on field with portrait of late King Cakobau
MV Cakobau portrait and figures 1874
GV Field with portrait of Sir Kamisise Mara and 1970 symbol
CU Portrait of Mara
Initials MF/JF/BJ/1232 MF/JF/BJ/1411
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: Fiji will gain its independence after 96 years as a British colony on Saturday (October 10).
Prince Charles will represent Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth and perform the ceremony of independence. Meanwhile the capital, Suva, is putting up bunting and decorations for the big day.
A greater degree of self-government for Fiji has been discussed in London and Fiji for almost a decade. But the conflicting interests of the native Fijians and the immigrant Indians, who now outnumber the native Fijians, provided too great an obstacle to joint action.
Now, ninety six years to the day after King Cakobau signed the deed of unconditional cession and Fiji was proclaimed a British crown colony, independence has been given to the Fiji islands.
The main author of the relative union of the two opposing ethnic groups is Ratu Sir Kamisise Mara, and he will be the first Prime Minister of Fiji.
Sugar production is Fiji's biggest earner of foreign exchange and work in the canefields continues as teams of workers are busy in Suva's streets putting the final touches to the gardens and decorations.
At Albert Park, groups of women are working on Tapa cloth tapestries which will be hung on the Royal dias.