Robbie Robertson

Robbie Robertson is a former Professor of Development Studies at the University of the South Pacific (Suva), and Professor and Head of Arts & Social Sciences at James Cook University. He is currently Professor and Dean of Arts, Social Sciences & Humanities at Swinburne University of Technology. He has also taught at La Trobe University, The Australian National University and the University of Otago.

He has published widely on Fiji and globalisation, his most recent work being ‘Globalization thinking and the Past’, in Tamar Hodos (ed), The Routledge Handbook of Archaeology and Globalization (2017).

The General’s Goose »

Fiji's Tale of Contemporary Misadventure

Authored by: Robbie Robertson
Publication date: August 2017
His admirers said he was a charismatic leader with a dazzling smile, a commoner following an ancient tradition of warrior service on behalf of an indigenous people who feared marginalisation at the hands of ungrateful immigrants. One tourist pleaded with him to stage a coup in her backyard; in private parties around the capital, Suva, infatuated women whispered ‘coup me baby’ in his presence. It was so easy to overlook the enormity of what he had done in planning and implementing Fiji’s first military coup, to be seduced by celebrity, captivated by the excitement of the moment, and plead its inevitability as the final eruption of long-simmering indigenous discontent. A generation would pass before the consequences of the actions of Fiji’s strongman of 1987, Sitiveni Rabuka, would be fully appreciated but, by then, the die had been well and truly cast. The major general did not live happily ever after. No nirvana followed the assertion of indigenous rights. If anything, misadventure became his country’s most enduring contemporary trait. This is Fiji’s very human story.