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TANDAM PRESS Auckland, New Zealand,

News Release April 22, 1999

A Personal and Political Memoir from the Heart of Fiji
By Peter Thomson

ISBN 1 877178 54 3

In early May, Fijians of all ethnic backgrounds will go to the polls in the first general elections to be held under Fiji’s new constitution -- a constitution that enshrines power-sharing and nationhood for all.

Yet just 12 years ago Fiji was embroiled in bitter inter-racial conflict.

Author Peter Thomson was permanent secretary to Fiji’s governor-general between the two dramatic coups d’état in 1987.

In KAVA IN THE BLOOD: A Personal and Political Memoir from the Heart of Fiji he reveals the inside story of the governor-general’s efforts to restore parliamentary democracy and the rule of law. He examines why Colonel Sitiveni Rabuka and the indigenous Fijians acted in the way they did during 1987 and why, when all the conditions seemed to point towards it, Fiji did not go down the bloody route of Bosnia or Rwanda.

What was the role of the British monarchy during Fiji’s hour of crisis? Why did the governments of Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom react in such a confused way to the coups? And how has Fiji’s dramatic transformation come about when most of the political leaders who shaped the events of 1987 are still at the helm in 1999?

Kava in the Blood interweaves the story of events in the coup year with a vivid account of the author’s life in Fiji, from a colonial childhood to a career in government service. It’s a story of hurricanes, haunted houses and copious kava consumption, set within the dramatic landscapes and vibrant cultures of the Fiji Islands.

The two narratives come together when the author is imprisoned by the Fiji army for his role in defending the legality of the governor-general’s office. In the crucible of the coups, he is confronted and comes to terms with the reality of the non-indigenous person’s position in the South Pacific.

Kava in the Blood sheds new light on a South Pacific nation at a milestone in the region’s history. It is a story of direct relevance to all Australasians, indigene and non-indigene alike.

Peter Thomson was born in Suva, Fiji, in 1948. A fifth-generation Fiji Islander of Scottish descent, he was educated at schools and universities in Suva, Lautoka, Auckland and Cambridge and worked for 16 years for the Fiji government in the fields of rural development and foreign affairs.

Tandem Press is publishing Peter Thomson’s book on May 3 to coincide with the Fiji elections.

For additional information, contact: Helen Benton TEL: (09) 480 4052 E-Mail: helenb@tandempress.co.nz

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