Adaptation to Climate Change in an Interior Pacific Island Village: a Case Study of Nawairuku, Ra, Fiji

  • Renee Currenti
  • Tristan PearceEmail author
  • Teresia Salabogi
  • Luke Vuli
  • Kiniviliame Salabogi
  • Brendan Doran
  • Roger Kitson
  • James Ford


We examine how residents of Nawairuku, an interior village in Ra, Fiji, are experiencing and responding to recent social and ecological changes. An analysis of data collected using semi-structured interviews with 27 households reveals that household adaptability – the ability or capacity to adapt to the impacts of climatic variations – depends on access to livelihood assets. All households have access to social capital through familial networks, which lessens the burden of extreme weather events, namely cyclones and flooding. Households with access to tangible assets such as land and the equipment and resources to utilize it, together with intangible assets like motivation and knowledge are better positioned to adapt their agricultural practices to changing climatic conditions. Households headed by a capable individual were also better positioned to adapt. We conclude that remoteness promotes self-sufficiency and initiative, and access to livelihood assets influences household capacity to adapt.


Agriculture Disaster Livelihoods Natural hazard Climate change Vulnerability Fiji Pacific Islands region 



Vinaka vakalevu to the people of Nawairuku for their wonderful hospitality, generosity and support for this research. Thank you to those who shared your knowledge, experiences, stories and insights that are the heart of this paper. Thank you Teresa and Danny Rietberg for introducing us to Nawairuku and for your continued support of the research. Thank you, Lui Manuel, Nadroga-Navosa Provincial Council and Jeremy Hills, University of South Pacific (Suva campus), for your partnership and in-country support. The contributions of Professor Roy Sidle, Dr. Christine Jacobson and Dr. Vikki Schaffer, and members of the Environmental Change Research Group in the Sustainability Research Centre at the University of the Sunshine Coast, notably Eric Lede, Mathew Brown, Genevieve Lalonde, David Fawcett, Rachele Wilson and Kerrie Pickering, are also acknowledged. Thank you to Marie Puddister for Fig. 1.


This research was carried out with the aid of an Australian Government Research Training Program Scholarship awarded to Currenti and the University of the Sunshine Coast Fellowship program (Pearce).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Ethical Approval

The research was undertaken with the agreement of the village of Nawairuku and the research was licensed by the Fiji Department of Immigration (#I7497899). Study protocols were approved by the Human Research Ethics Boards at the University of the Sunshine Coast (A/15/751) and University of the South Pacific, Suva, Fiji.

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

10745_2019_49_MOESM1_ESM.docx (23 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 22 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Sustainability Research CentreUniversity of the Sunshine CoastSippy DownsAustralia
  2. 2.Department of GeographyUniversity of GuelphGuelphCanada
  3. 3.Nawairuku VillageFiji
  4. 4.Priestley International Centre for ClimateUniversity of LeedsLeedsUK

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