OBITUARY: Vale Robbie Robertson, a 'son of Fiji and the Pacific'

  • Wadan Narsey Independent Researcher, Melbourne
Keywords: academic freedom, Australia, diversity, education, Fiji, globalisation, human rights, media freedom, New Zealand, obituary, publishing, scholarship


While most University of the South Pacific academics were united in their opposition to the 1987 and 2000 coups in Fiji – and many of them suffered in various ways from the 1987 coup, the 2006 coup was divisive in that quite a few senior USP academics and former academics (mostly Indo-Fijian) gave tacit and active support to it, believing in coup leader Voreqe Bainimarama’s rhetoric of anti-corruption and racial equality for all in Fiji as his justification. The death of historian and prolific author and writer professor Robert Robertson has highlighted through his books, scholarship and academic activism the injustices inflicted by the coups and globalisation on academics, journalists and marginalised beginning with Fiji: Shattered Coups (1988), co-authored with his journalist partner Akosita Tamanisau. This essay profiles an academic who ‘planted deep roots, metaphorically and literally, in the DNA of Fiji and the Pacific.


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Author Biography

Wadan Narsey, Independent Researcher, Melbourne

Dr Wadan Narsey is adjunct professor at James Cook University’s The Cairns Institute and a former professor of economics at the University of the South Pacific. He publishes the research blog Narsey on Fiji at


Robertson, R., & Tamanisau, A., (1988). Fiji : Shattered coups. Sydney, NSW: Pluto Press.

Robertson, R., & Sutherland, W. (2002). Government by the gun: The unfinished business of Fiji’s 2000 coup. London, UK: Zed Books.

Robertson, R. (2017). The general’s goose: Fiji’s tale of contemporary misadventure. Canberra, ACT: ANU Press. DOI:

Robie, D. (1988, May 16), Shattered coups—the other way. The Dominion Sunday Times, p. 11. Retrieved March 26, 2022, from

Robie, D. (2018). Review: Coups, globalisation and Fiji’s reset ‘democracy’ paradigm. Pacific Journalism Review : Te Koakoa, 24(1), 223-228. DOI:

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How to Cite
Narsey, W. (2022). OBITUARY: Vale Robbie Robertson, a ’son of Fiji and the Pacific’. Pacific Journalism Review : Te Koakoa, 28(1 & 2), 228-235.