Fiji: The Cannibal Islands, a place you may very well go

If you were to visit one place in the Pacific, I would say Fiji. Here, I have never found anything but happy surprises.

It wasn’t always this way. There is much to say about cannibalism in this region, but it really came into its own in Fiji. It’s been over 150 years since the last missionary was eaten, and to be clear, they didn’t boil them in pots. That’s a Hollywood thing. BarBeeQing was much easier, and where would they have gotten a human sized pot anyway?

They called human meat ‘long pig’ and typically, they ate their enemies—though in times of famine (at least in New Guinea) they were known to eat the kids, but only after trading theirs for another from a different tribe. Standards, man!

In Polynesia and Micronesia there was very little cannibalism, which is due in part to the fact these places were settled thousands of years later and have common languages, whereas in the Cannibal Islands (basically all of Melanesia) there are thousands of languages. Each island, village, every wide spot on a path has its own language.

Today the Fijians think their cannibal past is picturesque—even funny, in fact hilarious. Today they sell the tourists long pig dinner forks and festive war clubs used to brain their victims. I have several and they work well enough.

“Don’t judge me”

The most prolific cannibal from Fiji – and the world – is Udre Udre. He claimed to eaten all his victims and not shared a shred. This is horrible! Not sharing…so rude. He holds the Guinness World Record of Most Prolific Cannibal, and reportedly ate between 872 and 999 people in his lifetime. This was in the early 1800s, and there is pretty solid evidence that he had quite the appetite. He bragged about never touching a vegetable. Real keto this one. He kept a stone for every person he consumed, and there are over 800 stones still decorating his grave site, which is a must see tourist site today. The exact number of people he ate is unknown, as some of the stones are missing. (Funny, it’s him who gets a grave). People lie about so many things. Their weight, infidelity and drug consumption. Cannibalism is no different. You have to bet he’s exaggerating, but still…


This is a stunning contrast to the Fiji of today where the folks are gentile, kind, honest and soooo hospitable. About half of the locals are ethnic Indians, and the other half mostly Fijians with some Chinese. It seems they don’t get along in perfect harmony, but even with repeated insurrections (3 in the last 20 years), as a tourist you wouldn’t even know there was trouble. Tourists are like gods. During a crisis when one was pushed into a pool at a hotel, it was so shocking to the locals that they called a halt to the uprising because if the tourists disappeared then there would be nothing to eat. Oh, because of tourist dollars not long pig.

I was once in a public market and asked some of the vendors if I could take their picture. They spruced up, smiled and said ‘shoot’. Then I offered a small tip in gratitude. They thought this extremely funny, and later I was told being asked to have your picture taken was a great honor—and then being tipped was considered ha-larious. I am very poplar in Fiji.

The Sheridan Hotel took us by small boat to this spit of sand and set up tables and chairs for lunch. Then the 12″ tide washed over our feet and we were dining in the open ocean. TOP TEN!

Cannibalism hasn’t entirely died out…ha, died out. Here is list of 12 places where cannibalism has recently been a thing. The inclusion of Germany and Florida is a bit of surprise. OK, OK, Florida I get, but Germany?

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