Vanua Balavu

Vanua Balavu

Location in the Lau Group
Location Fiji
Coordinates 17°14′S 178°57′W / 17.233°S 178.950°W / -17.233; -178.950Coordinates: 17°14′S 178°57′W / 17.233°S 178.950°W / -17.233; -178.950
Archipelago Northern Lau Islands
Adjacent bodies of water Koro Sea
Total islands 1
Major islands 1

57 km2 (22 sq mi)

Length 21 km (13 mi)
Division Eastern
Province Lau Province
Sub-Province Northern Lau Islands
Largest settlement Lomaloma (pop. 250)
Population 1200 (2014)
Pop. density 21.05 /km2 (54.52 /sq mi)
Ethnic groups

Native Fijians,

Indo-Fijians ; other (Asian, Europeans, other Pacific Islander)
Map of Vanua Balavu

Vanua Balavu (pronounced [βaˈnua mbaˈlaβu]) is the third largest island in Fiji's Lau archipelago, and the main island of the Northern Lau Group.

Geography and infrastructure

This coral and volcanic island has a land area of 53 square kilometres (20 square miles). Its maximum elevation is 283 metres (928 feet). The island is characterized by steep undercut cliffs, with fertile volcanic soil. It is well watered and has hot springs. There is an extensive reef system, including the islets of Qilaqila Bay. The main village on the island is Lomaloma.

Vanua Balavu boasts of the Yanuyanu Island Resort, an airstrip, a copra port, and a small hospital. There was also the Lomaloma Copra Biofuel Project which provided power to three villages, Naqara, Sawana and Lomaloma, however it is now defunct.

Points of interest

A large sea cave on the southeastern tip of Vanuabalavu was excavated and shown to have been used by humans more than 10 centuries ago.

Notable people

A notable person from Vanua Balavu is Laisenia Qarase, Fiji's Prime Minister from 2000 to 2006, who hails from the village of Mavana. Other prominent Vanua Balavu natives are the academic leader Esther Williams, from Levukana village, former Attorney-General Qoriniasi Bale, from Levukana village, and prominent former politician Filipe Bole, also from Mualevu village. Charles Walker, a former politician and Fiji diplomat hails from Sawana village.

Mere Samisoni, businesswoman and politician, comes from the village of Lomaloma, as does the former Lami Mayor Tevita Vuatalevu, who hails from the village of Mavana. Current Flying Fijians Josh Matavesi and Sam Matavesi who was born and raised in Cornwall, England is also a native of Vanua Balavu through his paternal line.

Beach on Vanua Balavu
Men loading bags of copra and other crops onto an inter-island vessel at Lomaloma wharf, Vanua Balavu for markets in Suva the capital of Fiji.


  1. Gillespie, Rosemary G.; D. A. Clague (2009). Encyclopedia of Islands. University of California Press. p. 299. ISBN 0520256492. Retrieved 18 March 2014.

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