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Documents Relating to New Zealand's Participation in the Second World War 1939–45: Volume III

238 — The Governor of Fiji to the Governor-General of New Zealand — [Extract]

The Governor of Fiji to the Governor-General of New Zealand

28 July 1940

The following telegram has been sent to the Secretary of State for the Colonies:

‘The New Zealand Chiefs of Staff after four days’ visit to Fiji are submitting recommendations to His Majesty's Government in New Zealand based on the premises that the changed situation in Europe and its possible consequential effect on the Japanese situation renders it essential that the defences of Fiji should be brought to a higher state of readiness without delay.

‘2. Following are their major recommendations:


The despatch of a Brigade Group from New Zealand to Fiji at the earliest possible date, preceded by the immediate despatch of a Field Company to prepare necessary dispositions, half of the Brigade force to be stationed near Suva and half near Lautoka.


Bringing the local Fijian Defence Force up to their war establishment without delay.


Mounting of two 6-inch guns on existing gun emplacements for the defence of Suva port and the transfer of two 4·7-inch guns now in Suva to the western side of the Island for the defence of the entrance of Lautoka Harbour.

page 272

Provision for two flying boats and four land planes based on Fiji for reconnaissance duties in the area New HebridesFijiTonga, linking up with Royal Australian Air Force flying-boat reconnaissances already established in the New HebridesSolomonsNew Guinea area.


The officer designated to command the New Zealand Brigade Group1 to include in his command the Fiji Defence Force, inclusive of battery or batteries, and to be responsible for operational control of all land forces in Fiji, Tonga and Fanning Islands.

‘3. I am in general agreement with the above recommendations….’2

1 Maj-Gen Sir William Cunningham, KBE, DSO, ED (then Brig W. H. Cunningham); commanded 8 Bde Gp, 1940–41; GOC Fiji, 1940–41; GOC Pacific Section, 2 NZEF, Jan – Feb 1942; died Wellington, 20 Apr 1959.

2 Sir Harry Luke's comments on these recommendations are omitted.