HC Deb 04 March 1909 vol 1 c1574

asked the Under-Secretary for the Colonies whether the attention of His Majesty's Government continues to be directed to the decline of the native population of Fiji, estimated in 1871 at 140,000, reduced to 127,000 in 1881, after the epidemic coincident with the annexation, and now under 87,000; whether the Indian and non-native coloured inhabitants and the European population of Fiji show a death-rate comparable with that among the Fijian native race; and whether, since the despatch of the Governor to the Secretary of State received in October last, in which he alludes to such time as, by the dying out of the Fijian race, the Crown may become ultimus hœres to the land, inquiry has been made as to how far improved measures of administration may be expected to save from gradual extinction the native population of Fiji?

The UNDER-SECRETARY for the COLONIES (Colonel Seely)

The death-rates per thousand per annum among the natives, Indian immigrant population and European inhabitants of Fiji, were as follows, for the three last years for which statistics are available:—

1905. 1906. 1907.
Natives 37.99 37.40 39.14
Indians 20.34 20.98 19.87
Europeans 13.83 12.2 12.3
His Majesty's Government are giving close attention to the serious state of affairs indicated by these figures, and communicated last October with the Colonial Government in regard to further measures for checking the decrease of the native population, but have not yet received a reply. I may add, however, that the figures for the years 1905–07 are an improvement upon the figures for 1895–1904.