Laucala

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Laucala
Island
Laucala is located in Fiji
Laucala
Laucala
Location in Fiji
Coordinates: 16°45′00″S 179°41′00″W / 16.75000°S 179.68333°W / -16.75000; -179.68333Coordinates: 16°45′00″S 179°41′00″W / 16.75000°S 179.68333°W / -16.75000; -179.68333
Country Fiji
Island group Northern Lau Islands
Area
 • Total 10 km2 (4 sq mi)

Laucala (pronounced [lauˈðala]) is one of three small islands lying to the east of Thurston Point on the island of Taveuni in Fiji. The privately owned island is the site of the exclusive Laucala Resort.

The total land area of the island is 12 square kilometers and it is five kilometers long, with a maximum width of three kilometers, narrowing to 1.5 kilometers in some places. The other two islands in the group are Qamea several hundred metres to the west and Matagi.

Background

Seru Epenisa Cakobau, the Fijian monarch who unified the nation before ceding the islands to the United Kingdom in 1874, sold Laucala to European settlers who established a copra plantation, before turning it over to the Australia-based Carpenter Group.

In 1972, publishing magnate Malcolm Forbes bought the island, and upgraded the living accommodation of its inhabitants - who worked on his estate - at his own expense. He also provided free primary education and paid up to half of a student's secondary and tertiary education expenses. He also sought to diversify the island's economy away from its dependence on copra by promoting tourism and cattle and goat farming.

Forbes died in 1990 and is buried at Laucala.

Sale to Dietrich Mateschitz

In 2003 Dietrich Mateschitz, head of the Red Bull energy drink company, bought the island from Forbes heirs.

Upon completion, the resort on the island will have 25 bures each unique from one another with differing themes. The projected cost per night ranges from US$7,000 - $36,000. Although only partially constructed, the resort has already accommodated American actor John Travolta.