Fiji’s First Line of Defence during WWII
It was WWII, Japan declared war on the Allies and began expanding across the Pacific. The threat of Fiji being invaded became a real possibility. In preparation for its defense, and to protect the Royal New Zealand Airforce Base, the capital city of Suva built 3 gun batteries, protecting its harbour.
In the west, Momi was selected as a battery site because it overlooked the Navula Passage. The passage offered one of the few breaks in the surrounding reef where enemy ships could enter to attack Nadi town, the important airfield in Nadi, and port entry at Lautoka. Being next to the only deep water passage through the reef on the western side of Viti Levu, Momi Bay was also seen as a likely landing point for an amphibious landing. – it was just south of the strategically important airstrips at Nadi and the port of Lautoka. In addition, reinforcements from Suva coming along the coast road could be attacked by warships from offshore, effectively isolating the western side of the island.
Construction began on the 6-inch gun battery at Momi in the late 1940 by soldiers of the Fiji Defense Force and the Fiji Public Works Department, assisted by locals from the Momi area. New Zealand soldiers soon arrived and assisted with the construction and training of the Fijian gunners. They were followed by soldiers from the United States Army who joined the troops. There are two gun emplacements at Momi. Each gun is 7 meters long, weighs 7.5 tonnes and was capable of firing a 45 kilogram shell more than 14 kilometers.
With the Momi Gun Battery in place to fire against invaders, and a battalion of troops to repel any forces that tried to land, Fiji’s first line of defense was ready and waiting.
Momi Battery 1941
Momi Park Walk
Visitors can take a 10-15 min. walk around the park observing the guns and associated structures such as the fire control building, armory room, command post, range-finder, and the fortification ditch.
Visitor Information Centre
The newly opened Visitor Information Centre with its excellent array of information panels, is the perfect place to learn about the history of the place, events in global history that led to Fiji and Momi, and the people of the land. This unique building was specially designed around the heritage values of the place and to reflect on the past, present and future.
Monday- Sunday 8am-4:30pm
Also Open Public Holidays.
*Arrangements can be made if you wish to visit the park before or after the opening hours. This will incur additional fee costs.
Follow Nabila Road for 5kms towards Momi Bay, then turn right at the signpost. Follow the road for 3.3km until you reach the historic site.
From Nadi: App. 45 min. drive
From Sigatoka: App. 55 min. drive
Adults – $5.00FJ/ Adult
Family – $10.00FJ (2 adults, 2 children)
Students – $1.00FJ (Primary)/ $2.00FJ (Secondary)
Children under 6 yrs. – free
For School Excursions contact Telephone: 652 0243 or Email: firstname.lastname@example.org