Rabi (66 sq km), east of the northern tip of the Tunuloa Peninsula, has four villages populated by Micronesians originally from Banaba, in Kiribati. At the turn of the 20th century the islanders of Banaba were first tricked and then pressed into selling the phosphate mining rights of Banaba for a small annual payment, and their tiny island was slowly ruined by the subsequent mining and influx of settlers. WWII brought further tragedy when the Japanese invaded Banaba and massacred many villagers. Following the war, Rabi was purchased for the Banabans by the British Government – with money from the islanders’ own Provident Fund, set up by the British Government in 1931 for phosphate royalties – and 2000 survivors were resettled here. However, as they were dropped in the middle of the cyclone season with only army tents and two months’ rations, and had never been so cold (Banaba is on the equator), many of the original settlers died.
To visit Rabi, you must first ask permission from the island council. If you’re extended an invitation, catch a bus from Savusavu to Karoko where small boats wait for passengers to Rabi (about $80 one way).
Rabi Island Council Guesthouse has beds in basic, four-bed rooms. You’ll eat with the villagers.