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The cultural meaning behind the multi-award winning Fiji Airways rebrand

By Shane Hussein Posted 26 Feb 2014

Fiji Airways is proud to announce that the airline’s rebrand has been recognised once again, this time in the 2014 HOW International Design Awards as well as in TheDesignAir’s ‘Top 10 Cool Airline Brands 2014’.

Both accolades recognise the fresh style and traditional design of the recent Fiji Airways rebrand that incorporates a sophisticated mix of white and earthy tones as well as the Teteva and the Makare motifs.  These designs, as well as many others used by Fiji Airways, take inspiration from traditional Fijian Masi art, which is steeped in Fiji’s culture and folklore. Indeed, when researching Fiji Airways new look, the design team travelled to Fiji’s remote Mamanuca outer islands to see how the traditional Fijian motifs were created.


One such motif is Fiji Airways iconic logo – the Teteva. This design received the top gong in the ‘Identity’ category at the HOW International Design Awards and was created by celebrated Fijian masikesa artist, Makereta Matemosi.


The Teteva symbol is the most important motif in the masi and encompasses five hidden meanings:


In addition to the Teteva, Fiji Airways incorporated other elements of Fijian Masi art into the redesign of the interior cabins, the uniforms and even the website:

Plane Exterior



MAKARE - Bordering the Teteva on the tail of a Fiji Airways plane, the Markare motif symbolises clear water flowing on a classic white sandy beach.
ROVA - Wrapping around the enormous jet engines, the Rova symbolises the welcoming occasion for a visitor to a Fijian village.
Plane Interior


KASO - Lining the seats within the rebranded Fiji Airways cabin, the Kaso symbolises a canoe, which carries villagers, farmers, fisherman and carpenters together for the success of the village.
KALI - Woven into the headrests and across the pillows on all Fiji Airways flights, the Kali represents comfort and relaxation.



QALITOKA – The Qalitoka represents a unity of people to one mind set in executing a given task.


TAMA – The Tama pattern represents friendly service


DROE – The represents clear blue sky and cool breezes on the beach




KAOVA – Present on the Fiji Airways website and on the eye patches handed out in-flight, the Kaova represents exploring the imagination and the excitement of visiting a new place or island.


According to Design Air judges, it was the new branding that was the staring light when they awarded Fiji Airways a top 10 listing. In their review, they wrote that the rebrand was “mixing a heritage and contemporary look, which along with the new livery and uniforms makes the airline a secret gem that is dying to be explored”.
The awards also recognised Fiji Airways’ excellent service, warm honest and ‘smiley’ crew as well as the excellent fresh food onboard.  


“We are extremely proud of these two accolades for our airline and our teams who work tirelessly across the new brand and identity for Fiji Airways,” said Stefan Pichler, CEO and Managing Director of Fiji Airways. “We now rank next to leading global airlines like Emirates, British Airways and Singapore Airlines and this makes us humble as we try to deliver on all customer expectations.”

If you haven’t yet experienced a journey on the award-winning Fiji Airways, now is a great time to experience not just a great holiday but a great flight.

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