Koroipita Model Town Charitable Trust

By | May 5, 2015
Peter Drysdale AO

Peter Drysdale AO – Designer and developer of Koroipita, Lautoka, Fiji. Photo courtesy: ABC

In March, 2014 I had the privilege, as a guest of Peter Drysdale, of visiting Koripita (Village of Peter), a small town just outside Fiji’s second biggest city, Lautoka, home to some of the country’s poorest people.

[PLEASE NOTE: I do not act for Koroipita or provide contact details. Please make your inquiries direct to Peter Drysdale, Lautoka, Fiji. Use this link. Dr Mike Gosling, Ed.]

Community Links: Rosie Holidays Koroipita Comunity Project — Women In RotaryFijivillage.com

Koripita is the home of about 1,000 people living in comfortable 2-roomed houses with amenities, located near Lautoka, Fiji. Conceived, developed and maintained by Peter Drysdale and his loyal crew, including residents, and many overseas volunteers, Koripita is a life giving community and an outstanding model of how a good quality of life can be provided for such large numbers of under-privileged people.

I’m in awe of what Peter has achieved here with very limited resources. Financial support is provided by the New Zealand Government and Rotary in Australia (Tasmania), and input from Habitat.

To see it is to believe it! 120 individual 2-room homes with two sections separated by a breezeway, with one containing two bedrooms, and the other a kitchen, shower and toilet. All buildings are connected to an efficient environment friendly sewer system and the area has deep concrete culverts running alongside the well constructed internal roads to carry away heavy rainfall.

A workshop on site builds the basic metal frames for the foundation and walls of houses and a ‘coffin’, as Peter refers to it, contains everything a team needs to assemble each home, right down to the last nut and bolt! Lo and behold any team that gets to the end of building a house and still has a screw left in the ‘coffin’ – such is the detailed planning that has gone into constructing these dwellings.

Koripita, Lautoka, FijiEach home has a wood burning stove built and perfected by Peter over many years. Wood for the stoves, along with small teiteis and other rich vegetation provide food for the tenants and for bartering with other villagers. Rental is set at FJD$1 (AUD$0.60) per day.

Koroipita a model for the Pacific

Koroipita a model for the Pacific. Photo: Courtesy ABC

Strict rules apply for conduct within the compound, which is leased from local owners, and a series of teams/groups (councils) share responsibility for managing the village, all overseen by Headman Peter – Hence the name Koripita, which grew from residents keen to acknowledge the tremendous amount of input Peter has contributed to their lives.

I’m told that many residents have named their sons Peter in honour of and in recognition of the work Peter Drysdale has done in helping them raise their standard of living. It was truly inspiring to see six women attending computer classes on site and taught by a resident who has taught herself about computers.

There is a kindergarten and large hall (provided by the Australian Government at a cost of $300,000) which seats 450 people. The village will use this hall to cater for events such as weddings to raise money for the village and building the next stage. A local bus passes by the village to take people to Lautoka.

Peter Drysdale

Peter Drysdale AO – Sheriff of Koripita

Currently Peter is the local Sheriff, builder, and social worker. This model town is just a small sample of the homes Peter has built in the North Western area of Fiji – 913 in total over some 25 years! Congratulations and hats off to you Peter for making such a selfless contribution to uplifting the well-being of so many under-privileged people in Fiji and helping them lead more meaningful lives.

The project is formally administered by the Board of the Koroipita Model Town Charitable Trust.

In recognition of his tireless, selfless work caring for disadvantaged Fijians and the provision of low-cost housing for disadvantaged Fijians, through his Koroipita Model Town Charitable Trust, Peter Drysdale, a dual Australian and Fijian citizen, was recognised in Australia as a Member of the Order of Australia in the General Division (AM) on January 26, 2015.

Australian builds storm-proof homes for Fiji’s poorest residents  >>

Australia Day Honours: Caring for disadvantaged Fijians >>

Babasiga: Honour to Peter Drysdale

Village built by Australian man for Fiji’s poor survives cyclone unscathed >>

Cyclone Winston: Village built by Australian man for Fiji’s poor survives unscathed >>

Peter’s Village: an Australian’s mission to provide housing for disadvantaged in Fiji  >>


Koripita, Lautoka, Fiji


Koripita, Lautoka, Fiji


Koripita, Lautoka, Fiji


Koripita, Lautoka, Fiji


Koripita, Lautoka, Fiji


Koripita, Lautoka, Fiji


Koripita, Lautoka, Fiji


Koripita, Lautoka, Fiji


Koripita, Lautoka, Fiji


Koripita, Lautoka, Fiji


Koripita, Lautoka, Fiji


Koripita, Lautoka, Fiji


Koripita, Lautoka, Fiji


Koripita, Lautoka, Fiji


Koripita, Lautoka, Fiji


Koripita, Lautoka, Fiji


Koripita, Lautoka, Fiji


Koripita, Lautoka, Fiji


Koripita, Lautoka, Fiji


Koripita, Lautoka, Fiji


Koripita, Lautoka, Fiji


Koripita, Lautoka, Fiji


Koripita, Lautoka, Fiji

Peter Drysdale AO – Developer of Koroipita

Crystal Symphony Volunteer tour at Koroipita housing colony, Lautoka Fiji. Video filmed by Ambassador Host Jorge and posted with permission. 6 April 2018.

18 thoughts on “Koroipita Model Town Charitable Trust

  1. Ruth Ann Storr

    I enjoy visiting and helping the people at Koroipita and have been since like 2001. Peter has done a wonderful job helping the poor to get better housing at a cheap price. I live in San Diego, California and use to go there twice a year til I got breast cancer and started treatments, surgery in 2012, not I can only go once a year, but missed Oct 2014 as I was in the hospital for lymphedema due to breast cancer. Hope to get back in July 2016 for ‘Christmas in July’ for the children. Jo Drysdale, Vani and I get together at Peter’s house and make Christmas bags for each house with gifts for all the children. I donated money to build a house in my mother’s memory, as she loved Fiji too. She left me some money, so when ever Peter calls I open my purse and the money falls out as he sez. My latest donation was $2000 USD towards the cost of a bus shelter there.

  2. Karen dedencxuk

    As electronic charging addition to wood fires see Biolite products.com
    Could someone please tell Peter if he doesn’t already know about this technology. Thanks. A wonderfully inspiring story.

  3. Shalen Sagar

    Hi Friends,

    How much will a kit cost to build in Fiji. We may be bringing a TEAM from Dubai to help with rebuilding villages etc.

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  5. Ilisoni Kinivuwai

    This is a wonderfully truly inspiring story indeed. I think the iTaukei affairs ministry should instruct Fijian leaders to model their villages on Koroipita’s design and standard. I will be working hard to convince my village to follow this model. To this end I now ask Mike Gosling please can you give me Peter’s contacts in Lautoka as I would like to ask him if I could get hold of a plan of those 2 bedroom houses so I can start building one right away for my nephew in Kadavu. Thank you Dr Mike for sharing this lovely story. Peter is really living the words of the bible where Jesus told Peter “On this rock I will build my……………”.

  6. Emma McGrath

    Desperately trying to get the blueprint for these houses. I am trying to contact Peter Drysdale. I am an Australian expat who lives the majority of the year on Long Island Bahamas. The south of our island was decimated by Hurricane Joaquin. I saw the ABC report on this and please, I beg of you, please help me to connect the dots. We so critically need affordable, storm proof housing.

  7. Sakiasi Ditoka

    Thank you so much Peter Drysdale for being such an inspiration to all of us. GOD bless you and all that have made Peter’s vision become reality. In the wake of TC Winston, it brings home the message in a very clear way, that a good, strong house, need not be exorbitantly priced. I have constantly shared on social media, that Koroipita was relatively unscathed by Winston, because of the simple fact that the houses were well designed and well constructed.

    Vinaka vakalevu and GOD bless.


  8. michael ahrens

    How best to contribute to this project ?
    Please reply to address below


    1. Mike Gosling Post author

      Hi Mike,

      I do not act for or represent Peter Drysdale. However, should you wish to donate to Peter’s Koroipita Project you can do so via my Direct Bank Transfer link at the foot of my Donations page. All proceeds in full (minus bank charges) will be acknowledged here and forwarded to Peter.

      Dr Mike Gosling (Ed.)

  9. Andrew Eagle

    Dear Dr Gosling,

    This is not really a comment but a request. My name is Andrew Eagle and I am Australian but I live in Bangladesh and work for The Daily Star, the leading English language newspaper here. We just had a cyclone in the Bay of Bengal, Cyclone Roanu… a couple of days back.

    This is our newspaper: http://www.thedailystar.net
    Here is yesterday’s front page regarding the damage caused by cyclone Roanu: http://www.thedailystar.net/frontpage/roanu-puts-thousands-peril-1228477

    To cut a long story short, I believe the efforts of Peter Drysdale and his supporters have direct relevance to Bangladesh. These days Bangladesh has a world class system of evacuations and saving lives when cyclones hit, but they could learn from Fiji about house design.

    I would like to write a story on Koroipita for our newspaper, which I can manage to put together with online research. But it really needs a photo.

    So the question: is there any chance we could use one of your photos on this site, or you could e-mail me a couple?? I’m thinking an overview shot of Koroipita is what the newspaper would like. Wouldn’t be able to pay you for it unfortunately but happy to credit the photo.

    I want to draw attention to Drysdale’s successes and Koroipita in the hope it could have wide application here.

    Please let me know as soon as possible since the news cycle inevitably moves on and i would hope to publish this topic within a day or two.

    Thank you for considering my request.

    Andrew Eagle
    The Daily Star, Dhaka.

    P.S. I would contact Peter Drysdale directly but see no easy way to do so online, and really all we need is a photo.

    1. Mike Gosling Post author

      Hi Andrew,
      You have my permission to use any photo from this page. I do not act for Peter Drysdale of Koroipita and cannot assist with contact details.
      Mike Gosling (Ed.)

      1. Andrew Eagle

        Hi Mike

        Thank you so much! We are now taking some time with this story to get advice from local engineers etc. too. Will be sure to send you a link when it’s done. The photos will be great. Cheers!


      1. Mike Gosling Post author

        Thank you for adding this video, Roy. I’ve highlighted it above.
        Mike Gosling (Ed.)

  10. Dr. Kym Stock

    I have just returned from Koroipita as part of a team from Rotary Club of Portland (Victoria). We have fund raised to buy materials and supplied labour to assist local construction teams for seven years.

    It was my first trip and I was impressed with the engineering for water and sewerage control. The development of the K1, K2,K3 sections are complete and the residents have grown gardens around their houses to support their diet and sell/barter their excess produce.

    My prior impression from watching slide shows from our Rotary teams was that the small homes were pretty basic. Now having seen the standard of shelter many of these poor Fijians survive in the outer areas of towns, these homes are luxurious in comparison. This was brought home to me when talking to a young Indian mother of 7 now living in Koroipita. She had raised 5 children in a room the size of her kitchen previously. Her comments is that Koroipita was clean, safe and she had the help of the community to raise her 7 children.

    The other thing that I noticed was that the community has strict rules that residents must comply with to stay. No-one I spoke to was unhappy with the rules. The general drift of the rules is to promote aspirations of bettering themselves and safety. This model could be the answer throughout the Pacific region as water levels rise with climate change.

    Peter Drysdale is hoping to extend the village if further funding becomes available. He also hopes to develop a group of these homes and more substantial homes for sale, to fill the chasm between these low cost homes and the private home market. Funding has largely been left to NZ aid and a few minor players. The Fiji government has not supported this project financially. This has to change!

    I hope that the Australian government will form a partnership with NZ to directly fund the extension of this model town in Fiji and other countries. It is time to stop talking about climate change and start doing something practical.

  11. Shirley Nawa

    I am a working student of The University of the South Pacific in Lautoka and in one of my Diploma units in Social Welfare and Community Services, I was required to do a 40-hour placement with an NGO organisation and Ii was grateful that Mr Drysdale allowed me to be part of their team and to have the opportunity to do my research at Koroipita. I was and am still amazed at the set up of Koroipita. The structure of the house, the design, the garden, the cook house and just everything that he has orchestrated in order that the poor are given the opportunity to live in a decent home and at the same time are able to sustain themselves by planting and selling vegetables.

    I would not mind building a retirement home in my village using this design because it is just so cozy and manageable.

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