116-Year-Old Suva Retailer Caines Jannif Recognised

Being the oldest retailer, operating in the City of Suva for 116 years, Caines Jannif has stamped its mark in the photography business.
07 Oct 2020 14:02
116-Year-Old Suva Retailer Caines Jannif Recognised
Caines Jannif Ltd chief executive officer Ikbal Jannif holding a photo he took during Fiji’s Independence Day on October 10, 1970 at Suva’s Albert Park. Photo: Maraia Vula

Being the oldest retailer, operating in the City of Suva for 116 years, Caines Jannif has stamped its mark in the photography business.

Located on Victoria Parade in the heart of Suva the business continues to serve and evolve as technology changes.

Company chief executive officer Ikbal Jannif received his company’s recognition award for operating for more than 50 years in Suva from the Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama. It came during the Suva Retailers Recognition Night at Suva Civic Auditorium.

Mr Jannif said: ‘’It is a great honour for our business to be recognised as one of the oldest companies in the capital, it is the first time something like this has been done.

Rebranding Caines Jannif

“Company started in 1904, when an Englishman Frederick William Caine came to Fiji.

“My father, Ben Jannif, started working for Mr Caine. He worked with Mr Caine for over 25 years before becoming his partner. He bought Mr Caine’s share in the business when Mr Caine became terminally ill, and later bought Mrs Caine’s share in the business also. Caines Studio became a Jannif family owned company.

“However, when the Jannif children suggested changing the name of the business, my father recognised that Mr Caine gave him the first opportunity to work for him and insisted that the name “Caine” be retained,” he said.


Caines Jannif has evolved over the years to meet the demand of the modern world.

He says changes in technology, particularly in the photography industry has been an issue for the company.

“We started off with plate film, moved to roll films and now to digital.

“It has brought many changes and has required a lot of investment in new equipment.

“An expensive way to move forward.

“However we have done that to maintain our business.”

Fiji Independence in 1970

Mr Jannif said he attended the Fiji Independence in 1970 as a photographer with the press team and took photos of the celebrations which are now invaluable and on display at the Victoria Parade store.

“We had the pleasure of serving the people of Fiji for 116 years, and we hope to keep serving for many years to come.”

  • What’s your favourite app? Not too keen on using apps.
  • What are your hobbies? Reading and listening to music and songs from the 60s, 70s and 80s mainly.
  • Describe a typical day at work? Normally start at 8.30am, attend to emails, read news papers, meet with senior staff, then do whatever needs to be done, including signing documents as a Justice of Peace (JP), and spending time in the retail shop. Normally leave office at 5.30pm. Normally don’t take work home. Gives me time to have a baby mix with selected friends from time to time.


Tell us a bit about yourself? Born in Suva; educated at Marist Brothers Primary in Toorak and Marist High School in Flagstaff.

Returned from Auckland University in December, 1969, and joined family company in 1970. Now am chief executive officer.

How many boards were you on and are currently on? Have been member of several boards in the past: Reserve Bank of Fiji, Fiji Revenue & Customs Authority (FIRCA) (now Fiji Revenue and Customs Service), Fiji Public Trustee Corp Ltd, University of the South Pacific Council for 25 years, Fiji National University for 10 years.

Currently only serving on Pacific Fishing Company Pte Limited (PAFCO) board as Chairman.

Can you tell us about your experience in the photography industry? Have been in the industry since mid 1960s (part time when I was at University)

We understand you took pictures during Independence Day 50 years ago? Little sad when the Union Jack came down in the afternoon of 9th October, but filled with pride when the Fiji Flag was hoisted for the first time in the early morning of October 10th, and the crowd sang our National Anthem. Exciting to be recording part of history

How many pictures did you take on that day and day after? Around 360 (10 rolls of 36 exposure film) Sadly, all the negatives were destroyed when our archives was burnt down two years ago.

Tell us a bit about how business is fairing especially during COVID-19? We are staggering along like everyone else.

How do you manage the demands of professional and personal commitments? Setting priorities, time management, staff and family support

What would be your advice to budding photographers? You’re lucky that you can take multiple shots at no extra cost.

Tell us a bit about your future business plans? Am enjoying what I am doing. Carry on for a few years more


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