OBJECTIVE: To examine trends in infant mortality rate (IMR), adult mortality and life expectancy (LE) in the two major Fijian ethnic groups since 1975. METHODS: Estimates of IMR, adult mortality (15-59 years) and LE by ethnicity are calculated from previously unreported Fiji Ministry of Health data and extracted from published sources. RESULTS: Over 1975-2008: IMR decreased from 33 to 20 deaths/1,000 live births in i-Taukei (Fiji Melanesians); and 38 to 18 in Fijians of Indian descent. Increased adult male mortality among i-Taukei and decline among Fijians of Indian descent led to an equal probability of dying in 2007 of 29%; while in female adults the probability trended upwards in i-Taukei to 25%, and declined in Fijians of Indian descent to 17%. Life expectancy in both ethnicities increased until 1985 (to 64 years for males; 68 for females) then forming a plateau in males of both ethnicities, and Fijian females of Indian descent, but declining in i-Taukei females to 66 years in 2007. CONCLUSIONS: Despite IMR declines over 1975-2008, LE for i-Taukei and Fijians of Indian descent has not increased since 1985, and has actually decreased in i-Taukei women, consistent with trends in adult mortality (15-59 years). Mortality analyses in Fiji that consider the entire population mask divergent trends in the major ethnic groups. This situation is most likely a consequence of non-communicable disease mortality, requiring further assessment and a strengthened response.