IX. Vanuatu

Island hopping in the South West Pacific Ocean. Out of the chain of 83 islands, we visited 5 and portrayed a tribe on each island. One of the shoots we did right at the edge of an active volcano crater. Amidst constant eruptions, poisonous gasses and magma being hurdled into the air we got the shots we wanted and hastily packed up and left. 

"When we looked by on the way down, we saw a massive piece of melted rock crashing into the very spot we had been standing just minutes before"

To get to all these islands, we rented a small plane with a twenty-four year old Kiwi pilot. There was no GPS, no radar, no air traffic control. We just pointed out on a map where we wanted to go and he took us there – with an inflatable boat on our laps, in case the plane went down.

Vanuatu

Vanuatu

Vanuatu Islands

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Settlement in the 85 Vanuatu islands dates back to around 500 BC. There is evidence that Melanesian navigators from Papua New Guinea were the first to colonise Vanuatu. Over centuries, other migrations followed. Nowadays, all the inhabited islands have their own languages, customs and traditions.

“A girl is like a branch of nettle tree – whatever ground you plant it in, it will grow”

Many Vanuatu believe that wealth can be obtained through ceremonies. Dance is an important part of their culture; many villages have dancing grounds called Nasara. A significant traditional event is the Toka festival on Tanna Island, a symbol of alliance and friendship between different indigenous groups.