"There is neither nail nor screw holding it together. Is uses nothing but the wind and grows almost organically from the resources that are naturally and readily available on the atoll."
"Maybe we are reaching towards the significance a canoe must hold for those who, from birth, stare out at the immensity of the Pacific Ocean."
The sea dominates life. The nearest island is over the horizon, and a major land mass a thousand miles of endless ocean away. The land, heartbreakingly threatened by ecologically offensive nations, is so narrow, both ocean and lagoon can nearly always be seen. The peaceful and gentle, the deep and strong, the inner and outer are in constant contrast. These tiny low ribbons of coral are the home of the I-Kiribati and their unique sailing canoes.
Maybe we are reaching towards the significance a canoe must hold for those who, from birth, stare out at the immensity of the Pacific Ocean.
This brief photo essay concentrates on the construction of a canoe. This is the birth of a canoe in a tiny hut on the edge of the Tarawa lagoon. There is still much to show of its role in racing, fishing and transport and the ingenious procedures required for sailing.
The nation of Kiribati is spread over 3.5 milllion sq km stretching from north of Vanuatu in the west of the Pacific, above Tuvalu, Wallis and Futuna, Fiji, Tonga, Tokelau, Samoa, American Samoa, Niue, Cook Islands and to Tahiti in the east.
Associate Professor Tony Whincup is Head of the School of Visual & Material Culture at Massey University, New Zealand. For more stunning documentary photo essays go to www.pacificfocus.org