Watching this film made me think about the similiarities the Anutan’s had to other Pacific Islands. It made me think of my own ancestory from Tonga, and how I remember kissing my grandmother in that traditional Polynesian way, with a long breath of air inhaled as our faces touched. This kiss seems to have been replaced with a more western style of cheek kissing or simply cheek to cheek touching. What also touched me was the emotional farwell. In my own experience of visiting Tonga and my relatives there, farewells are an extremely emotional affair. The farewell ceremony in this film by Zachary Stowasser really instilled a sense of understanding as to where that emotion comes from. It comes from tradition. It’s a cultural practice instilled deep within us as Pacific Islander’s – and although not practiced in the same manner today as the Anutan’s, I believe that we once did the same thing too. I feel a deep sadness every time I think about how these small traditional practices, and the knowledge of those practices, are lost with the influence of western society on Pacific nations.
Click on the Anuta Tribe link below to watch film.
Anuta Island Facts
The island lies about 311 miles (501 km) to the east-southeast of Nendo, at 11°36′39″S 169°51′1″ECoordinates: 11°36′39″S 169°51′1″E. It is a small volcanic island with a fringing coral reef. The highest point on the island is 213 feet (65 m) above sea level. The island is quite small; it has a diameter of only about 820 yards (750 m).
The island’s population is about 300.
The island is only 400 m wide, and a has a summit elevation of 65m at Te Maunga Hill in the noth of the island. Anuta is roughly circular in shape with a fringing reef. The beaches are composed of white sand. In the south of the island there is a flat coastal plain
Anuta is the remains of an ancient volcano. One km to the SE lies Fatu’omango Rock and 500 m to the NE is Te Fatu’oveu Rock. Northwest of the island is a reef rising to within 23 m of the surface. This area provides good fishing for the Anutans. About 3 km from the island, the shallow reef plunges into deep water.
Lapita people settled on Anuta about 3000 years ago. The current population descended from Tongans who arrived in 1580. The island is ruled by two chiefs. The chief’s status is marked by tatoos.
Anuta Island is periodically hit by cyclones. In the north of the island are breadfruit storage pits which enable food supply to survive cyclones. The population of Anuta has remained constant at about 200 for one hundred years. There are three villages on the island – Pare Ariki, Rotoapi, and Vatiana.