Friday, November 03, 2006

A short description to get you started

Our film is about a sinking island, Takuu, a polynesian outlier (250km Northeast of Bougainville) where the people still practice traditional polynesian religion and cosmology. We aim to document the particular challenges they face at the moment in a poetic, reflexive way. The film is being directed by Briar March (Allie Eagle and Me) produced by Lyn Collie and supervised by Annie Goldson.

Tectonic activity is combining with on-going climate change to put more pressure on the island than is being experienced in other parts of the pacific at the moment. It is sinking at a rate of 20cm/year. The elders are refusing to leave the island in the event that it sinks completely - and this is quickly becoming a possibility as king tides this year went right over the top of it. Rising sea-levels have knock-on effects for gardening which is becoming precarious. As the salt-water table rises, the taro rots in the ground, leaving people with just fish to eat.

Takuu's particular culture is changing. With missionaries and religious schooling for teenagers living off the island, the local religion is facing competition. This is the last place in the Pacific where traditional polynesian religion is practiced.

Unlike Tuvalu, also sinking, Takuu is part of PNG and the people on the island don't have the option of emigration to a stable Western country like New Zealand when the inevitable happens. They will most likely be relocated to Buka, part of Bougainville, which has a history of political instability and is also malarial. Richard Moyle, an anthropologist who has worked with the community for the last 14 years, is convinced a move to Bougainville will have a big impact of the health of the Takuu population, particularly the elders. And moving from their island will place even more pressure on the local religion which is fully integrated with Takuu's particular geography and night sky.

No comments: