In New Zealand, we are lucky to have the South Pacific Islands so close. They are mesmerizing and each one is so very different and unique. They instantly offer a different way of living and mentality.
SAMOA, I visited as friend and photographer of Matehitehi school. The little kura (school) from Mitimiti, on the West coast in the Far North of New Zealand took their 25 students and whanau on an educational school trip to their friends in Samoa. We visited local schools, local communities and were welcomed warmly everywhere we went. It was a trip full of laughter and new experiences.
The Kindgdom of TONGA, I visited by myself to heal and be away from 'my world' at the time. Tonga wrapped me with kindness, warmth and inspiration. I biked everywhere, explored my surroundings and ended up in school rooms, gardens with local tapa makers and met with Lady Tunakaimanu Fielakepathe, the world's foremost authority on koloa, an intricate and ancient textile-making practice of tapa (see section Portraits Artists).
My heart and soul felt nourished and recharged by all these beautiful encounters and new impressions. Thank you for letting me breathe your spirit, precious TONGA.