The work of a talented photographer.
In 2016, the photographer Vlad Sohina managed to get to Tokelau, which every year more and more disappearing under the water.
— Tokelau — one of the smallest and most remote countries in the world. It is 580 kilometers from American Samoa; three atolls in the middle of the Pacific ocean is just 10 square kilometers. You can get there only after many hours of travel by ship from Samoa. Most of the land, Tokelau is located not above a few meters above sea level. This makes the area susceptible to the threats faced by all small States in the Pacific region: climate change and the water level rises.
Concrete walls surround the village Fale on Fakaofo Atoll. On the island has 355 people, with another 200 on the nearby island of Finau Fala
In the last decade, tropical storms, destructive floods. In February of 2005 by cyclone Percy — the storm 5-th category is affected the three atolls. The water came from two sides, flooding the village. Seawalls built to protect from flooding, was simply washed away. As the water level rises, the inhabitants of the Tokelau see the earth under their feet disappears in the ocean.
According to the CIA, Tokelau, the smallest country in the world in terms of GDP. The country has a population of 1 500 people, who have a New Zealand passport and dependent on her help, as she provides the bulk of the state budget. Export copra, stamps and Handicrafts brings some income, but food, building materials and fuel have to buy subsidized. Another source of income — fishing licenses — were under threat due to the increase in water temperature and imbalances in the environment.
Tokelau plans to become the first country in the world that will generate all energy from renewable sources: 90% from solar and the rest from biofuels.
Tokelauans are committed to stability. But the tiny territory of the state suffers from erosion and sea level rise is affecting agriculture and increasing imports.
People are floating on a barge in Nukunonu village. It is home to 420 people. Fresh water there is little food, except fish and coconut, are imported from Samoa
51-year-old Akacia Seeley working in his garden on the island of Lafu Those on the Atoll of Fakaofo
A woman stands on a destroyed beach on the island of atafu, which is on the same Atoll. It is the smallest Atoll of Tokelau. People here survive thanks to fishing, farming coconuts and plant Taro and Pandan
Palms grow along the coast of the island of Te Lafu. Here people grow the Taro plant and coconut
To get to Tokelau, I dreamed for many years. Since he started to work in Oceania, I was trying to find out how it can be done. Despite the fact that it is overseas territory of New Zealand to arrive in Tokelau, all you need to obtain a visa. I tried to do this in 2015, but the attempt was unsuccessful. In 2016, I worked with UNICEF, and the Fund made for me a few emails. They helped me get not only a visa, but permission for all three atolls — so I could go ashore and take pictures there.
In March 2016 I finally got on the boat and after more days of sailing we came to the first Atoll of atafu, where I spent half a day. Then we picked up passengers and all night, floated on the middle Atoll, Nukunonu. Here we stayed overnight and the next day got on the main Atoll of Fakaofo. There I am with all things off the ship, and I promised to pick up in a week. In the end I’m stuck here for two weeks, because the ship did not appear.
Life in Tokelau is very measured. In the main village of the Atoll Atafu is home to around 250 people, and the island can be circumvented in five minutes. The houses are built close to each other, sometimes literally at arm’s length. People all day either working or engaged in fishing, and go to Church. I was there during Easter week and in that time were many different ceremonies, everyone was busy preparing for the Easter celebrations.
The chief of police Fakaofo raises the flag of Tokelau before the meeting of Parliament. Seven police officers daily patrol the island on which they live 355 people. Law enforcement officers want to make sure that citizens abide by a curfew: it allows you to keep it quiet in the evenings, for religious reasons. According to the rules, everyone should stop working after 18:00 and Sunday work prohibited. 18:00-18:50 people can make noise, spend time in the games and relax after work. From 18:50 to 19:00 residents must be at home and pray. From 19:00 to 21:00 they swim or do other sports, do work around the house. 21:00 the kids need to go to sleep. After 23:00 is not recommended to go out and make noise
People sit near the “house picnic” — one of the traditional Polynesian houses that still remained in Tokelau. The majority of citizens live in houses of more modern style, which were built with financial assistance of New Zealand
Children from the village Fale stand in front of the Catholic Church the night before Easter
A satellite dish on the Atoll of Nukunonu allows residents to enjoy high-speed Internet. GDP, Tokelau has increased by more than 10% due to the registration of domain names in its own domain “.tk”. According to studies, Tokelau now has one of the most popular domain after Germany and the UK: the end “.tk” have over 31 million registered domains. And Internet service provider Tokelau the world’s first uses only renewable energy
I also managed to get on the public night fishing: having it to restock. Involved all men, bringing big and small fish, sharks. Catch handed out to all the families of the Atoll, and equal portions and get young and old, and even babies and guests. Probably, Tokelau is the only country, where he built communism. Everything belongs to everyone. People get some nominal salary from the government of New Zealand, and all help each other.
Also in Tokelau developed various kinds of sports, people are constantly playing volleyball, Rugby. On Sunday evenings, women play cricket. In all of Tokelau’s solar, people don’t even turn the lights off at night because the energy is more than enough. Each island of the Atoll has its purpose — for example, two large Islands intended for human habitation. One of them is infrastructure, including a Bank, Internet service provider, antenna, the hospital and its substation.
17-year-old Beat Beat holds fish that you just caught during Tauli — weekly public fishing in the ocean
17-year-old JJ throws a net in the sea from the pier in the village of Fale
Residents Fale on Fakaofo Atoll spend a lot of time in the cool water of the lagoon. Usually they chat, smoke cigarettes and eat raw fish with coconut
Fish in the lagoon, Fakaofo
There are two Islands designated for the cemetery, there is an island that has become a pigsty, — every day people go on boats to feed their pigs. The rest of the island are gardens and picnic areas. In General, life here is reminiscent of a tropical idyll. This fall very few tourists: the people of Tokelau do not tend to advertise their country, so we are trying to protect children from external influences and prefer to live their little community.
Island Teapoy tan, which the people of Fakaofo Atoll used as a Catholic cemetery
22-year-old Lagi rides on electric Golf cart near the station solar Fakaofo island, Fenua Fala. To get around the island, residents use the electric vehicles. All three of the Atoll are provided by solar energy
The Minister for energy of Tokelau Robin Pins plans that the country will generate more electricity from pig manure. It uses a system of wind turbines
Masaya Louis (right) rides on a truck for the local pigs in a pigsty, which is located on the main island of Nukunonu Atoll in the far side of the village. Free truck pick people up every morning and takes them to feed the pigs
The man in his boat sailing past the houses of the village Fale. During a routine high tide the island is only 2 meters above sea level. To protect against rising water levels, the islanders erected a concrete wall with a height of 5 to 7 meters and build them at home
13-year-old Patema Tafe stands at the grave in a Protestant cemetery Patalia Islands of Fakaofo Atoll
Women of Fakaofo Atoll play cricket on the main square of the village Fale
Student is on the school pier on the island of Fenua Fala
A flock of birds flying over the Pacific ocean near the Atoll of Fakaofo
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