On the tiny island of Tanna in Vanuatu in the South Pacific the ocean is a huge part of everyday life. The Tannanese rely on the sea for their livelihood and the beach for cultural ceremony. But 150 years ago something happened on their beaches, forever changing their relationship to the ocean.
In the 1860s throughout the Pacific Islands tens of thousands of boys and young men were kidnapped and coerced from beaches and put onto boats. They were then taken thousands of kilometres away to Australia. On arrival they were made to work on sugar cane plantations.
ABC producer Fiona Pepper travels to Tanna to hear stories of the blackbirding trade, how the community continues to struggle as it lives with this history and how now, questions are being asked of Australia’s responsibility to acknowledge this brutal past.