The Next Adventure

03 February 2022
23 January 2022 | Goose winged between Separation Point and Tarakohe
22 January 2022 | Heading towards French Pass
19 January 2022
12 January 2022
07 January 2022 | Mistletoe Bay, Marlborough Sounds.
06 January 2022
05 January 2022
04 January 2022 | Coppermine Bay, D’Urville Island
03 January 2022 | En route to D’Urville Island
05 September 2021 | Golden Bay
08 April 2015 | Adele Island, Abe Tasman National Park
20 March 2015 | Nelson, NZ
19 March 2015
19 March 2015
17 March 2015
16 March 2015
15 March 2015
14 March 2015

Island wedding

20 June 2014 | Nguna and Port Havannah, Efate, Vanuatu
Barbara/ Hot and sunny
We spent a few nights in Port Havannah, catching up with chores, enjoing sundowners with Ullie and Rita from the German yacht "Anni Nad", swimming and snorkeling - I saw my first Nemos! - and chatting with the crew of 'Blue Gold' a large ketch moored in Esema Bay. It has an overseas owner who rarely visits and the crew and families live aboard, painting and cleaning! One of the crew, Nixon, suggested we caught a bus with them into Port Vila. We went ashore around 7.30am and walked through a small village to the road. The 'Efate Ring Road', goes around the outside of the island. It is a beautifully smooth, two lane road, built by NZ contractors with American money! We had been on it before, but this day was particularly quiet...a few people walking along, back from their gardens, but no buses. We wandered along for a bit, before Nixon and his friend Acheron decided that sitting in the middle of the road under a large tree was the place to wait. After an hour, a bus finally came.. It transpired that the opening game of the world cup had just finished and everyone in this football mad nation was watching or listening to it! The road is certainly multi-purpose. We took a walk along it the other day and met loads of people walking along it, a group of girls braiding each others hair in the middle of the road under a tree, a group of men slashing the undergrowth around telegraph poles, many roadside stores, which sell local produce (some just mandarins) or cell phone top-ups and a string of live mudcrabs!!
We headed back to Nguna Island on Tuesday along with Anni Nad, and on going ashore, found that the island was preparing for a wedding on Friday, which we wer e invited to attend. The island was a hive of activity, with people arriving all week in boats from other islands or on foot or truck from other villages. Everyone was carrying big loads...vegetables, woven mats, gas bottles, fuel containers, sugar canes, live pigs...There was music being played constantly from dawn until the wee hours. From the boat we could only hear the nearly drove Simon mad! Information was given out over a loudspeaker, detailing the ongoing activities. Women were preparing huge quantities of food, mainly banana laplap, manioc and yams. The village had two areas, the bride's side and the grooms side and visitors were accommodated accordingly. The day before the wedding, we went ashore and 'helped' prepare some of the food with the island ladies. I grated bananas, while Simon grated coconut, much to the amusement of the assembled group! They were very patient, but my bowl of bananas was filling at a rate about a quarter of the speed of everyone else, so we thanked them for their time and left them to it!
The men were preparing 'punia', like a hangi - cooking 2 pigs and 2 cows in huge hot stone fire pits. There were bits of meat everywhere, hanging from trees, on benches and being washed in buckets on the beach. The large number of skinny dogs that usually hang around, were all lying contentedly under trees! Some of the fires were tended all night with the meat going in early in the morning of the wedding day. The music went on all night too!
The day of the wedding began around 9am with the groom's family making a payment to the bride's fami!y. This involved everyone from the bride's side lining up and then shaking hands with everyone from the groom's side, like a very, very long, post match handshake. It was very emotional too, with men and women alike, particularly the bride's family, distraught with tears. Everyone had a smear of white powder on their neck or face. When we asked about the significance of this, no-one quite knew, it was just one of those things that was done! The payment was a large pile of woven mats, sugar came, kava, two live pigs, a gas bottle and half a cow.
After this was the church service. Everyone had changed into Sunday best - an amazingly colourful spectacle. The church was Presbyterian and led by a pastor from a neighbouring island. The whole thing was in some ways, very reminiscent of weddings on Muck, with everyone working together to make sure the day went well and guests were properly taken care of! The groom arrived first, with a best man, another man, two girls (groom's maids??) and a flower girl, all in matching red outfits. Then the bride arrived, in a white fitted dress, veil, stiletto sandals and ankle socks. The ceremony was very familiar...just like ours really, although all in Bislama. I could follow most of it and could hum the hymns even if I didn't know the words! During the service, including during the prayer to bless the couple, people got up and started to take close up photos of the bride and groom with their phones, tablets and was very odd! One hymn was announced, others were just started spontaneously by someone in the congregation, but all were unaccompanied and in at least 6 part harmony! When the couple, now married, came back down the aisle, they looked very glum and in all the group photos no-one smiled...just like the photos I have of my grandparents' wedding! Suddenly, the lively string band struck up and people started dancing -.happy dancing people celebrating the marriage of a weeping bride and entourage!
Then there was a large lunch, which we were invited to share and then the groom left with his family and the bride stayed with hers. A huge amount of the prepared food was divided up for the guests to take away. Each village was allocated a heap of meat, veg and laplap and then each village divided that up among the families who had attended. After that, the bride was led to her new husbands home. The string band leading the way, then people carrying the wedding gifts, then the tearful bride and her bridesmaids. When this procession reached the grooms house, members of the grooms family came dancing and smiling out to escort the bride to her new husband. More tears and speeches and we decided to call it a day! (It was now 5pm!) The dancing and music went on all night and boats laden with guests left last night with more this morning. We left too and had a great sail back to Port Havannah, where we plan to go ashore for dinner this evening as a change from laplap and root veg, which we have lived on all week, generously provided by our hosts.
We were very privileged to be a part of such an amazing event and I really hope that the bride and groom live happily ever after!
Vessel Name: Tuarangi
Vessel Make/Model: William Atkins Ingrid
Hailing Port: Nelson
Crew: Simon and Barbara Graves
About: From Nelson. New Zealand and formerly the Isle of Muck.
Tuarangi's Photos - Main
Our trip to Stewart Island
34 Photos
Created 2 January 2022