The demise of pineapple exports helped contribute to a steady outflow of people from Mangaia, the second largest island in the country at 51 square kilometres.
Around 490 people remain on the island today. Cook Islands UNITEC student Fe’ena Syme-Buchanan is studying Mangaia emigration as her major final year project.
She recently spent two weeks on island with her mother Florence, a freelance journalist who took the photographs of Mangaia in today’s paper.
Over her 14 days on Mangaia, Fe’ena captured thousands of images and will be filming the island on her second study visit, planned for later this month.
Fe’ena’s images and footage will be featured in two solo exhibitions at the National Museum and UNITEC Auckland. The exhibitions will be held in late November. The young woman from Ngatangiia says she is very grateful to those who have supported her project. Her major sponsors include Air Rarotonga, Babe Pokino Aberahama of Mangaia and Cook Islands News.
She also acknowledged the kind assistance of USP Cook Islands, Ministry of Cultural Development and the people of Mangaia.
The 21-year old is also undertaking an internship at Tourism Cook Islands.