Sunday, December 02, 2012


I am going to tell you about something that I should have been writing about for some months. For a long time now - since August, in fact, a structure has been going up in the woodland just on the other side of our front lawn. It is a Nakamal. A Nakamal is a Vanuatan Village House.

On Wenesday, which was Thanksgiving Day on Norfolk Island, we had the official opening and blessing of the Nakamal. People started to arrive about 4 p.m.

Lots of people came. We counted more than 130 in fact.
People of all ages...

And I think most were amazed at what they saw.

Charles arranged for a sign that said "Nakamal b'long Bernie".

 Charles gave a great speech at the opening, explaining our connections and links with Vanuatu and the Pacific islands.
 Alan, who, along with Chully, has done most of the work on the Nakamal, said a few words.
 And  Bishop Rob, who is visiting for Thanksgiving, said a lovely prayer of dedication!!
 Then we started on the food. Andrew and Arthur set about carving...

 Meanwhile Alan, Chully, George andDel began to get the meats and vegetables out of the Bunia (ground oven)

We actually had Edwina Dick writing for Feast magazine there - wasn't that awesome!!
 And her photographer Shaun got some great shots of people enjoying themselves.
 Sam carved the meats from the ground oven. What a feast....
 Our son John and his partner Charlene, who had only been on the island for a few days.

The desserts were equally abundant, and were tackled with gusto....

 There was a lolly scramble on the lawn for the kids - not that they could have been hungry!!

 Then the music started. Gentle harmonies and rhythms from our island friends and a Norfolker or two.
 What was amazing is that this impromptu musical group consisted of Vanuatans, Fijians, Fasiu from Rotuma, Polini from the Solomons, and George from Tahiti.

 See George's native style drum.
 Margaret took home some bananas in her hat. She received the hat as a gift just that morning from Edie. It is made from Rahooloo (banana bark)
 The small boys amused themselves playing darts.
 While we kept warm around the fires, both outside the Nakamal and inside.
 I think you can see what a wonderfully happy occasion it was.

Now I have hundreds of pictures of the progress on the Nakamal, and I will try to show you the best of them in future postings.


Anonymous said...

It looks absolutely wonderful Mary.

Edwina Dick said...

My dear Mary, this is such a wonderful blog post- your Thanksgiving event was just beautiful- Sean, Andrew and I felt so grateful to be involved.
We loved meeting you, Bernie and your family and it has been a pleasure writing about the day.
Thankyou so much again for having us, we'll stay in touch,
Love from Edwina

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