Artisans & Elders

in Norfolk Island

We all have artistic abilities.

We create

… in so many different ways…

We’ve captured interviews with our local artisans and elders as they describe their work, their passion, their skill and love for the island… in cooking, gardening, designing, building, parenting, plaiting, painting, drawing, writing, photography, fishing, wood crafting, hospitality… and so much more!

We are so very proud of our Norfolk community and all that we do;

as individuals and in niche groups,

as we create & share,

are self-sufficient & resilient,

…living on this tiny isolated isle, in the South Pacific Ocean.

Short films & our island elders

as often spoken in the Norf’k language with English subtitles!

G.E. (Puss) Anderson & Ruth McCoy discuss our island tradition of working the ship and lighterage operations.

Audio Interviews with our elders speaking the Norf’k language

In 1957, fieldworker, Elwyn Flint, an Australian linguist from the University of Queensland, visited Norfolk Island. He conducted some of the first in-depth scientific investigation into the language of the island.

When Flint first began recording, his subjects invariably slipped into standard English; even when speaking to each each other in his presence, they found it difficult to maintain a flowing conversation. Theirs was a private language; English was used with outsiders… To overcome their hesitation, the islanders agreed to speak with each other into the tape recorder without Flint present at all, collaborating to produce conversation topics, scenarios, and loose scripts to follow in his absence. Their topics ranged from the imaginative to the mundane: the recent centennial celebrations, the whaling industry that had once driven the island’s economy, the appearance of a ghostly apparition, and so on. The tapes are full of stops and starts, of mumbles and hesitant statements as well as brashness and laughter—these were improvised performances.

Traditions and each of us

Tradition can guide us, but merely repeating what we have inherited will not suffice. We have to add to it, to grow beyond it, to discover our own truths.  Tradition is, indeed, the repository of truth, but it does not restrict or close truth’s domain.

Understanding tradition

In fact, it yields itself only to someone who undertakes the discipline to understand it. Thus, tradition is renewed; and unless such renewal takes place periodically, tradition is lost.

Like a path on which no one walks anymore, it will be covered with weeds and brambles.

Excerpts from: Why Traditions Must Evolve To Stay Relevant by Makarand Paranjape

Seek & you will find…