Top 10 Facts About Living Conditions in the Pitcairn Islands
Pitcairn Islands are British Islands in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, 3,000 miles away from anywhere or anyone aside from its 50-or-so inhabitants. Crystal clear blue water surrounds its only settlement, the village of Adamstown, which is free of air pollution, but a lack of space and accessibility makes for tight quarters and close relationships. Here are the top 10 facts about living conditions on the Pitcairn Islands.

Top 10 Facts About Living Conditions in the Pitcairn Islands

  1. While the inhabitants of this tiny volcanic island are not a part of the 10 percent living in extreme poverty today, island life is not always a paradise. Pitcairn Islanders are able to live sustainable lives with the help of British financial aid which sums to over $3 million per year. The islanders boil water to serve all of their needs in copper pots over rose-apple firewood. Among the top 10 facts about living conditions in Pitcairn Islands, it is important to note that although job opportunities are in short supply, the Government of Pitcairn Islands or the Government of Private Enterprises employs most of the working residents in roles such as domestic work and gardening.
  2. Of the 50 islanders, most claim they descended from Fletcher Christian, one of the original settlers that took refuge on the island. However, artifacts and fossil evidence suggest that Polynesians inhabited the island prior to the otherwise-documented European discovery and colonization.
  3. The island’s main industry is tourism, as is the case for many small countries in the tropics. Because of its size and population, tourism is somewhat limited. There are roughly 10 cruise ships and several yachts that stop at Pitcairn every year, but some of the passengers are Pitcairners or their family members. Homemade soaps, purple sea urchin jewelry (fetuei) and bone and wood carvings are available to tourists. Islanders harvest their own coffee, cacao and award-winning tropical raw honey. They sell stamps, coins, postcards and other merchandise as well to subsidize their incomes.
  4. The Pitcairn Island Tourism Coordinator explains on its website that “…issues and differences pass as quickly as they arise on Pitcairn – smiles, cheek and laughter generally reign and in the face of adversity we all do what we do best, ‘Get off it and get on with it!’” This speaks largely to the culture that shapes the lives of Pitcairn Islanders, especially considering that generations of child abuse had ensued among native inhabitants and most islanders “looked the other way.”
  5. Lack of accessibility and quality with regards to medical care is still a prominent issue for the people of Pitcairn. The island is located 32 hours by yacht from Peru in the Northeast and New Zealand in the Southwest.
  6. Habitants of Pitcairn claim that they are not so isolated since technological advances, such as the phone and internet, reached their island in 2006. Now, Pitcairn Islands even has its products available globally via its official government website. Islanders hope that having an internet connection will help raise awareness about the island and what it can offer for tourists.
  7. Since the highest quality education is not available to the children of Adamstown, many children and teens go away to school. Pitcairners value education highly and so instead of homeschooling the children, the majority attend school in New Zealand to ensure a proper education.
  8. Within the top 10 facts about living conditions in Pitcairn Islands are parts of the island’s history that are not so fortunate. After the year 2000, trials occurred for multiple men on the island for forced sexual acts against children. The Government of Pitcairn Islands argued that this was the British Government’s attempt to depopulate the nearly desolate island, but as one might guess, Britain claimed otherwise. The latest sexual abuse act of Pitcairn occurred in the late 1990s; many changes have taken place since including the implementation of a full child protection system and the stationing of police officials on Pitcairn for additional protection.
  9. Pitcairn Islands once forbid holding hands in public, as well as dancing, drinking alcohol and smoking. Pitcairn has since abolished these laws and even legalized same-sex marriage in 2015. Still, certain behaviors have become uniquely normalized in Pitcairn Island’s culture; behaviors larger civilizations would not typically tolerate. Ever on the verge of extinction, a conventionally inappropriate form of survival sexual behavior has ensued between men and young girls on the island for years. This type of enforced “abstinence” indirectly contributes to the generations of secret rape culture and sexual abuse towards children that have taken place on this remote island getaway.
  10. Pitcairn Island has its own prison. With only two square miles to work with, Pitcairners found a way to seek justice for those who have been wronged. Of the top 10 facts about living conditions in Pitcairn Islands, the fact that it has a functioning prison system is impressive considering the population, or lack thereof. The prison offers accommodations for tourists. Pitcairn’s prison doubles as lodging for travelers for necessary spatial and efficiency purposes.

Pitcairn Islands faces real challenges, but most are due to a dwindling population as opposed to the extreme levels of poverty that exist elsewhere globally. As long as the island continues to receive financial aid from the British Government at the same rate with respect to inflation, the island should be able to stay afloat financially as long as its inhabitants and future immigrants are able to sustain a population.

– Helen Schwie
Photo: Flickr

Top 10 Facts About Hunger in the Pitcairn Islands
The Pitcairn Islands is the British territory located in the Pacific Ocean, consisted out of four islands altogether: Ducie, Henderson, Oeno and Pitcairn. The total estimated population on the main island, Pitcairn, is around 50 people. As this is the largest island, the population only resides here.

In the text below, top 10 facts about hunger in the Pitcairn Islands, as well as some other related facts about the Islands, are presented.

Top 10 Facts About Hunger in the Pitcairn Islands

  1. The island’s terrain is rocky with a rugged, volcanic formation. Deforestation for settlements has taken most of the island. Where there used to be trees are now valleys perfect for growing crops for the community and small shipments of exports.
  2. Climate on the island is hot and humid, with winds blowing from the South East Trade. During the winter season, the temperature is 18 degrees Celsius on average, with rains flowing into the fields helping decompose plants and keep soil healthy. During the summer the average temperature is 25 degrees Celsius, so as long as the winter was not dry, the people can grow all the fruits and vegetables they need to sustain on the island.
  3. The fruits that thrive on the island are passionfruit, pawpaw, pineapple, watermelon, rockmelon, guavas, mangos, bananas and a variety of citrus fruits. Since these fruits grow in abundance, many islanders can pluck the fruit right from the plant and start eating. Most of the desserts and breakfasts are made with the raw fruit from the island.
  4. The vegetables that grow on the island accompany all the exotic fruit. Islanders score the gardens for fresh vegetables to put on the dinner tables in the afternoons. Sweet potatoes, broccoli, leafy greens, chilies, tomatoes, beans, onions, ginger and a variety of herbs grow all over the island.
  5. Adding much-needed protein to the diets of the population is not difficult for the small community of the island. The diversity of fresh seafood awaits to be fished from small pools and rocky shores. Wild mountain goats roam the land, providing a different kind of meat to choose from. People also raise chickens for eggs in the morning.
  6. The diets are simple, eating what is produced on the island mostly. Fish is the most popular meal. Around the four islands lay reefs teeming with wildlife. Fish like tuna, yellowtail, lobsters, sharks and clams, among others. Fishing is prohibited to visitors due to the great health of the coral reefs surrounding the area and all the species of fish. Only locals can fish because that is part of their main food source.
  7. Part of understanding hunger in the Pitcairn Islands is acknowledging that these people are a self-sufficient community. They have created their own agricultural system that provides enough food for everyone. With plenty of fruits and vegetables to go around, people just pluck what they need from the main plant. Resources are mostly shared, with bartering here and there for ingredients one might not have. Community dinners happen once or twice a week, people gathering and creating a potluck style dinner.
  8. Top exports of food are coffee beans, sugar cane, honey and cocoa beans. The most popular food export is the cocoa beans that account for 17.1 percent of the total exports. The vegetables and fruits comprise only 4.3 percent of exports, and they include dried legumes, sweet potatoes, tropical fruits, beans, bananas, mangoes, watermelons, cauliflower and broccoli.
  9. Imports to the island have decreased by 3.5 percent because of sustainable agriculture on the island, but other food products not produced on the island have gained popularity. Over 4 percent of food received were products like milk, cheddar cheese, roast beef, pork loin lamb, steak, beer and wine. Vegetable imports make up for 5.6 of total imports and main vegetable products that are imported are onions, carrots and potatoes.
  10. There are no large ports or natural harbors on the island, so a team of men must take a long boat to the ship to bring goods from boat to island. Villagers may accompany the men on the boat so they can sell loaves of bread, pastries and local crops to the shipmates. Electricity is limited on the island, for two to three hours in the morning and four to five hours in the evening for cooking meals and entertainment like small local restaurants or community dinners.

The people of the Pitcairn Islands are not starving or living in poverty. Hunger in the Pitcairn islands is no struggle for the population of the island. Creating sustainable agriculture practices and fishing practices have helped the people thrive on the island. This small community has figured out their own survival system on the island that has worked and still works efficiently to this day.

– Kayla Cammarota
Photo: Flickr