2014 news of Tristanians visiting or living in the UK, Europe and elsewhere in the world.

2014 News

Tristan News Abroad
This page publicises an assortment of information from across the world related to Tristan da Cunha.
Chief Islander tours Empire Photo Exhibition featuring life on Tristan
Report and Photos from Chris Bates

Chief Islander Ian Lavarello, in the UK for the 2014 Joint Ministerial Conference and a series of meetings on the island's future, told photographer Jon Tonks that his exhibition Empire being staged at the Midland Arts Centre in Birmingham, until Sunday 4 January 2015, really captures the spirit and the character of Tristan da Cunha.

Ian donated a Tristan desktop flag and a knitted Tristan penguin from the Handicrafts Shop for inclusion in the exhibition and also presented a signed copy of Conrad Glass's book Rockhopper Copper to MAC Birmingham's Senior Marketing and Communications Officer, Marcia Springer, during his tour.

Multi-award winning photographer and photojournalist Jon Tonks' Empire is a fascinating journey, six years in the making, exploring life on four remote UK Overseas Territories: Ascension Island, St Helena, Tristan da Cunha and the Falkland Islands. Tonks photographed the people, the landscapes and the traces of the past embedded in each territory, offering a window into the communities and their lifestyles that remain very firmly British. It is co-produced by the MAC, The Library of Birmingham, Ffotogallery in Cardiff and the Impressions Gallery in Bradford.

Tonks spent up to a month at a time in each territory, travelling 60,000 miles around the South Atlantic. He used 400 rolls of film, endured 24 flights and 32 days at sea. 

Ian Lavarello visited the gallery while working with Tristan UK Representative Chris Bates at his home in Birmingham, just a 10-minute walk from the MAC, and said: “The number of people visiting the gallery while we were there shows the level of interest in Tristan and the South Atlantic Territories. I suspect for many, it may have been the first time they have had the chance to see how we live and work and the world that surrounds us”.

Ian Lavarello views EMPIRE at the Midland Art Centre (MAC), Birmingham, with photographer Jon Tonks and Marcia Springer, Senior Marketing and Communications Officer

Exhibition on ‘Empire’ by Jon Tonks

Featuring his photographs of visits to Ascension, St Helena, Tristan da Cunha and the Falkland Islands

In the mac birmingham

Free Exhibition Sat 18 Oct 2014 – Sun 4 Jan 2015 in the Arena Gallery

Details from: http://macbirmingham.co.uk/

About Jon Tonks' Empire project from the mac birmingham website

Empire is a fascinating journey across the South Atlantic exploring life on four remote islands – the British Overseas Territories of Ascension Island, Tristan da Cunha, the Falkland Islands and St. Helena. These distant places are relics of the once formidable British Empire, all intertwined through their shared history.

Photographer Jon Tonks spent up to a month at a time in each territory, travelling 60,000 miles around the Atlantic via military outposts, low-lit airstrips and a long voyage aboard the last working Royal Mail Ship. Some 400 rolls of film, 24 flights and 32 days at sea later, the resulting work creates an insight that resonates with a sense of Britishness which is remarkably recognisable yet inescapably strange.

West Midlands born, Jon has photographed the people, the landscapes and the traces of the past embedded within each territory and through short texts, which combine history and anecdote, he tells the story of these remote and remarkable islands. His motivation is neither political nor nostalgic, the images arising primarily from his curiosity about the lives of these distant lands that remain very firmly British.

Lorna Lavarello-Smith to address FOTBOT May London Reception
FOTBOT (Friends of the British Overseas Territories) are holding an Atlantic themed reception which will be addressed by Tristan Islander Reverend Lorna Lavarello-Smith who is Vice Chair of the Tristan da Cunha Association and the photographer Jon Tonks who has visited Ascension Island, St Helena, Tristan da Cunha and the Falkland Islands. The reception will take place on Friday 16th May from 7-9pm at 'Champagne Charlies', 17 The Arches, Villiers Street, London WC2N 6NG and tickets are £7.50 for FOTBOT members and £15 for others plus a booking fee.
For further details go to FOTBOT's website: www.fotbot.org
RHS Talk by Stewart McPherson on 6th May in London
Stewart McPherson recently visited Tristan da Cunha in March and this general lecture on his plant-hunting travels will include at least a glimpse of his Tristan experience. To quote from an email from Stewart on 16th April:
It is more about exploration, going to the last unvisited corners of the world, new discoveries, seeing some of the world’s most extraordinary wildlife and landscapes, and a last glimpse of a fast vanishing world of the last tribes, pristine wildernesses and traditional ways of life that I have encountered while exploring little-visited places. In essence, it is about stories of exploration and discovery – that I hope, even dedicated plantaphobes might enjoy.

Tristan Represented at 2014 Commonwealth Day Celebration

Tristan da Cunha was represented in Westminster Abbey at the Observance for Commonwealth Day on Monday 10th March 2014, in the presence of Her Majesty The Queen, HRH The Duke of Edinburgh, HRH The Prince of Wales, HRH The Duchess of Cornwall, HRH The Earl of Wessex and HRH The Countess of Wessex.

Tristan's UK Representative Chris Bates, accompanied by his wife Julie, was present with Representatives of the other UK Overseas Territories and High Commissioners of the Commonwealth countries, to hear Her Majesty say that with the opening of the 20th Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, the year's theme would be “Team Commonwealth”. She said: “This year, more children and young people are participating in Commonwealth Day celebrations. Advances in technology enable us to reach a greater number of young people in schools, on-line using the 'Commonwealth Class' initiative, and through events in local communities where the Commonwealth flag is being raised”.

The congregation applauded 17 year old Malala Yousafzai, who was shot by the Taliban in October 2012 while travelling home from school in Pakistan because of her campaign for the rights of girls to an education. Now living in Birmingham where she was treated for the effects of her injuries, she spoke from the Abbey pulpit to urge all Commonwealth countries to ensure that all children could enjoy their right to education and make their contribution to the world.

Representatives of the UK Overseas Territories outside Westminster Abbey after the Observance: (left to right) Kedrick Malone (British Virgin Islands), Joyce Panton (Montserrat), Sukey Cameron (Falkland Islands), Kimberley Durrant (Bermuda), Dorothea Hodge (Anguilla), Chris Bates (Tristan da Cunha).

Photo: Falkland Islands Government

Chris commented: “Although Tristan is not a member of the Commonwealth (as it is part of an Overseas Territory) it is encouraging to see that we are recognised as 'part of the family' of nations which the Commonwealth represents and can play our part in national events such as Commonwealth Day Observance with The Queen and her family, the leaders of the faith communities, the Commonwealth organisations and the representatives of the Government.

“With Tristan so much focused on the development of its education and improving opportunities for its young people, Her Majesty's speech– and Malala's plea from the pulpit – very much struck a chord”.

See also www:thercs.org for more information on the event.

Tristan Represented at Nelson Mandela Abbey Celebration
Report from Tristan Government UK Representative Chris Bates

Tristan da Cunha was officially represented at the celebration in Westminster Abbey to mark the life and work of Nelson Mandela on Monday 3 March 2014, in the presence of Prince Harry, who was representing The Queen.

The celebration was attended by the Prime Minister (David Cameron) who gave one of the readings, the Deputy Prime Minister (Nick Clegg) and the Leader of the Opposition (Ed Milliband) as well as former Prime Ministers Gordon Brown and John Major and the Deputy President of the Republic of South Africa, H.E. Kgalema Motlanthe.

Tristan's UK Representative, Chris Bates, was among the ambassadors, high commissioners and representatives of UK Overseas Territories invited to participate. The High Commissioner of the Republic of South Africa, H.E. Obed Mlaba, gave the first reading.

Members of Nelson Mandela's family were present and the Address was given by The Most Reverend Desmond Tutu, Archbishop Emeritus of Cape Town. One of the highlights of what Chris reports was a moving and vivid service was the singing of the Soweto Gospel Choir.

Chris commented: “It was a great honour to represent Tristan's people and their many links with South Africa. The celebration perfectly captured the character of Nelson Mandela, the struggle for freedom of South Africa's people and their enduring affection for Britain. Nelson Mandela's philosophy of forgiveness and reconciliation, his belief in freedom and democracy, had a poignancy on a day when dramatic events were unfolding in The Ukraine.

“Tristan's links with South Africa go right back to its settlement in 1816, through the days of the evacuation, when that country was in the grip of apartheid. They are vital to the island's future through personal and commercial, transport, educational, religious and medical links.”

Tristan Pioneers First Northern FOTBOT Event
Report from Chris Bates

Tristan da Cunha's unique position as the world's most remote inhabited island and its way of life has been brought to a new, out-of-London audience thanks to an event organised jointly by the Friends of the British Overseas Territories and the Yorkshire Society.

Following successful events in London involving the Premiers of the Cayman Islands and Montserrat and the UK Representative of Bermuda, the Friends of the British Overseas Territories and the Yorkshire Society invited Tristan's UK Representative to speak about the island and its way of life at their first-ever joint meeting held in The Brewery Tap in Leeds City Centre on Friday 28 February 2013.

Photo taken at the event shows FOTBOT Managing Director Philip Smith (left) with Tristan UK Rep Chris Bates (second from right) and Director of the Yorkshire Society, Canon Keith Madeley MBE (third from right) and some of those attending.

Yorkshire Society members from all over the White Rose county joined FOTBOT's primarily student-based membership in a question and answer session on both the serious and the lighter-hearted aspects of life on Tristan – and Chris was able to hand out samples of Tristan floating rock collected during a recent visit in return for donations to the Education Trust Fund.

FOTBOT members from the Cayman Islands, Northern Ireland, Yorkshire and Durham, Blackburn and London were among the audience.

Canon Keith Madeley MBE, Director of the Yorkshire Society, thanked Chris for his insight into life on Tristan da Cunha, saying there was much interest in how a small, independent-minded society with a philosophy of self-help thrived in South Atlantic.

Chris said: “I was impressed by how much the audience knew about Tristan and the detailed questions they asked afterwards – I was left with the impression that both the Yorkshire Society members and FOTBOT felt Tristan has much to offer the wider world and deserves to be better known”

For further details about FOTBOT go to their website: www.fotbot.org