On the 31st December 'Okalolies' (men in costumes and scary masks) wander about the village to chase and capture any children or ladies outdoors. The fishing dong is sounded to ring in the New Year.

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Old Year's Night 2015

The modern Tristan Old Year's Night is centred on two official receptions when the famous Okalolies put in an appearance. On this page we will show the scenes on 31st December 2015 and into the new year.

Photos from Dawn Repetto and Alex Mitham
Okalolies gathered ready to march to the Administrator's Reception at the Residency

Report from Dawn Repetto

The weather was good here and there were a lot of people who dressed up. The afternoon got underway with the dressing up and scaring by the okalolies. Drinks at the Administrators started at 6pm followed by drinks at the Chief Islanders residence. At around 9pm, people went off to their private braais and fireworks were set off around 10pm. This was a lovely sight and so enjoyed by the children. After braaing was over everyone made their way to the gong for the ringing of the gong and the church bell. Quite a few parties were still ongoing after 2pm.

The Okalolies has asked me to say a special thank you to the Administrator and Chris Carnegy for providing the new masks, they are extremely grateful.

Okalolies unmasked
Close ups
On the march
At the Residency Reception - above - Administrator Alex Mitham making his Old Year's Night speech

Administrator Alex Mitham's Old Year's Night message:

It was a ‘breezy’ evening for the Old Year's Night celebrations and the okalolies arrived en masse after causing mischief around the village!...

While many people are able to be here tonight - unfortunately there are those who can’t be - and I know our thoughts and prayers go to everyone in Cape Town -- Although I’m sure everyone in South Africa are having their own special celebrations.

As ever it’s a time to reflect on the past 12 months and look forward to the 200th anniversary and the founding of the first British settlement on Tristan.

I think a few areas stand out and none more so apt than the achievements of the younger generation this year:

Nathan's win (as well as the other two students) at the Queen's Commonwealth Essay Competition was wonderful. To have three students win from over 13,000 entries is incredible; while exam results at St Mary's improve year on year and Rachel also continues to go from strength to strength at the Silvermine Academy. On the cusp of celebrating the 200th anniversary, it really does show how talented Tristanian students are, and just as importantly it shows that the island is in safe hands for the future.

Several islanders were also recognised with medals for their services to the community and other South Atlantic Islands.

The renewable project was completed in record time and is already showing us the benefits of greener technology. Hopefully we can expand on this in the future and reduce electricity and living costs for all households.

The tank farm was completed, and I would like to thank everyone for helping to finish that project – However I would like to single out Keith and Joe for being team leaders and managing it so well. Without the completion of the farm electrical costs would have risen significantly.

The shop and abattoirs were completed. The Harrods food halls need to take tips from the Island Store now!

The Fishing season around Tristan remains a deep concern though and one that will continue to have an impact on us for several years to come and there are hard questions to face in 2016.

Thanks to the finance department, and all departments - the financial situation is stable, but it is still very much on a knife edge and we cannot be complacent. Once again recent issues have highlighted the fragility of the economy and we must look to diversifying cash flows.The Exploratory White Fish licensing is one such way and we are already benefiting from this initiative.

The Harbour and Hospital projects were finally approved. This is a huge step forward.

So 2016 and the 200th Anniversary is almost upon us.

There will be several events over 2016 and with any luck we can welcome everyone ashore from the RMS, cruise ships and Agulhas to mark this momentous occasion. It will be wonderful to see many familiar faces, but also a poignant moment when the RMS arrives, knowing this really will be the final sailing. I know the whole island will be sad to wave goodbye for the last time.

While it may be the 200th Anniversary the island will not stand still - We should see the deepening of the harbour, the start of the healthcare centre, an island wide clean up, new doctors accommodation, improved roads, new teachers, nurses and further ideas from the RIBA competition to reduce costs and ensure the island can continue for many future generations.

Owing to the continuing financial issues around the world I was concerned that there would be little to celebrate in 2016, but as you can see the island has secured key infrastructure projects, future funding, and resources for Tristan. 2016 should be the start of a new push in updating a range of services for years to come.

The community on Tristan da Cunha has survived for 200 years, in difficult conditions – from volcanic eruptions, fires, storms, shipwrecks, fishing concerns and changing population and no doubt there will be many more challenges to face.

But for now it’s time to honour and celebrate the remotest inhabited island in the world. Congratulations – here’s to another 200 years!

Once again I would like to thank everyone for your generosity and support this year, it is staggering how charitable everyone is.

I just want to pay tribute to the Chief Islander, Acting Chief Islander and Island Council. This will be their final Old Year's Night before a new Council is sworn in. As everyone knows these are voluntary roles, yet deal with important issues and often have to take difficult decisions when hard choices had to be made. Since I have been here there have been 28 meetings of the Island Council, involving well over 100 hours of debate. To put that into perspective, it’s over 4 solid days spent sitting in the council chamber discussing Tristan. The Council have been an invaluable source of advice since I arrived and continue to be so - and I hope a few may consider returning for the next three years. Thank you.

I also want to thank all Heads of Department, their teams, as well as the factory workers and fishermen. With a community such as Tristan – it’s always a group effort and everyone contributes to the well-being of the island and community.

I would like to thank everyone who has contributed to the Old Year's Night reception including Beverley Repetto, Desi, Anita, Cynthia, Geraldine, Janet, Jackie, Rhoda, Sharon, Lorraine, Margaret Repetto, Jane, Pat, Judy, Dilys, Vanessa, Francesca, Beverley Swain, Natasha, Carlene, Paula, Dawn, Sheila, Lynette, Janine, Natalie, Kelly and Linda - Without all these ladies this evening would not have happened. I would also like to thank Chris Standing and Martin King for lighting the fireworks. So thank you.

And last but not least, Hasene and I would like to wish everyone a fun Old Year's Night, and we hope everyone has many more on Tristan da Cunha!

More photos at the Residency Reception
More high jinks at the Residency Reception
At the Chief Islander's Reception
Gathering at midnight to ring in the new year and say goodbye to the old
We will add to this page as other photos and reports come in - thanks to Dawn for getting up early and taking the trouble to send this first report and great photos on New Year's Day morning - received in UK by 9.45 am - Happy New Year to all our readers.