Katerina Teaiwa: Project Banaba

The untold mining history of Banaba Ocean Island

Project Banaba by Banaban scholar and artist Katerina Teaiwa (Tabiang and Tabwewa) is a traveling multimedia installation that commemorates the history of Banaba, also known as Ocean Island in the Moana Pacific. Banaba Island was destroyed by environmentally devastating phosphate mining during the 20th century, leading to the total relocation of its people in 1945, with the 76th anniversary of their displacement being marked recently on 15 December 2021. 

Project Banaba explores the untold New Zealand phosphate mining history in Banaba Island; and the resilience of the Banaban community in the face of social and political adversity. Alongside Project Banaba, Te Uru presents the special project, Te Kaneati – a community-led exhibition that highlights the experience of Auckland's thriving Banaban community. 

Project Banaba and Te Kaneati are co-curated by Te Uru, Auckland Banaban Christian Fellowship Support Hub and Yuki Kihara in close consultation with Katerina Teaiwa. Te Kaneati is supported by CNZ and Corbans Pacifica Arts Center. 

5 March – 29 May 2022





Photos 1-4, 10-11 by Sam Hartnett
Photos by 5-9 Gui Taccetti


Interview with Katerina Teaiwa

Photo essay on the Banaban diaspora

On phosphate mining on Banaba

Katerina Teaiwa in conversation with Michael Fitzgerald (1mb)