For many men and women, doing the job and residing in a different nation can be a complicated and isolating expertise, specially when your lifestyle thrives off a feeling of local community.

Men and women from the Pacific Islands have prolonged been a element of the Riverland group, with a lot of travelling far from property to consider up seasonal get the job done in the South Australian agricultural location.

However, COVID-19 has manufactured that length from house appear even further more, with workers who were being presently in Australia prior to the pandemic hit forced to remain for a longer period than expected.

As nicely, due to the labour shortage across Australia, 800 persons type the Pacific Islands have come to the Riverland and quarantined for two weeks in advance of heading out to do the job on homes across the area.

Pacific Islander man wearing a dark jumper with the number 6 on it and a cap turned backwards
Seasonal employee Sione Mafi has been doing the job in Australia for far more than 18 months thanks to COVID-19 border closures.(

ABC Rural: Jessica Schremmer


Just after in the beginning preparing to remain and perform for one particular harvest year, Tongan Sione Mafi has been in Australia for 18 months, obtaining been locked out of his dwelling nation.

Four women in islander clothes performing a traditional dance, their arms uplifted
Quite a few staff loved performing common dances from their homeland at the Riverland Pasifika Sports Carnival.(

ABC Rural: Jessica Schremmer


“They only have me in the family members to glimpse after them when they get unwell, [so] it is a extremely big challenge for me to be in this article.”

“The Tongan government mentioned they are heading to open up the border possibly future calendar year in March, but we never know.”

Empowering seasonal workers

These types of challenges are why Pacific Island Council of South Australia president Tukini Tavui started out to lookup for ways to hook up Pacific Islanders throughout the location and celebrate their society.

A smiling,  bald Pacific Islander man with a grey beard wearing a green and blue heavily patterned shirt.
President of the Pacific Islands Council of South Australia Tukini Tavui says social gatherings are critical for everyone’s wellbeing.(

ABC Rural: Jessica Schremmer


Mr Tavui and his team landed on an thought for the first Riverland Pasifika Sports Carnival to link seasonal staff across the area.

The celebration was attended by extra than 800 persons in Renmark around the extended weekend.

“This is essential, this is vital and this is who we are as Pacific Islanders,” Mr Tavui claimed.

Men in traditional islander dress performing a dance, with rows of cross-legged men behind them
Each and every country executed cultural dances and tracks ahead of the athletics carnival kicked off.(

ABC Rural: Jessica Schremmer


“It is crucial for them to be equipped to do that in a international state like Australia.

“Also, for on their own, just to be empowered that they can share their tradition and persons can value who they are.”

Men dancing at a sports carnival. This mob, however, are not in traditional dress.
Dancing and singing is an intergral component of cuture for people today of the Pacific Islands.(

ABC Rural:Jessica Schremmer


On the working day, folks from Tonga, Kiribati, Timor Leste, Samoa, Fiji and the Solomon Islands represented their property nations in a range of sporting activities which include volleyball, soccer, contact football and basketball.

The party was also attended by neighborhood local community leaders, together with two Nation Fireplace Services volunteers who had helped practice firefighters in the Pacific Islands.

Group connections

Whilst a day of activity was the intention of the occasion, it was punctuated by a variety of cultural performances by attendees representing their residence nations.

Prepared performances of conventional dances and impromptu cultural tracks have been interspersed all over the working day among the welcoming competitors.

A woman in a pink shirt with white sleeves and a navy blue scarf standing on a soccer pitch
Feagaiga Solo, from Kiribati, states she does not know when she will be equipped to return property.(

ABC Rural: Jessica Schremmer


The party was a welcome a single for Feagaiga Solo, from Kiriabati, who options to stay in Australia for nine months, but is informed journey limits could extend her stay to two many years.

A single mom, Ms Solo has travelled without the need of her 11-thirty day period-old daughter, who is even now at property.

Ms Solo explained it can be been a problem to journey and perform in Australia, but she requires to present for her household and coming together with other Pacific Islanders was significantly wanted.

Five women hold up two East Timorese flags as they cheer their team mates
Fans cheering for their team rivals from East Timor.(

ABC Rural: Jessica Schremmer


“We are so happy to fulfill other Pacific Islanders. We are so satisfied to meet various cultures and unique people today.” Ms Solo stated.

She explained that dancing and singing had been “very critical” to the men and women of Kiribati, who want to continue to keep in touch with their language and lifestyle.

“That’s why the folks come to feel so excited and delighted to be listed here and to characterize the Kiribati people,” Ms Solo said.

Mr Tavui said the event had assisted reconnect many people with their lifestyle when they needed it most.

A large group of Pacific Islander women sit, crossed-legged on the grass watching the competition
Many loved creating new connections with other men and women from the Pacific Islands.(

ABC Rural: Jessica Schremmer


“It is really critical for them to share that lifestyle, the language, due to the fact that represents who they are and their id,” Mr Tavui claimed.

“So, we glimpse at anyone and just by searching at them and the way they sing, perhaps, and the way they are dressed up, we can inform this human being is from there.

“It truly is empowering for them to be able to share who they are and be appreciated in the area community.”