Officially known as the Republic of Kiribati, this island nation is based in the centre of the Pacific Ocean and consists of 33 atolls and reef islands. After gaining independence from the UK in 1979, its capital South Tarawa has become the most populated city on the islands with the natural environment attracting western travellers for years.
With fish their main export, it is hardly surprising that world-class fishing experiences and diving expeditions are available in Kiribati.
Native locals are known as I-Kiribati or ethnically known as Micronesians and predominantly speak the Oceanic language of Gilbertese despite English being the official language of the island. Families in Kiribati continue to live in large groups – made up of extended members of the family – all under one roof and music is a huge part of the culture with Kiribati folk music largely based on chanting and other forms of vocalising, accompanied by body percussion.
This music if commonly performed in formal performances with the addition of the “standing dance” or “hip dance”. The way locals dance within Kiribati is extremely unique when compared to other forms of dance within the Pacific islands and there is great emphasis on outstretching arms and a sudden movement of the head. This is due to dance not only being seen as an act of entertainment but also a method of storytelling.
Along with dance, other forms of sport are also popular on the island. After competing in the Commonwealth Games in 1998, the country went on to compete in the Summer Olympics in 2004 and have since succeeded in sprinting and weightlifting.