IN OUR OWN LAND (1999)  
 

In 1995 I began work on a project on the remote Chatham Islands, a small group of islands almost 850 kilometres due east of Christchurch, New Zealand. The islands are home to a community of 700 residents who make their living from farming and fishing; nowadays there is also a growing tourist industry.

When I first arrived on the islands with my camera equipment, I was told I was "a cop until proved otherwise". After a few weeks of trying to engage with the community, I returned to the New Zealand mainland, borrowed a friends darkroom and printed up some of the photos; I then returned to the islands, taped these prints up in the window of the local store. Overnight the local perception of me changed; I was no longer treated with suspicion, but with a quiet, welcoming intrigue. Over the coming months I was given the opportunity to interview and photograph people, and spend time on Pitt Island, a remote community of 50 people that is even further east than Chatham Island.

The Chathams project was reproduced in several major magazines about the world, in part because Chatham and Pitt Islands were to be the first the dawn of the new millennium.