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‘Trouble In Paradise’: Exhibition To Shine Spotlight On Climate Change In The Pacific

A new exhibition revealing the impacts of climate change on Pacific communities will be unveiled at the National Library this November.

‘Trouble in Paradise’ will present the sixty winning photographs of a competition run by the UK Government to document the effects of the climate crisis in the Pacific.

Photographers from as young as eight will paint a stark picture of the rising sea levels, tropical cyclones and frequent floods experienced by those living in the South Pacific.

Images of bleached corals in Fiji and houses submerged in water in Samoa will be among those on display, giving visitors a first-hand look at the impacts climate change has on communities and livelihoods.

Visitors will also be able to see illustrated works from the Alexander Turnbull Library rare books collection featuring animal and plant species recorded in the South Pacific.

Trouble in Paradise will open on 4 November 2021 to coincide with COP26, a major UN climate change conference that will be held in Glasgow in November. It is seen by many as the last chance to get the world on track to address the urgent threat of climate change.

British High Commissioner to New Zealand, Laura Clarke, says the exhibition will be confronting, but show why urgent action is needed to tackle climate change and help those on the frontline adapt.

“Pacific Island communities are already facing the impacts of a crisis they did next to nothing to cause, with climate change posing an existential threat to their future,” she says.

“This exhibition will give visitors a first-hand look at what is a very real emergency, and one that is happening right on New Zealand’s doorstep.

“That’s what makes COP26 in Glasgow such a crucial moment, allowing the UK to bring world leaders together to agree urgent action to tackle climate change.

“These talented photographers show us what is at stake for New Zealand’s closest neighbours, and why the time for action is now.”

Te Pouhuaki National Librarian, Rachel Esson says,

“A significant part of the National Library’s role as stewards of Aotearoa’s documentary heritage is to preserve the memory of New Zealand and our place in the Pacific.

“We are proud of the ways in which the Alexander Turnbull Library’s New Zealand and Pacific collections support research in New Zealand and Pacific studies and can shine a light on pressing global issues, such as climate change.”

The photos that will be displayed at the National Library of New Zealand are the winning entries from the UK’s Pacific Climate Photography Competition, which ran in January this year. The competition received more than 300 submissions from people living in the Pacific under the categories of Marine, Land, People, Youth (under 21) and Junior (ages 12 and under).

The images on display are from residents of the Cook Islands, Fiji, Marshall Islands, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu.

The competition was run by the UK as part of its preparations for COP26, the UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow from 31 October to 12 November. Here, the world will come together to agree urgent action to protect the planet for future generations.

Trouble in Paradise is run in partnership with the British High Commission Wellington and the British Council NZ.

It opens Thursday 4 November 2021 and closes 30 April 2022 at the National Library of New Zealand, Molesworth Street, Wellington. Entry is free.

COVID-19 restrictions will apply at all alert levels. Please visit for the latest information to help plan your visit.

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