In the Pacific, a burning flame in the dark symbolizes a way forward, where it reveals a path and guides its followers by the light. From time,each island has been known for preserving their prestige culture and traditions, keeping it alive after many years. In the end, the Pacific needs a revolution, one that shines light on the value of traditional diets and inspires individuals and households to take pride in their cultural foods. Over the last 50 years, there has been a significant shift in diet within many Pacific islands. Colonialism, Globalisation and
Urbanisation have all contributed to the increased availability of imported food, to a point where they are often considered as national dishes.
Concurrently, Vanuatu has a high number of recorded cases of Non Communicable Diseases (NCDs). Other countries in the Pacific have also raised red flags on this rising ailment. The Pacific Island Food Revolution provides a Pacific solution to this Pacific problem. And this Revolution begins on the plate. The Pacific Island Food Revolution provides a Pacific solution to this Pacific problem. And this Revolution begins on the plate. The Pacific Island Food Revolution provides a Pacific solution to this Pacific problem. And this Revolution begins on the plate.
Pacific Island Food Revolution is a social movement using the power of reality TV, radio and social media to change people’s eating behaviour. The show was developed and hosted by renowned celebrity chef, UNDP Pacific Office Advocate for Food, Sustainable Development and Wellbeing and passionate Pacific personality, Robert Oliver. The show is jointly funded by the Governments of Australia and New Zealand The show covers four countries – Tonga, Fiji, Vanuatu and Samoa. The series saw 12 teams of two, three each from all the participating countries compete against each other. The Revolution will activate local cuisine knowledge and turn a mirror on the Pacific island itself which reveals that eating fresh, local, indigenous food is the answer to good health.
The reality TV programme is like My Kitchen Rules but kinder and is filled with Pacific heritage and humour. The inaugural season brought together influential Pacific leaders, foodies and nutritional experts as special guests, cohosts and judges. The challenges in the TV competition will look to provide solutions that people have identified as barriers to healthy eating such as convenience, taste and affordability.
The Pacific Island Food Revolution was launched in Fiji in March 2019. It was broadcast across the Pacific Islands through TVNZ
1, which is the first national television operated by the state owned broadcaster Television New Zealand. The goal of the Revolution is for Pacific islanders to make healthier food choices leading to healthier food diets and improved wellbeing. In order to support islanders in revolutionising their diets, shifting away from imported food and returning to their traditional diet of local superfoods.
Using an evidence-based approach, the Revolution have developed culturally relevant, strengths-based communication for development program that uses a range of media including reality TV, social and traditional media alongside strategic and community partnerships. Through this, they aim to disrupt the status quo and catalyse the role of local food in not only improving health and wellbeing but also contributing to economic development, tourism, gender and agribusiness. The movement is contributing to this vision with an innovative communication for development program, that aims to see Pacific Islanders routinely choosing healthy, local and sustainable food by 2030.
The Revolution also intends to promote local cuisines as tourist attraction. Promoting a destination’s food is link to environment, farmers, markets, restaurants and customers.World renowned chef Robert Oliver said, “the South Pacific is in a crisis.” “When I first came to Vanuatu I felt like it’s God’s place.“Vanuatu is a Garden of Eden.“Many people do not see cuisine as whole system. It connects with agriculture sector, tourism and health in the sense that it will stimulate demand for nutritious food. “Local cuisine requires agriculture.“The reality show will return pride to the healthy food that makes up the traditional diet of the Pacific.”
In the end of Season One of the Pacific Island Food Revolution competition show, the Island boys Knox and Leo have been crowned the first Pacific Island Food Revolution champions after an epic feast challenge in Fiji. The island boys received an all expenses paid trip to Hong Kong and a gift pack each from Pure Fiji, Pearls from J Hunter Pearls. Knox and Leo were both overwhelmed and thrilled at winning the first season of the Pacific Island Food Revolution. Votausi Mckenzie who is featured in the reality show as the ‘Queen of Vanuatu Cuisine’ has a passion for keeping Vanuatu culture and cuisine alive for future generations.
The Vanuatu co-host Mckenzie said she was “proud tumas” of the Island Boys. “You’ve not only brought Vanuatu but the islands from north to south and have taken our traditional cuisines into the future. Revolution creator Chef Oliver said it was a near impossible choice,“in the end we had to go back to our original intention of activating indigenous knowledge for future generations.
“The great treasures of Vanuatu have now been revealed to the
world – thoughtfully, creatively and perfectly – and all on a plate.”