On the trail of the ‘vanishing people’

The Alpha Odyssey


Long ago, in the dreamtime, before the land and people, there was only the vast blue of the sea and a huge snake, the rainbow serpent. One day, the rainbow serpent passed through the water laying her eggs as she went, which created the islands.

The islands were rich with seafood: turtles, shellfish, reef fish, and dugongs, and offered good protection, shelter and freshwater to the first people to inhabit the area – the Ngaro people. They were a seafaring tribe that lived among the islands for more than 9000 years, travelling aboutin paperbark canoes. As the sea levels rose and the islands and Great Barrier Reef became further away from the mainland, they continued to venture across the sea. The word Ngaro means miss, can’t see or vanishing in Maori and Tahitian, and while they are Polynesian languages, it is possible it was similar…

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