The Solar Nation of Tokelau

Destinations, Mission Earth, Science 45' 2015 HD

The documentary tells the story of three small remote atolls in the middle of the Pacific that overcame their isolation and dependence on diesel generators to become the first 100% solar-powered nation in the world, proving that it is possible to reduce the use of fossil fuels and emission of greenhouse gases to a minimum.

Ironically, however, the one country that sets the example is critically affected by the emissions of the rest of the world. Tokelau belongs to the atolls in the South Pacific whose existence is threatened by climate change and sea level rise. The islanders had to build sea walls to protect their low-lying islands from storm floods.

The film gives a unique insight into the way of life on a small atoll: how the locals catch their fish and cook their food, their culture, religion and political system, their use of the limited space and transport options, and the overall friendly and joyous nature.

Using Google Earth animations and modern drone technology, atolls are shown as they really are: underwater volcanoes, whose crater rim only just sticks out of the ocean. Their only habitable space are small dots of land surrounded by the ocean and circling an inner lagoon, the former crater.

On top of that, the film is a homage to traditional Pacific voyaging and its revival by a fleet of modern replica vakas (Polynesian sailing canoes) that ounce roamed the Pacific and settled most of its islands. Now, the replicas are also designated to replace rusty old ferries as a means of safe and reliable inter-island transport.

Produced by

PACIFICA Productions Ltd


German, English, French


SWR, arte

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