The Destruction of Sacred Banaban Caves

A view inside the caves on Banaba prior to 1931

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With no surface water on the island, these caves played an important role in the survival of the Banabans. Because the caves or bangabangas were considered sacred only females were permitted to enter them. Many of these caves were tragically destroyed by phosphate mining in later years.


Inside a water cave on Banaba

Courtesy SOPAC, Suva, Fiji August 2000


The prized traditional Banaban fishing lures/hooks were made from the stalactites found in the bangabanga's. They were carved from the stalacites and the actual hook was carved from small bones of deceased ancestors (usually the finger bones of ancestors who were expert in fishing), and bound with coconut sinnet entwined to add strength from hair taken from female relatives.  

This was one of the reasons the Banabans reported such success, and contributed to them gaining the title of -  "The Best Fishermen In The Pacific!"


Traditional Banaban fishing hooks - Te Kanati

made by stalacties found in Banaban water caves

'Click here' for more information on Banaban Traditional Fishing




A view of a cross-section of Stalactite from the sacred Banaban caves



   A close up view of the stalactite rock found in the Banaban caves



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