Established in 2003 as a small community project, Blackbird was founded on the single objective to reunite families of the descendants of those that were sent abroad during the Blackbirding era, primarily to Australia but also Fiji, Peru and Samoa with their families in the South Pacific in the late 1800’s to the early 1900’s.
Between 1863 and 1904, more than 62 000 Islanders were brought to Queensland and Fiji, mainly from Vanuatu, the Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea, to provide cheap labour for the burgeoning sugar, cotton and pearling industry. A small number of labourers came from other South Pacific Islands including Kirribati, Tuvalu and Samoa. Peru also conducted a series of devastating slave raids which significantly depopulated Easter Island, Cook Islands, Niue, Tuvalu, Samoa and the Maquesas in just two years in 1862 and 1863.
Today, in many villages throughout the Pacific, there are individuals still alive today that have many questions as to what happed to their grandparents, great-grandparents, uncles and aunties. Did they make the journey? Did they have children and granchildren? What happened to them?
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