KAVA: The drink of the Gods


It is a great pleasure to circulate the link to this beautifully-produced documentary about South Pacific Kava. Filmed mainly in Vanuatu, Fiji, Samoa and Germany, it was produced at a time when kava exports from Fiji, Samoa, Tonga and Vanuatu to Europe and the US were expanding at an incredibly rapid pace. Income derived from such exports was becoming a really major help to kava-growers in the rural areas of these nations and a real boost to the nations’ economies. It was an ideal product that was really beginning to benefit just about everyone in those parts of the Pacific, and the plant was spreading its wondrous relaxing gifts into the stress-ridden ‘Over-Developed’ world.

By the late 1990s, sales of kava extract tablets had become so big in, for example, Germany, that it was beginning to affect the sales of the more expensive, patented, European and US medicines to combat anxiety, stress and tension, major ‘illnesses’ in those latter areas.
Then, lo and behold, in 2001 the German government announced there might be health concerns with kava and banned its import in 2002.This news shocked and angered Pacific island nations, who have been drinking kava from before any of the nations in Europe were even founded.

Germany finally lifted the ban in June 2014, and apologized, indicating (as everyone in the Pacific knew), that there was not enough reason to ban imports of kava extract. The damage had been done, though, and it will take the Pacific kava-producing nations a long time to catch up on lost potential.

Produced by the IPS (Institute of Pacific Studies) and The Media Centre of the USP (University of the South Pacific, Suva, Fiji). ‘Researched, Photographed and Edited by Thorolf Lipp’.