About Stella Chiu-Freund

Stella was born in Manila, Philippines in 1965. She studied anthropology but ended up in advertising, producing radio and TV commercials for 7 years. After quitting advertising, she ventured into the freelance world in Manila producing video documentaries for a publishing house, government agencies, non govenmental organisations, and the academe. She moved on to producing books and had a stint at working with foreign production companies visiting Manila. Stella, now based in Cairns, produces photo stories with her husband Jürgen Freund.
  • The traditional Fijian communal dance is called a 'meke' combines dancing, singing, chanting, clapping and drum beating.

Village Life in Kavewa Island

4 – 6 April 2013

We departed Mali Island soon after our last amazing crab lunch to make it to Kavewa Island with the incoming tide, so we could dock right in front of the village beach. When we reached Kavewa by mid afternoon, a welcome meke started as we reached the beach (which we presumptuously thought was […]

  • Coral Reef in the Great Sea Reefs with diver silhouetted against a coral cave.

Mali Island – Diving, Spearfishing and Sea Snakes

2 – 3 April 2013

We had a grand opportunity of checking out the Great Sea Reef underwater while in Mali Island. Our Ligaulevu Village host Leone Vokai operates a brand new dive shop called the Great Sea Reef Divers and he invited us to go diving with him. It had been raining non-stop for like the past […]

  • Mud crabs in the water by the mangrove roots - split level image.

Mali Island – Mangroves and Crabs

30 March – 2 April 2013

When we first received our shot list from Patricia Mallam of WWF South Pacific on what to document in the Great Sea Reef, one line jumped out like it was in ALL CAPS and in BOLD LETTERS. MUD CRABS! 

I simply adore eating mud crabs. To go to a village or villages harvesting […]

  • Tui Mali Ratu Apenisa Bogiso holds up two skeleton bones of a stranded sperm whale.

Days with the Chiefs – Mali Island (Nakawaqa Village, Vorovoro Island and Ligaulevu)

30 March – 2 April 2013

Mali Island

The nearest island to Labasa Town is Mali Island, comprised of 3 villages on the island (Nakawaqa, Ligaulevu & Vesi) and 1 (Matailabasa) on mainland Vanua Levu. We visited 2 villages and experienced real Fijian life head on.

Our first stop was Nakawaqa Village (pronounced Nakawangka) where Macuata Province’s only […]

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Life in Navakasobu Village with Kava, Weaving and Fishing

30 March 2013

Navakasobu Village, Vanua Levu, Fiji

Our wonderful guide and companion Koli Musudroka, WWF Field Officer for Labasa invited us to his village on Black Saturday. He had been telling us about the women in his village weaving a special kind of mat and traditional Fijian wedding costumes made of a reed locally called kuta. So we made a […]

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Happy Holi!

29 March 2013

Korowiri Village, Labasa, Fiji

While the world I’m familiar with conducts solemn Good Friday activities celebrating the passion of Christ in quiet contemplation, another world celebrates a new year the Hindi way, with the festival of colours! Happy Holi!

We had a free day on Good Friday (which in Fiji is called Easter Friday) as the staff of […]

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First Day – Labasa, Fiji’s Northern Division

28 March 2013

Labasa Town, Northern Division, Fiji

The incredibly efficient and fired up WWF South Pacific team in Fiji has given us a packed itinerary for our five weeks stay to document the entire length of the Great Sea Reefs of Fiji. Locally known as Cakaulevu, the Great Sea Reefs is the world’s third longest continuous barrier reef system. It runs […]

  • Gurano Bintang (whale shark) WWF Indonesia's education boat.

Whale Sharks of Cenderawasih Bay, Province of Papua, Indonesia

23 March 2013

I really believe in saying “it’s better late than never”. Well, this post is almost a year late but nonetheless, the experience is still fresh in my mind like it happened yesterday.  As we get ready to leave tomorrow for our next brand new expedition to Fiji, I thought it best to finish 1 […]

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The Coral Triangle Expedition now in YouTube!

Four years ago our expedition started in April 2009. Another year and a half later, we finished an almighty big book called The Coral Triangle. And yet another year after that (as in today), we finally managed to make a short slideshow summary of our fantastic Coral Triangle adventure through this YouTube video.

Original music composed […]

  • Rainbow Bee-eater male (Merops ornatus) busy helping missus dig a nesting hole on the ground before flying back to his perch.

Our Backyard Rainbow Bee-eaters

Sometime mid-October, we received a series of urgent text messages from our Wednesday gardener/landscaper Kelvin: “the rainbow bee-eaters are digging a nesting hole in the sand 5 meters away from your parked Troopy by the empty lot beside the apartment!” he wrote. Kelvin explained where the hole was and to make it fool-proof to find, […]