Ioane Teitiota and his wife, Angua Erika, with their three children, the first international Climate Refugees, living in New Zealand. I shot this story for Foreign Policy Magazine in December 2014.
THE TROUBLE BEGAN in 2010, when Teitiota found a lawyer in New Zealand to renew visas for him and his wife. Teitiota understood that the lawyer would take care of it all, so “I left everything to him,” he said. But it wasn’t so simple. The lawyer had follow-up questions on how to proceed, not to mention concerns about payment; however, Teitiota—who was working long hours in the fields—was difficult to reach. Without the cash to cover legal fees, the lawyer stopped working on the Teitiotas’ case and held onto their passports, visas, and other documents. More significantly, the lawyer didn’t tell Teitiota that important deadlines had passed—a reality that came crashing down on Teitiota when he was stopped by a patrol officer for a burned-out tail light in December 2011. Because he had overstayed his visa, a warrant had been issued for his arrest. “He was locked up for a couple of days until they realized he wasn’t going to run away,” said Michael Kidd, his current lawyer.
http://foreignpolicy.com/2015/01/28/the-making-of-a-climate-refugee-kiribati-tarawa-teitiota/ #foreignpolicy #climaterefugee #climatechange #auckland #kiribati #leica #natgeotravel #newzealand #reportagespotlight #documentaryphotography #photooftheday #family