In the early 1960s the British forcibly uprooted them again, ostensibly because of persistent droughts, but the community believe the relocation was related to British nuclear testing in neighbouring atolls.
That time the families were moved more than 3,000km across the Pacific, to Wagina where they began a new life among Melanesian neighbours who looked and spoke, ate and farmed, celebrated and mourned, differently to the ways they had known back home.
Moving was an upheaval some could not face a second time.
“One old man committed suicide before we left our home because he was not happy about leaving things behind like the coconut trees he planted,” says one villager, Tetoaiti Amon.
But the people of Wagina have made their new island their home, building kastom and community links and a new industry: they are now the largest farmers of seaweed – for toothpaste, food, cosmetics and fertiliser – in the Pacific.