The Heart of the Coral Triangle

About Raja Ampat

Home to the world's richest marine biodiversity and a site of human struggle.

Raja Ampat is an archipelago in West Papua comprising over 1500 islands. The islands of Raja Ampat are a natural phenomenon with enormous biological diversity and natural resources.

The seas around Raja Ampat harbour some of the most pristine reefs in the world, known as the Coral Triangle. This is home to the richest coral reef ecosystem and the highest recorded diversity of marine life in the world.

With logging, mining and illegal fishing and now a booming tourist industry the traditional cultures and livelihoods of people on the islands are under increasing pressure. Communities are confronting issues around their changing environment and the impact of cultural identity and traditional livelihoods.

In addition to these contemporary struggles, West Papua has been under Indonesian occupation since 1960. Since then, many West Papuans have been seeking a referendum on independence - 'Merdeka' - but the Indonesian government rejects the idea. Since the struggle began, thousands have been killed and imprisoned. Whilst in the 60s indigenous Papuans were the majority, nowadays they are outnumbered by migrants from various parts of Indonesia, creating continuous social political tensions.

The stories featured here are of everyday life and when set against the backdrop of West Papua's struggles, the stories are intended to raise awareness of the fragile social and environmental state and to shine a light on those who are simply caring for and creating community.

Filmmaker in residence Enrico (Rico) Aditjondro has a long lasting connection to West Papua and the Big Stories project was the culmination of years of work as an activist and filmmaker. Rico worked with Papuan filmmakers Menas Membrasar and Ina Mayor as local content producers. Menas and Ina produced stories about inspiring teachers, traditional craftsmen and environmental workers. Big Stories has also supported Ina, Menas and other West Papuan creatives including FX Making to ensure that the legacy of the Big Stories project continues by facilitating them to create future projects and a filmmaking collective. The Big Stories Raja Ampat project was also supported by artist Max Binur (Belantara Papua), Nabilah Syechbubakar (Jakarta State University) and Adithio Noviello (photographer).

Filmmaker in Residence



Waisai, Waigeo Island (capital of Raja Ampat)


Raja Ampat Islands



Big Stories wishes to advise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander visitors that this website may contain images or names of deceased people.