Tagata Pasifika

The Pacific voice on
New Zealand television
since 1987

Tagata Pasifika

The Pacific voice on
New Zealand television
since 1987

Will Smith braves Vanuatu’s Mount Yasur in ‘Welcome to Earth’ series

Will Smith descends into Vanuatu's Mount Yasur

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Alice Lolohea | Reporter/Director/Videographer

His arrival in Vanuatu sparked a Twitter frenzy back in 2019, even spawning a Kava bar named after him — and now we finally know why Hollywood superstar Will Smith was there.

His latest Disney+ series Welcome to Earth is a dazzling exploration of the planet we inhabit, using new technology to explore and experience parts of the Earth we might never see in real life.

“I asked the best modern day explorers — ‘take me to the ends of the earth,'” Smith says.

“And they said, ‘Oh, we can take you further than that.'”

Across oceans, deserts and continents, Smith magically sets his fears aside to descend over 3000 feet to a perfectly dark ocean floor, get up close with dangerous Tiger sharks or abseil into the dark crevices of a cave.

But the risks are rewarding: flashlight fish, UV glowing forest animals, egg-laying turtles en masse and of course, fears conquered, new life perspectives.

Welcome to Earth puts to rest the old adage ‘there’s nothing new under the sun’.

The show’s first episode, The Silent Roar, begins with Smith and explorer/mountaineer Erik Weihenmayer travelling to the base of Mount Yasur. Located on Tanna Island in Vanuatu, it’s one of the most active volcanoes on the earth and is known to emit a unique sound.

Smith explains: “The loudest sound ever recorded was made by a volcano.”

“But the loud sound that this volcano makes is completely silent.”

Together with a volcanologist, Smith and Weihenmayer rappel into the cone of the volcano. The air reverberates and booms as an eruption sends ash and molten lava flying into the air, falling back to earth as hard rock.

The danger is unmistakable.

In recent years three people have died at Mount Yasur, but it’s the White Island eruption which weighs on Smith’s mind as they begin their descent.

“I can’t stop thinking,” says Smith.

“A few days ago without warning, a volcano erupted in New Zealand killing 22 people.”

Despite his apprehension, Smith does live to tell the tale, and continues the series traversing the world in awe.

Delivering jaw-dropping cinematography, terrifying and thrill-seeking adventures and his signature Smith charm and humour, Welcome to Earth is a sorely needed breath of fresh air for those who are ready to shed the remnants of lockdown and set off for bold, new adventures.

Watch the trailer for Welcome to Earth below: 

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