Nias Information

Today a lot of information about Nias is available online. Below is list of  Nias related films and music as well as links to websites  and useful Nias related downloads.


info_museum_pusaka-nias_12Visit Nias Island: sharing the wonders of Nias Island with the world. This English language website has all the information needed by anyone planning a trip to Nias such as detailed information about how to get to the island and where to stay. It also outlines suggestions for things to do and provides a comprehensive overview of the history and culture of Nias Island. This website is managed by the Nias Heritage Foundation

info_museum_pusaka-nias_13North Nias Tourism: English language tourism information about  North Nias Regency, including information about heritage sites in the north of Nias.

info_museum_pusaka_nias-14Sorake Beach: tourist information focusing on the south and the area around Lagundri Bay, as well as investment opportunities on Nias.

museum_lain_nias_tropenmuseum2Tropenmuseum: searchable online collection database with many interesting Nias related objects, documents and photographs. Available online Here:

Films about Nias

Moeder Dao, de schilpadgelijkende (1995 NTR) Directed by Vincent Monnikendam


Mother Dao the turtlelike has been screened at forty-eight international film festivals and has received eighteen awards and prizes, among them five Golden Awards. The film was proclaimed the best Dutch film of 1995. This film is a compilation of clips shot by Dutch cameramen in their former colony of Indonesia. The original footage had no soundtrack, but the filmmaker has added natural sounds from Indonesia and indigenous music. The film's title refers to a mythical story that, according to the inhabitants  of Nias, explains the origin of creation.


The Golden Pig (1996 SBS) by  Joel Peterson


One hour long Australian documentary about the impacts of surf culture and tourism on the island of Nias. The waves at Lagundri Bay on Nias are what dreams are made of. The Golden Pig highlights incredible early footage from surf explorer Kevin Peterson along with "first contact" interviews with locals of Nias. The current state of Nias (in the mid 90’s), surfer paradise or culture destroyed by surfing, remains debated. The film highlights the profound influence that surfing has had on the local community.

Oinfo_museum_pusaka-nias_4no Niha. Traditional Culture in Contemporary Indonesia (1998) Directed by Henry Twinch

Ono Niha is a short documentary based on research by anthropologist Edward Peake. It describes the work of traditional healers on the island of Nias and highlights the difficulties they were facing as a result of the Suharto government’s suppression of traditional culture. This film won the Prix de “l’Edition” at the Bruxelles film festival, and was commended at the Granada film festival.

info_museum_pusaka-nias_5Architektur und Kultur in Nordsumatra und Nias (2005 IVA)

Documentary about Architecture and Culture in North Sumatra and Nias.

By Ulrike Herbig - in cooperation with the Institute for Comparative Research in Architecture University of Technology, Wien.

Mereka Yang Siaga (The Prepared Ones) (2007 UNSESCO) Directed by Lianto Luseono


Short documentary about Community-Based Disaster Risk Reduction Efforts on Nias Island, which experienced a major earthquake of magnitude 8.7 on March 28, 2005. This film retraces the remarkable journey of Nurhayat Fau, a 63-year-old woman who is known by the community as Ina Tulo, in raising community disaster preparedness and awareness in Lagundri Village, in South Nias. Indonesian with English sub-titles.

Link to watch video Here.

Nias - Point of Change (2015) by Rebecca Coley


Short documentary about Nias born surf champion Bonne Gea who broke social and cultural taboos to become one of the first girls to surf on Nias. She worked tirelessly to buy her first surfboard and took huge risk by moving to Bali so she could pursue her dream. She is now five times Indonesian Women’s Surfing Champion and twice Asian Women’s Surfing Champion.

Nias Music

info_museum_pusaka-nias_8Sumatra d'hier et d'aujourd'hui – Claude Jannel (Musik dari Sumatera termasuk Nias)

1980 Le Monde en Musique

info_museum_pusaka-nias_9Music of Indonesia, Vol. 4: Music of Nias and North Sumatra

1992 Smithsonian Folkways Recordings

Available online Here

info_museum_pusaka-nias_10Nias: Epic, songs and instrumental music

Available online Here

1995 PAN Records

info_museum_pusaka-nias_11Musik Tradisional Nias Hoho Hilinawalö Fau

Museum Pusaka Nias, 2007


A number of Nias related books, articles, brochures and maps can be downloaded as PDFs:


info_museum_pusaka_nias_15Map of Nias Island: OCHA 2005. Download

Cultural tourism map of Nias (English). UNESCO Jakarta. Download

Map of Telo Islands, South Nias: Scale 1: 250.000. Download


Culture - Academic articles & book chapters

literatur_museum_pusaka_nias_19b150 years of Ethnological interpretation and misinterpretation, the example of Nias Island. By Johannes Hämmerle. Academic article 2013 (English). Download

Land and People of Nias and the Batu Islands. Book chapter from Cross & Adu by Hummel & Telaumbanua 2007 (English). Download

The Peopling of Nias, from the Perspective of Oral Literature and Molecular Genetic Data. Article by Ingo Kennerknecht et al 2012 (English). Download

Dual Faces; architecture of Nias. Academic article. Winanto 2013 (English). Download

Megalithic Traditions in Nias Islands. Koestoro & Wiradnyana UNESCO Jakarta (English). Download

Tradition, Christianity and the State in understanding of sickness and healing in South Nias, Indonesia. Phd Thesis by Edward Peake 2000 (English). Download

A song for Lowalangi: The interculturation of Catholic Mission and Nias Traditonal Art with special respect to Music. Phd Thesis by Thomas Markus Manhart 2004 (English). Download

Makna Megalitik: Kontekstualisasi dalam Sejarah Budaya Börönadu By J. A. Sonjaya Arkeologi Fakultas Ilmu Budaya UGM (Indonesian). Download

Tradisi Megalitik di Pulau Nias. Koestoro & Wiradnyana UNESCO Jakarta (Indonesian). Download

Articles by Prof. Alain Viaro and Arlette Ziegler:

Siedlungen in Mittelnias : Verschlossene Welten in den Hügeln, book chapter (Alain Viaro and Arlete Ziegler. Wien: IVA-ICRA Verlag. 2010, p. 19-32 (German). Download

Nias... une aventure de trente ans. Alain Viaro & Arlette Ziegler. Article Arts et cultures. 2009, p. 162-184 (French). Download

VIARO, Mario Alain. Ceremonial Sabres of Nias Headhunters in Indonesia. Arts et cultures, 2001, vol. 3, p. 150-171 (English). Download

VIARO, Mario Alain. Nias : une île de pierres et de fêtes. In: Sculptures. Paris : Réunion des Musées nationaux, 2000. p. 225-230 (French). Download

VIARO, Mario Alain, ZIEGLER, Arlette. Stones of power, Statuary and Megalithism in Nias. In: Messages in Stone. Milano : Skira, 1998. p. 35-78 (English). Download

VIARO, Mario Alain. Nias Island. In: Encyclopedia of vernacular architecture of the world. Cambridge : University Press, 1997. p. 119-122 (English). Download

VIARO, Mario Alain. Architectures of Indonesia: Nias Island. Spazio e Società, 1992, vol. 57, p. 110-121 (English). Download

VIARO, Mario Alain. The traditional architecture of Nias. In: Nias, Tribal Treasures, cosmic reflections in stone, wood and gold. Delft : 1990. p. 45-78 (English). Download

VIARO, Mario Alain. Nias : habitat et mégalithisme. Archipel, 1984, vol. 27, p. 109-148 (French). Download

VIARO, Mario Alain. Urbanisme et architecture traditionnels du sud de l'île de Nias. Paris : UNESCO, 1980, 106 p (French). Download



info_museum_pusaka_nias_16Cultural Tourism for sustainable development in Nias Island, Indonesia. Broshure, UNESCO Jakarta (English). Download

Ekowisata: Panduan Dasar Pelaksanaan. UNSESCO Jakarta 2009 (Indonesian). Download


Earthquake, Disaster Prevention and Rehabilitation


In December 2004 and March 2005, Nias Island was hit by a tsunami and strong earthquake with catastrophic consequences for the island. NGOs, International Organisations and government departments intervened from 2005 to 2011 to rebuild the infrastructure of the island. There are many articles and reports about the disasters and various aspects of the rehabilitation process:

The 8.7 Nias earthquake of March 28, 2005. Report Aydan et al. Japan Society of Civil Engineers 2005 (English). Available online Here.

Uplift and Damage from the 8.7 Nias Earthquake of 28 March 2005. Beetham & Sinclair 2008 (English). Available online Here.

Nias Reconstruction in the Respect of the Tradition . Alain Viaro Book chapter Traditional Architecture and Art on Nias, Indonesia. Wien : IVA-ICRA, 2009. p. 140-149 (English). Available online Here.

Community Housing in Post Disaster Area on Nias islands, Indonesia. Article by H. Lang, BRR NAD Nias (English). Available online Here.

Settlements and Housing on Nias Island: adaptation and development. Article by P Gruber & U Herbig. Institute for Comparative Research in Architecture, Wien (English). Available online Here.

Handbook on Good Building design and Construction: Aceh and Nias Island. Book UNDP 2007 (English). Available online Here.

Rebuilding lives and homes in Aceh and Nias Indonesia. Book Edited by Florian Steinberg and Pieter Smidt. 2010 Asian Development Bank (English). Available online Here.

Mengelola Sumber Daya untuk Membangun Kembali dan Mewujudkan Masa Depan yang Lebih Baik untuk Nias  – Worldbank 2007 (Indonesian). Available online Here


Kepulauan Nias

Batu Islands (Tellos) Located between the islands of Nias and the Mentawai's. Tellos is part of South Nias.

Pulau Tello

Province: North Sumatra
Area: 5.121 Km²
Population: (2014): 788,132
Population density:
147.8 /km2
Gunungsitoli, Teluk Dalam
Regencies (districts): 5 Regencies 1 Municipality
Religion: Protestant (85%), Catholic (7%), Muslim (7%).
Economy: Agriculture, Fishery
Produce: Rubber, Copra, Clove, Cocoa



Inaugurated: October 2008
Area: 230 km²
Population (2010): 125,556
Population density:
540 / km²
Seat of local Govt:
Sub-districts: 6


West Nias Regency


Inaugurated: May 2009
Area: 544 km²
Population (2010): 81,807
Population density:
150 / km²
Seat of local Govt:
Sub-district: 8


NIAS Regency


Inaugurated: Mei 2009
Area: 980 km²
Population (2010): 132,000
Population density:
134 / km²
Seat of local Govt:
Sub-district: 9


North Nias Regency


Inaugurated: 26 May 2009
Area: 1.501 km²
Population (2010): 127,530.
Population density:
85 / km²
Seat of local Govt:
Sub-districts: 11


South Nias Regency

Kabupaten Nias Selatan

Includes Batu Islands (Tellos)

Pulau Tello 2

Inaugurated: 28 Juli 2003
Area: 1.626 km²
Population (2010): 289.876
Population density:
180 / km²
Seat of local Govt:
Teluk Dalam
Teluk Dalam
Sub-districts: 18



© Yayasan Pusaka Nias 2017. Designed & Edited by Björn Svensson & Shanti Fowler