When the waves surrounded her first house Vasney Aitoaea was frightened. She could hear them crashing around her, and she prayed to God she would survive.

"That first house fell down," she says. "So my husband built a second near the same place. And then the waves came again. And so we built a third, and a fourth, each time further up the beach."
She looks out to the ocean, flat and oily in the grey light.

"The first house was over there, where the sun is on the sea."

She is pointing about 40m behind her, to a rock that will be covered by water at high tide, but which used to be the edge of the island Kwai, a tiny atoll in the Solomon Islands suffering the effects of a warming ocean.
Vasney Aitoaea, 71, from the island of Kwai, has had to move and rebuild her home five times due to the rise in sea level. Photo / Mike Scott
Rates of sea-level rise in the Solomons over the past two decades were among the highest in the world, averaging around 8mm a year between 1993 and 2012 - compared to below 2mm per year in New Zealand.

Some of the rise in that time has been attributed to natural climate variability, such as El Nino, and the increase has now flattened to 3.6mm a year. But already five islands in the Solomons, a country of 600,000 in remote Melanesia, have disappeared into the Pacific. A further six are so severely eroded that families have had to be relocated, including a whole village. Others have seen salt-water intrusion to the point crops will no longer grow, according to an Australian study published last year.

Kwai, a tiny, white-sand atoll off the east coast of the island Malaita, is one of those at risk.
Community leader Francis Robeni says the island has been eroded to the point it is now small and crowded.

"This island before was a fairly beautiful island," he says. "It stretched out further, 20 or 30m out that way. But during the cyclones, the big seas, the currents it started to erode.