Local communities across the Pacific Island region have long prepared for and managed extreme weather events. Strategies to cope with extreme weather, particularly cyclones and droughts, have involved using particular planting techniques, initiating innovative water storage practices, and employing food preservation tactics to survive. These local experiences and knowledge have been passed on between generations through stories and sharing practical know-how; however, very little formal documentation has transpired to date. This research attempts to document and synthesis these experiences and knowledge to safeguard them through written accounts but also demonstrate how Pacific communities can provide valuable, appropriate and effective strategies to prepare for and respond to extreme weather events. In-depth interviews (n = 40) were conducted with community members from three villages in Fiji (Naselesele, Qeleni and Yanuca) and three villages in Vanuatu (Piliura, Tassiriki and Lonamilo). While typically missing from community vulnerability and risk assessments in the Pacific, local experiences and knowledge are a core strength in enhancing adaptive capacity and planning community-based activities.