Issue addressed: Although it is well known that there is a very high prevalence of type 2 diabetes in the Torres Strait Islands and Northern Peninsula Area (NPA), little has been published on the personal perspectives and situations that the people with diabetes face in daily life, which includes managing their disease. This study provides a baseline of qualitative information so that supportive action from health services and communities can be better tailored to help people meet their needs for self management. Methods: In-depth interviews and focus groups were conducted involving a total of 26 men and 41 women living with diabetes in eight communities of the Torres Strait and Northern Peninsula Area. The data are presented as case studies and thematic analysis illustrating a range of perspectives and experiences in coming to terms with the disease and in efforts to make lifestyle change, specifically related to eating well and moving more. Results: Broad recommendations are provided on ways to better support people with diabetes that are based on both the data collected and the experience of the Indigenous researchers as health workers and community members.