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Tahiti’s wild side: More than a honeymoon hotspot

Tahiti’s wild side: More than a honeymoon hotspot

Featured image:https://m.facebook.com/TIB/Athrowback_story_fbi

Tahiti has plenty of action beyond the beach, as Lucy Gillmore discovered.

ft;margin-right:6px;”>By Lucy Gillmore.

                      Hilton resort, Moorea

‘Bora is boring.” With a Gallic shrug, Thibault, the manager of the chic new gourmet restaurant on Moorea, Le Coco’s, dismissed the island that has been enticing honeymooners to its reef-wrapped sands since the first resort was built in 1961.

Bora Bora, a byword for a Garden of Eden tropical paradise, has style in spades, but no substance, apparently. Within its ring of coral reef-fringed resorts time seems to have a dream-like quality as visitors gaze soulfully into each other’s eyes, wander across silken sand, paddle a turquoise sea – and not much else, or at least that was the gist.

Not that I would know. I was bypassing Bora Bora’s romantic torpor for an adventure-packed, culture-laced trip to three other French Polynesian islands: Moorea, Taha’a and that other bucket-list fantasy, Tahiti. French Polynesia’s 118 islands are sprinkled like confetti across an area the size of Europe – 5.5 million square kilometres of ocean – and clustered into five archipelagos: the Society, Tuamotu, Gambier, Marquesas and Austral islands.

Tahiti, Moorea and Taha’a are part of the 14-strong Society archipelago, named by Captain Cook in the 18th century. Now, as then, they tick all the traditional paradise boxes: palm trees, white sand, turquoise water, Finding Nemo on a loop beneath the surface. After crossing half the globe rather more swiftly than Cook, I was greeted at Tahiti airport with a garland of intoxicatingly heady tiare flowers. This is the place that seduced the likes of Paul Gauguin and, more recently, the late Marlon Brando, who bought an atoll, Tetiaroa, after filming Mutiny on the Bounty there in the 1960s. Last year, it opened to guests as The Brando resort.

Tahiti itself, however, is often just the jumping-off point for misty-eyed honeymooners. But, those who bypass it are missing a trick. The rugged, volcanic interior is straight out of Jurassic Park. You can climb to the top of Fautau’a waterfall, cascading 135 metres through a series of basins, or scale Mount Aora’I, a full-day trek around eight hours – or two days if you bed down in the mountain shelter.

I started gently, with a half-day hike through the verdant Orofero Valley. My guide, Herve Maraetaata, was armed with a machete, a bandana on his head, his body covered with intricate tattoos – the story of his life etched across his skin.

Tattoos were banned in 1819, along with dancing, music and the worship of Polynesian gods – those missionaries and settlers were a liberal bunch – however, many of the traditional customs have since been revived.

With his machete, Herve cut walking sticks to help me ford rivers as we tramped and slithered through this isolated valley, the slopes a tangle of thick vegetation, waterfalls rippling through the greenery. Hacking at sugar cane stalks for me to suck, he pointed out coffee bushes, once farmed here, as well as tomatoes, oranges, pineapples and chillis, before digging up a ginger root for me to taste. If you got lost here you could easily survive on fruit – although you might be attacked by wild boar, whose tracks Herve pointed out in the earth.

                           Hiking in the forest

As I scrabbled through the undergrowth he wove tales about his ancestors – the first settlers who arrived here from South-east Asia in large canoes, his grandmother who could diagnose and treat sickness using nature’s pharmacy.

He pointed out the giant roots of a Tree of Life (the banyan tree, or tumu ora in Tahitian) among which mummified bodies were once buried, and the kava plant, the roots of which, when chewed and mixed with saliva, produces a drink with a hallucinogenic effect that was once used in traditional rites. This is a Tahiti, not seen by the cruise ships docking in the capital, Papeete. They come for a whistlestop tour of the island’s colonial heritage and a grass-skirted, cocktail-laced show, ticking off the home of Mutiny on the Bounty author, James Norman Hall, before sailing on.

Hall’s low slung, green wooden house just outside Papeete, is worth a detour, however. Tahiti cast its spell over Hall, who, arriving here in the 1920s to write travel articles, fell in love with, and married a Tahitian woman. They went on to have three children, one of whom was Conrad Hall, the cinematographer who won Oscars for Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, American Beauty and Road to Perdition and was nominated for six more. Both men are buried on the hillside behind the house looking out towards Point Venus and Matavai Bay, where Captain Cook observed the Transit of Venus in 1769 and the Bounty memorial marks the place where Captain Bligh dropped anchor in 1788.

Next stop was Moorea, a wind-whipped catamaran ride from Tahiti. Its jagged, mountainous interior delivers another adventure playground, with thundering waterfalls and cliffs to clamber. The island is less developed than Tahiti and home to just 18,000 people; a single road skirts its coast. I was staying at the Hilton Moorea, a string of thatched over-water bungalows spidering out over the lagoon, blacktip sharks circling each night below the walkways attracted by the lights of the resort. Happily, they skulk back beyond the reef during the day, leaving me to snorkel in the lagoon with a Disney-style array of tropical fish, try stand-up paddle-boarding, and helmet diving – walking along the sea bed among sting rays.

Back up on dry land, I made a beeline for Le Coco’s. The island’s first restaurant when it opened 30 years ago, it is now a local legend. In spring this year, the outpost on Moorea was launched, sleek and stone-clad and dishing up owners’ Thiery and Benedict Sauvage’s take on bistronomie – bistro style but with gastronomic flavours – and overseen by Thibault, the Frenchman with a low opinion of Bora Bora, but a high opinion of vanilla from Taha’a.

He recalled that when working at the Mandarin Oriental in Paris, he was once asked to make a pannacotta. The kitchen had Madagascan, Tahitian and Taha’an vanilla. He inhaled the scent from each before choosing – and using all of – the vanilla from Taha’a. The head chef almost fainted – it is the most expensive in the world, costing around €300 (£220) per kilo.

From Moorea, it’s a quick flight to Raiatea, 210km from Tahiti, and then a short boat trip across to Taha’a or “vanilla island” – a mere three kilometres away and the island with which it shares a lagoon. My base was Le Taha’a resort, on a tiny motu (islet). Arriving as the sun set, I sped towards an angry red sky, Bora Bora looming jagged and black on the horizon.

Le Taha’a is the only five-star resort outside Bora Bora other than The Brando. It’s very different in style, however, from Bora Bora’s honeymoon havens. It’s a wild, rather than polished, Polynesian resort.

I wanted to get a taste of the island’s prized produce and headed off to a vanilla plantation. There are just 6,000 people on Taha’a and 500 vanilla farms. The vanilla here has 14 notes – the strongest aroma is aniseed – because it is allowed to dry naturally for up to two weeks before being spread in the sun for a couple of hours and then in a sauna-style box to sweat. By contrast, vanilla from Madagascar has just nine notes.

The vanilla farm is more of a rustic smallholding, the vanilla laid out to dry on tables in a shed in a clearing surrounded by dense vegetation and other crops such as grapefruit and bananas. Handling the long black pods I could smell the heady sweetness. “It’s the second most expensive spice in the world after saffron,” said my guide as I handed over 3,500 Polynesian Francs (around £20) for a mere 100g. “Put a pod in an airtight container with a little rum or vodka in the bottom” was his parting tip.

Taha’s other claim to fame is black pearls. At the farm I visited, I was given a masterclass in cultured pearls (a small piece of grit or shell is placed in a black lip oyster to form the nucleus, then the oyster secretes nacre on the irritant, creating a lustrous pearl).

Jumping back on the boat, with a bag of vanilla pods and pearls, I motored home to my wild, thatched resort and an afternoon of beachcombing, snorkelling in the tepid turquoise water and lazing beneath a palm tree – anything but boring.

Original story; 

http://www.independent.co.uk/travel/ausandpacific/tahitis-wild-side-more-than-a-honeymoon-hotspot-10478588.html?amp

 
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Posted by on August 18, 2017 in entertainment, pacific islands

 

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“ONO’U TAHITI FESTIVAL GRAFFITI” 

“ONO’U TAHITI FESTIVAL GRAFFITI” 

artwork: http://la1ere.francetvinfo.fr/polynesie/tahiti/

Welcome to the international festival of graffiti ONO’U in Tahiti!

First ever international graffiti event (2014) hosted in Tahiti, the ONO’U festival is created and supported by a young Polynesian company, Tahiti New Generation, specialized in the creation and production of international artistic and cultural events.

Tahiti New Generation

The ONO’U festival is created and supported by a young Polynesian company, Tahiti New Generation, specialized in the creation and production of international artistic and cultural events. Entrance to the festival will offer participants a unique opportunity to enjoy amazing graffiti live paintings by some of today’s major international graffiti writers and Tahitian artists. If Gauguin were alive today, he would surely have been among this group of creative people helping to pave the way for urban contemporary art in beautiful French Polynesia.

More info at source: http://tahitifestivalgraffiti.com/

2017: Ono'u and the street art already at the 
rendezvous

The Tahiti street art museum, created in October 2016, starts 2017 by inviting artists to perform new performances in Tahiti. This space dedicated to contemporary urban art allows to discover various achievements and starts this new year under the sign of street art.

http://la1ere.francetvinfo.fr/polynesie/tahiti/polynesie-francaise/2017-ono-u-street-art-deja-au-rendez-vous-433497.html

 

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Coming Alive!!! The Pacific Islands’ Rock!

Coming Alive!!! The Pacific Islands’ Rock!

Image:  Cook.szigetek.com

The word appears as tiki in New Zealand MāoriCook Islands MāoriTuamotuan, and Marquesan; as tiʻi in Tahitian, and as kiʻi in Hawaiian. The word has not been recorded from the languages of Western Polynesia or in the Rapa Nui language.[8]

                Image: https://mchristiangreen.com/lagniappe/from-the-road/

http://picssr.com/tags/kaiwiula/page5

In Hawaiian traditions the first man was Kumuhonua. He was made by Kāne, or by Kāne, , and Lono. His body was made by mixing red earth with saliva. He was made in the shape of Kāne, who carried the earth from which the man was made from the four corners of the world. A woman was made from one of his ribs[citation needed]Kanaloa was watching when Kāne made the first man, and he too made a man, but could not bring him to life. Kanaloa then said to Kāne, “I will take your man, and he will die.” And so death came upon mankind (Tregear 1891:151).

In Tahiti, Tiʻi was the first man, and was made from red earth. The first woman was Ivi who was made from one of the bones (ivi) of Tiʻi (Tregear 1891:151).

         getty museum image


In the Marquesas Islands, there are various accounts. In one legend Atea and his wife created people. In another tradition Atanua and her father Atea brought forth human beings (Tregear 1891:151).

In the Cook Islands, traditions also vary. At Rarotonga, Tiki is the guardian of the entrance to Avaiki, the underworld. Offerings were made to him as gifts for the departing soul of someone who is dying. At Mangaia, Tiki is a woman, the sister of Veetini, the first person to die a natural death. The entrance to Avaiki (the underworld) is called ‘the chasm of Tiki’ (Tregear 1891:151).


According to Easter Island (Rapa Nui) legend, Hotu Matu’a, the first chief brought along a moʻai (other traditional sources mention two) symbolizing ancestors, which became the model for the large moʻai. Dr. Jo Anne Van Tilburg of the Easter Island Statue Project at UCLA says that the first stone statues originated on Rapa Nui, although oral traditions do not support this and hers is just an opinion. Others contend that the first statues originated in the Marquesas or the Austral Islands.

Moai /ˈm./, or mo‘ai, are monolithichuman figures carved by the Rapa Nui people on Easter Island in eastern Polynesia between the years 1250 and 1500.[1][2] Nearly half are still at Rano Raraku, the main moai quarry, but hundreds were transported from there and set on stone platforms called ahuaround the island’s perimeter. Almost all moai have overly large heads three-eighths the size of the whole statue. The moai are chiefly the living faces (aringa ora) of deified ancestors (aringa ora ata tepuna).[3] The statues still gazed inland across their clan lands when Europeans first visited the island in 1722, but all of them had fallen by the latter part of the 19th century.[4]
The statues were carved by the Polynesian colonizers of the island, mostly between circa 1250 A.D. and 1500 A.D.[1] In addition to representing deceased ancestors, the moai, once they were erected on ahu, may also have been regarded as the embodiment of powerful living or former chiefs and important lineage status symbols.

It is not known exactly which group in the communities were responsible for carving statues. Oral traditions suggest that the moai were either carved by a distinguished class of professional carvers who were comparable in status to high-ranking members of other Polynesian craft guilds, or, alternatively, by members of each clan. The oral histories show that the Rano Rarakuquarry was subdivided into different territories for each clan.

Oral histories recount how various people used divine power to command the statues to walk. The earliest accounts say a king named Tuu Ku Ihu moved them with the help of the god Makemake, while later stories tell of a woman who lived alone on the mountain ordering them about at her will. 

Scholars currently support the theory that the main method was that the moai were “walked” upright (some assume by a rocking process), as laying it prone on a sledge (the method used by the Easter Islanders to move stone in the 1860s) would have required an estimated 1500 people to move the largest moai that had been successfully erected. In 1998, Jo Anne Van Tilburg suggested fewer than half that number could do it by placing the sledge on lubricated rollers. In 1999, she supervised an experiment to move a nine-tonne moai. They attempted to load a replica on a sledge built in the shape of an A frame that was placed on rollers. A total of 60 people pulled on several ropes in two attempts to tow the moai. The first attempt failed when the rollers jammed up. The second attempt succeeded when they embedded tracks in the ground. This was on flat ground and used eucalyptus wood rather than the native palm trees that would have lived on the island.[23]

And in comemoration of Pacfic Island history, cultural restaurants, Tiki bars and their drinks... are another expression of the tradition.

 
 

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“TE VAKA – TAMAHANA” 

Te Vaka is an Oceanic music group that performs original contemporary Pacific music or “South Pacific Fusion”. The group was founded in 1995 by singer and songwriter Opetaia Foa’i in New Zealand.

en.m.wikipedia.org

Albums: NukukeheTutukiAmatagaHaolotoOlatiaHaviliTe VakaKi MuaTe Vaka Beats

 
 

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“Tahiti – Escape to Nature (Teaser)” 

“Tahiti – Escape to Nature (Teaser)” 

image credit:  ​By Hauoli Kapua Kaiulanis

 

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“Tattoos! Taboo? You Choose!”  

“Tattoos! Taboo? You Choose!”  

Should we assume them to be self- proclaimed beauty marks, love markers, fads, expressive works of art, self-persecution,  or, could tattoos be an  inherent cultural practice proclaimed as one’s rights of passage?  (AOC)  AMERICA ON COFFEE 

featured image:  facebook share

History of Polynesian Tattoos|Tribal Tattoo Designs for Men and WomenNearly everyone in ancient Polynesian society was tattooed. The revival of Polynesian lost art: Shortly after the missionaries arrival (1797) the practice was strictly banned, as the Old Testament forbids it. In recent years, however, the art of tattooing has enjoyed a renaissance in the early 1980’s.

https://www.tahititatou.com 

AN OVERALL HISTORY:

 Tattooing has been practiced across the globe since at least Neolithic times, as evidenced by mummified preserved skin, ancient art, and the archaeological record.[1] Both ancient art and archaeological finds of possible tattoo tools suggest tattooing was practiced by the Upper Paleolithic period in Europe. However, direct evidence for tattooing on mummified human skin extends only to the 4th millennium BC. The oldest discovery of tattooed human skin to date is found on the body of Ötzi the Iceman, dating to between 3370 and 3100 BC.[2] Other tattooed mummies have been recovered from at least 49 archaeological sites including locations in Greenland, Alaska, Siberia, Mongolia, western China, Egypt, Sudan, the Philippines, and the Andes.[3] These include Amunet, Priestess of the Goddess Hathor from ancient Egypt (c. 2134–1991 BC), multiple mummies from Siberia including the Pazyryk culture of Russia, and from several cultures throughout pre-ColumbianSouth America.[2]That tattooing was somehow “reintroduced” to the Western world following European voyages to Polynesia is a myth.

[41] Tattooing has been consistently present in Western society from the modern period stretching back to Ancient Greece.[42][43][dubious ] Although Captain James Cook’s voyages to the South Pacific imported the Polynesian word “tatau” (as “tattow”, later changed to “tattoo”), tattooing was not novel at the time. A long history of European tattoo predated these voyages, including among sailors and tradesmen, pilgrims visiting the Holy Land, and on Europeans living among Native Americans.[44][45]The first documented professional tattoo artist in the USA was Martin Hildebrandt, a German immigrant who arrived in Boston, Massachusetts in 1846[citation needed]. Between 1861 and 1865, he tattooed soldiers on both sides in the American Civil War. The first documented professional tattooist (with a permanent studio, working on members of the paying public) in Britain was Sutherland Macdonald in the early 1880s. Tattooing was an expensive and painful process, and by the late 1880s had become a mark of wealth for the crowned heads of Europe.[citation needed]

Since the 1970s, tattoos have become a mainstream part of global and Western fashion, common among both sexes, to all economic classes, and to age groups from the later teen years to middle age. For many young Americans, the tattoo has taken on a decidedly different meaning than for previous generations. The tattoo has “undergone dramatic redefinition” and has shifted from a form of deviance to an acceptable form of expression.[46] In 2010, 25% of Australians under age 30 had tattoos.[47]

Tattoos have experienced a resurgence in popularity in many parts of the world, particularly in Europe, Japan, and North and South America. The growth in tattoo culture has seen an influx of new artists into the industry, many of whom have technical and fine arts training. Coupled with advancements in tattoo pigments and the ongoing refinement of the equipment used for tattooing, this has led to an improvement in the quality of tattoos being produced.[49]

The clientele changed from sailors, bikers, and gang members to the middle and upper class. There was also a shift in iconography from the badge-like images based on repetitive pre-made designs known as flash to customized full-body tattoo influenced by Polynesian and Japanese tattoo art, known as sleeves, which are categorized under the relatively new and popular Avant-garde genre.[53] Tattooers transformed into “Tattoo Artists”: men and women with fine art backgrounds began to enter the profession alongside the older, traditional tattooists.As various kinds of social movements progressed bodily inscription crossed class boundaries, and became common among the general public. Specifically, the tattoo is one access point for revolutionary aesthetics of women. Feminist theory has much to say on the subject. “Bodies of Subversion: A Secret History of Women and Tattoo”, by Margot Mifflin, became the first history of women’s tattoo art when it was released in 1997. In it, she documents women’s involvement in tattooing coinciding to feminist successes, with surges in the 1880s, 1920s, and the 1970s.[56] The earliest appearance of tattoos on women were in the circus in the late 19th century. These “Tattooed Ladies” were covered – with the exception of their faces, hands, necks, and other readily visible areas – with various images inked into their skin. In order to lure the crowd, the earliest ladies, like Betty Broadbent and Nora Hildebrandt told tales of captivity; they usually claimed to have been taken hostage by Native Americans that tattooed them as a form of torture. However, by the late 1920s the sideshow industry was slowing and by the late 1990s the last tattooed lady was out of business.[57] Today, women sometimes use tattoos as forms of bodily reclamations after traumatic experiences like abuse or breast cancer.[56] In 2012, tattooed women outnumbered men for the first time in American history – according to a Harris poll, 23% of women in America had tattoos in that year, compared to 19% of men.[58] In 2013, Miss Kansas, Theresa Vail, became the first Miss America contestant to show off tattoos during the swimsuit competition — the insignia of the U.S. Army Dental Corps on her left shoulder and one of the “Serenity Prayer” along the right side of her torso.[59]

en.m.wikipedia.org

 

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“History of French Polynesia”

“History of French Polynesia”

Image:  www.themilliardaire

French Polynesia is a paradise so beautifully seascaped with an abundance of healing minerals, it has become known as the islands of natural, geothermal spas.
“Volcanic peaks and coral reefs, the heady smell of tropical flowers carried on a soft breeze, island music and dancing into the night, pristine white beaches and warm waters . . .The Caribbean? No, I’m talking about the South Pacific, a place that’s how the Caribbean used to be 20, even 50, years ago before the beaches got crowded and when visitors were rare enough to be treated like VIPs. Tahiti, Bora Bora. The very words conjure jewels of islands scattered through an immense ocean, shimmering turquoise lagoons teeming with iridescent fish and smiling people with a dance that sways like the palm trees. Among the last inhabited places on the planet to be discovered by Europeans they were thought to be an earthly paradise.They still are – and their very remoteness promises to keep them pristine and secluded for years to come.”

http://spawellbeing.com/heaven-on-earth.html

 
 

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