Gardening the Tahitian way.

Papeete, on the island of Tahiti, is the small capital city of French Polynesia.

Five years ago when we first arrived in Tahiti on board our yacht Shiraz, our first port of call was to the Papeete harbour. We took one look at the rickety pontoons, noted the road noise, general scruffiness and lack of greenery and moved on. We sailed out of town to the Marina Taina.

Since then the Papeete seafront named “Boulevard Pomare” has under gone a transformation.

The smart Papeete marina with a landscaped promenade was built three years ago.

However, the shopping area across the road from the marina was still a dusty, noisy and unpleasant place to be. This was mainly due to the heavy volume of traffic using the Boulevard Pomare, the main road into Papeete.
The inside lane was used for busses, taxis and as a general drop off area for cars.

In January 2018 a long stretch of the bus lane was fenced off. Then the diggers and construction workers arrived and started to rip up the road.

Slowly areas were developed into an urban garden.

Palm trees were erected and held in place with ropes.

Decorative paving was laid down.

Thatched rest huts were built.

Areas were landscaped using plants rocks and wood features.

The construction work continues but a large stretch of the walkway was unveiled at the weekend, eight months from the start.

It might not have reduced the traffic flow but I think creating this garden boulevard has made a huge improvement. It’s attractive, green and absorbs much of the traffic noise.

Many more projects are proposed at the port and Marina area. I look forward to seeing them materialise.

Heiva fever

We’ve just had the Heiva – Tahiti 2018 competition. The highlight of the year as far as Polynesian dancing goes.

The competition was held in the Place To’ata in Papeete, Tahiti.

Hundreds of people were involved. Groups from around French Polynesia had been training to perfect their dance movements for months.

Rehearsal time in the Place To’ata

It was not just the dancing that was awesome.

The music, choreography and the costume designs were wonderful too.

So many hours had been dedicated by each team member and their families, to produce a mesmerising and enthralling spectacle.

Competition was fierce, I would hate to have been one of the judges.

The heats were held on eight separate evenings over several weeks. Each event started in the dark at 6pm and finished at 11pm.

I went to two of the evening events, the latter being the lauréats or first prize winners.

Heiva is for the Polynesian people but tourists are welcomed . Tourists will always be the quiet observers and should feel honoured, to embrace the flamboyant fever of Heiva.

Traditional power sports. Javelin throwing. Tahiti.

On the 13th July we went to Watch another Heiva Tu’aro Maohi :ancestral sports event. The competitions involved lifting heavy boulders, javelin throwing and shinning up coconut trees.

The event took place in the grounds of the Museum Of Tahiti and the Islands. As we arrived, some traditional dancing was taking place by the museum building.

We went to watch the Vahines (Ladies ) taking part in the boulder lifting competition. The aim of the event, was for the competitor to lift a boulder onto their shoulders. The boulder size increased in the following rounds, until there was a winner.

We cringed as one lady narrowly missed dropping a boulder on her foot.

The javelin competition was incredible. The javelins were homemade and individually marked.

The competitors had to throw their javelins to impale a coconut that had been hoisted high into the air on a long pole.

So many Tanes (men) were successful. Such was the case, that groans went up as an earlier hit was dislodged by another javelin and then crashed to the ground.

After the allotted time period, the coconut was lowered to the ground and inspected. Amazingly, at least 20 javelins were stuck in the coconut. The winning javelin was presented to the judges.

The participants retrieved their javelins ready for another round.

Later on was the coconut tree climbing race. Unfortunately we left before the event, in order to catch the bus home.

Street Artists in action. Papeete

I love Street art.

My favourite

This one was done last October and is called herehia.

One of the striking features as you walk around the streets of Papeete, are the massive street art murals, painted on the walls of otherwise faded and sometimes decaying buildings.

Last year I found two artists in action and I was fascinated.

It all kicked off with the Ono’u festival in May 2014. Talented Graffiti and Street artists from around the world, were invited to express their unique street art skills around the city of Papeete.

Now in 2018 there are over 30 murals to discover.

There’s a museum of Street Art in Papeete. It hosts the ono’u event.

I love to see the artists in action from start to finish. So this year we sought a few out.

Difficult wall to work on. Christina Angelina in Papeete

This is how it looks now. All the blue washed away.

And the wall next door.

Vinie in Papeete

During the festival, in the Poafi Park, up and coming local street artists were encouraged to display their talents under the guidance of the experts.

Recently I followed the progress of two local artists in action.

They took four days to produce a bright mural depicting the roots of Tahitian life.

I hope they felt proud to sign their names. I thought it was stunning.

I look forward to seeing many more street artists in action. They are awesome.