Heiva o te

The Day of Autonomy or locally called ‘Heiva o te’ is an official holiday in French Polynesia, an overseas collective of France. It’s celebrated on the 29th June every year to honour Tahitian and French Polynesian self rule. This year was the 35th anniversary of independence of 1984.
Big celebrations were held all day and evening in Papeete, the capital town of Tahiti.
Many dignitaries gave speeches.
In the afternoon a huge procession involving over 11,500 people representing 150 French Polynesian organisations, paraded down the Pouvanaa’a Oopa Avenue cheerfully waving their banners.

Late afternoon there was a festive programme on the waterfront, in the beautiful gardens of the Paofi Parc. The Parc was packed with people relaxing, picnicking and having fun.

I loved the hats and floral headbands, people had made such an effort on this special occasion.

Children’s play activities.

There were acoustic parties

An open air cartoon film would start when dark at 6pm.

At 8pm there was a fireworks display over the Papeete harbour.

After such a busy programme, I expect there were some very tired families the next day.

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Merry Christmas.

It’s that time of the year again. The Christmas holiday season is in full swing.

I think the shops and market have done well this year.

The military personnel on board “He Ping Fang Zhoo” a Chinese registered hospital ship, enjoyed a few days R&R in Papeete. Talk about “shop till they drop”. As it left the port of Papeete on the morning of the 24th December, I think the ship’s plimsoll line was almost awash due to the weight of Christmas presents.

Prior to their arrival two Navy ships from South Korea had decorated their vessels with lights and bunting, as had a number of cruise ships.

Super yachts arrived and departed all adorned with helicopters.

The Paofai Park decorations looked pretty.

Many holiday events have taken place in the grounds of the park including Children’s activities, Music and train rides.

The park itself looked beautiful with many trees in full bloom.

Elsewhere, people relaxed on the beaches, played boules and enjoyed ice cream.

Tonight is Christmas eve and families will be celebrating with a feast, the European way.

Tomorrow, we will enjoy our Christmas. We hope the weather will allow us to go for a cycle ride and swim. My new electric bike is pretty awesome.

Fortunately, it arrived before Christmas, so I won’t have to worry if Santa gets stuck in a traffic jam.

Traditional Polynesian power sports. Fruit run.

On the 11th June, we went to the first day of the Heiva Tu’aro Maoni = Polynesian power sports of the ancestors. Many Polynesian countries took part.

Rapa Nui entry.

The event took place in the Paofai Gardens in Papeete, Tahiti. The course was set using cones along the footpath route.

The participants had to run two laps of the course carrying fruit tied on to a pole. There were several race categories.

The contraptions weighed 25 kg or 15 kg. Each fruit pole was weighed on scales.

The fruit was adjusted until the correct weight was achieved for each race category.

The Vahine (ladies) event attracted about ten participants each carrying a 15 kg fruit pole.

There were many more Tanes (men) participating in three events.

Sometimes the fruit fell off.

Later, there was a stage performance by some of the other Polynesian countries.

Tradition dance.

Fire juggling , which included a child juggler!

This was just one day of the annual ancestors sports events. More events followed at different locations.

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.

Holiday fun in the Paofai Park

Yesterday was yet another bank holiday in Tahiti and the weather was perfect.

When it comes to organising events, the Tahitians are second to none. Families flocked to the Paofai Park in Papeete for a day of fun packed activities which are all free of charge.

People bought bags of oranges on sale from the Punaauia festival of the orange. Oranges are collected from the Tamanu plateau in a gruelling race.

As the sun was sinking over the horizon, a big screen was inflated and families gathered on the grass to watch a cartoon film.

Stages were set up near the beach, where groups of musicians played music in their own individual style.

And of course we had another glorious sunset to enjoy from the park.