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.

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.

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.