Saturday, December 21, 2013

Huahine French Polynesia (The Rebel Island)

It's been a terribly long time since my last post. In my defense, I made an 8x12 ft painting, gave 2 artist talks, bought a house, and moved my studio to said house. But I am still going to post about each island and throw in a transcript of my talk about the French Polynesia as a reference. 

When I came to Huahine, I instantly loved the people and the way of life there much more then the previous island. It's not really a tourist island but it has the most archaeological sites and the people are very proud of their heritage as well as being the one island that never willingly became a French Colony. 

This was also the island where I was able to establish a contact person Dorthy Lubin-Levy who runs the beautiful Fare-Pote'e. She helped me with information, finding a great place to stay, and introduced me to some wonderful people.

This is at the Marae Paepae that was built in the hills so the people could be more protected from the colonists. 

I found the Marae Tefano to be really magical with the huge tree that is growing in the Marae. It is also hidden in the thick jungle hill of Mata'ire'a away from the colonists. I was lucky enough to have met a great American painter Melanie Shook Dupre and her Tahitian partner Cesar Delord who live on the island and he was kind enough to take me around the island and show me his favorite places. 

The Fare-Pote'e was really great to see. It is built in the traditional way with artifacts and Maeva people who weave and talk about their traditions. It was amazing how cool it felt inside.

This are all Maraes around the Fare-Pote'e. I visited several times to get different lighting. 

watermelon fields. 

These lava slabs are found at the outside edge of the islands. Huahine is unique because part of the coral ring is still attached to the main island so I was able to bike to the beach and see the slabs that they would stand up to make the Marae. 

Marae Manunu overlooks the beach. 

 Because of the small bit of land that is still attached to the outer ring, there is a long narrow bay that looks like a lake where the people still use the fish traps of their ancestors. 

These traps are stone mazes that the fish swim into but can't get out. 

The best snorkeling on the island was at an abandoned hotel. I was able to get in a few photos before a man started waving his machete around and yelling at me.

By a stroke of luck, I happened to be visiting during the presidential elections. They held the first round while I was on Huahine. It is great how they decorate everything with flowers, have music, and lots of food for the occasion.