Tahiti, French Polynesia - The Traveller


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Friday, August 1, 2014

Tahiti, French Polynesia

Tahiti Island Formed due to Volcanic Eruptions

Tahiti is the largest island of the 118 islands in the Windward group of French Polynesia and lies in the South Pacific Ocean. Tahiti is in the Society Islands an archipelago including the islands of Raiatea, Bora Bora, Taha’a, Moorea and Huahine. It has a population of around 127,000 inhabitants, 83 percent of which are of Polynesian ancestry. Tahiti legendary name identifies the island and also the group of islands which make up the French Polynesia. It was earlier known as Otaheite and is the cultural, economic and the political centre of French Polynesia. The island was formed due to the volcanic eruptions and is high as well as mountainous surrounded by coral reefs.Tahiti comprises of two volcanic mountain ranges, Tahiti Nui which is the larger part, is in the shape of a turtle and Tahiti Iti, the peninsula. These two islands are connected with the isthmus of Taravao and black beaches.

Capital City Papeete

The capital city Papeete and the administrative centre are situated on the northwest coast and has the only international airport, the Faa’a International Airport which is located around 5 km from the town centre. Formerly a quiet town it now has a busy harbour with cargo freighters, luxury liners, copra ships and ocean going yachts.

Besides this, there are also sidewalk cafes, shell jewellery and handicrafts, shops filled with French fashions together with a wide variety of restaurants catering Asian, French and Tahitian cuisine.

Faa’s which has the international airport is built on the lagoon and apart from the airlines check-in counters, they also have an information centre, a restaurant, a snack bar and vehicle rental offices together with shops. In the vicinity they also have a special Tahitian style house, artisans selling leis and shell necklaces.

Colony of France - 1880

Tahiti was formerly settled by the Polynesians during 300 and 800 CE comprising of about 70 percent of the island’s population together with others comprising of the Europeans, Chinese and of mixed heritage and the island was considered as a colony of France in 1880.

It was only in 1946, that the Tahitians were legally authorised to be French citizens, where French being the official language, the Tahitian language – Reo Maohi was widely spoken.

Towards 1880, it became a part of the Kingdom of Tahiti till its annexation by France. Tahiti together with her islands is very amazing in the whole of South Pacific.

The locals of Tahiti are a very generous, kind and respectable lot, always ready with their random greeting on the street to strangers and passer-by’s alike. They are very and welcoming type of people and their philosophy is applied to their term `aita pea pea’ which means `not to worry’, which is the Tahitian way of life.

Most of the Tahitian kids are also well versed in rap and hiphop, practicing as well as performing in the streets or in public squares and entertaining everyone in this region.

Tahiti is an ideal destination and as one sees the restored Tahitian temples and century’s old stone fish traps, it portrays an ancient culture where their descendants still reside in magnificent dwellings.

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