AUSTRAL ISLANDS

FRENCH POLYNESIA

Raivavae, Rurutu, Tubuai, Rimatara and the incredible island of Rapa, the southernmost of the French Polynesia, this is the route taken by The Explorers teams to compile there an inventory of the planet.

Travelogue

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CRAFTS

The art of braiding in the Austral islands

In the Austral islands, women, « moms » braid the pandanus from time immemorial. This art of braiding is passed on from generation to generation.

BIODIVERSITY

Whales

Rurutu is the northernest island of the Australs archipelago. Each year, humpback whales come here to mate and give birth to their babies.

ARCHAEOLOGY

Raivavae’s tikis

Once, in Raivavae, there were a lot of tikis of stone. Some have been brought to Tahiti, causing the death of those who transported them. There is only one tiki with a laughing face remaining in Raivavae, that no one would dare touch.

TRADITION

Raivavae’s pirogue

Pirogue is still the preferred means of transportation of Polynesians. The one of Ravavae has a long nose at the end of a platform where the fisher stands to harpoon fishes.

CULTURE

Raivavae’s fishers

In the Austral Islands, fishing in the lagoon is deeply rooted in the social practice. In Raivavae, Nui Flores and Gaston fish every day in these crystalline waters to feed their families.

TRADITION

Popoï

Popoï is one of the oldest way of cooking taro. Its preparation obeys a strictly defined ritual, that only women can do, in groups.

TRADITION

The fire maker

In Raivavae, Mauna Teipoarii is a fire maker. He lights the fire in the traditional manner, repeating simple gestures that go back to the Polynesian mythology.

BIODIVERSITY

Motu’s pool in Raivavae

Motu Vaiamanu is best known as Raivavae’s pool, or « Motu Pool ». It is considered as one of the most beautiful lagoon in the world. It is a lagoon inside the lagoon.

femme de rimatara

LIFESTYLE

Women of Rimatara

Once a week, these women of Rimatara organise a picnic on one of the loveliest beaches of the island, with seafood and vegetables from their garden.

BIODIVERSITY

Rimatara’s ura

The ura, also called « lori’s Kuhl » is a rare and endemic parrot. About a thousand specimen live in Rimatara, one of the last Polynesian island spared from the black rat, their predator.

CULTURE

The taro cultivation

Taro is a tuber which constitutes basic food of all the Polynesians. Taro plantations are numerous in Rurutu.

BIODIVERSITY

Rurutu’s caves

The island of Rurutu, of volcanic and coral origin is full of caves with stunning calcareous concretions.

TRADITION

The stone lifters

For New year in Rurutu, men and women face for a friendly event : the stone lifting. Maïté and David are the champions of this ancestral tradition.

ARCHAEOLOGY

Rurutu’s maraes

There are some vestige of marae in Rurutu, open-skied temples, once pillars of the social, political and religious functioning of Polynesian society.

TRADITION

Horse racing in Tubuaï

Every Sunday in Tubuaï, on this beach, young people gather for unbridled horse racing along the ocean.

MAKING OF

WITH THE TEAM OF THE EXPLORERS IN THE AUSTRAL ISLANDS