TAHEI AUTI IA MOOREA through the eyes of Tumi Brando

Thousands of people from different religions, environmental and cultural organizations, including surfers and paddlers from Moorea and other islands gathered on the beach of Temae, Moorea, last Saturday, November 13th, to unify their « mana » and set an intention of protection all along the seashore. Indeed this white-sand beach which gives access to a translucide turquoise lagoon is one of the most highly visited beach area on Moorea, and belongs now to developers, who already owns the hotel adjoined to Temae.

Their objective here is to extend the structure of the hotel to the whole beach of Temae, where natives usually hang out. Residents of Temae and inhabitants of Moorea have not been consulted on the subject and are now actively fighting against the project, and by extension against big land development projects which may cause dramatic changes on the environment, on the social climate and on land speculation.

However this reunion didn’t bear any overtones of protests, debate or argumentation, but it was in grace and reverence for each other, for our land « fenua », for our ancestors « tupuna », for our dear planet that we were all standing there as one. Each and every person came with two meters ti (cordyline fruticosa) braid that we attached one after another to make one very long cord that had stretched far beyond the length of the beach.

Passionate ambassadors made lively speeches, artists performed contagious dances, musicians played drums and blew the conch shell « pu ». We all tuned in and helped the energy to increase and become more palpable.

The ceremony ended with the planting of a sacred pillar « POU TAPU » on the beach sealing a strong alliance between the human world « te Ao Marama »and the spiritual world « te Po ». The ritual was crowned by a beautiful solar arc we all acknowledged as a sign of support « tapa’o ».

This day marked a turning point on the polynesian social-economical scene. I think it’s a stepping-stone to a better overall understanding of our values on our land.

Photo by: Vaiana Tekakeoteragi