Situées south of Tahiti, Austral Polynesian islands were the last to be accosted by European missionaries in the 18th century. One of them, Rurutu, about 600 kms of the Society Islands, Today the island is the most accessible of the Austral Islands. It remains no less savage and nothing seems to disturb the quiet life and his few daily 2000 people. The 36 km2 island is divided between 3 villages, Moerai, Avera and Auti, each divided by a main road around which life is organized. Stores, school, place of prayer and sea, nothing seems to miss the inhabitants of Rurutu.

This island in the Austral Islands is a typical example of makatea.Indeed, here millions of years, uplift of the crust has brought forth the entire island above the sea, transforming its former fringing reef in coastal cliffs, amounting to 150 meters above the sea level. The steep walls that today surround most of the island once formed the outer slopes of the barrier Coral. Valley along the southern route, is the former lagoon that lay between the island and the reef. The latter represents the current coastline which suddenly plunged into the sea along the southeast coast.

As in all cases of Makatea, Rurutu has numerous limestone caves, breakthroughs cliff. They are the memory of cataclysmic upheaval threw these ancient underwater caves to their current location. In these cavities, erosion has created stone or limestone strange shapes, but also many concretions pending and rising, stalactites and stalagmites. Falling from the ceiling of one of these caves, Teanaeo, a stalactite was once the bell to the village chief who wanted to gather his disciples.

Caves Rurutu each have a story or legend, crossing time, and tell people love or sometimes sing… Hina the cannibal would be at the origin of most of the traditions rooted in the culture of Rurutu : braiding pandanus.The small artisan fare Moerai, women gather daily and song, each competes skill and speed in making baskets, hats and peue. The pandanus is one of the raw materials of the island. It is often found in roadside or in fields more or less maintained. These are the women who cut their long leaves used to make handicrafts. These green leaves of pandanus are sorted and cut to obtain finer fibers. Women weaving pandanus strips then a long rod, then hang them on a tree to dry. It will take about ten days for the pandanus may be braided.

But the’crafts is far from the only tradition of Rurutu. So, on the other side of the island, in the village of Avera, prepares a great feast, May Day, that will last all weekend. For this great annual religious ceremony, Avera people prepare to welcome two other towns. On Saturday morning, large stones are made of Tahitian oven to heat, the grated coconut, pigs fed the whole year will be sacrificed and each brought the many fishing fish. Avera Homes and Gardens are cleaned in detail whereas Moerai, the village is already preparing for the next week because it will turn to host two other common. The picturesque little church is painted entirely Moerai with lime, white paint prepared collectively block-based coral reef collected and burned. And while men give the final brush strokes, women and children were already moving towards Avera, according to their own means of locomotion…

May Day begins with’welcome in the parish house committees, small groups of elected officials in each village and will be decision-makers in the ceremonies of the weekend. Committees find themselves together in prayer and song while the final preparations for the big lunch ends. Pigs and fish wrapped in banana leaves are baked, and women and children put the finishing touches to the decoration of the refectory future. Once the committees have agreed on the course of the weekend, all will meet to eat, and this is a point of honor that makes each person Avera that everyone treats. After feasting, everyone quietly joined his house, and then it is a strange contrast to this village became ghost town overnight. The sun, tired too will leave gently caressed by the sea before finally being overwhelmed and abandon the island to its dark.

However, a person will not benefit from this night to sleep… This is Mama Tetua, single pastry Island, and, at two o'clock in the morning, is busy in the kitchen to prepare sweet and savory small for the next. The day begins Sunday sunrise. The inhabitants of the island are found in the temple to pray and Avera sing. Mama Tetua, without a shadow of a circle joined other. Throughout the Mass, songs succeed. Most are Himene, sung by choirs from different parishes. Each, man and woman, remains very focused on his voice, all under the watchful eye of the deacons of the church. Songs and prayers completed, everyone goes to the refectory to take for the day which will follow. According to custom, are the inhabitants of the town which hosts, who prepared and used the repas.Mais while some eat, some prefer to sing…

On the afternoon of Sunday is the most awaited moment for the most important ceremony in May. Indeed, each donned his Sunday clothes to attend Mass and of course to sing. Throughout the afternoon, large and small will succeed to read from the Bible, and give some money to contribute to the proper functioning of the church. Tickets and envelopes on the table succeed deacons who have methodically collected money. And while some are showing enthusiasm, others seem defeated by sommeil.Les songs, prayers and donations will last all afternoon in the church Avera.

All, however, not attend the ceremony. Some people prefer to spend their weekends taking care of horses, numerous on the island and that Rurutu still use to transport goods or move. Other advantage of the sea or go about agricultural tasks. Large valleys the exceptionally fertile soils allow inhabitants of Rurutu to grow many varieties of fruits and vegetables. Oscar, since the age of 26 years, follows in the footsteps of her parents and grandparents and grows every day of his ancestors huge taro field. While some use long rods taro for shelter from the sun, else, courageously, prepare the fields for seed.

Growing taro application indeed a lot of work. He must first cut the dried leaves of the coconut trees, then back to the taro field. These sheets are deposited on the plowed fields and through a wooden, Oscar digs holes spaced about 50 centimeters, Picnic and taro stems. It will take approximately 8 months before the taro grows and can be consumed. Some farmers, however, Rurutu broke with the traditions, and have been modernized. This is the case of David Poetai, who decided to settle in the south of the island hydroponic plantation. Apart from the extensive resources of its land, Rurutu also has beautiful white sand beaches. The best run east tip, but all around the island there are only very few shallow pools between the shore and the outer reef.

Lagoon Rurutu offers many other opportunities for its inhabitants than delve into its waters blue lumineux.L a tradition perpetuated from father to son, is of course the fishing. It is a valuable contribution to the inhabitants of Rurutu. In this island, fishing ancestral practice with a hook very special and typical Rurutu. With the hook or lure ancestral today, fishermen never go empty handed Rurutu. Tuna or bonito serve the evening meal or the next day while smaller fish mixed with seawater serve as accompaniment to dishes that fishermen principaux.Tandis end of the last fish cleaning, on the other side of the island, what are some goats grazing quietly. Ripened cheese is then wrapped in a few sheets of color, then sold at market Rurutu, or sent to Papeete.

But what goats do not know, is that today is a somewhat particular on the island of Rurutu. Indeed, the village of Avera, this ceremony is Iomarafare, tour of homes. Two representatives from each district met to form the Committee Iomarefare. Followed by the whole village, They visit homes and decide whether or not, they are well maintained. Each home will be the custom in the projection of talc, perfume and. This is also an opportunity to ensure that no inhabitant miss anything. The tour continues throughout the morning, punctuated by stops more numerous small buffets to each inhabitant of the homes visited had prepared for the people passing. In some house of mourning, or whose occupants are sick, a stop is made special, to sing and pray. Long walks each house are sometimes tiring, but that does not stop anyone on the end of the trip to celebrate the morning, singing and dancing.

While some seem to escape the noise of the party, other, serene, appreciate the calm of the quiet beaches of the lagoon. Animals, nature and people, all live in harmony in this peaceful island of a thousand pleasures.

Learn more : Fifo

Realization : Claire Schwob
Realization : Claire Schwob Production : Up Productions
Type : Documentary on the islands of French Polynesia, their inhabitants, their customs and traditions. Theme : Discovery documentary in French Polynesia. Title : docks a log Synopsis : French Polynesia, has more than 118 islands and atolls grouped into five archipelagos. Everyone has an identity, traditions, different languages. Unit length : 26 minutes Episodes: 6 Language : French Formats : 4/3, the webtv of Tahiti and her Islands : your virtual trip to French Polynesia through hundreds of video

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