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Meet the team

Two men and a woman with flower crowns smile at the camera

Teamwork was key to our time in the Marquesas.   While I was mostly finding people to talk to, like Nicolas Haiti and his son Naura inside their coconut oven in Taipivai, Nuku Hiva, Eric Guth (photographer) and Matt Mastrantuono (filmmaker) were never far away.   I’ll admit it: I don’t like drones. From beeping […]

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Coconut hunting

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Teiki Pao and his horse, Légende, have a route they take through town and out to the forest. Teiki collects coconuts and husks them so the meat can be dried and sold as copra, the dried coconut that helps drive the economy on many French Polynesian islands.   The coconuts that Teiki collects with Légende […]

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Aakapa’s community blaze

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Everything in Aakapa, on the island of Nuku Hiva, is steep: the hillsides, the shore line, all the roads and driveways. The dried coconut industry, called copra, is important all across French Polynesia, and this village of 120 people is no exception. The municipality of Aakapa invested in a coconut drying oven in 2018 to […]

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Drying coconut with fire

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Nicolas Haiti lives in the valley of Taipivai on the island of Nuku Hiva. We heard about him and his family because of their oven. Copra, or dried coconut, is an important industry in French Polynesia, including the Marquesas Islands and here in Nuku Hiva. Coconut is dried and then shipped to Pape’ete, Tahiti to […]

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Tour de l’ile: Nuku Hiva

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The planning was pretty simple: a conversation between me, Eric, and our local contacts Debora and Kimi. We had a map, a mango, a dog, and a mission. Nuku Hiva has some spectacular hiking trails, and Kimi would take us to them.   Kimi is a life-of-the-party kind of guy, with a zany photo collection, […]

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Exploring the town of Taioha’e

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The landscape of this island, Nuku Hiva, is so extreme it can be hard to find flat ground. That’s why the airport is on the opposite shore from the main town, Taioha’e: there’s only one runway compatible patch of ground. After landing in a small plane, you drive an hour through stunning hills and valleys […]

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Getting to know Koueva

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Smoke from burning leaves lifted into the morning sky. Two custodians had arrived before us, though it was still early, to continue the endless work of carving this site out from the surrounding forest. Debora Kimitete explained that the name of this site, Koueva, refers to dancing that begins in the evening and goes right […]

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The woman who opened the door

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Debora Kimitete showed us how to slam the car door correctly, so it wouldn’t fly open again. We would spend the day in her Land Rover that has had more adventures than I could ever hope for.   The streets of Taiohae are full of memories for Debora, but an important place to begin was […]

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Crossing Nuku Hiva to reach the beginning

Flying over Nuku Hiva

The views from the air were beautiful. When we came here by ship, just over a week ago, it took a day and a half to reach the Marquesas, the most distant archipelago in French Polynesia. Now we would return to the largest island, Nuku Hiva, in a matter of hours.   Before traveling here, […]

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Storytelling at Marae Arahurahu

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Guests streamed up the dirt road and wound through trees and flowers to the site of the performance. The bleachers were almost full when we arrived. Dancers and musicians rushed through their final preparations, and then the scene was set. If this place had a roof, they were about to blow it off.   This […]

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