A spring equinox celebration from the Heiva I Tahiti

by Whitt Birnie

 The Tahitian dance group Ori I Tahiti presents …

ri I Tahiti dance group, winners of the best natural costume prize and the jury's special prize, in photos by Whitt Birnie.

ri I Tahiti dance group, winners of the best natural costume prize and the jury's special prize, in photos by Whitt Birnie.WhittBirnie Heiva I Tahiti H2ri I Tahiti dance group, winners of the best natural costume prize and the jury's special prize, in photos by Whitt Birnie.ri I Tahiti dance group, winners of the best natural costume prize and the jury's special prize, in photos by Whitt Birnie.ri I Tahiti dance group, winners of the best natural costume prize and the jury's special prize, in photos by Whitt Birnie.ri I Tahiti dance group, winners of the best natural costume prize and the jury's special prize, in photos by Whitt Birnie.ri I Tahiti dance group, winners of the best natural costume prize and the jury's special prize, in photos by Whitt Birnie.ri I Tahiti dance group, winners of the best natural costume prize and the jury's special prize, in photos by Whitt Birnie.WhittBirnie Heiva I Tahiti H9ri I Tahiti dance group, winners of the best natural costume prize and the jury's special prize, in photos by Whitt Birnie.An exceptional dance group, Ori I Tahiti, returned for an encore performance on the stage at To’ata, at the invitation of Marguerite Lai and Claude Teriierooiterai.  Photo permissions were granted, and Whitt Birnie luckily had his camera, for the group who won the best natural costume and special jury’s prizes.  Special thanks to all.

To Point Venus and the Tahitian Heiva festival

by Whitt Birnie

Time to changeThe lagoons of French Polynesia capture the imagination. It’s difficult to break away, unless you have a better destination in mind. I was torn between nature and civilization, eventually giving in to temptation for a return to Papeete.

WhittBirnie A15-02Tetiaroa Island, Brando’s atoll, just to the north of Tahiti, always belonged to royalty and remains a majestic spot, lost in the warm calm waters of the South Pacific.  It was on my way back to Tahiti, so I made an effort to pass nearby and pay my respects.

WhittBirnie A15-04The mountainous southern coast of Tahiti is in great contrast to the low island of Tetiaroa. Simply navigating the passage through the reefs takes total concentration as the currents can be wicked.Whitt Birnie's photosSwells from the Southern Ocean and the ‘Roaring Forties’ excite everyone in the Fenua, especially surfers, but for navigators, attaining a safe anchorage inside the coral reef is the first order of business. Nature delights in showing off.

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WhittBirnie A15-05First-place competition winners Temaeva love taking selfies, just like everyone else today. I couldn’t resist following their example.

WhittBirnie A15-07The participating story-telling director of the group Ori I Tahiti poses with one of his young dancers. They were prize winners in the category best costume.

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Good humor, constant laughter, skill, beauty and happiness endear the Tahitians to everyone. They are truly a remarkable people.  I consider it an honor that they permitted me to record their joy in the Heiva I Tahiti.

The Solstice: marking time on our planet

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by Whitt Birnie

 If I had to represent the Solstice in one image, this would be it.

Polynesian lagoon on the solstice.Streaming through deep-blue skies, bright hot sunlight on the day of the solstice heats the green lagoon, driving humidity upward to form rain-shower clouds, and a life-giving cycle is complete. Waves on the distant reef slowly grind coral into sand: the water here is about eight feet deep, just over two meters, a home for multiple fish and other sea creatures. Are we willing to work and sacrifice to preserve this world we inherited?