Photos by Whitt Birnie
While the planet gently glides through the equinox into another season, we on earth know we’re in for big changes, either towards wild winter weather or more peaceful summer calms. Since most Polynesians know no winter, these outdoor people follow the seasons closely, the most skillful working the best Southern Ocean waves generated in the stormy ‘Roaring Forties’, to the delight of everyone. Others share a traditional moment together in their va’a, the outrigger, working the languid lagoon, angling for dinner.
by Whitt Birnie
Historical logs, legend, myth, tale and lore have given Tahiti more than a name; Tahiti has become an idea rather than just an island. Credit the writers, artists, sailors, mutineers, producers and movie stars with building an image of what once was, and what it became. But credit the Polynesians with imagination, endurance and hospitality – against all odds, they have survived. They are deeply proud of their culture and love their country, the Fenua, like no other.
It was nearly 250 years ago that navigator James Cook sailed in, introducing the Western world to an exceptional culture. The rest, as they say, is history.
Here, with a stretch of the imagination, is how it might have appeared.
by Whitt Birnie
Atolls: The Tuamotu archipelago. Hirifa, Fakarava. Fenua. Early morning light.
How much longer will life survive on our planet if we continue to abuse our resources? Rising temperatures, melting glaciers, increasing pollution, flooding of low-lying coasts, fished-out oceans; the scenario looks bleak. What are we planning to leave our children – one more disaster? Time is certainly running out. We need to assume responsible change for sustaining and preserving our delicate environment.