Known for their great girths that reflect their great warmth the Tongan people are truly the kings of the Pacific. The only county to have fought colonisation they wear their sovereignty with pride. A beautiful country with fewer tourists than most, it is a delight to visit. FIJI The airport welcome with a band playing, grass skirted dancers and shell necklaces introduces you to the some of the wonders of Fiji. Travel far into the hills of Vita Levu to discover how the Fijians farm with ox drawn ploughs and live off the riches of the land.
Supported by the French government and its plentiful nickel New Caledonia thrives. From open plains with cattle ranches, on the main island’s west coast to the lush tropical forests on the east and many idyllic uninhabited islands all around it has something for everyone. TAHITI Although it is harder to flee the tourists in Tahiti there are many secret places to be found and if you do want a hotel there are some splendid ones on perfect beaches with every facility to meet your hearts desires.
The most remote inhabited island in the world and famous for the huge and majestic moai that dominate the landscape this should definitely be included in your Where to go Before you Die list. Rugged and windy it is very different from other more tropical Polonesian islands.
Only 8×5 kilometers the friendly locals keep this tiny island in pristine condition, limiting tourists and cars to ensure its rare beauty remains undamaged. There is lots to do and lots to learn about the Bounty mutineers who came here and the horrors of the prison that destroyed so many lives. A lovely and fascinating place. PITCAIRN The last remaining British overseas territory in the Pacific perhaps the most amazing thing about Pitcairn is the journey to get there. A 4 hour flight from Tahiti to Mangareva in the Gambier Islands, then a 32 hour trip on a cargo boat and finally a very scary transfer on rough water to a long boat which will take you to the wonderful reception on the island. There are no hotels but all the islanders open their homes to visitors and include meals in the price.
While it is easy to fly from the US, New Zealand or Australia to anywhere in the Pacific it is not always easy to fly within the Pacific. Often this entails going via NZ or Australia so plan your trip carefully.
Public transport is pretty rare in the Pacific. In many places there just isn’t any so you will need to take taxis which are hard to find away from hotels/resorts. So – hire a car or, even better, a bike. Luckily most hotels will collect you from the airport but some charge quite a lot so check first. There are plenty of taxis at most airports.
- Fiji dollar – fjd
- Tahiti & New Caledonia – Pacific franc – xpf
- Tonga – Tongan Pa’anga – T$
- Norfolk Island – NZ dollar – NZ$
- Pitcairn Islands – NZ dollar – NZ$
- Easter Island – Chilean peso – clp
- Tahiti & New Caledonia – own languages but most people speak some French
- Norfolk Island and Pitcairn – English
- Tonga – Tongan and some English and French
- Fiji – Fijian and lots of people speak English in main towns
- Easter Island – Spanish and local dialect
Casual dress is de rigour over all the Pacific. However, many of the women still wear ‘missionary dresses’ which leave everything to the imagination so in areas away from tourism it is necessary to wear demure clothing. In some villages in Fiji a sarong must be worn by both men and women.
Must See's and Do's
- Explore Easter Island
- Whale watching – Tonga
- Trekking – New Caledonia
- Basking in Paradise – Fijian island
- Make sure you try the local fish! Staple foods are yam, cassava and sweet potatoes which are somewhat bland without the addition of meat or fish. Most places serve westernised foods and the fresh fish is really wonderful. Lots of raw tuna in New Caledonia and Tahiti where all the food is quite expensive.
- Bring a few trinkets home with you! Shell jewellery, carvings, kava bowls and beautiful black pearls are all readily available over most of the Pacific.
Don’t Forget to Pack:
- sun cream
- ‘demure’ clothes
The Fakaleitis of Tonga
- Tonga’s third sex- Fakaleitis
- Boys brought up as girls.
- We see that male/female gender differential is not based on sex.
The Fakaleitis of Tonga are men who live as women. They are not transvestites and are accepted locally as many have been brought up as women when a family has no sons.
They do household duties which are usually the preserve of women – cleaning, cooking, child care; they till the fields, dress in women’s clothes and even give themselves to men for sex. They often work in traditionally female jobs – as secretaries, cooks, teachers, hairdressers etc.
Often wearing women’s clothing and make up for special occasions they often wear more neutral clothing for every day. It is often said that Fakaleitis can be identified by their high pitched voices and exaggerated, more female (sic) emotions. Often with excellent English, they tend to like beautiful things and are often very graceful and poised. Socially they accept the lower social status afforded women in Tonga.
There are about 300 Fakaleitis living in Tonga today.
Pitcairn Island Guide
The four Pitcairn Islands, 50 kilometres of land spread over several hundred miles of sea, form a British Overseas Territory. Pitcairn, just 3.6 kilometres (2.2 mi) from east to west, is the only inhabited island and is the least populous jurisdiction in the world
The history of the Pitcairn Islands begins with the colonization of the islands by Polynesians in the 11th century. The Polynesians established a culture that flourished for four centuries and then vanished. Pitcairn was settled again in 1790 by a group of British mutineers of the HMS Bounty and Tahitians.
The Bounty left Portsmouth, England on 23 December 1787 assigned to gather breadfruit trees from Polynesia and transport them to the British West Indies where they were to be planted to provide food for the sugar plantation workers.
After nearly a year and twenty seven thousand miles of sailing the ship arrived in Tahiti. The crew spent a few months there, cultivating the young trees and getting them ready for transportation. While there some of the crew fell in love with Tahitian women and some married. It was very difficult leaving this island paradise.
They set sail but Captain Bligh’s rigid and sometimes cruel running of the ship led to a mutiny and he and 18 of the crew remaining loyal to him were set adrift in a longboat to drift for many thousands of miles until they reached Indonesia.
The mutiny leader Christian Fletcher and the remaining crew returned to Tahiti to collect their women and travelled the South Pacific for months looking for a safe place to hide. If found they would be prosecuted and likely be executed for treason.
Pitcairn island proved the ideal location as they discovered it had been incorrectly charted some 200 miles away and would therefore be more difficult to find. The nine remaining crew, their women and a few other Polynesian men decided to stay and quickly unloaded and stripped the ship then set it alight to hide evidence of their location.
Within four years the small community was in turmoil. Homemade alcohol and fights over women led to the violent deaths of all but 2 of the men. Six years later one of them, Young, died of asthma and Adams was left with 23 children and 11 women. He found the Bounty Bible and began a life of repentance, building a school and instilling a Christian way of life.
In 1814 a British frigate inadvertently came across the island but was so impressed by the people and their ways that they left them alone and Adams remained there until his death in 1829. Various leaders followed and in 1893 a ‘proper’ government was formed.
In 1937 the population was at its height of 233 but today with many people leaving, principally for New Zealand, there are only 45 left on the island.
The existence of the colony is also in jeopardy due to the allegations of endemic child abuse. Seven men still living on the island and 6 now living abroad went on trial for 55 sex related charges. Some were acquitted and some were charged but with so few people to keep the island going, do repairs etc most went back to their lives.
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