6 Things You Didn’t Know About The Islands of Tahiti
The Islands of Tahiti is full of endless possibilities for adventure. Universally appreciated for their beauty, The Islands of Tahiti offer far more to visitors than the picture perfect landscape. We have pulled together some of the lesser-known facts about this stunning part of the world to give you a little more insight into just what awaits you in paradise.
The Wildlife around The Islands of Tahiti
The Islands of Tahiti boast 90 varieties of birds - the most common being the White Tern and the Indian Mynah Bird. The majority of their wildlife can be discovered underwater, boasting beautiful coral reefs and scores of tropical fish, reef sharks, rays and dolphins. If you are lucky, you may even get to witness the playful humpback whales off the coast.
The only mammals that remain on land in The Islands of Tahiti were brought over by the Europeans over 3,000 years ago that were either domesticated or used as livestock. Luckily, there are no poisonous or dangerous animals on The Islands of Tahiti, and very few insects and reptiles!
Our Ties to France
The French originally colonized The Islands of Tahiti in 1880 – this is why you will be able to see their influence in the food and language around this paradise. Many traditional Tahitian dishes include elements of French cuisine, infusing techniques and flavours from France into The Islands of Tahiti’s fresh produce. In a similar way, the Tahitian language is made up of a number of French phrases.
To this day, The Islands of Tahiti are still linked to France; however, they have their own government who look after decisions involving French Polynesia.
The Islands of Tahiti have several cultural influences, including from the Chinese community who now makes up 5-10% of the population. During the 1960s Chinese migrants settled on The Islands of Tahiti to become farmers or open local shops. Since then, the Chinese influence can be seen through local foods as well as the language – Tahitian will say they are going to ‘la Chine’, to mean they are going shopping.
The Tiare Flower
The Tiare flower is a true symbol of the Tahitian culture, the people and local life. Taking the title of the national flower of The Islands of Tahiti, this gorgeous flower blossoms annually. It is believed that the Tiare flower holds a connection to the god Atea, who served as the guardian of the world of men and offered the flower as a gesture of peace.
oth men and women can wear the Tiare flower, either as a necklace, crown or behind the ear. The ear you wear a Tiare flower behind indicates your relationship status – wearing the flower on the left ear states that you are married while on the right ear suggests you are looking. The Tiare flower has a sweet scent that is used in perfumes, cosmetics and can also be used for medical purposes.
The Tahitian Culture
The Tahitian locals are considered to be the friendliest people in the world. Visitors are encouraged to offer the first smile and la ora na (hello) and the locals will respond with warm and welcoming hospitality – expect to be embraced by their infectious smiles and kind nature.
There are a number of languages spoken on The Islands of Tahiti with the majority of the locals speaking Tahitian or French. With English also being widely spoken, many locals can help and chat to visitors as they explore The Islands of Tahiti.
The word tattoo or ‘tatau’ originated from The Islands of Tahiti. The legend of Tohu, the god of the tattoo, describes painting all the ocean’s fish in beautiful colours and patterns. It is the presence of Tohu that gives each tattoo meaning and life. In Tahitian culture, tattoos are considered a sign of beauty and traditionally they were applied in ceremonies to symbolise reaching adolescence.
The Islands of Tahiti is a slice of paradise that has something to discover around every corner – from their traditional culture to the stunning wildlife to the international influence on this community. Do you need any more reasons to drop everything and go explore what you don’t already know about The Islands of Tahiti?