Immense and tenebrous was that night when Ta’aroa, lonely in his shell, wandered alone in the infinite space.

Observing all around him, he made the mā’ohi world, the mā’ohi land, spring up.

And you, Amaitera’i, Polynesian child living in Mahina, what do you think about it?

I am still wondering, but “Who am I?” or “Where am I going to?”

I am actually a Polynesian child from the Austral islands.

The Austral islands are an archipelago with an area of about 152 km2, located in the south of the Pacific Ocean, near the tropic of Capricorn.

They are like the five fingers of the left hand.

It’s decided; I’ll go and meet my land “Nuiova”. I invite you to come with me on this adventure.

It was named after the morphology of its sea bed.

Rimatara is the smallest among the Austral islands, with an area of 9 km² only. It is located 600 km south of Tahiti.

Its climate is like temperate zone during the cool season, and like tropical zone during the warm season.

Certainly populated around 10th or 11th century A.D. by Polynesians, the island was the last one in the archipelago to be discovered by the Europeans in 1821.
A dynasty of kings and queens, the Tamaeva, was then ruling over the lives of the inhabitants. That dynasty was one of the last in the Polynesian islands, as it was not before the 20th century, in the year 1901 more exactly, when Rimatara ceased to be a kingdom

Queen Tamaeva V relinquished her power to the benefit of the French colonial Administration. Rimatara therefore was the last island of French Polynesia to be the annexed by France.

Today, the 780 inhabitants of Rimatara live in the villages of Amaru, the main village of the island, and Anapoto and Mutuaura.

Livelihoods are based on agriculture, fishing and arts and crafts. The island has fertile soil for crops and plants.

The island’s arts and crafts are also quite famous and, just like in many other islands, fishing also holds a significant place.

The population of the island is in its great majority Protestant.

Just like all over the archipelago, the religion plays a crucial role in the lives of the inhabitants.

The island has kept its rich and preserved fauna and flora, especially regarding endemic species.

Traditions and community life are also deeply rooted in the island life.

Reo Rimatara is the dialect used and spoken by the inhabitants.

So, Amaiterai, child of the Austral islands; what you think about it?

Theme author:  Poema ROCHETTE