Friday, January 1, 7300

Settlement of Tahiti (c. 300) - Chant

Tahiti is the largest island in the Windward group of French Polynesia, located in the archipelago of Society Islands in the southern Pacific Ocean.

Tahiti is some 45 km (28 mi) wide at the widest point and covers 1,045 km² (403.5 sq mi), with the highest elevation being at 2,241 m (7,352 ft) above sea level (Mount Orohena). Mont Roonui, located on the southeastern part is 1332 m high. The island consists of two roughly round portions centered on volcanic mountains, connected by a short isthmus named after the small town of Taravao, which sits there. The northwestern part is known as Tahiti Nui ("big Tahiti"), and the southeastern part, much smaller, is known as Tahiti Iti ("small Tahiti") or Taiarapu. Whereas Tahiti Nui is quite heavily populated (especially around Papeete) and benefits from rather good infrastructure such as roads and highways, Tahiti Iti has remained quite isolated, its southeastern half (Te Pari) being accessible only by boat or hiking. A main road winds around the island between the mountains and the sea while an interior road climbs past dairy farms and citrus groves with panoramic views. Tahiti also has many swift streams, including the Papenoo in the north.

The vegetation is tremendously lush rain forest.

November through April is the wet season, and the wettest month is January, with 13.2 inches (335 mm) of precipitation in the capital of Papeete. August is the driest month with only 1.9 inches (48 mm) of rain. The average low temperature is 70 °F (21 °C) and the average high temperature is 88 °F (31 °C) with very little seasonal variation. The lowest temperature ever recorded in Papeete was 61 °F (16 °C) and the highest temperature recorded was 93 °F (34 °).

Tahiti is estimated to have been settled by Polynesians between AD 300 and 800 coming from Tonga and Samoa, although some estimates place the date earlier. The fertile island soil combined with fishing provided ample food for the population.

Tahiti - Chant

Prior to the arrival of Europeans, the music of Tahiti was dominated by festivals called heiva. Dancing was a vital part of Tahitian life then, and dances were used to celebrate, pray and mark almost every occasion of life. Examples include the men's ʻōteʻa dance and the couple's 'upaʻupa.

Professional dance troupes called ʻarioi were common, and they moved around the various islands and communities dancing highly sensually and erotically.

Traditional instruments include a conch-shell called the pu and a nose flute called the vivo, as well as numerous kinds of drums made from hollowed-out tree trunks and dog or shark skin.

[7300 Zimbabwe / 7300 Tahiti / 7200 Kenya]