Lesson 8: French Polynesia

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This week we’re going to Polynesia, a smattering of about 1,000 volcanic islands and atolls that appear as little specks of sand strewn across a vast expanse of the Pacific Ocean. What is Polynesia, who are the Polynesians, and why are Polynesian islands so often described as “paradise?” This week we’re going to start answering those questions by visiting the islands that compose the French “overseas collectivity” known as French Polynesia. We’ll also take a detour, as did the legendary Bounty mutineers, to uber-isolated Pitcairn. We’ll tour the other main Polynesian islands, including New Zealand, Hawaii and Easter Island, in other weeks.

HISTORY: Independence or bust! Franch colonizers and Polynesian kings

MUSIC: Tahitian drums and cascading choirs.

LANGUAGES: French? Sure! And Reo Tahiti, Marquesan, Tuamotuan, Pitkarn, Mangaarevan….

WHEN YOU GO THERE: “A mesmerising wonderland of reef-fringed islands and translucent aqua lagoons . . . .”

OTE’AS: Telling tales through Tahitian dance.


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