Friday, July 22, 2011

Picturesque Mangaia

The beautiful and friendly nature of the people of Mangaia makes the island a special place for those looking for a peaceful, relaxing atmosphere. Work is scarce but the word "retiree" does not exist in the vocab of these locals, as everyone keeps working for as long as they are capable, even if it means for only a few hours. They find time to go fishing, tend to their taro patch, pineapple plantations, vanilla plantations, and just recently (March 2013) some have started planting Moringa.

The lush growth of coconut, pandanus and the huge Puka trees springing out of the coral rock, reveal a rich earth, and well documented.
Not forgetting the rare birds like the Mangaian Kingfisher- which never eats fish but instead preys on skinks, insects and spiders. Nesting in old coconut palms, the Mangaian Kingfisher was thought to be under threat of extinction, but with a population of between 400-700, is safe for now.

The Barringtonia houses the tanga’eo – often the target of that very aggressive Mynah bird that besieges so many of the islands today. In the forlorn hope of reducing insect levels, which are high here, the hapless Mynah’s other name is Gudgeon’s Revenge, after some blighted do-gooder who hoped the bird would help.
The road above and to the right, leads to the Telecom building where you can use the islands internet, or make phone calls, and within the same building complex is the islands Television Station run by Anthony Whyte.

Mangaia Hospital

Also pivotal is the main industry for Mangaia – Pupu – the tiny yellow land snails which emerge only after rain (when the mamas are seen collecting pupu) – are highly prized as hatband decorations and long “eis” for arriving and departing visitors. The gathering, processing, piercing and stringing of these miniscule shells is hugely time consuming. They are in high demand, particularly in Tahiti and Hawaii – hardly surprising considering the process behind their creation.

Babes Bar, Accommodation Babes Place, and the local Store, are all located in the village of Oneroa. The bar is open Fridays from 9pm - 2am, and Saturday from 8pm - 12am.

Like all the other outer islands Mangaia also has these beach coves dotted around the island. This lagoon was shallow but cooling for a dip, especially after a hot day.