Hervé came from Fatu Hiva, in the Marquesas islands, the most primitive island in the most primitive archipelago in French Polynesia. He’d grown up surrounded by nakedness, it was only once that he’d come to Tahiti that he adapted to that “imported” habit of hiding the body with Western-style clothes. That morning was our last day in Tahiti, a Monday, and we still hadn’t managed to get into Papeeno Valley. Hervé seemed to be the right man. He had a small tour company, basically consisting of a white covered pick-up truck, and a telephone number, and if he didn’t answer, it meant he was in the mountains. Hervé wanted to tell us straight away that he was a sailor, a man of the seas. His T-shirt had a print of a Hokule’a, the traditional canoe of the Polynesian Voyaging Society that he often sailed, the Hawaiian double-hull outrigger canoe which sailed round the world for three years using the stars, the birds and the waves, bringing the message malama honua, take care of the Earth. Hervé’s second commandment was: honour your ancestors.
Video interview to Hervé Maraetaata, from the journey “The Islands of Tahiti, South Pacific”, published on Cartography No.3 / October 2017.
Director Luca De Santis. Music TABU by Christine Ott