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Hawaiki Nui

Listed under Festivals in French Polynesia.

  • Photo of Hawaiki Nui
  • Photo of Hawaiki Nui
  • Photo of Hawaiki Nui
Photo of Hawaiki Nui
Photo by flickr user jimg944
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Think of great sporting events which draw a country to a standstill and an image of burly figures running up and down grass pitches, hurling themselves at balls and referees comes to mind. National sports have the ability to send the least competitive into a sofa bound, anti social frenzy. The same goes for French Polynesians. Each November a three day canoe race around four of the Polynesian islands sees 60 of the islands’ worthiest compete against each other and other brave souls who arrive from overseas. Visit at this time of year, and Hawaiki Nui will be in full swing. Competitors local to the islands are bedecked in a circus of wild flowers and tattoos, swiping with wooden oars at the waves around them. Witness the teams disappear into the distance as they cross from Huahine to Raiatea, and then on to Taha’a. The winning team will arrive to a clamour of drum rolls and cheers after the mammoth crossing to Bora Bora. As the German Olympic kayaking team know all too well, the race is seen as a test of courage, strength and knowledge of the azure waters. When the team entered in the 90s their best leg was in the first part of the race where they came 18th.

Written by  Sybilla Harvey.

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