A long-term friend of Peace Boat, Gabriel Tetiarahi, founder of the NGO "Hiti Tau" (which means "stand up and make a change"), joined the 101st Global Voyage as a guest educator from Rapa Nui, Chile, to Papeete, Tahiti. During his time onboard Gabi, as everybody knows him, gave three lectures and also had a Q&A session were participants asked him about the future of Tahiti, organic farming and about his role models.
Through his presentations, Gabi narrated the day that he witnessed nuclear testing in Mururoa atoll and how he felt. “Tahitians were guinea pigs, like rats to the French army”, he said. From that moment, Gabi started to reflect and in the following years, he led protest movements against French nuclear testing in the South Pacific. According to him, “the worst consequence of the bomb in our country was the colonization of Tahitians' minds. We were brainwashed by the ‘big boys’" - referring to France. During thirty years (1966-1996), France carried out 193 nuclear tests in the Pacific and it was exactly on Gabi's 40th anniversary when the testings came to an end.
He also explained how in recent years, he has been working to promote economic independence among the Maohi people. In order to do this, he has been training young leaders and working with them to farm using traditional methods, such as seaweed or head fish as organic fertilizers. Peace Boat participants had the opportunity to join Gabi on a study tour and see this with their own eyes. The group visited Gabi's farm where they were able to plant taro, banana and coconut trees. Finally, Gabi also shared his excitement on his new project: cultivating organic vanilla in the Marquesas Islands while helping the youth to build a brighter future for Polynesia. After a day in the farm, and before going back to the Ocean Dream and saying Iaorana (‘goodbye’ in Maohi language) to Tahiti, the participants of this tour had a dinner elaborated with only organic and local ingredients.
Photos and article by Eduardo Vila.