For 120 years the Marquise Islands were unable to practice their unique culture. It is only through the memories of the elders that their stories , patterns and language is now being proudly revived. The island themselves are everywhere you imagine when you think of the Pacific. They are a jungle garden of fruit, tall trees and flowers.
The Marquis people look on their islands as parts of a house. Yesterday we were on the floor of the house as they see it, Nuva Hia and saw an ancient village site. Today we are at the posts that hold the roof up. Each island originally had a unique bird fauna. The Oopa bird that is a large 4 kg pigeon was unique to Nuva
Yesterday we were drenched . Water ran in rivers down the rocks making them slippery. Everything was wet right down to underwear. It didn’t matter though, as we were soon steaming in the heat. The archeological site showed how the people built their homes on rock platforms. One part was for meeting guests and there were separate sleeping, cooking and bathing areas. The chief of the tribe was always higher. In the communal area was a building representing where the chief sat. The roof came down lower in the front so people wishing to speak to the king , were forced to bow.
A Banyan tree is planted at the village as a meeting and special area as so few seeds were originally available. People were actually buried within the roots. The huge stones were moved by sliding them along using a palm tree trunk as it is smooth. The priest was the protector of the bread fruit supplies in case of famine or drought. It was placed in layers in pits. Palm fronds were used between layers. Pictographs were used to show the tribal groups and important stories of the tribe.
Everywhere we are greeted with flowers, singing and dancing. We have eaten breadfruit,taro,goat, pig, parrot fish,tuna and many other local delicacies.Today its dancers ( very impressive), walking , pselecting from the amazing local handicrafts, tasting unfamiliar fruits like nonos, fresh guava and bread fruits, and then lunch of fresh local produce such as tuna, shrimp (not me), squid and of course pork.