Forged from the power of Ātea – Father Sky -, Fa’ahotu – Mother Earth – and several volcanic events, Rurutu is unique in many ways.
Basaltic rocks and limestone have created impressive cathedrals of stalactites and stalagmites at the edge of the lagoon. Imposing cliffs contrast with the secluded beaches. Inland, patches of taro fields are a typical Austral Islands sight. For coffee lovers, Rurutu produces its own coffee.
Beyond the island’s unparalleled beauty, what is deeply touching and moving in Rurutu is the strong sense of community. The people of Rurutu work hand in hand for events, weddings, or constructions.
Men mostly work in plantations, while women weave dry fara – pandanus – leaves… an art they have mastered to give birth to intricate pieces, from hats to handbags to fans or mats.
They also make colorful tīfaifai, the local version of patchwork quilt blankets, a tradition inherited from the influence of 19th-century Christian missionaries. Each tīfaifai is an homage to nature’s beauty and bounty and reproduces patterns of traditional vegetation that play essential roles in the daily lives of locals, such as ’uru – breadfruit -, flowers, ferns or taro.
Ruru means “to gather” and tu “equality”… In Rurutu, equality is a way of life: through the work in the plantations and the harvests fairly shared or the benefits from the expert art of weaving. Equality unites and binds the island’s local communities.
An hour and a half away from Tahiti by air, Rurutu is the nurturing sanctuary we dream of…