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Va'a :: French Polynesia 2004 :: Presentation


« Va’a, the Polynesian dugout » is an exhibition that will be open to visitors at the Musée de Tahiti et des Îles from July 23 to December 31, 2004. As part of this project, the GRAN branch in Polynesia is responsible for carrying out the construction of a dugout with outriggers.

This event will take place in the temporary exhibition room of the Museum, located on Fishermen’s Point at Punaauia.

In the museum’s gardens the construction itself, by a team of experts called tāmuta va’a (« dugout constructors » in Tahitian) will last a week, starting on July 24.

The team is to transform a tree trunk into a fishing dugout with the help of today’s tools. This is no ethnoarchaeological reconstitution; we are not trying to bring back ancient tools and techniques from the past. We just would like to show how this doomed craft is performed today, because construction of complete or even partial monoxyla has now become very rare indeed: there are very few craftsmen left, and they are getting old. It has been some time already since plywood, glass fibre and plastic replaced solid wood in the fabrication process of racing dugouts and fishing boats.

« Papa Pūrau », the carpenter, and his sons were born on Moorea, Tahiti’s sister island. They will carry this out. One may notice that the Tahitian word Pūrau is the name of the wood species considered as fitting best the constructors’ needs regarding some parts of a dugout. The GRAN team in Tahiti will take charge of the logistics.

Pour cette opération, le GRAN est prestataire de service pour le Musée de Tahiti et des Iles. Deux entreprises locales, Pacific Plastique et Vita Industrie, nous apportent leur concours. A l’origine, c’est notre ami Gaston Richmond qui devait diriger l’équipe de Moorea, mais son départ prématuré ne lui a pas permis de concrétiser ce projet. Nous lui dédions notre travail.

Entreprise PACIFIC Plastique

Entreprise Vita Industrie Eurl

Liste des participants :

En Polynésie française :
Tehaurai Pūrau dit Papa Pūrau
Terea Pūrau et Firmin Pūrau, ses fils
Pascal Le Cointre, membre du GRAN
Robert Veccella, chef de projet, responsable de l’antenne du GRAN en Polynésie.

A Paris :
Max Guérout, coordination générale, vice-président du GRAN

A Namur :
Eon Sébastien, membre du GRAN – Réception des informations et développement du journal de bord du site internet.

Relecture version française : Eon Sébastien

Traduction version anglaise : Julien Le Bonheur 

Traduction version tahitienne  : SCP

      © GRAN 2004