Places to Visit in Fiji Islands

Places to Visit in Fiji Islands

Fiji, officially the Republic of Fiji, is an island country in Melanesia in the South Pacific Ocean about 1,100 nautical miles (2,000 km; 1,300 mi) northeast of New Zealand’s North Island. Its closest neighbours are Vanuatu to the west, New Caledonia to the southwest, New Zealand’s Kermadec Islands to the southeast, Tonga to the east, the Samoas and France’s Wallis and Futuna to the northeast, and Tuvalu to the north.

Fiji is an archipelago of more than 330 islands, of which 110 are permanently inhabited, and more than 500 islets, amounting to a total land area of about 18,300 square kilometres (7,100 sq mi). The farthest island is Ono-i-Lau. The two major islands, Viti Levu and Vanua Levu, account for 87% of the population of almost 860,000. The capital, Suva on Viti Levu, serves as Fiji’s principal port. About three-quarters of Fijians live on Viti Levu’s coasts, either in Suva or in smaller urban centres like Nadi (tourism) or Lautoka (sugar cane industry). Viti Levu’s interior is sparsely inhabited due to its terrain.

Sun-drenched beaches, turquoise lagoons, swaying palm trees – Fiji supplies all the classic images of paradise. No wonder, then, that every year thousands of travellers come to this South Pacific archipelago for the ultimate island escape. With over three hundred islands to choose from, Fiji is an amazingly versatile destination. Whether you’re after a luxury honeymoon retreat, a lively backpacker island or a family-friendly resort you won’t be disappointed. You’ll also find a warm, hospitable people, an intriguing blend of Melanesians, Polynesians and Indians.

Places to Visit in Fiji Islands

With a reliable tropical climate, a good tourist infrastructure, English as its main language and no jabs or pills to worry about, travelling in Fiji is as easy as it gets. As the hub of South Pacific tourism, the country attracts over half a million visitors a year, mostly from Australia and New Zealand, its largest “neighbours” lying over 2000km southeast. Of the northern hemisphere travellers who arrive, many are backpackers from Europe or surfers and scuba divers from North America.

While it can be tempting to spend your whole time in Fiji sunbathing and sipping cocktails from coconuts, there are plenty of activities to lure you away from the beach. Within a ten-minute boat ride of most resorts you can find yourself snorkelling with dolphins and manta rays or scuba diving at pristine coral reefs. In addition, at the exposed edges of the reefs are some of the world’s finest and most consistent surfing breaks. Nature lovers are also spoilt for choice, both underwater and on dry land, and wildlife-spotting opportunities are plentiful, whether you’re seeking turtles, exotic birds or 3m-long tiger sharks.

Away from the resorts is another Fiji waiting to be discovered: a land of stunning mountains, rainforests and remote villages. Here you’ll find fantastically hospitable Fijians living a similar lifestyle to their tribal ancestors. Staying a night or two at a village homestay will give you an authentic insight into ethnic Fijian culture as well as the chance to sample yaqona or kava, the national drink.

Fiji is also home to a large Indian community and their influence is seen in the delicious Indian food served in almost every town, Bollywood films showing in the cinema and vibrant Hindu festivals celebrated throughout the year. While Fiji is not renowned for its towns or cities, three are definitely worth taking the time to explore: quaint, colonial-era Levuka, yachting hotspot Savusavu, and Suva, the lively capital city and the best place to party in the South Pacific.

However long you spend in the country you’ll notice an unhurried, good-humoured lifestyle. This is the essence of Fiji Time – an attitude that can be both inspiring and infuriating. Away from the highly organized upmarket resorts, life runs at a different pace; bus and ferry timetables serve more as guidelines and a simple meeting in a village can last for days. It’s best to leave your inner control freak at home – you never know, you may come back a calmer person.

All About Famous Tahitian Dances

One of the most widely recognized images of the islands is the world famous Tahitian dance. The ‘ote’a (sometimes written as otea) is a traditional dance from Tahiti, where the dancers, standing in several rows, execute figures. This dance, easily recognized by its fast hip-shaking and grass skirts, is often confused with the Hawaiian hula, a generally slower more graceful dance which focuses more on the hands and storytelling than the hips.

The ʻōteʻa is one of the few dances which existed in pre-European times as a male dance. On the other hand, the hura (Tahitian vernacular for hula), a dance for women, has disappeared, and the couple’s dance ‘upa’upa is likewise gone but may have reemerged as the tamure. Nowadays, the ʻōteʻa can be danced by men (ʻōteʻa tāne), by women (ʻōteʻa vahine), or by both genders (ʻōteʻa ʻāmui = united ʻō.).

All About Famous Tahitian Dances

The dance is with music only, drums, but no singing. The drum can be one of the types of the tōʻere, a laying log of wood with a longitudinal slit, which is struck by one or two sticks. Or it can be the pahu, the ancient Tahitian standing drum covered with a shark skin and struck by the hands or with sticks. The rhythm from the tōʻere is fast, from the pahu it is slower. A smaller drum, the faʻatete, can be used.

The dancers make gestures, reenacting daily occupations of life. For the men the themes can be chosen from warfare or sailing, and then they may use spears or paddles.

For women the themes are closer to home or from nature: combing their hair or the flight of a butterfly, for example. More elaborate themes can be chosen, for example, one where the dancers end up in a map of Tahiti, highlighting important places. In a proper ʻōteʻa the story of the theme should pervade the whole dance.

The group dance called ‘Aparima is often performed with the dancers dressed in pareo and maro. There are two types of ʻaparima: the ʻaparima hīmene (sung handdance) and the ʻaparima vāvā (silent handdance), the latter being performed with music only and no singing. Newer dances include the hivinau and the pa’o’a.

Passion, energy and mystery all in Hawaii

Passion, energy and mystery all in Hawaii

Hawaii is incredibly romantic destination. Perfect for a wedding, honeymoon or dream away. The fabulous beaches and luxury resorts, combined with the tropical climate means that you’ll fall in love with the island almost as soon as you land. You’ll be forgiven if you stay in comfort and luxury of your resort, with all your needed. Although if you never leave the station, you’ll miss the inspiring fear Marvels Hawaii has to offer.

Whatever your stay on this island is worth jumping through the Big Island to visit the Parc National des Volcans. Hawaii has many active volcanoes and there are five on the Big Island. Only three of the five are active and Kilauea is most active. He is the youngest volcano on Big Island and appears to go through a growth spurt in adolescents. Kilauea has been erupting since 1983. Every day he vomited enough lava resurfacing of 20 mile long road. This enormous quantity of lava has added about 500 acres of the Big Island area. The volcano gives with one hand he takes the other. Big Island has lost more than 181 houses, a church and a number of other buildings in the lava flow.

You may wonder why on earth we suggest you visit the active volcano. The Volcano National Park is perfectly safe if you pay attention to the park rangers. So it’s an incredible opportunity to see firsthand one of the most powerful displays of natural materials and the planet. The eruption of Kilauea is not about quick violent, is a persistent rise of the lava. Forms lava tubes that directs much of the flow toward the sea of lava tubes are a fascinating formation created by the lava of contact with the air much colder island. As the lava flow increases the size of the tube forms a unique ecosystem. We suggest you take a tour of the tubes. As you’re standing inside a natural element created by a lava flow active, please pay attention to the Rangers!

Hawaii Volcanoes are an integral part of the mythology and legends of the islands. Pele is the goddess of Kilauea volcano and its domain is. If you want a spiritual protection of the raw power of the earth, it would be wise to take some pork and gin with you. This is not to strengthen you, but should be wrapped in ti leaves and left as an offering to Pele. This goddess of fire is tempered celebrated in local art and tearing down forms of lava are called “Pele’s tears”.

It is not wise to take one of the tears of Pele as a souvenir of your visit. Many of those who have had to mail the stone back to Hawaii in an attempt to appease the deity who has the misfortune visited upon them. A local superstition, perhaps, but it is wise to respect the landscape of national park in the same way you respect a coral reef. As for the offerings of pork and gin, while in the presence of an erupting volcano that has been for 26 years there is no harm in keeping the local goddess happy.

How to Travel In Tahiti

How to Travel In Tahiti

Tahiti is the largest island in the Windward group of French Polynesia; this overseas collectivity of the French Republic is sometimes referred to as an overseas country. The island is located in the archipelago of the Society Islands in the central Southern Pacific Ocean, and is divided into two parts: The bigger, northwestern part Tahiti Nui and the smaller, southeastern part Tahiti Iti. The island was formed from volcanic activity and is high and mountainous with surrounding coral reefs. The population is 183,645 inhabitants (2012 census), making it the most populous island of French Polynesia and accounting for 68.5% of its total population.

Tahiti is the economic, cultural and political centre of French Polynesia. The capital of the collectivity, Pape’ete, is located on the northwest coast with the only international airport in the region, Fa’a’ā International Airport, situated 5 km (3.1 mi) from the town centre.

Tahiti was originally settled by Polynesians between 300 and 800 CE.[citation needed] They represent about 70% of the island’s population with the rest made up of Europeans, Chinese and those of mixed heritage.

The island was part of the Kingdom of Tahiti until its annexation by France in 1880, when it was proclaimed a colony of France. It was not until 1946 that the indigenous Tahitians were legally authorised to be French citizens. French is the only official language although the Tahitian language (Reo Tahiti) is widely spoken.

How to Travel In Tahiti

By Air

Faa’a International Airport is located 5 km (3.1 mi) from Papeete in the commune of Faaa and is the only international airport in French Polynesia. Because of limited level terrain, rather than levelling large stretches of sloping agricultural land, the airport is built primarily on reclaimed land on the coral reef just off-shore.

International destinations such as Auckland, Hanga Roa, Honolulu, Los Angeles, Paris, Santiago de Chile, Sydney and Tokyo are served by Air France, Air New Zealand, Air Tahiti Nui French Polynesia’s flag carrier, Hawaiian Airlines and LAN Airlines.

Flights within French Polynesia and to New Caledonia are available from Aircalin and Air Tahiti; Air Tahiti has their headquarters at the airport.

By Ferry

The Mo’orea Ferry operates from Papeete and takes about 45 minutes to travel to Moorea. Other ferries are the Aremiti 5 and the Aremiti 7 and these two ferries sail to Moorea in about half an hour. There are also several ferries that transport people and goods throughout the islands. The Bora Bora cruiseline sails to Bora Bora about once a week. The main hub for these ferries is the Papeete Wharf.

By Highways

Tahiti has a freeway that runs across the west coast. This freeway starts in Arue and continues across the Papeete urban area. Then it continues along the west coast of Tahiti Nui through smaller villages. The freeway turns east toward Taravao where Tahiti Nui meets Tahiti Iti. Tahiti’s west coast freeway keeps going until Teahupo’o where the freeway becomes a thin paved road.

Welcome to Bora Bora Island

Welcome to Bora Bora Island

Bora Bora is a 30 km2 (12 sq mi) island in the Leeward group in the western part of the Society Islands of French Polynesia, an overseas collectivity of France in the Pacific Ocean. The island, located about 230 kilometres (143 miles) northwest of Papeete, is surrounded by a lagoon and a barrier reef. In the centre of the island are the remnants of an extinct volcano rising to two peaks, Mount Pahia and Mount Otemanu, the highest point at 727 metres (2,385 feet).

Bora Bora is a major international tourist destination, famous for its aqua-centric luxury resorts. The major settlement, Vaitape, is on the western side of the main island, opposite the main channel into the lagoon. Produce of the island is mostly limited to what can be obtained from the sea and the plentiful coconut trees, which were historically of economic importance for copra. According to a 2008 census, Bora Bora has a permanent population of 8,880.

Today the island’s economy is driven almost solely by tourism. Over the last few years several resorts have been built on motu (small islands, from Tahitian) surrounding the lagoon. Hotel Bora Bora opened in 1961, and nine years later built the first over-the-water bungalows on stilts over the lagoon. Today, over-water bungalows are a standard feature of most Bora Bora resorts. The quality of those bungalows ranges from comparably cheap, basic accommodations to very luxurious and expensive places to stay.

Welcome to Bora Bora Island

Most of the tourist destinations are aqua-centric; however it is possible to visit attractions on land such as WWII cannons. Air Tahiti has five or six flights daily to the Bora Bora Airport on Motu Mute from Tahiti (as well as from other islands). The island is served by Bora Bora Airport on Motu Mute in the north, with Air Tahiti providing daily flights to and from Papeete on Tahiti.

Public transport on the island is nonexistent. Rental cars and bicycles are the recommended methods of transport. There are also small, two-seater buggies for hire in Vaitape. It is possible to rent a motorboat to explore the lagoon.

Snorkeling and scuba diving in and around the lagoon of Bora Bora are popular activities. Many species of sharks and rays inhabit the surrounding body of water. There are a few dive operators on the island offering manta ray dives and also shark-feeding dives.

In addition to the existing islands of Bora Bora, the new manmade motu of Motu Marfo has been added in the northeastern corner of the lagoon on the property of the St. Regis Resort.

Surfers Paradise, Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia

Surfers Paradise, Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia

The Gold Coast is throbbing stretch of sandy beaches and curling surf for those who love the sun, sand, sea and their fellow creatures. The strip abounds in hotels, restaurants and entertainments, among which are the Mudgeeraba boomerang factory; the Curumbin bird sanctuary where at a signal flocks of lor i keets flutter in to perch on your head and arms; Marineland and its singing dolphins; the comical penguins of Broadwater; Fleay’s Fauna Reserve at Burleigh Heads; and the Auto Museum at Kirra. At Surfers Paradise, daily water skiing shows, speed boat rides, floor shows and bowling rinks. Some prefer the quieter beaches North of Brisbane.

Varying from 20 miles to 150 miles off the coast is the Great Barrier Reef, largest coral reef in the world – 120 miles long; in many ways a perfect holiday land, especially in winter. Quiet green islands, brilliant coral, tropical fish, thousands of coves and beaches; transport and accommodations in plenty. Dedicated skin divers should not miss it, neither should collectors of exotic sea shells.

The islands of the Whitsunday group are very beautiful: Brampton, Hayman, Lindeman, South Molle – reached from Mackay. However, the others to North and South have their advantages – in particular Green Island, with its underwater observatory, and Dunk Island, both reached from Cairns. Most economical way to see the reef is by taking one of the package tours offered by several Australian companies.

Why some Polynesians speak of their homeland as Hawaiki?

Why some Polynesians speak of their homeland as Hawaiki?

The precise routes taken by the fearless explorers are not known. The migrations were many and were spread over centuries of time. Also the small companies of adventurers and scouts and the larger companies of immigrants came by different routes. The route through Java to the Fiji Islands and eastward is marked by stranded remnants of Polynesians at Futuna (Erronan) in the New Hebrides, at Rennel in the Solomons, and at the Ontong Java (Lord Howe Islands).

The Polynesian settlement at Nukuor in the Caroline Islands may mark a northern route by which immigrants came through the Marshall Islands, Gilbert Islands, and Ellice Islands to Samoa and perhaps to Hawaii. It is possible that some adventurous companies came by a yet more northern route through the Marianas Islands or the Carolines directly to Hawaii. After immigrants had become established in such places as Samoa and Tahiti, these centers probably were used as bases for exploration of islands in their vicinity.

When the Polynesians came

Some Polynesians speak of their former homeland as “Hawaiki,” a faintly remembered faraway region from which many choice things came and to which the souls of men returned after death. The first emigrations from this homeland took place so long ago that the record is lost. But at the beginning of the Christian era colonists were in the Pacific, and it is known that during the eighth and ninth centuries eighty-five islands and island groups had been discovered islands lying far apart on both sides of the equator.

The Maoris of New Zealand trace their descent from immigrants who reached the islands about the year 1400. But these immigrants had learned about the country from earlier voyagers and came with their wives and children, carrying with them the sweet potato and taro, their household idols, medicinal plants, and domestic animals. They found New Zealand occupied by people of their own race, who had come from different places, and learned that the Chatham Islands lying eastward across 500 miles of stormy sea had been settled.

As early as the thirteenth century the geography of the Pacific was fairly well known. The colonists were familiar with the mountains, volcanoes, rivers, reefs, and forests and knew the regions of large rainfall and small rainfall and the direction of winds and currents. All this was before Columbus had discovered America, or Balboa the Pacific; before Magellan had crossed the Pacific to the Philippines.

Pioneer navigators

Long before European navigators had ventured far from land, Polynesians were sailing back and forth among the dots of land in the broad Pacific, making voyages thousands of miles in length. The Polynesian outposts in the Carolines and at Easter Island are nearly 9,000 miles apart and 3,800 miles of water lie between Hawaii and New Zealand.

The route from Tahiti to New Zealand, used many times by Polynesian boats, is 2,200 miles in length. Yet these widely separated lands and intervening islands were not only known but were settled and served as distributing points for the shoots and seeds of such food plants as the banana, coconut, yam, breadfruit, and taro. Even the west coast of America may have been visited by adventurous navigators.

Long voyages

The facts about some of these voyages are known. Four early trips from Hawaii to Tahiti, 2,400 miles, are recorded. Uenga, a twelfth-century sea rover, sailed from Samoa to Tongareva, thence to Tubuai, and through the Tuamotus to Tahiti. The entire journey covered about 4,000 miles, most of it against the trade winds. Tukuiho, sailing from Rapa, discovered Rapa-nui ( Easter Island) after a voyage of 2,500 miles with no intervening stopping places. Karika, a Samoan chief, discovered and colonized Rarotonga, and the thirteen voyages of Tangiia cover a distance of more than 18,000 miles.

No compass used

The Polynesians readily made their way across the ocean without the aid of a compass or a log book. During the daytime they guided themselves by the sun, by the flight of birds, and the shape and color of clouds, and in stormy weather by the trend of the waves driven before the prevailing winds. A man with a knowledge of clouds and rainbows and winds ranked high in the esteem of the people. Some of the Pacific peoples made crude charts on which the trends of the wave crests in the trade wind belts were indicated by parallel sticks stretched on a frame, and the number and position of the islands included on the chart were shown by little pieces of stone or coral placed in proper position.

Polynesian Language, Poetry, Chanting, Dancing

Polynesian Language, Poetry, Chanting, Dancing

The Polynesian language is soft and musical; there are few harsh sounds. It contains more than 20,000 words and the number in everyday use was remarkably large for a people whose language had not been reduced to writing. These words and their combinations are capable of expressing a great variety of fine shades of meaning.

How language was preserved. It is surprising that without writing to preserve their language the widely separated groups of Polynesians should have retained a common language for some thousands of years. But their language was preserved with great fidelity. Much attention was given to the use of words and to pronunciation.

Children were trained to apply the right words to objects and to ideas, and young men who had not learned to use the language correctly were usually not permitted to speak in public. The best trained chiefs, generals, and priests were truly great orators, and eloquence was so highly prized and considered so necessary for a leader that one who did not have it might not be chosen as a chief.

Poetry

Poetry also was highly prized and was used at all festivals and rites. The poet was highly honored.

Story-telling

Story-telling was an interesting feature of Polynesian life. Daytime and evenings groups of men, women, and children might be seen listening to tales of gods and heroes and distant lands. These tales were told by a special class of story-tellers who did little or nothing else but make up stories and recite them. Besides the tales which were widely known and related by the common people, there were tales told in a special language understood only by the alii, or chiefs. Much time also was given to telling riddles and conundrums and to playing games based on some form of old fairy tale or mystery story.

Kinds of stories

Most Polynesian stories are unlike those in other parts of the world. There are almost no animal stories except those about the shark, the whale, the turtle, and birds. There are stories about places to which it is forbidden to go and about maidens who were carefully guarded. The commonest stories are about demigods, beings like Maui, who could do what men do but who also had some supernatural power. Many of the stories express the beauty of nature, the color of flowers, the form of clouds, the strength of mountains, and the look of the sea. Hawaiian stories have much about the waterfall, the forest, the rainbow, the volcano, and the surf breaking on the coral reefs.

Chanting and dancing

Out of the story-telling grew the chant. The Hawaiian oli is merely a story recited like a chant, the mele is also a chanted story, and the hula is a story in which a musical chant is accompanied by gestures. Chanting and dancing went together. Some dances and chants were known to nearly all Polynesians, but each island group had also its own kinds. The Hawaiians and the Samoans paid special attention to dancing, the Marquesans and Tahitians to chanting. Music such as is heard to-day was not known in Polynesia before the coming of the white man.

Polynesian Mythology – What Polynesians Believed

Polynesian Mythology – What Polynesians Believed

To a Polynesian religion was as much a part of his everyday life as were the stones with which he built his house platforms or the wood of his canoe, or as his eating and drinking. Religious thought and physical effort were parts of all activities. Birth, death, and work had a religious as well as a physical meaning. To accomplish an undertaking it was as necessary to perform appropriate religious rites as it was to have the right kinds of tools.

The things in nature were thought to have individual life. Land, sea, stones, stars, and other natural objects grew and changed and moved just as do trees and animals and men. The Maori Rangi, the heavens, was a thinking, living being, having its own peculiar form. In TahitiTaa-roa, the creator, was thought to have human form.

The Polynesian recognized the regularity of nature — day follows night, stars move across the heavens, seeds grow into plants, waves respond to the wind — and explained it by the belief that the forces of nature, each an independent living thing, worked in harmony with each other.

Polynesian Mythology – What Polynesians Believed

Mana

Every human being, every god and spirit, every animal and plant, every stone, every star, every hill and valley, differed from every other in its class, because each had a different amount and a different kind of mana. The power and dignity of a sacred chief was his mana, part of which he inherited from his godlike ancestors. The mana of the priest was shown by his knowledge of things to come and of how the people should act. He obtained his mana by study and by rites which brought him close to powerful spirits.

The mana of the orator, the poet, and the teacher, the fisherman, the canoe builder, the house builder, and the farmer was shown by his skill. The unjust ruler, the dishonest priest, the unskillful workman were said to have lost their mana through some ignoble action or perhaps never to have had mana. Some weapons and tools had mana. A canoe without mana could not be swift, and fishhooks without mana were not of much use. For the Maori some streams, mountains, and lakes had mana which made them beautiful places and enabled them to protect, comfort, and bring good luck to those who stayed among them.

The Polynesians did not separate what we call natural from what we call supernatural. To them everything in the world -gods, men, animals, heavenly bodies, islands, wind, rain, rocks, mountains, valleys, and sea — are related because they all descended generation after generation from a “Sky Father” and an “Earth Mother.”

Tapu

Polynesian religion recognized things and actions which were holy, sacred, and good, and things and actions which were unholy, common, or bad. To mark the difference and to see that these differences were accepted by the people, the system of tapu (otherwise taboo or tabu — in Hawaiian, kapu) was established. The chief was tapu because he represented the sacred god, and everything connected with worship was tapu. In some islands the chief was so sacred that to come within his shadow might mean death.

Throughout Polynesia places of worship were tapu except for those who were specially set apart to act in the services. Religious services were tapu, and while some of them were being performed all work was forbidden. Fish caught was tapu until some had been offered to the gods who assisted in the successful catch. Some things were marked tapu merely for the personal benefit of the chief or priest. Evil spirits and unclean things were also tapu and must not be touched under pain of disaster and death. In general women were considered inferior to men and were forbidden by tapu to enjoy certain foods and certain pleasures which men might freely enjoy.

The Chief

The central figure in Polynesian worship was the chief who combined the offices of leader and priest. The people thought of him as divinely born and therefore believed him to represent the gods from which he came and the people over whom he ruled. Through him the tribe might approach the gods, and through him the gods spoke to the tribe. Because of his close relations with the gods, this sacred chief was supposed to be able to prevent droughts, famine, failure of crops, and other disasters, and if these disasters came the chief was supposed to be careless or guilty. The chief therefore must be wise and strong and generous. He must take great care of himself, and his people must see that he lived safely and in comfort. From his birth he was treated as sacred. He had special food, special companions, and lived in a special place.

The position of the sacred chief was not the same in all the Polynesian islands. In some he owned all the land and all the people. His person was so sacred that no one could touch his body or his clothes or come within his house without fear of death, and when he went out the people who saw him. must cease work, remove their clothing, and remain bowed down until he had passed. In other islands the chief had much less religious power, and in some islands the chief was merely the leader, religious rites being performed by priests.

Souls lived after death

The Polynesians believed that the souls of men continued to live after the death of the body and had power to aid or injure the families to which they belonged. Departed spirits were thought to be still members of the family or tribe to which they belonged on earth. At some places in Polynesia the spirit of almost every person was represented by a relic which was sacred.

Especially the bones of human beings were considered sacred and protected by a tapu to prevent injury to them. They were concealed in caves, hidden away among rocks or in the dense jungles, or placed within inclosures which no one could enter. The burial places of tens of thousands of bodies are no longer known. The head, which was supposed to be the most sacred part of the body, was especially preserved and guarded.

Places of worship

In all the Polynesian islands are places of worship, some of them protected by an inclosing wall. In them were houses for the priests and places for holding ceremonies. On the walls and within the inclosure were images, and somewhere near was a place for the bones of sacrifices. In Hawaii these places of worship are known as heiaus. In them services were held for many purposes, such as preparations for war, thanks to the gods for a good harvest, and to overcome the sickness of a ruler. There were different prayers, different chants, and different sacrifices for each occasion.

A higher god

The Polynesians believed in a god who was above all images and chiefs. Among the Maoris he was called Io and was considered so sacred that his name could be spoken only by priests and then only in the depths of the forest far away from men.

Cook Islands with Tropical Beaches

Cook Islands with Tropical Beaches

New Zealand is a very long way away, the end of the line, as şt was for the migrating Polynesians called Maoris, or the now flightless national bird, the kiwi. A country in such a position ought to be rather special. New Zealand is. It has some of the most magnificient and dramatic natural features in the world. In the South Island, the Alpine peaks of Mount Cook and its neighbours (all over 10,000 feet) look like Switzerland, as they point to the sky over snowfield and glaciers glisten on their slopes. Yet, nearby, the towering walls of the fjords are like Norway and in Rotorua a thermal region displays bursting gaysers, bubbling mud pools and hissing boiling lakes.

New Zealand has been discovered and rediscovered – first by the Maoris, a Polynesian people arrived 600 years ago from the Pacific in seven long canoes. They called the land Aoterea – the own language, music and culture. Then in 1642 the white man – called the land New Zealand after his own province in his native Holland. But he did not settle, nor did Captain Cook who came briefly more than 100 years later. Not until 1840 did the British arrive to stay, and they drew up the Treaty of Waitangi to share Britain – the institutions and way of life are British, and everywhere there is an agreeable informal friendliness that makes the visitor welcome.