Since we first visited French Polynesia and the Marquesas Islands in 2018, we’ve been working on a series of films to share some of the personal stories that people shared with us. The series is taking shape, so here’s a summary of the episodes we are working on …
Overview: This series delves into Marquesan culture by listening to the stories people want to tell about their lives. From one person to the next, these films explore tradition, colonization, loss, and joy in the Marquesas Islands of French Polynesia.
Episode One with Debora Kimitete: We visit the sacred site of Koueva on Nuku Hiva, a site dedicated to Debora’s husband, Lucien. He was critical to the resurgence of Marquesan culture, and he disappeared without a trace in an airplane crash in 2002.
Episode Two with Nicolas Haiti: On Nuku Hiva, the Haiti family runs a coconut drying oven that supports the livelihoods of 50 local families. As we watch each step of the process, Nicolas shows us that work, and a sense of home, can be found on the land itself.
Episode Three with Teiki Huukena: From his first tattoo at the age of 14, Teiki has been studying Patutiki (Marquesan tattoo), including the traditional symbols and their correct placement on the body. His own skin is a record of this journey.
Episode Four in Hapatoni: Tehautetua Tauhiro and his family are the cultural guardians of their valley. Through daily activities, art, and music, this generation of leaders demonstrates the power of strengthening culture by sharing it.
After three years traveling the Arctic with a project called Meet the North, Jennifer began visiting French Polynesia in 2018.
This project was made possible with the support of Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic, National Geographic Partners, and private donations.
Getting beyond the map
“I love maps, and I recognize how powerful they are in shaping our understanding of the world. They may inspire us to explore, but they also constrain us. While an image of the world can guide us, we must know when to leave it behind.”