Stories are made to be shared, and today I am proud to share my first series of documentary films with you. “Meet the Marquesas” is here!
These four short episodes focus on people we met in the Marquesas Islands of French Polynesia in 2018 and 2019. Our three-person team used a method I have come to love–asking for recommendations and following them, as spontaneously as possible, wherever they lead. Over a few magical weeks, we traveled between islands to visit sacred sites, stand in a coconut oven, study links between language and tattooing, and meet a new generation of cultural leaders.
I won’t say more! Please watch! These stories are led by Debora Kimitete, Nicolas Haiti, Teiki Huukena, Tehautetua Tauhiro and the village of Hapatoni. You can find all four episodes here.
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.
Please watch the credits to see the many people who contributed to this project.
The films’ director and director of photography is Matt Mastrantuono.
The photographer is Eric Guth.
Our gifted editor is Kyu Nakama, and Mireille Sylvester is our French language consultant.
This project was made possible by Lindblad Expeditions, National Geographic Partners, Mary Pigott, and the many, many people who told us their stories and who are listed at the end of each film.