The origins of the tattoo
The word tattoo is derived from the French Polynesian word ta tau, which means ‘to write’. Tau used to be applied as an adolescent rite of passage, and today, Polynesia tattoos are regarded as an iconic expression of culture and beauty.
Hawaii, the island of long life
The people of Hawaii enjoy the highest life expectancy of any citizens in the United States. On average, men live to 76, and women live to 81.
The tiare is the national flower of French Polynesia and the Cook Islands. It’s the lily-white flower you see behind the ears of islanders. It’s common for women to wear a tiare behind their left ear if they’re in a relationship, and behind their right ear if they are single.
Of the 30,000 islands strewn across the Pacific Ocean, only around 2,000 are inhabited by humans. Of those inhabited, many are less than 10km2 in size. The calculations are rough, but it’s estimated the 7 million people who live in the Pacific are spread across 180 million square kilometres of ocean, which accounts for about 36% of the earth’s surface.
Moorea is known as the “Island of Love”, and Bora Bora as the “Romantic Island”. French and Tahitian are the official languages. Over half the population of these island locales – including greater French Polynesia – is under 20 years of age.
The black pearl
The French Polynesian black pearl, an iconic and precious keepsake adored by locals and tourists, is endemic only to the Tuamotu Islands.
Tahitian doesn’t have the letter B. Bora Bora is actually Pora Pora, which means “first born”. Bora Bora is a misheard name for the island.