Tahiti peninsula

Teahupoo Presquîle de Tahiti 20560

The Tahiti Peninsula pilot site contains listed natural landscapes and remarkably well-preserved archaeological sites, but the land and lagoon equilibriums are under threat from the urban sprawl, pollution and booming farming and aquaculture. INTEGRE supported public policy enacted in recent years to help sustainably manage natural and cultural resources on the peninsula in an integrated manner.

INTEGRE was part of a multi-stakeholder networking and consultation process and aims to develop sustainable environmental management in this fragile and remote island group.

A regional methodology workshop was held in Noumea in February 2014 for all project partners. A SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) analysis was conducted as a project diagnostic tool and planning aid and was completed during the 1st local site committee meeting the following month.

This analysis helped better define the project strategy and make future activities more consistent. The major issue is to sustainably manage the peninsula's natural and cultural resources. The specific objectives selected for the site project were as follows :

  • Mitigate the impact of man-made environmental pressure, particularly silt pollution from farming and aquaculture
  • Introduce natural and cultural resource management measures and site-appropriate governance
  • Help develop sustainable economic activities

 

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Geography :

Some 50 km to the southeast of the capital, Papeete, lies the Tahiti Peninsula, also known as Tahiti Iti or Little Tahiti. It is joined to the rest of Tahiti by the Taravao isthmus and the town with the same name. Highly varied, often spectacular and still preserved landscapes can be seen on the peninsula ranging from the vast Taravao farming tableland reminiscent of the Normandy plains to the rugged inland peaks and deep, narrow, green valleys. Mount Roniu rises to 1,332 m. On either side of Taravao, the urban area gradually gives way to wilder areas some 20 km away that are mainly accessed by sea. Tahiti Peninsula has a population of 18,545.

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Economy : 

Tahiti has a diverse economy. The fertile Taravao plateau is the powerhouse of commercial farming, where egg and pig farms, dairy herds producing locally marketed Vai Ora fresh milk, vegetable crops and fresh flowers jostle for space. The plateau also hosts an aquaculture industry based on innovations and transfers from Ifremer (French Marine Industry Research Institute) and the CTA (Aquaculture Technical Centre). Taravao Harbour also has an industrial zone, including a noni-juice factory and shipbuilding facilities. In less urban areas, family-run leisure businesses dominate, delighting walking, diving and surfing enthusiasts drawn by the legendary Teahupoo wave.

Pêche Teahupoo

Biodiversity and Environmental Pressure :

In the sea, Taiarapu Peninsula has a standard high-island lagoon with well-developed barrier and fringing reefs. Tahiti Iti is one of few places in French Polynesia with gorgonian coral. The shoals in northern Taravao, Pari and the brackish-water lagoons near Taravao isthmus diversify and enrich these remarkable habitats.

Te Pari on the peninsula’s eastern point is one of nine listed natural landscapes in French Polynesia due to its cultural and archaeological value with its marae, petroglyphs and legendary sites. Vahi Waterfall and Vaipoiri Cave are also protected sites.

There are several threats to the integrity of this outstanding, heritage including inadequate management of activity in the watersheds, e.g. pesticides used in farming, the growing urban sprawl from Taravao town and lagoon resource over-harvesting.

News 10 Un Puna ou pierre à thon

Local governance arrangements :

Management plans have been developed in recent years under several programmes with targeted funding so as to work towards the common goal of mitigating environmental impacts and preserving natural environments. Strengths and opportunities are summarized below :

  • An Environment Code Class VI protected natural-resource area was set up in 2014 following a request by Teahupoo residents. It is better known as Teahupoo rahui. A management committee has been set up
  • The erosion hazard was assessed by classifying the plant cover and a baseline study conducted on fertiliser and pesticide use under IRD’s GERSA component of CRISP (Coral Reef Initiative for the South Pacific)
  • A general land-use scheme (PGA) is currently being developed in West Taiarapu township
  • The Rahui Research Programme conducted from 2008 to 2011 yielded the information required to set up the Teahupoo rahui. It set out to study land and lagoon natural resource management methods against the backdrop of French Polynesia’s cultural and legal pluralism. It also aimed at proposing forward-looking assessments for striking a balance between sustainable resource management and cultural identity.

A regional methodology workshop was held in Noumea in February 2014 for all project partners. A SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) analysis was conducted as a project diagnostic tool and planning aid and was completed during the 1st local site committee meeting the following month.

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To achieve these objectives, an action plan was developed based on three activity groups :

Activité 1 . Mitigate environmental impact

INTEGRE supports the following project :

  • Provide resources for developing organic farming and properly managing farm waste

Provisional Amount : XPF 10 million / € 84 000

Operators : Biomarama Association

For more details, consulte Activity statement

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Acitivité 2. Introducing natural and cultural resource management measures

INTEGRE supports the following projects :

  • Setting up a protected natural resource area or rahui at Fenua ‘aihere
  • Managing traffic on Aoma River
  • Preserving and showcasing archaeological sites in the Maraetiria protected-area watersheds in Faaroa eu Fenua ‘aihere

Provisional Amount : XPF 10 million / € 84 000

Operators : DIREN / West Taiarapu Municipality / Culture and Heritage Department

For more details, consulte Activities statement :

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Activité 3. Help develop sustainable activities in the lagoon

INTEGRE supports the following projects :

  • Support for setting up a rahui network in collaboration with stakeholders
  • Developing low-cost aquaculture methods for marketing and reseeding purposes
  • Harmonising environmental monitoring networks as part of a participatory approach.

Provisional Amount : XPF 52 million / € 435 000

Operators : Department of Culture and Heritage, CRIOBE and municipalities / French Polynesia Aquafarmers’ Association / Office of Marine and Mining Resources

For more details, consulte Activities statement :

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Synthesis planned activities on the site :

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INTEGRE project is working towards the following objectives :

  • Assisting with sustainable economic development, particularly in tourism
  • Helping control man-made threats.
  • Boosting the participatory management process and involving local stakeholders more effectively
  • Contributing to sustainable integrated natural and cultural resource management

On the site of the peninsula of Tahiti, the balance of the activities is the following one :

- PF - C2T1 : Reduction of the impact of anthropogenic pressures on the site environment

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One of the actions relating to the design of water purification systems for shrimp basins, carried out by the Environment Department and validated within the framework of this activity, has been cancelled. A budget of 33.500€ had initially been allocated. Following a change of direction in the environment, the new team did not consider it appropriate to carry out this activity, which involved a private partner. So the funds were reallocated.

As regards the actions carried out, it is interesting to note that the BioMarama association can be assimilated to a FEC (Farm Equipment Cooperative) even if it is not registered in French Polynesia in this form. The shared use of agricultural equipment is still poorly developed in the country, despite the existence of this type of cooperative in Polynesian law. However, it makes it possible to acquire equipment that is difficult to amortize on a single farm scale. The operation established by the BioMarama association can provide an interesting example for farmers wishing to share the costs of agricultural equipment. 

Concerning the unfinished activity of the association Te Ao Uri, these are the risks inherent to the implementation of a participatory project. It was difficult to anticipate the tensions that emerged within the association that had been supported by the Department of Culture and Heritage. At the beginning of the INTEGRE project, while most of the proposed activities concerned the commune of Taiarapu-Ouest, an activity proposal of the association Te Ao Uri, resulting from the 2nd commune of the site, Taiarapu-Est, was considered interesting so that the benefits of the project could be distributed more equitably.

For more details, consulte Activity statement     

- PF - C2T2 : Support for the establishment and functioning of natural and cultural resource management areas

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The study on the development of the Aoma valley is currently leading to the development of a recreation area near the lower part of the river. This work, implemented by the Environment Department, is financed by the French Ministry of Ecology.

They will lead to the construction of a rest area where information panels on the ecology of the river will be installed. An access to the river will allow to observe eels, emblematic fauna of Polynesian rivers. However, this funding did not allow the development of an access trail to the waterfall in the valley due to the land status of the lands crossed. The Country cannot indeed carry out developments on private land. It is up to the municipality to negotiate transfer agreements with the owners and to carry out capital improvements. Thanks to the studies carried out, the municipalities and stakeholders concerned have all the maps in hand to develop these trail projects and create an economic activity.

For more details, consulte Activity statement

- PF - C2T3 : Contribution to the sustainable development of the site

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Beyond the concrete implementation of 3 "rahui", the project led by the Institute of Coral Reefs of the Pacific made it possible to sensitize elected officials and local actors to environmental issues and the administrations involved, particularly the Marine Resources Department, to the socio-cultural dimension of resource management and economic development. The alchemy between science and culture worked perfectly. The factor of this success undoubtedly lies in the choice of the team led by a Polynesian anthropologist from the site, himself supported by a multidisciplinary research center, the CRIOBE. This same team had already been involved in the implementation of the "rahui" of Teahupoo, perceived as a success by the population, and had already forged bonds of trust and respect with the actors of the site.

Work on the control of Marava breeding must continue even if the progress made during the project is very significant. If the technique is mastered, costs must be further reduced, in particular through the production of a local food.  Concerning the re-seeding phase, the ecological and social impacts of the first release indicate that the Marava is an excellent candidate to carry out marine re-seeding campaigns. It is highly appreciated by fishermen but is declining sharply in the lagoons, which facilitates their mobilization to participate in re-seeding. Following the release, other associated communes have expressed their interest in setting up a release of livestock Marava in association with the presence or even establishment of marine protected areas. This project has thus highlighted the strong demand for such reseeding operations as well as the technical and socio-cultural potential of this species.

For more details, consulte Activity statement

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