Tahiti peninsula

taiarapu-panorama

The Tahiti peninsula is divided into two townships, i.e. East Taiarapu and West Taiarapu, and six associate townships covering 320 sq. km (population 18,545)². Mount Roniu is the highest point at 1332 m. The Taravao isthmus that separates the peninsula from the rest of Tahiti lies across from the Taravao plateau, a huge tract of farming land with a cool climate and mountain flora.

The landscape becomes less built up going towards the east and 20 km from Taravao, the terrain becomes wilder on both sides, i.e. the “fenua aihere”. The main access is usually by sea, although a small unsealed track also leads there.

                          carte-taiarapu

The Tahiti peninsula is divided into two townships, i.e. East Taiarapu and West Taiarapu, and six associate townships covering 320 sq. km (population 18,545)². Mount Roniu is the highest point at 1332 m. The Taravao isthmus that separates the peninsula from the rest of Tahiti lies across from the Taravao plateau, a huge tract of farming land with a cool climate and mountain flora. The landscape becomes less built up going towards the east and 20 km from Taravao, the terrain becomes wilder on both sides, i.e. the “fenua aihere”. The main access is usually by sea, although a small unsealed track also leads there.

Environmental description:

In marine terms, Taiarapu primarily consists of standard high-island lagoon features with its well-developed barrier and fringing reefs. The area, however, holds rich and varied habitats including shoals (in northern Taravao and the Pari) and brackish water lagoons near the Taravao Isthmus. The peninsula is also one of few places in French Polynesia where sea fans are found. Beyond the fenua aihare and lagoon area lies the Pari in the far eastern sector, a protected natural area listed since 1964. It is also the location of some extremely well-preserved cultural and archaeological heritage. In addition to the Pari, two category-three natural monuments in French Polynesia’s cultural heritage have been listed, namely Vahi Waterfall and Vaipoiri Cave.

Social and economic description:

 There is currently a broad range of industries on Tahiti-Ini based on extensive agriculture that encompasses the Taravao Plateau (egg production, dairy farming and animal feed) and the Tautira and Teahupoo Plains. The Tahiti Peninsula is also where the first aquaculture projects were set up and the Ifremer Tahiti Centre has been based at Vairao for 40 years. The country’s Vaia CTA (aquaculture applied research facility) has also been operating within the aquaculture division there since last year. The peninsula also has a recently-built industrial area in Taravao Harbour. Homestay tourist accommodation is also well established there, because of the many trekking trails and dive and surf spots as well as the mythic Teahupoo wave.

                                               teahupoo

SWOT Analysis for the Taiarapu Site, French Polynesia

Strengths

-     Natural abundance (lagoon, Fenua Aihere & rivers)

-     Culturally rich

-     Fertile soil

-     Good cultural and environmental information on the site

-     General land use planning scheme currently being finalised

-     Traditional practices recognised by regulations, a rahui (fishing reserve) has been set up

-     Many large, well-organised associations (environment and culture)

-     Good public-private synergy

-     High community demand for regulation

-     Far from the city

-     Sparsely settled

-     Primary-sector oriented population

-     Restricted access to the Fenua Aihere

-     Young, active community

-     Tourist industry potential (trekking)

-     Variety of economic activities

-     IFREMER and Aquaculture Technical Centre locally established

-     Organic farming locally practised

-     Training organisations locally available

-     Huge marine area with development prospects

-     Symbolically significant sites (Teahupoo wave)

Weaknesses

-   Lack of funding

-   Lack of human resources in government agencies

-   Uncoordinated environmental monitoring networks

-   East and West unequally developed

-   Farming and aquaculture have an impact on the lagoon

-   Conflict over fishing grounds

-   Urban development

-   Waste processing on the Fenua Aihere

-   Inadequate economic development / few jobs

-   Market gardening and fisheries produce sales

-   Far from urban areas; restricted access (few roads)

-   Lack of consultation between municipal areas and at peninsula level

-   Cultural sites not sufficiently developed

-   Dangers on the Te Pari pathway

-   Fishing regulations and environmental code enforcement

-   Lagoon resource depletion

-   Little scientific research

The main challenge selected by INTEGRE on this site is sustainable lagoon use development involving:

  • effective control over land-based pollution before it reaches the lagoon, particularly from farming and aquaculture;
  • developing sustainable economic activities in the lagoon area; and
  • setting up natural and cultural resource management measures and suitable site-level governance.

Actions approved for this site: 

  • Lessen the impact of human pressures on the site’s environment

1. Develop tools to support organic farming and contribute to a better management of waste generated by farming activities; set-up a common composting station for organic farmers of the Peninsula; develop organic fertilization « recipes » (NGO BioMarama).

2. Design a system for treating prawn farming ponds(Société AQUAPAC).

3. Clean up the shoreline using Tautira youth: awareness, cleaning, wood recycling (NGO Te Ao Uri Community).

  •  Support the creation and operations of natural and cultural resource management areas

1. Support the launch and effective management of the protected natural resource area (rahui) in Fenua Aihere: mark the protected area and set-up awareness signs (Environment department)

2. Manage traffic to and from the Aoma river: carry out an appraisal of the river, develop a trail and set-up signs, train guides and raise awareness in schools (Toahotu town council).

3. Protect and develop the archaeological and anthropological sites on the land side of the Maraetiria rahui area at Faaroa on the Fenua Aihere: undertake resaerch activities, train teenagers in awareness raising about cultural and environmental heritage (Culture and Heritage department)

  • Contribute to sustainably developing the site

Develop a rahui network at Tairapu (participatory appraisal and management plan) (CRIOBE, Culture and Heritage department)

Contracts for approved actions are being signed. News actions are being developed notably on developing integrated environmental monitoring and a small-scale and low technology aquaculture project. They will be submitted and discussed during a next local committee taking place early December.

Pacific territories’ initiative for regional management of the environment

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