a multidisciplinary cross-cultural IMMERSION for teens
Dear voyagers, we are so delighted to welcome you to our sacred island, Moorea. Named after the Polynesian term for youth, the Tama program has been created with love for our islands, respect for our people and ancestors, and devotion to the next generation.
The Tama program is designed and led by an extraordinary duo with over 40 years of experience on the island of Moorea.
Born and raised in French Polynesia, Alexandrine is on a mission to help visitors step away from the clichéd postcard images of the islands to experience them in a more authentic way. She spent years learning about sustainable tourism while working with multinational hotel groups and attending a program with Harvard University. Now, as CEO of Nani Travels, Alexandrine partners with NGOs and communities to preserve cultural and environmental heritage while enabling visitors to immerse themselves and contribute in ways that change lives.
As Deputy Director of the UC Berkeley Gump Station, Hinano leads the facility’s public outreach programs. She also serves as President of the Te Pu Atitia Association, in which capacity she manages the Atitia Center, occupying 3-hectares of the UC Gump property. Hinano is well known in French Polynesia for her work on cultural preservation. She was a key adviser to Disney to ensure that the movie Moana was respectful of Tahitian and broader Polynesian culture. HInano previously served as Technical Advisor for French Polynesia’s Minister of Education.
Each week has a distinct theme, culminating in a holistic picture of the natural and cultural environment of Moorea.
Week 1: Familiarity
The first week is focused on gaining familiarity with each other, the staff, and the unique part of the globe that we will inhabit together for the next month. Each teen will be asked to give a casual presentation regarding where they are from, who they are, etc. Educational content will focus on Polynesian history so youth can have a solid grounding in how French Polynesian society came to be. Activities will include paddling Polynesian outrigger canoes, sailing traditional Polynesian boats, snorkeling, and learning about Tahitian cultural traditions such as music and dance. Scuba training will take place during two afternoons.
WEEK 2: ocean
The theme during the second week will be the ocean. During the morning on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, biologists will talk with participants about the marine ecology of Moorea, which is recognized as an unusually resilient coral reef ecosystem; participants will learn about the factors that underpin this resilience. During the afternoons there will be lectures and hands-on training regarding traditional Polynesian sailing techniques, including navigation and how Polynesians lived on boats during migrations. In addition, participants will get more opportunities to practice paddling outrigger canoes (known as va'a) in the lagoon.
Week 3: island
The theme during the third week will be the island. Participants in the Tama program will learn about terrestrial ecology from biologists and botanists. During the morning there will be interactive lectures on flora and fauna, including medicinal plants and preparation of traditional remedies. There will also be guided hikes through the rainforest, visiting an ancient Polynesian temple ("marae"). Wednesday will be focused on scuba training.
week 4: culture
The last week will be focused on culture. During the mornings there will be interactive lectures on various aspects of French Polynesian society, including government, politics, and economy. Participants will also learn firsthand about the role of dance, music and tatoos in Polynesian culture. The week will culminate in completion of scuba dive training and preparation of a traditional ahima'a feast and Heiva Nui celebration for parents, teens and kids.
This section describes important elements of how the Tama program will be executed.
Nani Travels is French Polynesia's first inbound tour operator specialized in sustainable development. Nani Travels developed the Tama program by collaborating with Working Without Borders to design a profound interaction between the people of two cultures - one that inspires and reconnects locals to their roots and fosters a future generation of cultural and environmental leaders. Nani Travels will serve as master of ceremony and be on-the-ground each day to ensure smooth functioning of the program.
The UC Gump Station has been providing exceptional educational opportunities to college students for over 30 years. Now, the Gump Station is enabling an extraordinary learning experience for teenagers. The Tama program draws on the interdisciplinary research carried out at the Gump Station as well as the traditional wisdom of the Polynesian people. The incorporation of cultural and traditional aspects into the Tama program is made possible through the partnership between UC Berkeley and the Tahitian community via the Atitia Center. Located on 3 hectares at the Gump Station, the Atitia Center fosters programs on marine and terrestrial biodiversity, Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK), culture, conservation and the relationship between human societies and natural ecosystems. The Atitia Center will serve as a frequent meeting place.
Mornings will typically include interactive lectures and discussions led by well-known local experts in their field. Instructors will come from a variety of disciplines in accordance with each weekly theme. They will be selected in part based on their ability to tailor content for high school students. Most lectures will be given in English though some will be in Polynesian, with Nani Travels providing translation. From international marine researchers to professors from the local university and renowned cultural figures, participants will get to learn from the most knowledgeable people in French Polynesia in the inspiring setting of the Atitia Center and numerous other spots on the island.
Teens will experience a wide range of outdoor activities, including paddling traditional outrigger canoes, sailing, snorkeling, coral gardening, hiking, palm leaf weaving, tapa making, preparing traditional remedies, and playing local and international sports. Each activity will relate to an educational topic: marine biology, Polynesian history, etc. Many of the activities will be held at the Atitia Center and other areas of the Gump Station. Every day from 3 to 4pm, teens will participate in an activity that will remain a mystery for the parents (until the final farewell celebration!).
Teens will go on field trips around the island, as well as into the lagoon and the ocean beyond, to learn firsthand about the scientific and cultural topics covered in the morning lectures: Visiting an ancient Polynesian temple while learning about fascinating aspects of Polynesian history. Picnicking on one of the prettiest beaches of Moorea while learning about the marine life offshore. So many meaningful experiences await the young participants.
Every Wednesday will focus on scuba training. During the first week participants will experience a scuba “baptism”, meaning an outing to the lagoon whereby a diving instructor examines each participant’s diving skills in a controlled and safe environment. Participants will then experience 6 certified dives during the following three Wednesdays to earn Open Water certification. In between the two dives each Wednesday, participants will have time to study for their final test.