Proposed Zoning for Rāhui Nui nō Tuha’a Pae
The five inhabited islands of French Polynesia’s Austral archipelago—Rimatara, Rurutu, Tubuai, Raivavae, and Rapa—have come together to propose to the central government in Tahiti that a large, highly protected marine reserve be created in their waters. If approved by the government, the reserve could be the largest in the world at a potential 1 million square kilometers.
The marine sanctuary would be named Rāhui Nui nō Tuha’a Pae, or “the big rāhui of the Austral Islands,” a Tahitian reference to the traditional Polynesian practice of restricting access to an area or resource to conserve it. Establishing this sanctuary would help promote the unique culture and heritage of the Austral Islands far beyond the boundaries of the archipelago—and beyond the waters of French Polynesia.