Our farm

Picking a location for a pearl farm amongst the 118 different choices is not easy. Fortunately for us you can say that fate had its way.

My great grandfather owned schooners that sailed the many ports open for business at that time, selling everything from clothing, rice, dried foods and rhum, and taking back coprah and mother-of-pearl shells back to Tahiti. I remember my grandmother telling me how she became a seamstress at an early age, to make shirts for the Islanders.

One of his expeditions took him to Takaroa, where he purchased three motu, or small islands in that Atoll.

Fast forward to modern times, no one in the family really knew what motu he had purchased. They only knew that he had. After two years of digging in the office of land affairs I was able to piece together a coherent set of documents that proved my great grandfathers ownership.

French Poynesia Atoll
©TAHITI TOURISME / Jim Winter

Another battle then ensued to get the permits to begin oyster farming and pearl farming.

With papers and permit in hand we literally airdropped ourselves on one of the motu with two tons of gear and equipment, two boats, and a crew of 8.

That’s how it all began.

As we learned through hard lessons over time, we have to adapt constantly to the Natural imperatives as they change or evolve. For example, our lagoon’s ecosystem was drastically altered after the 2014 heat wave. As a result, certain species of fish abandoned the island to be replaced by others, and all shell life dwindled drastically. We had to readapt ourselves to these new imperatives by modifying how we intervened in the water. If you are not aware of these changing parameters, you die.

On land we try to give second and third lives to everything. We try not to throw anything away. Even broken buoys get a second life as planters. We reuse rope, recycle as much as possible, avoid plastic bottles and plant our own vegetables.

Nature and it’s impact on our daily lives. We try to live off the land and sea as much as is humanly possible. We try to go to the ship to buy as little as possible. We spear fish every Friday to fill our freezers which will nourish ourselves, the 8 cats and 13 dogs, and the family back home in Tahiti.

We try to be underwater every single day, whether it’s for work or leisure, a good way to keep an eye on things.

Alex Collins

@ TAHITI TOURISM / Grégoire Le Bacon

What most impacts us directly is lack of rain. We have gone through dry spells that lasted nearly 6 months. We have also watched powerless as hurricanes destroyed our farm several times.

It is a hard life, but a beautiful one and in this day in age with Pandemic’s and crazy people abroad, it is a paradise to behold.

©TAHITI TOURISME
©TAHITI TOURISME / Grégoire Le Bacon
©TAHITI TOURISME / Grégoire Le Bacon
©TAHITI TOURISME / Grégoire Le Bacon
We would like to thank Tahiti Tourism for the photos used in this section. If you want to know more about the nature and culture of the Tahitian Islands, visit The Islands of Tahiti.