French Polynesia/Raiatea: Hawaiki Nui Va’a Race

Hawaiki Nui Va’a is considered the most significant sporting event in French Polynesia – it’s an international annual outrigger canoe race that takes place over three stages. The first step is from the island of Huahine to Raiatea (45km), second is from Raiatea to Tahaa (22km, and the final leg from Tahaa to Bora Bora (58km). Teams from all over the world (Tahitian, Australian, Kiwi, American, French) compete in this. It’s bigger then the World Cup here! And I purely accidentally happened to be on Raiatea island when the canoes arrived! The canoes are 6-person state of the art sleek boats and there are 100 teams competing. The race days are official public holidays on the respective islands.