A few months ago, our non-profit organisation, in partnership with french astronaut Thomas Pesquet (from the European Space Agency (ESA)), initiated a Great tale production contest, from which the winning production will be brought into space. It will then be read from space so that the slogan, « from ocean to Space, let’s preserve our blue planet », can resonate on earth and into the whole universe.
Thanks to Air Tahiti Nui, Vilebrequin and Pacsafe support, the organisation was able to undertake this project, which holds a message of hope towards sea turtles protection, these symbolic species in our polynesian waters.
In total, 14 tales were received : 13 from French Polynesia (Tahiti, Moorea, Fakarava and even Rurutu in the Marquesas Islands) and 1 from France –
A few weeks ago, the judging panel – composed of an artist, two environmental actors, a teacher, the Moorean educational district advisor, a representative of Moorea Maio municipality and members of the organisation – met to deliberate on the received productions. The panel selected the tale that will leave for space in November 2016 alongside with Thomas Pesquet, and will be read from aboard the ISS (International Space Station). Criterias included illustrations’ quality, polynesian cultural assets’ references, tale main aspect (magical, enchanting, etc), overall presentation, and also structure, grammar and spelling. After more than 3 hours of uninterrupted reading and discussions, it is « Le vœu de Mana » (“Mana’s wish”) which received unanimity. This tale was realized by a mother, Miriama and her daughter Papehau Seveno (11 years old), both originating from Moorea and living in Papetoai.
Miriama and her daugther Papehau wished to participate in the contest not only to better inform the readers on the necessity to protect sea turtles in Polynesia but also to expose and promote the richness of polynesian culture. Indeed, during her childhood, Papehau had participated many times in actions undertaken by the organisation, and had come with her class for educational programs.
Inspired by polynesian legends being passed down at all times by elders, they narrated Mana’s story, a polynesian young boy whose father Roimata, chief of a village, considered sea turtles’ meat a delicacy very much appreciated. Mana, who had ealier on befriended with a sea turtle, fights against his father to make him stop hurting this innocent species… but in vain… his father refuses…
One day, when Roimata was fishing, he brought back in his nets the largest sea turtle ever seen. He called his son to show it to him, but Mana was nowhere to be found. The chief of the village started spearing the poor sea turtle with all his strength… while the sea turtle was slowly dying, she started to turn into Mana’s body lifeless and blood-stained… Roimata realized he had just speared his own son, and fell on his knees crying and begging Mana to forgive him. He then promised in front of the entire village that if gods would give him back his son, he would never kill a sea turtle again. His tears, running down Mana’s body, healed up his injuries and brought him back to life. « To this day, and thanks to Mana, we never heard about sea turtle hunting again on the island ».
<< To read the tale Mana’s wish (only in French) : Le voeu de Mana
This is how the work « Mana’s wish » was awarded « œuvre lauréate du concours ». Invited at the organisation, in the company of jury members, Papehau and Miriama received their prize : not only will their creation be read from space, but also, they will discover the mainland and the Cité des Sciences thanks to the airline company Air Tahiti Nui’s support, an organisation willing to protect, preserve and save living species composing the richness of our polynesian natural environment.
Thomas Pesquet will leave for a mission aboard the ISS in November 2016 – the exact day will be communicated at a later date. He will then come to Polynesia in 2017 to meet with the winners and share his experience as an astronaut with polynesian kids during interventions he will perfom with the organisation. He will also give a general public conference to which we will not miss to invite you.
We deeply acknowledge all our partners, who allowed us to initiate this wonderful project aiming to help sea turtle conservation, all those who participated in the production of tales and entities who allowed us to organise the award ceremony : Air Tahiti Nui, Vilebrequin, Pacsafe, the Moorea Dolphin Center and the InterContinental Resort and Spa Moorea