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Hinano Teavai-Murphy

Founder and President, Te Pu Atiti’a & Associate Director, UC Berkeley Gump Station

BACKGROUND / Academic and professional background 

– School teacher
– Education Advisor, Responsible for the promotion of Polynesian Language Teaching
– Technical Advisor for French Polynesia Minister of Education, Responsible for the implementation of English language in primary school
– Associate Director, UC Berkeley Gump Station

ACHIEVEMENTWhat is your project, initiative, start-up, company all about?

Te Pu Atiti’a is a community-based nonprofit organization dedicated to recovering, preserving, and enhancing the natural and cultural heritage of the islands of French Polynesia. Our vision is to inspire, form, and reconnect the next generation of Polynesian leaders with their biocultural heritage. At “Te Pu Atiti’a”, we understand the importance of protecting this rich heritage in building healthy, resilient, self-sufficient, and thriving island economies.

To pursue our vision, we create and implement educational programs on biodiversity, conservation, traditional knowledge, and Polynesian culture, for our schools and communities. We collaborate with the world’s top academic and conservation institutions, principally the UC Berkeley Gump Research Station, to develop and strengthen science-society collaborations for the integration of different knowledge systems and the creation of more participatory debates on the future we want. Such collaborations make possible the incorporation of cutting-edge knowledge and methodologies in our school programs.

As for current projects, the Gump Station, Te Pu Atitia and other institutions are working on the building of two digital representations (avatar) of the island of Moorea, with one based on the best scientific knowledge on the island (scientific avatar), and another one represented with all traditional knowledge (Polynesian avatar). We expect such breakthrough to have a significant impact on the way we design solutions and strategize for the preservation of the world’s biodiversity.

LOCATION / In which city, country, part of the world do you conduct your activities?

We are physically based on the island of Moorea, French Polynesia. Te Pu Atiti’a is based at the Atiti’a Cultural Center located on the UC Berkeley Gump Station. The Atitia Center consists of an ethnobotanic garden, fare pote’e (traditional Tahitian meeting house), interpretive center, and the waterfront of a marine reserve. The center is devoted to community outreach and educational activities. The center has also been formed to provide a physical space for the scientific and local experts to interact.

IMPACT / What is the positive economic, social, political, environmental … impact of your activity, project, initiative, start-up, company?

Given the trans-disciplinary nature of our work and our involvement in a global science and conservation network, our impact can be seen at different levels:
– we raise awareness on the natural and cultural diversity of our islands. One of the ways we achieve that is by bringing together students from different archipelagos. This expands the impact of our work to disconnected groups of French Polynesian islands.
– we introduce new pedagogical methodologies in the traditional school systems, blending hands-on and e-learning and using a cross-disciplinary approach
– we promote the integration of traditional knowledge into public policy. For instance, we are involved in discussions of land and lagoon management with the community and the government in order to bring traditional knowledge to bear on decisions pertaining to the development of terrestrial and marine protected areas.

QUOTE / A saying, quote or reference phrase that tells something about you

Ei aha e horo mai te tupa e nee ra mai ta te u’a. (Papa Matarau)
The land crab runs sideways and anxious from home to home while the hermit crab carries his home and moves wisely and patiently forward.” (Papa Matarau)