Ua Huka and its magnificent arboretum
Ua Huka – the open crescent-shpade island in the North of the Marquesas, has a myriad of tropical treasures nested in an absolutely authentic natural environment. The queen island of “Tapa” – fabric made up of barks of trees such as banyan trees, is also covered with splendid hills which form a playing field for the animals living and running around freely there.
This splendid mystical place is the sanctuary of an incredible arboretum – a paradise for tropical plants. Located at Papuhakeikaha, this 17-hectare botanical reserve was created in 1974 to fight against deforestation and the impoverishment of the island’s vegetation, which is the result of Ua Huka’s climate, but also due to the overpopulation of goats, horses and boars.
The arboretum has over a thousand endemic species of fruit trees and trees from all over the world. You will be able to see the Marquesan palm tree, the Hokatu papaw tree, the Veveke breadfruit tree, the “tau” (cordia subcordata), the “miro” or pink tree, the badamier, the Tiare Tahiti, the mango tree, the bamboo, the ylang-ylang tree, the vanilla plant, the coffee tree, the lotus, the soursop tree, the calabash tree, the carambola tree, the star apple tree, the macadamia tree, etc.
Its citrus fruit plantation (lemon, grapefruit, tangerine, etc) is one of the largest in the world with nearly 300 varieties of which 28 are marketed. When the plantation was founded it has been decided that this tropical reserve could be used by all the islanders in order for them to their lands and thus to take part in the vegetal repopulation.
Being a real research laboratory, the arboretum of Ua Huka also contributes to the economic development of the island with a factory of fruit transformation set up not far away which makes jams, candied fruits, fruit pastes and chutney etc. A beautiful harmony between nature and human needs…
A stone “tiki” (a human or divine representation carved in stone or wood) has also been placed in the arboretum and watches over this magical and absolutely marvellous place.