culture birthday, there s always awhich or an event for we get special orders while the men are out fishing or working the taro fields, the women cut, boil, dry, smooth out and weave strands of peore, a species of pandanus. the women of rurutu are masters at the art of weaving. from moerai to avera via auti, at home or at the handicrafts fare, the mamas display their ancestral know-how. very often organized in associations, such as moerai s tuivao association, twice a year they export their creations to handicrafts fairs in papeete. the rest of the year they sell hats, peue and baskets to passing visitors, but mostly to the people of the island. there s always a birthday, or an event for which we get special orders says juliette while setting her strands , on a wood plank to make a placemat. they also send reels of dried peore to rurutu women living on the island of tahiti, women who do the weaving there and supply the papeete market. - years 7 - or 8titona, old girls practice by making long pandanus braids only a few centimeters wide weaving is learned from the earliest age. 7- or 8- years old girls practice by making titona, long pandanus braids only a few centimeters wide. once sewn together, they turn into hats. as experience sets in, the young women will move on to baskets, peue, then hats, which require the highest know-how. the quality of objects depends on the quality of pandanus strands. each island has its own secret to give pandanus a pretty color. in rurutu, once the central rib is removed and its tip cut off, the leaves are bleached by boiling with lemon and marseille soap. they are then tied in bundles and set out in the sun. it is not rare to see, by the side of houses, several bundles drying and waiting to be used. every night, several leaves are tenderized by smoothing them out with the edge of a knife. when they are ready, they are cut in various lengths according to the object being made no wasting. then, patiently, with a needle, the women cut thin strips out of the leaves in different widths, and make strands. color, for instance brown, will come from the bark of the fei tree (cooking banana). michou s peue, henriette s hat, eia s basket, tipora s checkbook cover and juliette s placemat will soon be displayed in the handicrafts fare of moerai or the island s airport. for each item, buyers will find, next to the price, the name of its creator. text & photos : muriel glaunec many thanks to juliette mateau, michou shi nog, eia manate, tipora miti and mireta teinauri for their warm welcome.