By R. Bourdeix, V. Saena Tuia and Alofa Leuluaialii

This website returns the information collected during two scientific visits conducted in 2001 and 2010, on behalf the Ministry of Agriculture of Samoa, the International Coconut Genetic Resources Network, the Secretatiat of the South Pacific Community, the Global Crop Diversity Trust, Bioversity International and the French Centre for Agricultural Research and Development. The objective of the second visit was to secure the conservation of the famous Niu Afa cultivar, the longest coconut in the world.


Wednesday, March 3, 2010

A trip to Manono Island

It was initially planned to go to the islands of Apolima and Manono to discuss with villagers the opportunity to conserve there traditional Polynesian coconut Varieties. It was not possible in 2001 to visit Apolima, due to special church festivities during all the week. Anyway, we went to Manono Island on the March 10th 2010 and spent a nigth there. We brougth coconut seedlings to give to villagers.

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The following is based on the amalgamation of stories described from each village in Manono (Németh and Cronin, 2009). A long time ago Manono had plenty of water for drinking and bathing for everyone on the island. At that time, Manono was rich with flowering gardens and happy people. The nearby Apolima was, by contrast, a hostile island with only a monster in residence. Because Apolima had no water, the monster got really thirsty one hot day and decided to look for water on Manono. When he arrived he saw a beautiful lady washing her clothes in a running stream. The monster asked her for some water. The lady replied, “if you can finish all the water from this river, you can have it always”. The monster bent down and in one deep breath started to drink. The lady looked on in astonishment as the water gradually diminished, until the last of it was gone. The monster then shook his head, and smiled. As he shook his head, water dropped down from his mouth and face to form small pools on the ground. The monster returned to Apolima, and since then, people on Manono have only been able to source water from these pools


According to the following legends, the coconut varieties available in Manono and Apolima could be quite different. Due to lack of water in Manono, it may be found there varieties producing a large amount of coconut water, and in particular the famous variety named “Niu Vai”.

We tried to take in account the legends in order to propose a coconut conservation strategy: we suggested for Apolima to conserve Niu Afa, Manono to conserve Nui Vai, both producing natural hybrids. When we made the lecture in Manono, we brought some Niu Vai Seedlings to the people. But at the end of our lecture, Manono people said to us: We want to conserve there the Niu Afa variety, not the Niu Vai !


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A church destroyed
by the Tsumami



An old man trying to break
the rest of its church destroyed
by the Tsunami

In the village,
some of the oldest houses
seems to have been conceived
to resist the Tsunamis

The Coconut palms seems absent
But they are not far...

A Malayan Red Dwarf
In the wind
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One nigth spent
in the new hotel of the islando
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Hard wind and rain when coming back
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