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Mel Kernahan

Mel Kernahan now a journalist in California, was the first woman ever selected by the Cook Islands Government to hold the post of public information officer. White Savages in the South Seas, a study of Polynesia, has just appeared from Verso.

Diary: Nuclear Tests in Tahiti

Mel Kernahan, 5 October 1995

‘Tahiti Nui’ is a sad song. It’s been going through my head the last few days in Marie Mariterangi’s voice – a sad throaty, Tauamotuan voice, stilled for ever now by cancer. You don’t hear ‘Tahiti Nui’ much anymore in the islands. It’s an old song, a lament that dates back to phosphate mining days on Makatea Island in the Fifties. When you hear Marie wail it, you want to wail it too, even if you don’t understand the words.’

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