The Honotua Project


On Monday, March 1, 2010, Hawai‘i County Mayor Billy Kenoi, Vice President of French Polynesia, Edouard Fritch; Hawaii State Senator Kalani English, and other dignitaries from Tahiti marked the landing of a submarine cable linking the two countries. This is the first Polynesian submarine cable connecting French Polynesia (Tahiti) and the U.S. Its impact is much greater than the Tahitian public viewing high def CNN, National Geographic, or having 4g high speed internet.

The total length of the cable between French Polynesia and Hawai‘i Island is 3,107 Miles (5000 km). The greatest depth is 19,500 ft (6000 meters.) The name of the cable: Honotua.

“Hono translates to ‘link’ and Tua translates to ‘backbone, horizon at sea,’” said

Francois Voirin, Chairman of the Board of Office des postes et telecommunications (OPT). “Hawaiians and Tahitians have established links through voyaging canoes long before European explorers. Today, Honotua reestablishes this connection positioning both countries for improved communication technology entirely relevant for the information age.”

“The first ancestors of the Hawaiian people arrived from the South Pacific, more

specifically from Tahiti. It is an honor for our island to welcome this cable, Honotua, a physical link with our cousins,” said Kenoi.

The cable will allow economic exchange with high speed Internet connectivity between French Polynesia and Hawaii, the United States, and the world. It will dramatically improve communication services throughout all the islands of French Polynesia, and allow more affordable international broadband connectivity. Its implications in terms of distance learning, telemedicine, cultural exchange and e commerce are enormous. Pacific Network has been tracking this project for a year. We met the people behind this ambitious effort and they are Tahitians whose families are a mix of French, Italian, German, Chinese, Dutch, and most have roots that date back many generations in this region. They are a blending of different cultures with ancestors who found their way to this remote archipelago in the Pacific. The Honotua group understands who they are as Tahitians and the positive outcome of introducing such a powerful tool that will be made accessible to the other 61 countries in the Pacific region, an area that is often overlooked, misunderstood, and taken for granted by the rest of the world. I refer to the environmental damage that occurs throughout the beautiful Pacific region and to nuclear testing that has destroyed once pristine environments of ocean, reefs, and land. The impact on natural resources and the native people who depend on them are not limited just to French Polynesia and her neighbors in the Pacific. Honotua can be the tool that brings greater awareness to all.

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