Garlands and fragrances
Wallis and Futuna
Garlands and Fragrances
Wallis and Futuna are blessed with a rare and precious natural heritage of plants and flowers. You’ll be bewitched by the delicious scent of floral garlands as soon as you set foot on the islands. Flower necklaces are an art of being and a way of life in Wallis & Futuna, worn at work, to attend a meeting and even to sit your high school diploma!
The first fragrance to beguile you will be a garland of tiaré blossoms, different from Tahitian necklaces. Over time, you will come to recognise the rich variety of the garlands of scented plants and flowers only found in these islands.
A garland for every day...
Some people claims that there are as many different flower necklaces as there are days in the year...
Koli, mapa, pua, paogo, higano, heahea, hea… All names of fragrant endemic flowers and plants unique to Wallis and Futuna. Local craftswomen will be only too delighted to explain how they make garlands, every single day, for family and friends.
And don’t be surprised if someone offers you his or her necklace: it is friendly symbol of greeting and welcome to someone from afar.
There are flower bouquets everywhere: at the start of every day, bouquets of tropical flowers in restaurants and hotels enchant you with a rainbow of sun-kissed colours wafting you to exotic faraway shores...
a natural heritage
The fragrance most characteristic of Wallis and Futuna is that of the kahoa kakala.
According to Randy Thaman, ethnobiologist and environmental researcher at the University of the South Pacific, Wallis and Futuna are the only Pacific islands where plant populations and traditional skills for crafting kahoa kakala have been 100% preserved.
A kakala garland includes up to 17 different plants, and family skills and knowledge are passed down from mother to daughter.
In some other Pacific Region countries, plastic flowers are now used to make necklaces.
The kahoa kakala is a natural heritage which the Wallisians and Futunans are determined to protect. You won’t be able to take a kahoa kakala home with you but you’ll always remember its bewitching fragrance.