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The Surprising Link Between Avatar and The Islands of Tahiti

November 22, 2019 Visit South Pacific No Comments Email Email

bora bora

Avatar is arguably one of the biggest films of recent times, and it’s hard to believe that next month marks its 10th anniversary.

One little known fact about the film is that one of the most crucial elements was actually inspired by producer James Cameron’s trip to Bora Bora in The Islands of Tahiti, and his chance encounter with one of the oldest Banyan trees in the islands.
Making its home within the Valley of the Kings, this particular banyan tree is the largest known in French Polynesia and possibly the Pacific. Surrounded by important archaeological sites including burial sites of the nobles and royals of the past, the tree is referred to as Tuma Ora (Tree of Life). Historically, Tahitians grew their hair in the belief it gave them strength, and many would come and sit on the stones beneath the tree with their hair connected to the banyan roots to give a sense of being connected to nature and their source.
It was to this tree that a local tour guide took Cameron. According to the tour guide, Cameron remained in the spot, quiet, for more than two hours, visibly moved by  his surroundings. The banyan tree, his experiences that day, and the legend of Tahitians connecting themselves to the tree, would all end up featuring in Avatar.
Bora Bora has long held a place as a dream destination for many travellers due to its overwater bungalows and pristine lagoon, but the history of the island, and the ancient stories that lie within its interior, including how it inspired one of the greatest films of our time, is another reason to put this incredible destination on your travel list.

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