Island of Coral
Tiga is a tiny island that stretches over 6 kilometers, and its highest point rises 76 meters above sea level. From afar, Tiga looks like a dome amidst the waves. Its specific and recognizable bulging shape is the subject of a tribal legend, passed on from generation to generation. It tells the story of a rat chased by the inhabitants of Lifou. In order to escape it assailants, the animal climbed on top of a rock called Taetawanod. The rat cried and cried until a turtle agreed to carry it on its back and swim to Maré. But the turtle played a trick on the rat and stopped swimming halfway…and that is how the turtle turned into Tiga.
The island is located halfway between Maré and Lifou. Administratively, it depends on Lifou. The island only counts one tribal village of about 150 people who live in the north-east of the island and are members of the Lössi district. Tiga can be reached thanks to Air Loyauté’s “Ieneic”, a Twin Otter.
To the rhythm of tradition
Life on Tiga follows its own pace. Light years away from mainland, the most discreet of Loyalty Islands doesn’t have running water or electricity. Its inhabitants carry on tradition and customs as they enjoy peaceful days. Though Tiga is somewhat self-sufficient, it still relies on supplies from other islands. The village, made up of modest homes and traditional huts, can be reached thanks to an asphalt road…though cars are rare on the island! Water supplies are kept in tanks and each home is equipped with solar panels, thereby providing enough energy to run a fridge, a small freezer, household appliances and a television! When the weather isn’t sunny enough or when rain sets in, the Si Toka (inhabitants) rely on candles for light…just as their ancestors did. Around 1840, the British were the first Europeans to come to Tiga. Locals have since remained Protestant. A church stands proudly in the middle of the tribal village, just nearby the community center where women gather on weekends. They prepare common meals and play Bingo.