We are honored to host Ereti Tekabaia during her 4-week work placement with the Pacific Islands Tourism Professional Fellowship Program. She serves as the Principal Tourism Officer of Kiribati National Tourism Office based on the island of Kiritimati, which is located 1,340 miles south-west of Hawaii, just a 3.5 hour flight away. Kiribati is a world-renowned fly-fishing hotspot, which accounts for 43% of its tourism. Individuals from around the world fill up one flight per week to target the Bonefish, Trigger Fish, and Giant Trevally. Keawe Adventures is excited to have a role in sharing our experiences in Hawaii’s Tourism Industry with an individual that will contribute to shaping tourism on Kiritimati for generations to come.
Kiritimati Island, also known as Christmas Island, is an atoll in the Northern Line Islands (equatorial islands), a part of the Republic of Kiribati comprised of 33 islands. Kiritimati atoll has the largest land area of any coral atoll in the world and comprises 70% of the total land area of Kiribati. The perimeter of this atoll is 93 miles, which include the flats and lagoon.
During the Cold War, the United States conducted 22 nuclear detonations as part of Operation Dominic, and the United Kingdom conducted its first successful hydrogen bomb test at Malden Island.
During World War II, 1941-1945, the Americans took over the island garrison to protect it from Japanese occupation and establish a potential airbase for the Japanese Airforce. The 102nd Infantry Regiment, a National Guard Unit from New Haven, Connecticut, was the first US force to occupy the islands. Kiritimati Island was a strategic location for Allied forces, and served as a forward operating based throughout the war.
The Islanders of the Kiribati atolls, to include Kiritimati, have endured war, nuclear testing, and famine over the last century. In 1979, they gained their independence from the U.S. in what is known as the U.S. Guano Island Act claim which was formally ceded by the Treaty of Tarawa, and became part of the Republic of Kiribati. Independence from foreign control has allowed Kiribati to partake in world affairs to include joining the United Nations. With the Islanders back in control, they will pave their future.
The Pacific Islands Tourism Professional Fellowship program will allow individuals the opportunity to learn from our mistakes, and pave a bright future the 5000 inhabitants. While placed at Keawe Adventures, Ereti is hoping to be enriched with firsthand experience of the operation of the tour businesses in Hawaii which will significantly contribute to her role as an advisor for tour companies and local government in Kiritimati Island.
We are lucky and fortunate to have Ereti with us! We are honored to be a part of Kiritimati’s future.