August 20, 2015

1838 FRANCE (Wallis and Futuna) - The nature and the people

The Wallis and Futuna Islands are two groups of volcanic tropical islands in the southwestern Pacific Ocean, between Fiji and the Samoas. While flowers bloom in abundance on Wallis, deforestation has reduced the primary forests to no more than 15% of the total surface area on Wallis and 30% on Futuna. Only Alofi's primary forest has been preserved, since it is uninhabited (70% coverage). The lagoons off Wallis and Alofi abound in multi-colored fish, and one can even spot rays (related to the skate, shark and chimaera), tortoises and dolphins. It should be noted that sharks are rare, and that tortoises are a protected species.

The culture of Wallis and Futuna is very similar to the cultures of its neighbouring nations Samoa and Tonga. Highly detailed tapa cloth art is a specialty of Wallis and Futuna. Tapas is made from the "base" of the bark of the mulberry and breadfruit trees. The pounded bark is painted with vegetable colours and with attractive designs. Traditional houses follow the Samoan style. The fale is designed to protect occupants from the sun and the rain and to keep the inside temperature as comfortable as possible. Light timber is used to construct the frame. Rafters and beams of the domed roof, covered with thatch, are bound together with rope. The fale does not have walls but blinds made from woven palm leaves are used when required.

About the stamp

The stamp, designed by R. Kulimoetoke, was issued on February 6, 2015, under the name Scenes of the everyday life.

Sent from Mata-Utu (Wallis and Futuna), on 01.07.2015

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