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 basedon the island of Kiritimati or Christmas Islands, which is located 1,340 miles south-west of Hawaii-3.5 hour flight. Christmas island is a world-renowned fly-fishing hotspot that accounts for 43% of its tourism. Individuals from around the world fill up one flight a week to target the Bonefish, Trigger Fish, and Giant Trevally. Fly Fishing Hawaii is excited to have a role in sharing our experiences in Hawaii’s Tourism with an individual that will contribute to shapingtourism 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 1950-1960s 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 potential airbase for the Japanese Airforce. The 102ndInfantry 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, famine over the last century, and in 1979 they gained their independence from the U.S. in what is known as the U.S. Guano Island Act claim which 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. We are lucky and fortunate to have Ereti with us!We are honored to be a part of Kiritimati’s future.