Mangareva

Mangareva was once heavily forested and supported a large population that traded with other islands via canoes. However, excessive logging by the islanders during the 10th to the 15th centuries resulted in deforestation of the island, with disastrous results for its environment and economy

Polynesian mythology tells of Mangareva being lifted from the ocean floor by the demi-god Maui. The mountains of Mangareva rise over the surrounding islands and the luminous lagoon like a great cathedral. The island has become an important supply source for the Tahitian cultured pearl industry. Along with the pearl farms and tours of the island by road or boat, travelers can also explore the surprising number of surviving churches, convents, watchtowers and schools from the 1800s. Some structures are still in use such as St. Michel of Rikitea Church where the altar is inlaid with iridescent mother-of-pearl shell. link