Aranui 5 Female Portraits



To celebrate International Women's Day, we want to put the spotlight on the Aranui 5's female crew members, In recognition of their contribution to company.

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Based in Papeete in Tahiti Aranui 5 is a custom-built, dual-purpose passenger/freighter ship that has been uniquely designed to provide all the facilities of a small and comfortable cruise liner with accommodation for up to 230 passengers while also serving as a supply ship to the remote islands of the Marquesas and the Austral islands in French Polynesia.

Affectionately known as the freighter to paradise, Aranui 5 has an all-Polynesian crew of which 63 are women, making up a third of the company’s total staff.

Founded in 1956 to carry cargo to the outlying islands in French Polynesia, the Aranui started its passenger cruise activity in 1984. This year the family-owned company celebrates its 40th anniversary as a dual activity ship carrying passengers and cargo. It remains a family owned and operated business. 

The Wong family is of Chinese origin, and there has always been equality in the family business, with women holding the same place within the organisation and participating in decision-making as well as men and have held key positions in the company for many years.

Romina Wong

Romina’s role is to oversee the day-to-day operations of Aranui Cruises and ensure the smooth running of on-board customer service. 

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Vaihere Vivish et Maia Tunoa

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Women play other key roles, including as hotel managers such as Vaihere Vivish and Maia Tunoa.


Pioneering women in traditionally male occupations


Others are employed in roles that have traditionally been held by men. These include Faimano Roopinia, who works alongside the captain in the wheelhouse in her role as a Helmsman. As well as Second Outside Engineer, Lou Vollmer and Deck Officers, Maeva Berthet and Ilona Chikhoune. 

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Romina, whose grandparents set up the business, believes that « we are starting to see more gender equality in the workplace and the female contribution is being recognised more, bringing with it greater creativity, energy, and compassion as well as an understanding of human relationships, which are often key factors in customer facing roles. 

We believe that women can manage a ship or a team just as effectively as men, particularly when it comes to machinery. These women, who are just as capable as men, have had to demonstrate character and perseverance in this male-dominated environment to advance to these positions. Aranui considers the person's maritime function and skills to be more important than their gender.

We are also fortunate to have employees who have stayed with the company for three or even four decades, and that low turnover of staff is a further reward for us as a company. »



For the past 19 years, Micheline KOHUMOETINI has been working with the Aranui. As housekeeper, her satisfaction comes from having a pristine ship. « I bring a feminine touch to the the ship’s tidiness. Above all, I make sure that the team get along. My first priority is offering our passengers an unforgettable voyage. »

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Mataiki OMITAI

Mataiki OMITAI joined the company in August 2018 and will soon celebrate 6 years there. As the Human Resources Manager, she is in charge of the staff administration and planning. “My rewards are when the ship sails off every journey with the appropriate and qualified staff for each position. Women know how to manage several things at once, and I think I bring firmness that men don’t necessarily have.”  


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Mila, tour guide, Ella, barmaid, Sabrina, biosafety officer, and many other inspiring women are part of the the Aranui’s big family, bringing all their joy and talent either on board or ashore! 

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