The Gump Station’s “Atitia Center” is located on the southern half of the UCB property. Atitia is the name of the land in Tahitian and the Center is devoted to community outreach and educational activities. The Atitia Center consists of an ethnobotanic garden, fare pote’e (traditional Tahitian meeting house), interpretive center, and the waterfront of a marine reserve.
It is often difficult for scientists to communicate their knowledge to the public, and even more so when there are linguistic and cultural hurdles to overcome. To address this challenge, UCB formed the Atitia Center in partnership with a Tahitian non-profit “association” called Te Pu 'Atiti'a. The Association Te Pu 'Atiti'a is largely made up of local educators (including many school teachers) and traditional experts.
A cooperative agreement was signed by Berkeley's Vice Chancellor of Research Beth Burnside and Te Pu Atitia President Hinano Murphy in the Gump House in 2002 (photo) and renewed in 2008 in Berkeley. Financial support for infrastructure at the Atitia Center has come from Seacology, the Twanda Foundation, the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, and the Craig Venter Foundation, along with many contributions in time and kind from members of the local community.
Through the Atitia Center, the Gump Station and Te Pu 'Atiti'a pursue common educational and research programs focused on marine and terrestrial biodiversity, traditional knowledge, culture, and the relationship between human societies and natural ecosystems.
The Atitia Center thus provides an excellent opportunity for interaction and exchange, enabling visiting students and researchers to learn from local experts, and vice versa, building on and expanding the knowledge base together through scientific research. Already, this exchange has catalyzed joint research programs. The common goal: to document, promote and preserve Polynesia’s biocultural heritage.