The Islands of Tahiti is a destionation where you can get back in touch with the essential things in life, feel the Mana and enjoy the magnificence of nature. To get a better understanding of the origins of the ancient culture of the islands, a visit to Raiatea is a voyage to the sacred birthplace of Polynesian civilization.

The vast archeological site of Taputapuatea lies in the southeast of the island of Raiatea. Classed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, it is a place filled with Mana, the ancestral force that is everywhere in The Islands of Tahiti. Mana is the tingling sensation that makes the hairs on your arms stand up as you explore this serenely beautiful, sacred site. Dedicated to the god ‘Oro, the marae of Taputapuatea attracts visitors from all over the world, The site was once the political and religious center of Polynesia, and it was from this marae that the original voyagers set off to discover and inhabit the other islands in the Polynesian Triangle. For the people of Hawaii, Easter Island, New Zealand and the Cook Islands, the marae of Taputapuatea is still their spiritual home.

The marae of Taputapuatea

Spread over a vast site on the shores of the lagoon in Raiatea, the marae of Taputapuatea is the most sacred site of all for the Polynesain people. The site was built over several canturies and is dedicated to the god ‘Oro. It is a religious site where the world of living things comes in touch with the world of the ancestors and the gods. For ages, it was a meeting place for political and religious leaders. Chiefs, high priests and warriors would arrive in outrigger sailing canoes from all over Polynesia to make alliances and structure the development of Polynesian society.

The marae of Taputapuatea is an archeological site composed of several stone plazas, which occupy a vast area of land between the shore of the lagoon and the mountain. It is a site where the ma’ohi people lived and worshipped for hundreds of years and is directly opposite the sacred pass of Ta Ava Mo’a, through which the ancient voyagers sailed on their way to explore the Pacific. Opposite the marae is the sacred mountain of Tea’etapu and there is an easy trail leading to the summit, from where the views over the marae, lagoon and Pacific Ocean are truly breathtaking.

The sacred island of Raiatea

Raiatea is an unspoiled island with magnificent scenery. After a day exploring the marae of Taputapuatea, take a boat trip on the lagoon to discover some of the island’s motu. Motu Ofetaro and motu Iriru are both public and have superb beaches.

Entrance to Raiatea's Faaroa River © Alika Photography
Entrance to Raiatea’s Faaroa River © Alika Photography

The island of Raiatea is next to Taha’a, Bora Bora and Huahine in the Society Islands. It is an island filled with natural and archeological treasures. The most important is the marae of Taputapuatea, where certain festivals and cermonies still take place today, Raiatea is the departure point for many cruises and is also home to Faaroa river, the only navigable river in French Polynesia. One of the island’s greatest treasures in the tiare apetahi, a beautiful flower that is the emblem of Raiatea and grows only on the top of Mount Temehani and nowhere else in the world.

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