(Ethnic Tahitians worldwide)
|Regions with significant populations|
(on Tahiti only, August 2007 census )
|Predominantly Christian |
(Reformist and Roman Catholic)
Polynesian mythology (minority)
|Related ethnic groups|
The Tahitians, (Tahitian : Mā’ohi; French : Tahitiens), are a Polynesian ethnic group native to Tahiti and thirteen other Society Islands in French Polynesia, as well as the modern population of these lands of multiracial, primarily Polynesian-French, ancestry (French : demis). The Tahitians are one of the largest indigenous Polynesian ethnic groups, behind the Māori, Samoans and Hawaiians.
The first Polynesian settlers arrived in Tahiti around 400AD by way of Samoan navigators and settlers via the Cook Islands. Over the period of half a century there was much inter-island relations with trade, marriages and Polynesian expansion with the Islands of Hawaii and through to Rapanui.
The original Tahitians were unaware of metal but using their Stone Age technology they were able to clear land for cultivation on the fertile volcanic soils and build fishing canoes, their two basic subsistence activities.The tools of the Tahitians when first discovered were made of stone, bone, shell or wood.
The Tahitians were divided into three major classes (or castes): ari'i,ra'atira and manahune. Ari'i were relatively few in number while manahune constituted the bulk of population and included some members who played essential roles in the society. It is estimated that by the first contact with Europeans in 1767 the population of Tahiti was no more than 40,000 while other Society Islands held probably 15,000-20,000 natives.
Tahitians divided the day into the periods of daylight (ao) and darkness (pō).There was also a concept of irrational fear called mehameha, translated as uncanny feelings. The healers, familiar with herbal remedies, were called ta'ata rā'au or ta'ata rapa'au. In the 19th century Tahitians added the European medicine to their practice. The most famous Tahitian healer Tiurai, of ari'i, died aged 83 during the influenza outbreak on Tahiti in 1918.
When British Captain Samuel Wallis "discovered" Tahiti on 18 June 1767, the natives were eager to trade, especially in iron nails unknown to them.Philibert Commerçon (1727–1773) in his The Tahitian Savage to the French wrote: "They have a fruit instead of bread. Their other foods are equally simple". Commerçon also described the practice of public sex, which he said Tahitians engaged in while being cheered on by applause and musical instruments. In the marital relationships Tahitians closely approached the situation where all women were the wives of men and the wife of every man was also the wife of his friend. Louis Antoine de Bougainville described a scene, where a young girl came on board, placed herself upon the quarter deck and carelessly dropt the cloth. Charles Darwin also wrote on Tahitians during the voyage on the Beagle: "There is a mildness in the expression of their countenances, which at once banishes the idea of a savage; and an intelligence, which shows they are advancing in civilization".
The European ships, however, brought such diseases for which Tahitians had little or no immunity, such as dysentery, smallpox, scarlet fever, typhoid fever and tuberculosis.As a result of these changes by 1797 the population of Tahiti decreased to 16,000 from estimated 40,000 in 1767, when the first European ship HMS Dolphin touched on the island. The 1881 census enumerated about 5,960 native Tahitians. The recovery continued in spite of a few more epidemics.
Three hundred Tahitian volunteers fought in the European theatre of World War II with the Free French Forces.
In the late 1960s and early 1970s Tahitian poets Henri Hiro, Charles Manutahi, Vaitiare and Turo Raapoto spearheaded the anticolonial writing in Tahiti. Hiro's God of Culture implores Oihanu, the Tahitian god of culture and husbandry, to empower the 'new generation'. Three women writers - Michou Chaze, Chantal Spitz and Vaitiare explore the problems of Tahitian identification in contemporary French Polynesia. Tahitian peasants and workers call themselves the 'true Tahitians' (Ta'ata Tahiti Mau) to distinguish from part-Europeans (Ta'ata 'afa Popa'a).At the same time demis quite frequently identify themselves as indigenous people in terms of culture and political affiliation. Such Tahitian activists as Pouvanaa a Oopa, Francis Sanford and Charlie Ching and Catholic bishops Michel-Gaspard Coppenrath and Hubert Coppenrath are of demi ancestry.
Many natives were painted from life by Paul Gauguin, who gave Tahitian titles to his works. In Ea haere ia oe (Where Are You Going?), for example, a pensive young girl wears the white flower tiare behind her left ear, signifying readiness to take a lover.
Tahitians are French citizens and are represented by two elected deputies to the French National Assembly and one representative in the French Senate.Tahitians vote by universal adult suffrage in all major French elections.
French Polynesia is an overseas collectivity of the French Republic and its sole overseas country. It is composed of 118 geographically dispersed islands and atolls stretching over an expanse of more than 2,000 kilometres (1,200 mi) in the South Pacific Ocean. Its total land area is 4,167 square kilometres (1,609 sq mi).
Tahiti is the largest island of the Windward group of the Society Islands in French Polynesia, located in the central part of the Pacific Ocean. Divided into two parts, Tahiti Nui and Tahiti Iti, the island was formed from volcanic activity; it is high and mountainous with surrounding coral reefs. Its population is 189,517 inhabitants (2017), making it the most populous island of French Polynesia and accounting for 68.7% of its total population.
Pacific Islanders, or Pasifika, are the peoples of the Pacific Islands. It is a geographic and ethnic/racial term to describe the inhabitants and diaspora of any of the three major sub-regions of Oceania: Micronesia, Melanesia, and Polynesia. These people speak various Austronesian languages. It is not used to describe non-native inhabitants of the Pacific islands.
Pōmare II, was the second king of Tahiti between 1782 and 1821. He was installed by his father Pōmare I at Tarahoi, February 13, 1791. He ruled under regency from 1782 to 1803.
The Marquesas Islands were colonized by seafaring Polynesians as early as 300 AD, thought to originate from Tonga. The dense population was concentrated in the narrow valleys, and consisted of warring tribes, who sometimes cannibalized their enemies.
Tuamotuan, Paʻumotu or Paumotu is a Polynesian language spoken by 4,000 people in the Tuamotu archipelago, with an additional 2,000 speakers in Tahiti.
The Society Islands are an archipelago located in the South Pacific Ocean. Politically, they are part of French Polynesia, an overseas country of the French Republic. Geographically, they form part of Polynesia.
Meheti'a or Me'eti'a is a volcanic island in the Windward Islands, in the east of the Society Islands in French Polynesia. This island is a very young active stratovolcano 110 kilometres (68 mi) east of the Taiarapu Peninsula of Tahiti. It belongs to the Teahiti'a-Mehetia hotspot.
Traditional Polynesian navigation was used for thousands of years to make long voyages across thousands of miles of the open Pacific Ocean. Navigators travelled to small inhabited islands using wayfinding techniques and knowledge passed by oral tradition from master to apprentice, often in the form of song. Generally, each island maintained a guild of navigators who had very high status; in times of famine or difficulty, they could trade for aid or evacuate people to neighbouring islands. As of 2014, these traditional navigation methods are still taught in the Polynesian outlier of Taumako in the Solomons.
Gardenia taitensis, also called Tahitian gardenia or tiaré flower, is a species of plant in the family Rubiaceae. It is an evergreen tropical shrub that grows to 4 m tall and has glossy dark green leaves that are oppositely arranged along the stem. The flower is creamy white and pinwheel-shaped with 5–9 lobes and fragrant. Native to the highland shores of the South Pacific, it has the distinction of being one of the few cultivated plants native to Polynesia. It is the national flower of French Polynesia and the Cook Islands.
MonsignorMichel-Gaspard Coppenrath was the Tahitian Archbishop of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Papeete in French Polynesia for 26 years from 1973 until 1999. Coppenrath served as the Archbishop Emeritus of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Papeete from 1999 until his death in 2008. Coppenrath was the first Tahitian-born Catholic bishop of French Polynesia.
This page list topics related to French Polynesia.
The Pōmare Dynasty was the reigning family of the Kingdom of Tahiti between the unification of the island by Pōmare I in 1788 and Pōmare V's cession of the kingdom to France in 1880. Their influence once spanned most of the Society Islands, the Austral Islands and the Tuamotu Archipelago.
French Polynesian American are Americans with French Polynesian ancestry. The number of French Polynesian Americans is unknown. According to the 2010 US census, there were 5,062 people whose origins are in Tahiti, but other origins of the French Polynesia were not mentioned. While others 9,153 people asserted be of Polynesian origins, but they indicated no specific origin.
The Franco-Tahitian War or French–Tahitian War (1844–1847) was a conflict between the Kingdom of the French and the Kingdom of Tahiti and its allies in the South Pacific archipelago of the Society Islands in modern-day French Polynesia.
Matavai Bay is a bay on the north coast of Tahiti, the largest island in the Windward group of French Polynesia. It is in the commune of Mahina, approximately 8 km east of the capital Pape'ete.
Tiripone Mama Taira Putairi, SS.CC., (1846–1881) was educated by French missionaries from birth and became the first indigenous Roman Catholic priest ordained in Eastern Polynesia. He was part of the native royal family of Mangareva, and his father Bernardo Putairi was the island's last ruling regent.
The Tahitian Dog is an extinct breed of dog from Tahiti and the Society Islands. Similar to other strains of Polynesian dogs, it was introduced to the Society Islands and Tahiti by the ancestors of the Tahitian (Mā’ohi) people during their migrations to Polynesia. They were an essential part of traditional Tahitian society; their meat was included in Tahitian cuisine and other parts of the dog were used to make tools and ornamental clothing. Dogs were fed a vegetarian diet and served during feasts as a delicacy. European explorers were the first outsiders to observe and record their existence, and they were served to early explorers including Captain James Cook. The Tahitian Dog disappeared as a distinct breed after the introduction of foreign European dogs.
The Annexation of the Leeward Islands or the Leewards War (1880–1897) was a series of diplomatic and armed conflicts between the French Third Republic and the native kingdoms of Raiatea-Tahaa, Huahine and Bora Bora, which resulted in the conquest of the Leeward Islands, in the South Pacific archipelago of the Society Islands in modern-day French Polynesia.
Teraupo'o was a Tahitian (Maohi) resistance leader of the islands of Raiatea and Tahaa who fought off French rule from 1887 to 1897 during the decade long Leeward Islands War. After he was defeated and captured, he was exiled to New Caledonia until 1905. His followers known as the Teraupiste included a majority of the natives of Raiatea and Tahaa.