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.
- Te-Akarikitea and Te-AkarikipaguI had a friend from Mangareva who was an old man. I asked him one day if he knew the story of Te-Akarikitea and Te-Akarikipagu. This is a key story about Mangareva. He told me that he had heard of those two people, but he knew nothing else about them. I didn’t know the story at the time so there was nothing that I could tell my friend. Now that I know the story my friend has gone onto the next life where he can go and meet the old Mangarevans and learn the story first hand.
- Moa and MiruMoa and Miru: The Beginning of Things People first came to live in Magareva about 1100 or 1200 A.D. The first people to come were two men who named Moa and Miru. When they came to Magareva they saw women on the shore. So they approached that place to see if they could find these women. When they came onto the shore they looked and looked but they did not find anyone there.
- Hina-AkapirauHina-Akapirau: Hina the Pus Once upon a time there was a woman on Magareva named Hina-Akapirau which means, Hina the Pus. She was named this because she had disease and she was covered with sores and pus. However, at night she was beautiful because of magic.
One evening a young chief saw her by the side of road and because she was beautiful then he asked her to marry him. She agreed to this as long as he promised to only visit her at night and to leave her during the day.
- Two lostTwo Lost Brothers There was once a pregnant woman in Mangareva named Vai-Hunarei- Tinaku. Her husband was named Garagi. One day the wife told her husband that she was hungry for ‘umu fish and that he should go catch her one. She cautioned him that as soon as he caught one fish that he was to stop fishing and return.
He went fishing, but after he caught the first one he kept on fishing.
- Ugaru-TeganaganaUgaru-Teganagana There was once this guy who came to Mangareva from Te Po, the night world. His name was Tonga and all the young women wanted to marry him. Because all the young women wanted to marry this man from Te Po they decided to have a beauty contest and the winner was going to marry this man.
There was this one girl named Ugaru-Teganagana who was the youngest girl in her family.
- AhineThe Death of Ahine In the 1500’s there was a long conflict or series of wars fought between the village of Rikitea and the village of Taku. At one point the warriors of Taku attacked a man named Ahine and his two sons who were fishing.
This is how Ahine and his two sons were fishing. The youngest son, Pohue, was standing on the beach and holding one end of a long net while his father and older brother, Te Ma-Ahine, were pulling the net through the sea.
- LoinclothWhose loincloth is this? During the conflicts between Taku and Rikitea there was a chief in Rikitea named Mahaga Tevihi-Nui (about 1500). During his time there was a famine in Rikitea. The war chief of Rikitea, Matua, traveled to the nearby atoll island of Temoe to catch squids.
While Matua, the war chief of Rikitea, was gone the village of Taku learned of the hunger in Rikitea and that Matua was away.
- The Last Battle - Part IThe Last Battle: Part I: The Killing of A Princess One night the Taku warriors journeyed to Taravai and they kidnapped a princess. She was secretly married to Apeiti, the chief of Rikitea, and she was also pregnant with his child.
After she was kidnapped she was carried to Taku on a canoe. The warriors of Taku pierced her throat with a spear. They stopped at an island and she asked for water because she was thirsty.
- The Last Battle - Part IIPart II: The Murder of Rei Apeiti, the chief of Rikitea, spent the night with a woman of Kirimiro village. She became pregnant and she gave birth to a boy named Rei.
When Apeiti discovered that he had had a son by this woman he had the boy brought to live with him in Rikitea. The boy grew up and one day he went to visit his half-sister in Kirimiro village.
- The Last Battle - Part IIIPart III: Mercy To An Enemy/Mercy To A Cousin When the Taku people heard that their friends, the Kirimiro people, had been attacked they prepared for war. In the early morning the Taku warriors advanced along the coast line towards Kirimiro where the Rikitea warriors were sleeping.
One of the Rikitea warriors was awake and he heard the sound of the advancing enemy and he called out to his companions to wake them.
- The Last Battle - Part IVThe Last Battle - Part IV: The Battles All that day the Taku and Rikitea warriors fought along the coast of Kirimiro. The Taku warriors were gradually pushed backwards. When night came they tied torches in the trees so that they could fight in the dark.
The fighting continued the next day.
Tupou-eriki, the chief of the Taku warrior knew that he was being pushed back. But he told his side that as long as their chief warrior was alive that they could still win.
- The Last Battle - Part VThe Last Battle - Part V: A Farewell Because they had been defeated the honorable thing for the Taku people to do was to leave and go and look for new lands. They prepared seven canoes to sail away.
As they were preparing to leave, Apeiti, the Rikitea chief, paid them a visit. His cousin, Tupou-eriki, offered Apeiti his staff. But Apeiti refused and said, “No, you will need its mana (power) when you sail.
- Baby's FatherMy Baby’s Father is Not My Husband! At one point in Mangareva in the reign of a king named Ohokehu there was a tribe named the Ati-Kura that were attacked by enemies. A woman from the Ati-Kura with her newborn son were captured by the enemies who were about to kill both the mother and her infant. At the last moment the mother cried out a lie to her assassins, “I am an Ati-Kura and I shall die, but my baby’s father is not my husband!
- White and Dark KingThe White King and the Dark King There are things that are seen and things that are unseen. One of the latter is ghosts.
There is an island called Mangareva which is so far east in Polynesia that there are only two populated Polynesian islands further east from it: Mata-kite-ragi (Pitcairn) and Rapa Nui (Easter Island). In Magareva there are five or six islands located in a large lagoon. One of these islands is Agakau-i-tai.
- RureRure: A Chief in Exile is Better Than A Commoner in Power In 1650 or so, in Magareva (ESE of the Tuamotu Islands) there was a king named Temagitutavake who asked too much taxes from his people. Because taxes were payed as food, and because there was not an abundance of food in Magareva, these taxes were a burden. So the people of Magareva united themselves behind a man named Teiti-a-tuou and they drove Temagitutavake out of Magareva.
- Ko Au Ra e Pa'oKo Au Ra e Pa’o: This Is My Life, Take It! Some stories from Polynesia are children’s stories. This is not one of those.
In 1650 or so, in Magareva (ESE of the Tuamotu Islands) there was a king named Temagitutavake who asked too much taxes from his people. Because taxes were payed as food, and because there was not an abundance of food in Magareva, these taxes were a burden.
- Mori-a-TararoaMori-a-Tararoa: Will You Rule Forever? Because of the anger of Teakarikitea the power was split between him and his younger brother. The sharing of power then passed to their sons who fought over who would be the supreme ruler of Magareva.
These sons who fought never resolved their disagreement and in time they passed their power and their disagreement to their sons. The descendant of Teakarikitea who would have had all the power if Teakarikitea had not been so bloodthirsty was Te Mateoa.
- Vengeance Like ThisWill My Son Be Avenged Like This? In about 1800 there was a king in Rikitea on Magareva named Te Ma- teoa. Te Ma-teoa was an old man and he had a grown son named Te Ika-Tohara. This son was the crown prince, that is, he was going to replace his father the king as his father got older.
Even though Te Ika-Tohara was already married he wanted to marry again to a particular woman who was a commoner.
- Go, ComeGoes Around/Comes Around In the 1300’s there was a chief in the village of Gatavake named Raekeno. Raekeno was an evil man.
Raekeno had a sister named Tara and she married a chief of ‘Akamaru named Te-Kahu-o-te-Ragi (The clothing of the sky). She bore him a son named Kirikura who was raised as a chief.
The fame of this boy spread through Mangareva to his uncle’s village. His uncle, Raekeno, feared that his nephew may compete with him.