I 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.
These stories that I am retelling about Mangareva are for the most part dead stories. The people who knew these stories are all dead. If we learn the stories then we will have something in common with the old Mangarevans.
My hope is that by writing these dead stories from Mangareva that the stories will come back to life again. The purpose here is not to preserve culture, but to bring it back from the dead.
At one time there were about 10,000 people in Mangareva. Today there are only a few hundred and most of them are Tuamotuan. But even the Tuamotuans are part Mangarevan and there are many Tuamotuans living whose ancestors came as exiles from Mangareva and settled in the Tuamotus.
Mangareva is located east southeast of the Tuamotu islands and it is about 2000 km east of Tahiti. Mangareva actually consists of a number of islands located inside a 15 km wide lagoon formed by a coral reef. Sometimes Mangareva and the nearby atoll of Temoe are referred to as the Gambier Islands. Gambier was some French admiral who stopped in Mangareva. A less common name for Mangareva is Les Iles Oubliees – The Forgotten Islands. Unfortunately, there is a lot of truth in that name.
Revised: March 26, 1997
Copyright © 1996 Daniel (Taniera) Longstaff