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Mahau (? - 1792)

Prominent Ari'i (Chief) of the island of Mo'orea, also known as Motuaria
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Oliver writes that 'the exact identity of this Metuaro (also called Motuaria and Mahau) is difficult to pin down (Ancient Tahiti: 3, 1205-6)'. He notes that in a genealogy of Nu'ura marae compiled by Kenneth Emory, using notes by Tati Salmon and Brander, Mahau appears as a son of the Mo'orean Arii Teihotu and his wife, Vavea.

Oliver further notes that both Emory and Adams credit Vavea with having two sons called Teri'itapunui and Ta'aroari'i, and that George Vancouver assumed that Mahua was 'the same person mentioned by Captain Cook, under the name of Tiareetaboonooa (Vancouver 1801: 322)'.

Oliver also draws attention to the following passage in Adams:

Vancouver set a boat to Eimeo for Pomare, who came over January 2 1792, brining with him his brother-in-law Motuaria, or Metuaro, who was supposed by Vancouver to be the same Terii tapunui [ Teri'itapunui ] that was known to Cook and Forster as chief of Varari in Eimeo. He was commonly called Metaro Mahau. According to our records, he was Taaro-arii, a younger brother of Cook's Terii taunui, who was dead without issue, and left his name and property to Taaro-arii, who also had no male children (Adams: 106).

However, Oliver claims that Taaro-arii had two sons, Terano and Teutanui, with Auo, a sister of Pomare I.

In his journal, Vancouver provides a substantial account of the last days and funerary ceremonies for Mahau in January 1792. George Tobin painted a watercolour of Mahau's exposed body some four months after his death. It is now in the Mitchell Library.


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Structure based on ISAAR(CPF) - click here for an explanation of the fields. Prepared by: Turnbull, P.
Created: 2 March 2002
Modified: 29 August 2002

Published by South Seas, 1 February 2004
Comments, questions, corrections and additions: Paul.Turnbull@jcu.edu.au
Prepared by: Paul Turnbull
Updated: 28 June 2004
To cite this page use: http://nla.gov.au/nla.cs-ss-biogs-P000227

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