Much of what is known about the history of the Pacific before and during the early years of European contact comes from ancestral histories, poetry and songs that were transmitted orally through successive generations before eventually being written down. Another important source of information are the writings of Europeans who lived within Pacific communities during the early years of contact.
South Seas currently offers editions of the following historically significant works:
Born in 1824, Arii Taimai was the grand-daughter of Tati, paramount chief of the Papara district of Tahiti. She also held rights to numerous kin-titles on the island of Mo'orea through her mother, Marama Arii Manihinihini. Arii Taimai became acquainted with the American historian Henry Brook Adams (1838-1918) when he spent four months on Tahiti in 1891. Her conversations and the recollections of several other members of her family were used by Adams together with several European voyaging accounts as the basis for this work, published privately in 1901. For all the problems associated with the history of its composition, the Memoirs of Arii Taimai provide numerous insights into the beliefs and cultural practices of the peoples of Mo'orea and Tahiti prior to European contact.
James Morrison served as Boatswain's Mate aboard H.M.S. Bounty on William Bligh's ill-fated voyage of 1787-89 to collect breadfruit from tahiti for plantation in the West Indies. After the mutiny of April 1789, Morrison chose to remain on Tahiti where he established himself in the entourage of Tu Nui e A'a i Te Atua (Pomare I), paramount chief of the Pare-Arue region. Morrison lived among the people of Pare-Arue for nearly six months.