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Adams, Memoirs of Arii TaimaiIndigenous Histories
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Chapter IV


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Chapter IV (continued)

not to be confounded with Mataoa, the Marae of Papara. Mataoae is a district on the southwest coast of Taiarapu, and a person standing on the beach there can see to the northwest, across twenty miles of water, the mountains behind Papara.

I do not know whether Papara is commonly thought to be one of the beautiful parts of Tahiti. I imagine not. Travelers can find so much that charms them elsewhere, and so much variety in the charm, as to make them indifferent to all scenery but the most impressive. Among a dozen books that have been written by visitors to the island, I am not sure that one of them, except Moerenhout, devotes a dozen words to Papara. To the Tevas and their chiefs, naturally, Papara is the world, and probably no part of the island compares with it for association, pride and poetry. Every point, field, valley, and hill retains a history and a legend. Purea’s Marae of Mahaiatea still rises, a huge mass of loose coral, above the level of the plain. Aromaiterai at Mataoae could fix on the spot where his own Marae -- Teva’s Marae -- of Mataoa invited him home, where in his time each of the two chiefs had a seat or throne on either side of the altar. At the outlet of a stream where the chiefery stands -- Terehe i Mataoa -- the reef is broken and falls away on either hand, and there in old days, when the shore swarmed with thousands of men and women caring for little but amusement, crowds were always in the water, riding the never-ending surf which seems nowhere else so much at home. Even now, in a cave, somewhere on the face of the precipice above the opening of the valley, Aromaiterai’s skull is probably preserved, with those of other Aromaiterais, Tuiterais, Terii-reres, and Temariis, secreted so carefully that the secret is unknown even to us. Aromaiterai’s Tianina -- his home-land by the chief’s house -- is as familiar to the natives as their own faces. His Moua Tea-ratapu, and his Temaite or Temarua, the mountain side, are still a daily beauty to the Papara people. The stranger who drives along the road which now leads to Vaiari is still shown, three or four thousand feet above, on the slope of the distant mountain, outlined against the


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© Derived from the revised Paris edition of 1901 page 34, 2004
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