Author Archives: Fā'ati City TEAM

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What was happening in Tahiti when Papeete was created ?

This is only a small part of the situation at the time.

It’s been decades that the first navigators have made exchanges and created strategic links with Tahitians and more particularly with the leader Pomare I, called Tu. His kingdom stretched from Mahina to Papeete, and had, as the great King, Ari’i rahi, Amo, and his wife, Queen Purea. The Queen was in contact with Captain Wallis and contributed to the peace efforts after the first clashes between Tahitians and English in Matavai Bay.

At the birth of Pomare I’s son in the early 1780s, and as the Tahitian tradition required, he took his father’s name, all his functions, and the benefits of the Ari’i (Kings). A highlight of this period was the capture of Maro ‘ura, by Pomare I, helped by the mutineers of the “Bounty“. To be in possession of this highly sacred object of supreme power, signified that you were the Ari’i rahi (the great king) of the island. From his adolescence, Tu Pomare 2 showed his ambitions of power, and was not long in removing his father from the affairs of the kingdom. After having swept his father’s supporters in Mataiva, and thus seized power in the territory of Porionu’u, he asserts his sovereignty over the entire island of Tahiti, with the help of the English sailors of the ships “Venus” and “Norfolk“. The tribes of Teva in the south-west of the island had to unite, to cope with the many offensives. From 1798 to 1808, Pomare 2 and the great Tahitian chiefs, who opposed him and the English missionaries, clashed, and Tahiti then saw a period of incessant battles.

Papeete does not exist yet, and the military ships continue to anchor in Matavai Bay at Venus Point, where the English missionary station is located. It was here that Captain Cook, on a scientific mission to the South Seas, decided to settle down to observe Venus’s passage over the sun.

It was the captains of whaling ships in the Pacific, who were the first to use Pape’ete Bay as a place of respite. The orientation and configuration of the bay were perfect to make a stopover throughout the year. Little by little, Papeete, which is not yet named or existing, is becoming the point of arrival of the merchant ships, which will make a commercial stopover, especially with salted pork, which was used to supply the Sydney penitentiary colony (Port Jackson). Then, this port will become also military, thus leaving, the bay of Matavai and the Venus point .

In 1808, Pomare 2 and the English missionaries endured the conquest of the Porionu’u kingdom by the chiefs Hitoti and Pā’ōfa’i, pushing them to flee, to the leeward islands, then, in front of Tahiti, in Mo’orea. Pomare 2 had made alliances with these islands, through his mother’s weeding, with the Huahine Ari’i rahi, “Tenania”, which led him in 1810 to marry two daughters of the Ari’i rahi of Raitaea, “Tamatoa III”. These royal and political alliances have enabled Pomare 2 to have a large army to prepare his return to Tahiti.

During his escape to Papetoai in Mo’orea, Pomare 2 was followed, by the English pastor Henry Nott, determined to convince him to redeem himself of all his sins, and thus continue the evangelization of these islands. He obtained the agreement of Pomare 2, to abandon all ancient Polynesian customs and gods, and to convert himself and his subjects to Christianity. After several years in Mo’orea, Pastor Nott managed to convert hundreds of subjects and translate the Gospel of Luke and other devotional books into Tahitian.

The departure of Pomare 2, led the installation of a governance called “te hau manahune” (the power to the people). The power has passed from the Ari’i to the lower chief Ra’atira. The incessant clashes have pushed the populations of the districts, to reject the Ari’i. It’s a sign of the vacillation of the Tahitian society of the time. Defender of an ancestral Polynesian society still in place, the leader of Papara Opuhara, is a key figure. In a decisive battle, he will be at the head of an army made up of the chiefdoms of Oropa’a, Teva i Uta and Teva i Tai, ready to defend his territory and his soul, facing Pomare 2 and his army constituted of fighters from the Leeward Islands and English.

This event remained in the history, like the war of Fe’i pi, which ending in Paea on the marae (temple) Nari’i in 1815. This marae was one of the first of Tahiti to be dedicated to the god “Oro”, the god of war and human sacrifice. This was the ultimate confrontation between the Polynesian civilization and Western civilization, and, the confrontation between two very different forces, that are the wooden weapons and firearms. The exact stories of this confrontation are rare, since here too, two modes of transmission have been confronted. A very powerful oral mode carried by strong values ​​and ancestral protocols, and, a written mode bathed in a colonization and a massive evangelization of the world and the autochthonous peoples.

The defeat of Opuhara marks the gradual and definitive destruction of most features of the Polynesian civilization, and the entry of this people into the area of ​​Christianity and colonization. As mass evangelism is initiated, a 20-year war of influence between English Protestants and French Catholics will begin, followed by almost fifty years of unification and pacification of these islands.

It is in this colonial context that Pape’ete will see the light of day, with the arrival in 1818 of the English pastor William Crook in Pare, name of the land where Pape’ete will be built. He has established a station with a temple in bamboo and a school on the Pā’ōfa’i land where the Protestant Temple is currently located. This is the starting point for the creation, 200 years ago (2018) of today’s Papeete.


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The pleasant promenade of the Papeete seafront

From the Vai’ete place to the Jacques Chirac’s roundabout.

A stone’s throw away from the Vai’ete place is the Papeete Maritime Station. It is from there that the historic tour of Papeete starts.

Le Petit Train de Papeete


In the heart of the waterfront are scattered several majestic trees. This nature along the road reminds us of all its beauty and greatness. Most of these trees are at least 60 years old. This banyan transports us to the valley.

Banian de la Place Vai'ete


Like the place of coconut palms in Nouméa in New Caledonia, Papeete also has its Music Pavillon in its place. Place Vai’ete, it is on this land that for more than a hundred years, a large part of the tourists have set foot for the first time, on these south pacific islands. Since the birth of Papeete in 1818, the function of this land has always been related to the trade and transport of goods and people, since it has been for decades the Port of Papeete. It has hosted commercial sheds, customs, the territorial assembly, the Tiurai (cultural event in July) and in recent years a public place.

Place Vai'ete

Place Vai'ete


This part of the waterfront is made up of one-storey buildings, reflecting 19th and 20th century dwellings and commercial establishments. Around the market was Chinatown with all its Asian stalls. It looked like a Wild West with all those wooden buildings. In the collective spirit the historical and picturesque aspect of these buildings is blurred, by the patchwork of colors and unharmonious arrangements.

Front de Mer de Papeete

Front de Mer de Papeete


The former place of the fishermen’s wharf, which daily unloaded fish, to supply the Papeete Market, a few steps away. Today, it is a place shaded and arranged, to accommodate the passers-by in search of a cool and pleasant place, to rest and eat.

Ancienne place des pêcheurs à Papeete

Ancienne place des pêcheurs à Papeete


The development of this promenade of the Papeete Marina continued in 2017. A glass barrier and information points on the fish species present in the lagoonarium were added.

Marina de Papeete

Marina de Papeete


The seafront is directly connected to the heart of the city, with pedestrian access. The opening is fast, towards the sea, but also towards the center. Some neighborhoods of Papeete, are quite pleasant, inviting the walk and looking for amazing angles to the mountains.

Promenade de Nice à Papeete


The buildings of this part of the waterfront, all date from the 20th century (1900 to 1999). Some were built at the beginning of this century, like the former Stuart Hotel which is today wedged between the Tiare Hotel and the Fare Tony building. The Stuart Hotel has inspired the architects of these new buildings that have taken over the balcony style with column railing. The painter Matisse made a world-famous board, from this former Stuart Hotel, in 1936.

Ancien Hôtel Stuart

Ancien Hôtel Stuart


At any time, it is nice to contemplate the activity of the marina and the port. During the day, while the tropical sun is rough, it is refreshing to sit in the shade of vegetation, to feel the breeze coming from the harbor.

Marina de Papeete

Marina de Papeete

Marina de Papeete

Since 2015, Papeete has a new Marina and seafront promenade. Sailboats and passing boats, as well as, catamarans for the islands and Tetiaroa, are based here all year round. The link between the city and the sea is less and less cut off by the road of the seafront, thanks to this pedestrian walkway.

Promenade du front de mer de Papeete


To the left of the pine we find the flag of France and French Polynesia. Then from left to right, Marquesas, Gambiers, Australes, leeward islands and windward islands. Missing on this photo the flag of Tuamotu found at the back of the pine.

Place giratoire Jacques Chirac


To the right of the pine we find the flag of France and French Polynesia. Then from left to right, leeward islands and windward islands, Tuamotu, Marquesas and Gambiers. Missing on this picture the flag of the Australs found at the back of the pine.

Place giratoire Jacques Chirac


 


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The historic excursion of Papeete “LE GRAND PAPEETE”

Welcome to Papeete. Listen !

The historic excursion of Papeete “LE GRAND PAPEETE” in vehicle shape like a train, is a unique discovery in French Polynesia.

This tour is currently operational from Monday to Saturday during the day. During the week the tour starts from the Papeete Ferry Terminal and the weekend, from the Paofai Gardens in front of the Protestant Temple of Paofai.

This is a new activity in the city of Papeete, as the Papeete Market and souvenir shops. In only 1 hour you will be able to know much more about the city of Papeete, instead of spending several hours to walk alone in the city center.

For more information about schedules and conditions, contact us.

Excursion historique à Papeete. Le Petit train de Papeete

Departure point during the week at the Ferry Terminal.

Excursion historique à Papeete. Le Petit train de Papeete

Departure point during the weekend in the Paofai Temple.

Fā’ati City is the only historical excursion in Papeete. Indeed, this train operate to make visitors discovered Papeete quietly installed. Comments on the monuments, streets and neighborhoods stories will be tells. Languages ​​of the comments English, French and Chinese. 

As much as possible the train pass throught quiet streets, and those set back from the center, which is more accessible at the end of the day. You will visit neighborhoods, where very few visitors generally pass. Although there is no stop, contact with locals is easy, and often results in smiles and friendly hand signals.

This excursion was created to allow visitors and the local people to discover or to discover again, the areas that make this city a special port. The mix of cultures and genres are sometimes ignored by the population, that’s why our activity on Tahiti, is also a fun way to learn more about Papeete.

The little train is known in other countries, and it is often successful because it facilitates the visit of picturesque city and exceptional natural space. Papeete is, as we said above, a port city, which if we stay around the market, is not always heavenly. But if you get lost in the streets on the outskirts of the center, you can discover unique points of view, and see scenes of the daily life of these Polynesians in the city.

Fā’ati City train is an invitation to travel through this two hundred year old town, with commentaries that reveal a small part of Papeete’s astonishing history.