Taputapuatea Marae named a UNESCO World Heritage Site
LOS ANGELES, CA – July 19, 2017 – On Sunday, July 9, UNESCO named the Taputapuatea marae on the island of Raiatea in The Islands of Tahiti as a World Heritage site. This significant designation for the sacred site is of great pride for the Polynesian people and brings an extraordinary opportunity in tourism to expose visitors from all over the world to their history and culture. The Taputapuatea marae is the first cultural site in a French overseas realm recognized by UNESCO.
The Taputapuatea marae is an ancient sacred site estimated to be 1,000-years-old where religious and social ceremonies were performed prior to the arrival of European missionaries. Polynesian ancestors arranged hundreds of stones which they believed to hold Mana, a source of power and spiritual strength in these sacred sites.
This prestigious UNESCO cultural label reinforces Tahiti Tourisme’s campaign “The Islands of Tahiti, Embraced by Mana,” which highlights the wealth of Polynesian culture and the diversity of activities that discerning travelers can discover in 118 islands and atolls. The World Heritage label will encourage visitors to discover the destination’s many aspects through the local people, their way of life, their culture, arts, crafts and through ecotourism.
“The classification of the Taputapuatea marae as a UNESCO World Heritage site gives the Polynesian people a new and unifying opportunity to share their traditions and convey their deepest values” says Kristin Carlson Kemper, Managing Director, Tahiti Tourisme U.S.
A 45-minute flight away from Papeete, Raiatea is the second largest economic center in The Islands of Tahiti, possessing various fascinating attributes, both on land and at sea. A narrow channel separates Raiatea from its sister island, Taha’a, where the “Pacific black gold” is grown—a vanilla of such premium quality that it has become a luxury product desired the world over. The island is surrounded by numerous motu (islets) with picturesque beaches and idyllic coral gardens. Scuba diving sites are spread throughout the island, including the Nordby, a shipwreck lying 95 feet under the ocean surface. Raiatea also offers scenic hiking trails through the island’s splendid mountainous interior. The luckiest of travelers may encounter the mysterious Tiare Apetahi, a five-petaled ordorous blossom endemic to Mount Temehani of Raiatea.