July, a month of festivities in Tahiti

Culture – From July 16 to 26 2018, Tahiti will have the privilege of being the host city of the 18th edition of the Va’a World Sprint Championships. During the same period, French Polynesia will celebrate Polynesian culture through the “Heiva“, the cultural event of the year.

Rhythm to the sound of local songs and « to’ere » percussions, the Heiva festivities will follow as every July, making tributes to different ancestral practices and traditions. This testimony to the vivacity of culture in Polynesia, brings together a variety of shows and ceremonies featuring various traditional Polynesian practices and combining a multitude of disciplines. Whether it’s dance, singing, music, ceremonies or sport, this unique event promises to impress foreign athletes looking for an authentic cultural experience!

An exceptional range of activities :

To celebrate this month of celebration, a program is set up as follows :

© Tahiti Tourisme

Craft Fair – Heiva Rima’i 

This exhibition is the scene of demonstrations of craftsmanship. Nearly a hundred artisans from the 5 archipelagos come together for the occasion, around a specific theme that varies from year to year. Creators are showcased in the diversity of their arts. The carving on wood, stone or bone, jewels, tifaifai, weaving, basketwork, sewing … So many expressions that put forward the abundance and the finesse of the realized creations and which makes it possible to make discover the peculiarities of each archipelago.

Va’a Races – Heiva va’a

Va’a competitions are organized for this event and brings together no less than a thousand participants each year.

Among these races :

  • A lagoon race – Va’a roto
  • Offshore races – Moorea tour – Va’a tua
  • The Super tauati Memorial « Edouard Maamaatuaiahutapu »

© Tahiti Tourisme

Traditional Sports – Heiva Tu’aro Ma’ohi

This traditional sports competition gathered around 800 licensees spread over the 5 archipelagos of Polynesia. Many traditional practices are honored. Some of the most authentic and spectacular are Javelin throwing, stone raising, coconut climbing, coconut peeling, copra, fruit carrier races and “Va’a Taie” regattas.

Show at Marae Arahurahu

Marae Arahurahu from Paea is one of the most beautiful « Marae » (traditional place ) of Tahiti. Every year in July, a traditional show is offered. A real moment of entertainment carried by dances and songs.





Walk on fire – Umu ti

This ceremony is organized by the Tahu’a (high priest) Raymond Teriierooiterai Graffe and opens the festivities of the Heiva I Tahiti. After a long preparation and incantation rituals, instructions are given at the hearing, then volunteers are invited to follow the priest to walk on white-hot stones.

© Lucien Pesquié

Heiva I Tahiti (Heiva local dance groups)

About twenty groups train to offer the best performance: sumptuous vegetable costumes, perfect choreography, music, everything is meticulously prepared, sometimes even a year before the event.

Besides the dancers and singers, this event also mobilizes every year other artists such as dance teachers, costume designers, and musicians who contribute to make this Heiva i Tahiti, an exceptional traditional show.

Attending the 18th edition of the Va’a World Sprint Championships in Tahiti is an opportunity to discover in what cultural dynamic fits the Va’a in French Polynesia. It is also a real opportunity to come immerse yourself in a cultural experience of the most authentic!