Tutaha Salmon , an emblematic figure
Son of the mayor of Tautira , tutaha was a farmer and a fisherman, in charge of the va’a competitions in Tautira. He became mayor of the district in 1972. He made the war canoes or Pahi tama’i (Tah) for the movie « Mutiny on the Bounty ». He strongly contribute to the modernization of the sport in French polynesia (OC1, OC6, OC16) in the 50’s and created the « ligue des Piroguiers ».
Edouard Maamaatuaiahutapu, a man with overflowing ideas
Living near a Fare va’a, he gain interest in canoes early in his life. He’s requested along with other shipwright for the creation and design of the va’a for the very first world sprint championships in california.
For 17 years (2000-2017) he will lead the Tahitian va’a federation and in 1992 he wanted to create a competition who will rival the famous Moloka’i Hoe. That is when the Hawaiki Nui Va’a was born.
Jacques Asoy Wong, cornerstone of the canoe making
« Papi Asoy » had 16 when he started making va’a in his father’s workshop. He repaired dammaged canoes for his employees and paddlers of Maire Nui who wanted to train in Papeete. Later on he created his own team called « Ihilani ». His reputation transcends borders and in Hawaii he was requested to make va’a with « koa » wood, a precious ressource of the Big Island. Even today you can go to his workshop and he will gladly give you his knowledge.
Starr Teriitahi, the pionner of team Teva
Former fisherman and farmer, he started va’a at 20 under a few famous paddlers of Tahiti-iti. With doctor Truk he founded in 1940 the famous team Teva. He participated in the Moloka’i Hoa in 1975 and then became coach. He’s passionate about va’a and often share his experience and advice to anyone who ask him.