The 24th April of 1792, lieutenant George Tobin and doctor Harwood from the second expedition of the William Blight went for a walk and they noticed a double hulled canoe or tipae’ati near the house of Tu, Pomare I. It was the sacred double hulled canoe named Taputapuatea. On one bow, there was a roasted pig, a pork head, breadfruits, bananas and some sugar cane. On the other bow was a bundle about 5 feet long covered by a red European fabric. Several bunches of feathers were hanging on different parts of the canoe. At the front of the platform was the fare atua of ‘Oro, the god of war. On the beach, there was two drums or pahu decorated with European fabric and some food for the offering ceremonies of ‘Oro. There was also various unu, carved pieces that were found on the marae, they were intercessory objects between men and gods. April 28th, the sacred belt, maro ‘ura, made with red and yellow feathers and symbol of the religious power of the ari’i nui, great chiefs, was exposed on a marae in Pare along with the representation of ‘Oro. William Blight had already seen this canoe at Atehuru in 1789 (a district wich formerly regrouped Puna’auia and Pa’ea). A war occurred between Pare and Atehuru, Tu was victorious in 1790 and the sacred canoe was transferred to Pare (the district wich formerly regrouped Pape’ete, Pira’e and ‘Arue). 

Va’a ra’a

Scared canoe

Taputapuatea à Tahiti.

Watercolor of G. Tobin, 1792.

Mitchell Library. Australia.