Photographer's Note

Marae Maeva at Lac Maeva, Huahine

The famous archaeological site near the village of Maeva has the largest concentration of pre-European marae in Polynesia.

A MARAE is a sacred place which served both religious and social purposes in pre-Christian Polynesian societies. In all these languages, the word also means "cleared, free of weeds, trees, etc." It generally consists of an area of cleared land roughly rectangular (the marae itself), bordered with stones or wooden posts (called au in Tahitian and Cook Islands Māori) perhaps with terraces (paepae) which were used in olden times for ceremonial purposes.

Now, almost fully restored, 200 archeological stone structures have survived centuries of natural destruction. These structures lie within yards of one another along the shore of Lake Fauna Nui and on the sacred and scenic Matairea Hill and include marae of island chieftains, dwellings, horticultural developments, and religious and ceremonial monuments.

Here, overlooking the ancient stone fish traps and the ocean beyond, visitors follow a footpath among royal marae and immense fortification walls as well as stone foundations for homes of island chiefs and priests.

Other important historic finds have shown that Huahine has the oldest recorded date of human occupation among the Society Islands. Discoveries at the recently uncovered sites date from A.D. 850 to 1200 and include ancient workshops for the construction of canoes and assembly of fish hooks.

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Additional Photos by Leonor Kuhn (leonorkuhn) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3173 W: 205 N: 3259] (16237)
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