Maiao, the unusual

2 days

An “all inclusive and private” cruise.
Returns can be made by plane.

The day of departure: Tahiti – Navigation

Embark aboard our Bahia 46, with your family or with your friends in the morning.
Our catamaran awaits you at Marina Taina.
A brief briefing with our crew and in the night leave on Maiao for about ten hours of navigation.

1st and 2nd day: Maiao named “the forbidden island

In the morning, wake up to Maiao. Our partner “Tematai” will be present at the dock to welcome you.
Have breakfast with a nice glass of fresh fruit juice before starting your stay on Maiao.
A warm welcome, with a fresh coconut, hats of “niau”, floral neck wreaths, the smell of “Tiare”!

Visit the island by 4×4, go around the coconut grove, pandanus and lakes.

Tematai will share his culture and the customs of his island with great pleasure and a smile on his lips.

After your lunch, go out to snorkel, paddle or kayak in a nice and isolated place.
Find yourself, alone in the world!

The next day, “firfiri” is waiting for you at breakfast.

Put on your mountain boots and go hiking! You have a breathtaking view from the mountain “Raveatau”.
Finally, end the day with a delicious Tahitian meal, called “ma’a Tahiti”.
The crab and octopus with coconut milk are to die for!

Day 3: Moorea “yellow lizard”

Enjoy your last day swimming with sharks and rays. (a very appreciated moment)

Go snorkeling in the coral garden of Vaiare and visit the “Tiki Immers”.

Before you leave, enjoy sunset on board and trolling while sailing.

Why not end the cruise in style with big game fishing!

How Maiao became “the forbidden island”

We have to go back to the 1920s to find the origin of Maiao’s ban on foreigners. A British citizen named Eric Lawford Trower moved to Maiao to open a business. The man believes that the island can host a lucrative mining activity with phosphate mining. He then exploited a sales activity on credit by taking advantage of the fascination of indigenous people for consumer goods from outside: sheet metal, timber, sewing machines … “Of course,” says Carole Atem in his study, ” as in Tahiti when Europeans arrive, alcohol appears on the island. Purchases being made on credit, the inhabitants find themselves very quickly riddled with debts and, above all, remain unable to fulfill them “.

The first victim of the stratagem of the English is none other than Nu’u in Tauniua, then ruler of the island. Incapable of honoring a debt of 65,775 Fcfp, it is meant by the court of Papeete, on the request of Trower, the seizure of the divided and undivided rights on the lands which it holds. Part of this land is then auctioned by Maiao’s trader. Then, from 1925 to 1935, Trower managed to appropriate up to 80% of the land of the island, through deeds of sale with the owners in exchange for consumer debts

In the mid-1930s, called for help by the population of Maiao, Pastor Octave Moreau (1872-1936) advised them to report these malpractices to the Governor of the time. An investigation is carried out on the spot. It confirms the bad manners of English. Far from being limited to legal means, the latter regularly comes to threats with a gun, uses false testimony, practices theft of copra …
On July 3, 1934, the Papeete District Court ordered the seizure of all of Mr. Trower’s rights in Maiao’s lands. Sold by auction, these lands are acquired by the Maiao Agricultural Association with the support of state authorities. The entity includes all the inhabitants of the island. It was formed on the advice of Pastor Octave Moreau. This agricultural association is the ancestor of the current Agricultural Cooperative of the island.
The debts of the agricultural association to the authorities of the State will be refunded over the years, thanks to the sale of the copra and pandanus production of the island.

The years have passed. And this story was forgotten on the spot. Since 2013 however, Maiao shyly opens to tourism. The activity offers an alternative source of income for the population. No boarding house and even less hotel. A nautical charter transports visitors from Tahiti for three-day tours. Visitors stay aboard but have the opportunity to enjoy the beach, can hike in the mountains and end their stay with a large picnic by the sea. In 2017, 12 such trips were organized. A hundred visitors were able to discover Maiao.

“Today, everyone wants to take tourism. It gives us another source of income. A source of very important money for us, “Adèle Teariki told Edouard Fritch, during the government visit organized last December, taking witnesses to the population of the island gathered around it. This new economic activity is now on tiptoe. All remains to be done on the spot in the respect of a strict regulation updated in 1989 (see box); but we feel that the will exists to end the rigors that have earned Maiao the still well deserved reputation of a forbidden island.

Some generalities about Maiao

Nestled in the Pacific Ocean 62 nautical miles west of Tahiti, Maiao is administratively attached to the town of Moorea, located at four hours of sea. The island has 353 inhabitants in 2017, mainly gathered in the 80 homes of the small village of Taora o Mere. The highest point of Maiao is a 154 m hill, Ravae, lodged or heart of a small massif that stretches from West to East and overlooks the two lagoons of the atoll, Roto Iti and Roto Rahi, to the north and South.
The island is surrounded by a barrier reef, interrupted by two passes open to small craft: Avarei, dug with dynamite not far from the village; and Apotoo, a natural passage used only when the Avarei pass is not passable. Covering an area of ​​900 hectares, the island of Maiao derives its income from the declining trade of copra and dried pandanus leaves (the Rauoro, used for braiding or making traditional roofs). Production and trade are administered for the benefit of the community by an agricultural cooperative, now headed by Tauniua Wolta Matahiapo.
Maiao was also called Tapuae Manu, Maiao Iti, or Teanuanuaiterai because of frequent rainbows linked to the presence of its two inland lakes.
The first European to visit the island was Captain Samuel Wallis, in 1767. Maiao was a dependency of Huahine royalty until 1904, before its administrative attachment to the constituency of Tahiti and its dependencies.