Barry Heath and Marie-Jeanne (Danielle) Peters
Tue 8 Sep 2009 16:43



We visit the “Marae Taputaputea”. It is still wet we even have to wear our bad weather gear. We walk to this archaeological site. We are impressed. The site is huge. The atmosphere is very special. You still can feel the spirits of this place. This marae was the most important one in Polynesia. Chiefs as far as from Hawai`I and New Zealand sailed to Raiatea for taking part in religious ceremonies. The marae was dedicated to the god Oro (god of war) and dates from the 17th century. Any marae constructed on another island needed to have one of Taputaputoa`s stones in its construction.  We are charmed by this unique site. Maraes have something.

In the afternoon we sail up to Uturoa the capital village of Raiatea. We get some fuel and moor up against the harbour wall in the centre of the village. We need to do some shopping. Uturoa is convenient because the supermarket is just over the road which makes it easy to carry things. We even can bring the caddy close to the boat. Unfortunate we can observe one of the biggest problems in Polynesia. Alcohol. Men and women were sitting the whole day on a bench and keep on drinking massive amounts of beer. Severe laws got instored to keep people from drinking. No alcohol can be bought on week days. The price for alcohol is hallucinating high. In public events like a rowing contest, a concert, a celebration no alcohol is served. In the Marquises they wanted to forbid selling it in any shop. Alcohol came to Polynesia by the Europeans. It was used as in the States to weaken the strong and proud warriors of the islands. By weakening the tribes the people started to loose their identity their culture their roots. The legend says that the proud Marquisians refused to have children anymore because they didn’t want to see them this desolate situation. Alcohol, diseases reduced the population of Polynesia dramatically and the results can still be seen and felt today. Sometimes it’s a shame to be a European. I think we are not in the position to judge these people or to give them advice we brought them the misery.