Tahiti is estimated to have been settled between
AD 300 and 800 by Polynesians
These Tahitian settlers are believed to have sailed
from Fiji, Samoa, or Tonga.
Tahiti is the biggest island in French Polynesia
European Contact in the 1700s
Samuel Wallis, an English sea captain, sighted Tahiti
on June 18,1767, and is considered the first European visitor
Wallis was followed in April 1768 by the French explorer
Louis-Antoine de, completing the first French
circumnavigation. Bougainville made Tahiti famous in Europe
when he published Voyage Autour Du Monde.
James Cook later visited the islands to view the Transit of
Venus in April 1769.
After European contact and exploration died down, the
Tahitian population died down from 35,000 to 16,000 all the
way to 6000 at one point.
This was all due to guns, prostitution, venereal disease,
alcohol, Christianity, and diseases such as typhus, influenza,
Tahiti in the 20th Century
1946-Tahiti and all of French
Polynesia becomes a French
Paul Gauguin, a famous French
painter lived in Tahiti in the 1890s and
painted many Tahitian subjects.
Who are the Tahitians?
The indigenous Tahitians are of Polynesian
ancestry comprising 70% of the population
alongside Europeans, East Asians, and many
Ultimately, the Tahitian population today is a huge
melting pot of many different races and ethnicities.
The Early Tahitians
Early Tahitians lived off the land
Lived in clans, each with roles to help
the community as a whole
Were expert fishermen and craftsmen
which both skills helped in trade.
Tahitian Culture and Life in Tahiti
Still live off the land
Very French influenced in culture
Tourist flooded in some places
Ancient culture is still preserved today
Most Tahitians speak multiple
language including French and their
ancient dialect of Tuamotu.
There are approximately 262,000
residents of Tahiti
Tahitian Culture Today
Heiva I Tahiti
My experience there
Tahitian Culture outside of Tahiti
Tahitian Dance has spread here, Mexico,
Japan, and many other countries.
Polynesian Tattoo has become very popular
here as well.
Boating sports and Music are also
becoming very popular all over the world.
My Personal Experience with
Dancing and Music
Benefits of Dancing
Mainstream Tahitian Culture
The only pieces of Tahitian Culture that
has passed into the states is the
dance, music, and art.
of Tahitian Dance
Is Modernization of Tahitian
Culture Destroying the Tradition?
In my opinion, because of the modernization
of Tahitian dance and music in the states,
many groups in the States are not keeping the
culture. Even in Tahiti, some groups are falling
out of tradition and falling in to the modern
Tahitian dance hype. So yes, modernization is
destroying the tradition, and only few groups
are still around to keep the tradition how it
The Keepers of Tradition
Personally, my group has been one of
the few groups, maybe the only group
in Tahitian dancing that has been
keeping the real culture alive in the
As a group, we give the audience a
show of real Tahitian Culture, trying to
persuade them to favor traditional
dancing rather than the modern.
Future of the Tahitian Culture
What I hope for it
Tahitian Culture expansion
How fast it has been expanding
Suggs, R.C. "The Derivation of Marquesan Culture." Royal Anthropological
Institute of Great Britain and Ireland n. pag. Web. 26 Jul 2011.
Crocombe, R.G. "French Polynesia: a book of selected readings." Institute of
Pacific Studies of the University of South Pacific (1988): n. pag. Web. 26 Jul 2011.
Kuwhara, Makiko. "Dancing and Tattooing the imagined Territory: Identity
Formation at Heiv and the festival of Pacific Arts." JCAS, 2006. Web. 26 Jul 2011.