Exploring Pre-European Marae at Maeva
Huahine is home to the most extensive collection of pre European marae (traditional temples) in all of French Polynesia. These are found at Maeva, which is about 7 kilometers from the island's only town, the sleepy port of Fare. Prior to European arrival, Maeva served as the seat of royal power on Huahine and you'll find the 30 excavated marae (many of which have been restored) scattered among the village's modern buildings along its shoreline and up the side of Matairea (Pleasant Wind) Hill. There is a designated walk around the site, which starts at the water's edge and then leads up the slopes of Matairea Hill, where the most marae are located. It takes about two hours to complete. Make sure to bring plenty of water. You can pick up a brochure outlining the walk and what marae you'll see along the way from the small archeological museum at the water's edge. The museum also tells the story of the excavations which began in the 1920s.
By Becca Blond, AFAR Local Expert