Power of Mana
Tahitians today have inherited a rich, expressive culture from their ma’ohiancestors. From the ma’ohi came the pulse of Tahitian life, a world where the lives of gods, warriors and men crossed in colourful legends. It’s a place where music, dance and art arose from the wonder of everyday island life. It’s also where javelin-throwing began as the sport of the gods, kings favored surf-riding and men competed in canoe races and stone-lifting as a show of pure strength.
Feel the power of Mana in The Islands of Tahiti
The Islands of Tahiti exude a power of life that makes each experience in these islands unforgettable. The Tahitians call this power ‘Mana’. You will feel it ripple up your spine the moment you step off the plane. It will fill your soul. You will taste it and smell it in the air. Once you’ve experienced The Islands of Tahiti, the spirit of Mana will flow through you.
Music and dance
When the missionaries came to Tahiti, they tried to suppress the powerful, life-affirming and sensual sounds and movements that embody the music and dance of Tahiti. In the dance and rhythms, Tahitians give voice to their Mana, allowing it to rise from the sea, descend from the hills, and emanate from the soul of every man and woman who falls under its mesmerising spell. Today’s Tahitian dance and music celebrates the resilience of Polynesian culture to overcome and maintain their sacred expressions of life. In ancient times, dances were linked with all aspects of life. One would dance to welcome a visitor, to pray, to challenge an enemy or to seduce a mate. Today’s dance remains a powerful, potent symbol, especially when accompanied by the harmonic voices of the Tahitians, the thunder of traditional drums and plaintive song of conch shells.
Heiva I Tahiti: the Celebration of Life
For a few weeks each summer, dance troupes from across French Polynesia arrive in Tahiti for the annual Heiva festival. Many of these groups, particularly the large-scale dance teams, have been practising their complex routines several times a week during the year since the previous festival.
The word tatau originated in The Islands of Tahiti, and the symbols have meaning, and the meaning tells the story of each Tahitian’s personal history. In each line drawn on the body, the ma’ohi of the past is connected to the Mana of the present and future. The presence of Tohu, the god of tatau, who painted all the oceans’ fish in their colours and patterns, gives each tatau an essence of meaning and life. A link between heaven and earth. In The Islands of Tahiti, tattoos are also signs of beauty; in earlier times, they were an important part of life, as they signalled the end of adolescence.