by Marau Taaroa & Henry Adams


Thus, when the Papara family, under the control of Purea, committed the follies which ended in the grand disaster of December, 1768, the Pare Arue family was able to profit by what ruined us. Old Teu, or Hapai, seems to have been a shrewd and cautious man, but we know little about him before Cook arrived. He never assumed to be a great chief or to wear the Maro-ura, and is more likely to have been jealous of his son than of Amo or Teriirere. This son, Tu, must have been born about 1743. From his mother he had a claim to the Maro-ura of Raiatea; through his ancestress Tetuaehuri he belonged to the family of Vehiatua and the Tevaitai districts of Taiarapu; from his father he inherited the chiefery of Pare Arue, and to complete the circle of ambition, he was given a wife -- Tetuanui-rea-i-te-rai -- of the adjoining, independent, chiefery of Tefana i Ahurai, who was not only niece of Purea, but was quite as ambitious and energetic as Purea herself.

I have already told the story of Purea's downfall, as it was told to Cook. According to that account, the chief who accomplished the overthrow of Papara was Tutaha of Paea, and, in fact, whenever Papara has been worsted it has generally been found that Paea helped to turn the scale. Tutaha seems to have taken the lion's share in the division of spoils. Tu got little or nothing except the recognition of his right to wear the Maro-ura at Maraetaata. Further than this his supremacy did not go. Outside his own personal territory he was still a stranger. Although he was recognized by his family and by Tutaha of Paea as an Arii rahi with the Maro-ura in December, 1768, or January, 1769, yet when Cook arrived at Matavai in the following April he never saw Tu; he saw only Tutaha. When he sent a boat along the coast to the eastward, past Papenoo and Mahaena, twenty miles, the people everywhere said that the pigs and other provisions all belonged to Tutaha, and could not be sold without his permission; so that "we now began to think that this man was indeed a great prince, for an influence so extensive and absolute could be acquired by no other; and we afterwards found that he administered the government of this part of the island, as sovereign, for a minor whom we never saw all the time that we were upon it." Although Tu was not a minor, being then fully twenty-five years old, and married; and although he and his wife Tetua must have been burning with curiosity to see Cook and get presents, they could not come to Matavai because Matavai was in the district of Haapape, and they were obliged to look at Cook's ships from a distance, and allow Tutaha and Tepau-i-Ahurai Tamaiti (Toubourai Taimaide) to beg all Cook's axes and nails.

On the other hand, Amo and Purea, although only three or four months had passed since their overthrow, came to Matavai to see Cook, and were received with the usual respect due to Arii rahi. I have already quoted the story, and will quote it again. "On the 21st [June, 1769]," Cook reported "we were visited at the fort by a chief called Oamo, whom we had never seen before, and who was treated by the natives with uncommon respect; he brought with him a boy about seven years old, and a young woman about sixteen: the boy was carried upon a man's back, which we considered as a piece of state, for he was as well able to walk as any present. As soon as they were in sight, Oberea and several other natives who were in the fort went out to meet them, having first uncovered their heads and bodies as low as the waist; as they came on, the same ceremony was performed by all the natives who were without the fort." The boy, Teriirere of Papara, was Arii rahi in Haapape because his father's mother, Tiipaarii or Teroroeora i Fareroi, was a daughter of the chief of Haapape, and Teriirere had a seat in the Marae of Faroroi. Tu had no seat there, and no rights; at that time he did not even dare to enter the district, or come in his canoe into Matavai Bay.

The coalition against Papara fell to pieces as quickly as it was made. Tutaha quarreled with Vehiatua, we know not for what reason, and undertook to break down the Outer Tevas as he had broken down the Inner Tevas. Such a scheme could not have been in the interest of Tu, who owed most of his power to his alliance with Vehiatua; and the plan was openly opposed by old Teu, or Hapai, Tu's father, but without effect. Tu was obliged to follow Tutaha. I will quote what we know of the story, from the missionaries' sketch of island history in the "Voyage of the Duff," taken almost wholly from Forster.

"Tootaha had obtained a great quantity of curious and useful articles from his European guests, and he availed himself of the acquisitions to increase his influence over the chiefs of the larger peninsula. He succeeded in persuading them to unite their forces against Teiar-raboo, which he wished to reduce to its former state of subjection. Waheadooa, who fought only to enjoy peaceably the independence he had established, pleaded the services he had rendered to Tootaha as an argument to divert him from his hostile designs, which Waheadooa had learned and was prepared to resist. The military pride and ambition of the regent urged him to persist in his attempt; and having equipped a fleet of war-canoes, he sailed toward the smaller peninsula and engaged the naval force of Waheadooa, with nearly equal loss on each side. Tootaha retired, with a determination to try his success by land. His brother Happae disapproved of this measure and remained at Oparre; but Tootaha obliged Otoo, who always disliked fighting, to accompany the army. It engaged that of Waheadooa at the isthmus and was totally routed. Tootaha and Tooboorae Tamaede were killed on the spot, Orette [chief of Hitiaa] and many others severely wounded, and Otoo escaped, with a few of his friends, to the summits of the mountains, where his father and family had taken refuge upon being informed of the defeat. Waheadooa marched directly to Matavae and Oparre, laying waste all the country, as is usual in their wars; but he sent reasonable proposals of peace to Happae and Otoo, who readily accepted them."

Tutaha's war and death occurred in March, 1773, and was the first news received by Captain Cook when he returned to Tahiti on his second voyage and anchored, August 17, in Pihaa Bay, in Vehiatua's territory. Vehiatua himself had died in the interval, and his son, then seventeen or eighteen years of age, had succeeded to the name and authority.

The death of Tutaha and Tepau i Ahurai produced a new revolution, or, perhaps, dissolved the old alliances. Vehiatua of Tiarapu, Teriirere of Papara, Terii Vaetua of Ahurai, and Tunuieaaiteatua of Pare existed henceforward as equals; but of them all, Tu was the least powerful. The only sign that his position had improved was his immediate appearance at Matavai to receive Cook and beg for presents. Apparently the death of Tutaha brought the district of Haapape in some way within the influence or control of Tu, for no chief, except an unknown Toppere (Tiipaarii), was mentioned as ruling there either by Cook or Forster; but Amo and Purea again appeared there in company with Tu and the chiefs of Paea and Tefana, Poatatou and Towha. At that time, therefore, all these chiefs were on friendly terms. Forster said that Teriirere was then married to the eldest sister of Tn, whom he called Neehourai, but he seems to have meant the sister of Tu's wife, who would have been a Tetua i Ahurai, and was the elder sister of Terii Vaetua of Ahurai. We know nothing of such a marriage, and at that time Teriirere was not much more than twelve years old, while Neehourai was thirty.

Tu appeared to Cook to enjoy no great consideration and to be secretly intriguing to gain power. He wanted Cook to help him against Vehiatua and he complained that the chiefs of Ahurai and Paea were not his friends. Although he was engaged, or expected to be engaged, with both these chiefs in a war with Eimeo, he did not command the expedition or take any part in it. The English, who could not conceive that any people should be able to exist without some pretense of concentrated authority, gave to Tu the rank and title of King, while remarking that he was merely one, and not the most important, of several Arii rahi.

Of Papara and its chiefs they saw little, and thought less. Lieutenant Pickersgill, at the end of August, 1773, went as far as Papara, "where O Ammo, who had once been the king of all Taheitee, resided with his son, the young T'-Aree Derre. He took up his first night's lodging on the borders of a small district which was now the property of the famous queen, 0-Poorea (Oberea). As soon as she heard of his arrival she hastened to him, and met her old acquaintance with repeated marks of friendship. She had separated from her husband some time after the departure of Captain Wallis, and was now entirely deprived of that greatness which had once rendered her conspicuous in story and august in the eyes of Europeans."

To a Tahitian, who knew what was the usual fate of chiefesses after their sons had taken their rank and their husbands had taken new wives, even though he knew nothing of the position of English dowagers, this peculiarly conventional English morality would have seemed wasted. Purea was still, according to Forster, in the possession of her district, but apparently Papara had taken part in Tutaha's war against Taiarapu, and had been ravaged like Matavai and Pare, in revenge, by Vehiatua. "The civil wars between the two peninsulas of the island had stripped her, as well as the whole district of Paparra, of the greatest part of her wealth, so that she complained to the lieutenant that she was poor (teetee) and had not a hog to give her friends." Pickersgill reported to Cook that "she seemed much altered for the worse, poor and of little consequence. The first words she said to Mr Pickersgill were, Earre mataou ina boa, Earee is frightened, you can have no hogs. By this it appeared that she had little or no property, and was herself subject to the Earee, which I believe was not the case when I was here before. "

The English never took an idea by halves. Having made a queen of Purea in 1768, they were determined to regard her as a beggar in 1773. Nevertheless, Teriirere was still Arii rahi; Papara and the Teva districts were no more changed than their neighbors; in May, 1774, Purea appeared on board Cook's ship at Matavai with the usual presents, and both she and Amo took the same social position they had always held; but the glamour of royalty was gone. "On the 12th [May, 1774]," wrote Cook "old Oberea, the woman, who, when the Dolphin was here in 1767, was thought to be queen of the island, and whom I had not seen since 1769, paid us a visit, and brought a present of hogs and fruit." Forster gave a longer account of this visit. "O-Poorea (Oberea), once the queen of Taheitee, came on board and presented two hogs to Captain Cook. The fame of our red feathers had reached to the plains of Paparra, for she told us she was come to have some of them. She appeared to be between forty and fifty; her per-son was tall, large and fat, and her features, which seemed once to have been more agreeable, were now rather masculine. However, something of her former greatness remained; she had 'an eye to threaten or command,' and a free and noble deportment. She did not stay long on board, probably because she felt herself of less consequence in our eyes than formerly. After enquiring for her friends of the Endeavor, she went ashore in her canoe. O-Ammo likewise came to the ship about this time, but was still less noticed than his late consort; and, being little known on board, was not permitted to come even into the Captain's cabin. It was with difficulty that he could dispose of his hogs, as we had now so many on deck that we did not care to crowd the decks with more. These two royal personages are living examples of the instability of human grandeur."

There could be but one King, and he was Tu of Pare. The chance that made Matavai the most convenient harbor for the English ships made Tu the most important person on the island to provide fresh meat for the English crews. Tu, therefore, greatly to the disgust of the other chiefs, got most of the axes and other gifts, and all the social civilities of the British. This jealousy almost roused a serious fight at Pare, where Tu's rivals for Cook's favor became so violent that Tu himself fled from his own district to Matavai for safety. The Ahurai and Attahuru people were furious, and Cook was quite unable to understand that they had reason to be so. Ahurai and Paea had never before been treated as the inferiors of a Purionuu chief, and they could understand Cook's conduct as little as Cook could understand theirs. To them Cook's infatuation for Tu must have seemed a deliberate insult.

Cook's conduct must have been the more irritating because the chiefs of Ahurai and Paea were then preparing all their forces for an attack on Mahine of Eimeo and wanted Tu's assistance, which was necessary for their success. They had the whole force of Paea, numbering one hundred and sixty war-canoes; they had forty-four war-canoes from Ahurai, and even had ten from Matavai but they had none from Pare Arue; yet Tu was as closely interested in the result of the war as they could be. As usual, the Eimeo war was a family quarrel, as the opposite table shows. Mahine of Opunohu was an uncle of Teriitapunui of Vavari. Both of them belonged to the Ahurai family, but for some reason not now to be understood Mahine had quarreled with his nephew. Tetuanui, Tu's wife, was sister of Teriitapunui, and would naturally support her brother against their uncle; but although her family, under the lead of Towha, or Tahua, together with the chief of Paea, collected their strength to support Terii ta punui, Tu could not be induced to aid them. When Cook left the island, in May, 1774, the Eimeo war was about to begin. When he returned on his third voyage, in 1777, it was still going on, and Tu was still evading the demand for his assistance. Towha was, in consequence, obliged to make peace with Mahine, and was reported to intend turning his arms against Tu, to punish him. Cook then deliberately intervened in support of the policy he had adopted of elevating Tu at the expense of the other chiefs. In his eyes Tu was King by divine right, and any attack on his authority was treason in the first place and an attack on British influence in the next.

"The terms [of the peace]," said Cook, in his report, "were disadvantageous to Otaheite, and much blame was thrown upon Otoo, whose delay in sending reinforcements had obliged Towha to submit to a disgraceful accommodation. It was even currently reported that Towha, resenting his not being supported, had declared that as soon as I should leave the island he would join his forces to those of Tiaraboo and attack Otoo at Matavai or Oparre. This called upon me to declare in the most public manner that I was determined to espouse the interest of my friend against any such combination, and that whoever presumed to attack him should feel the weight of my heavy displeasure when I returned again to their island. My declaration probably had the desired effect. "

Papara seems to have had nothing to do with these quarrels. The first news Cook had received on his return, in August, 1777, was of Purea's death, which seems to have occurred in 1775 or 1776. Amo had then another wife, taken, like Purea, from the Ahurai family. Her name was Taurua i Ahurai, a cousin of Purea, and she had a son, Temarii, best known in our family by the name of Arii fataia. According to Cook, Purea's son Teriirere was still alive, and in that case must have been chief of Papara. Cook's officers saw him at Faaa, when Towha and Tu met to reconcile their quarrel, in September 1777. He was received by the chief's daughter, his cousin, with the ceremony of cutting her head with the shark's tooth and shedding tears. When Cook was at Opunohu in Eimeo. October 1, he had an account of Amo's death, but on that point the accounts are very contradictory. All I can say is that, as far as I know, Teriirere died unmarried; certainly without heirs; and that he was succeeded as chief of Papara by his half-brother, the Temarii Arii fataia.

Nearly eleven years passed before another European ship visited Tahiti, and during this interval Pomare paid dearly for the prominence his English friends had given him. When Captain Bligh arrived in the Bounty, in 1788, Tu told him "that after five years from the time of Captain Cook's departure (counting sixty-three moons)," that is, at the end of 1782, "the people of the island Eimeo joined with those of Attahooroo, and made a descent on Oparre." Many of Tu's people had been killed; he had himself fled, with the rest, to the mountains; all the houses and property had been destroyed or carried away, and even in 1788 the people "had no other habitations than light sheds which might be taken by the four corners and removed by four men; and of the many large canoes which they then had [in 1777], not more than three remained." Ahurai and Paea seem therefore to have respected Cook's threat for five years; and when they came to the conclusion that he would not return, they took the promised revenge.

Table VI: Ahurai-Nuurua

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Tahiti - Marau Taaroa & Henry Adams