by Marau Taaroa & Henry Adams


I must now come to the question I have already asked myself: Who was the chief of Papara who joined Tu against Paea and helped Tu to seize the chieferies of Ahurai and Taiarapu and the sovereignty over Opunohu, as well as the Maro ura which belonged to Papara and had never till then been beyond the control of Tevahitua?

Certainly the chief was not Teriirere, the son of Purea. Teriirere was dead, and neither wife nor child of his is known to tradition. Purea seems to have had no other child by Amo. Teriirere had been born about 1762, and as early as 1769 Cook knew that Amo and Purea had long been separated by mutual consent. Like other chiefs, Amo took other wives, and apparently the treaty of 1768-9, by which Tutaha restored peace and punished Purea, stipulated that Amo should marry another Ahurai chiefess. Cook supposed this contract was for Teriirere, but the English were invariably confused in their attempts to understand native ranks and relationships. In 1774 Forster saw much of Vaetua, who told him that his eldest sister, whose name Forster wrote Tedua Neehourai -- Tetua i Ahurai -- who seemed to be about thirty years old, was married to the son oi Amo, called Teriirere, who was then a child of twelve. In truth, she probably was married to Amo himself, for we know by our family records that he married Taurua i Ahurai, a niece of Purea and a cousin of Tu's wife. By her he had another son, Temarii, known to us as Ariifaataia, who was born apparently about 1772, and was therefore some ten years younger than Teriirere and ten years older than Tu's son, our later King Pomare. Whenever Teriirere died, he was succeeded by Ariifaataia.

At this point comes in a curious story heard forty years afterwards by Moerenhout, and printed in his book. Moerenhout was the only writer about Tahiti who knew Papara well; was on intimate terms with Tati, the next chief, my grandfather, and got from him much of what he afterwards put in his book. Unfortunately Moerenhout seldom mentioned his authorities, and had more than a reasonable weakness for confusing names, dates and events. While his story seems to be as precise as any one could wish, it is really difficult to follow.

"At the death of Amo," says Moerenhout, "which happened shortly before the appearance of the Bounty [October 26, 1788, June 6 or September 22, 1789], his son, then named Oripaea, being still too young to command, Ariifaataia, Amo's brother, was named as regent."

I venture to correct this, so as to read as follows: At the death of the chief of Papara, which happened before 1788, Amo's next son, Ariifaataia, being only fifteen or sixteen years old, Ariipaea, who had married Amo's niece, was named as guardian. A glance at Table VII will show how this guardianship affected the situation of Papara.

Ariipaea, as Bligh knew him in 1788, was Tu's half-brother, an active, useful man about thirty-six years old, supposed not to be on good terms with Tu. Three years afterwards, in 1791, Vancouver found him in the most important and confidential relation with Tu, having taken up his residence on the borders of Taiarapu, to guard against revolt or disaffection in the south. He died some five years afterwards, and the heir to his name and estates seems to have been Ariifaataia.

Returning now to Moerenhout's version of the story, and reading Ariipaea for Ariifaataia, with the assumption that Ariipaea had become guardian in 1787, and knowing that the mutineers of the Bounty did not establish themselves in Tahiti until September 22, 1789, the course of events seems to become intelligible.

"He [Ariipaea] was a weak man who allowed himself to be influenced by Otou, and contributed to his elevation by remaining inactive while the latter attacked Taiarabou and the other districts. When, therefore, sustained by the mutineers of the English war-vessel, Otou, Pornare or Tinah dreamed [in 1790] of conquering the whole island, he sought first to conciliate Ariipaea, who disposed of a considerable force, and who had joined with Vehiatua, or Te arii navaoroa, of Taiarabou against whom Pomare wished to act first. To neutralize this alliance, which alarmed him, Pomare sent to Ariipaea considerable presents, among which he did not forget to slip some objects of European manufacture; and sent word to him, through his vea, or messenger, that he looked on him as a father; wanted to be his ally -- his friend -- and wished to make him a visit, both to seek his advice and to form an alliance that should be as durable as it was close."

In fact Ariipaea was ten years younger than Tu, and his weakness may well be doubted, if, as is alleged, he betrayed his trust, and sold his ward's interests to Tu, his brother. Of the fact, I do not doubt, and, in spite of apparent difficulties in dates, Moerenhout's story is, in my belief, more or less an exact version of old Tati's words.

"Flattered by this condescension from so formidable a rival, the old man [Ariipaea] forgot himself; and, sacrificing the interests of his pupil [Ariifaataia], sent word at once to Pomare that he was expecting him; that he would cede to him his own place in the Marae; that he would prepare his food, &c.; all expressions which among these people imply, more than tacitly, submission and servitude."

Accordingly, a few days afterwards Pomare set out, with a numerous suite and with all the pomp that chiefs employed on such occasions. The step was taken suddenly, and Ariipaea kept it secret from the people. The first they knew of it was the sight of their enemy, Pomare, approaching with a fleet.

"The day of Pomare's arrival had not been fixed, and he was wholly unexpected, when, one morning, a numerous fleet was seen advancing. Fearing at first some surprise, the people ran to arms, but they soon saw that those in the canoes were unarmed, and that in one of the leading boats was the chief Pomare. Yet, when informed of the intended transaction, which they disapproved, and knowing also what ceremonies would be practiced on this visit, the people retired to the mountains, taking the women and children, and in a few minutes there remained on the shore only two sick people who could not move. This retreat threw the chiefs into extreme embarrassment, for victims were absolutely necessary -- three at least. For want of better, they sacrificed the two sick persons and carried them near the Marae. The survivors were all chiefs or priests, and knew not where to find the third victim, when all eyes turned on an old and intimate friend of the chief. This very quality and his age pointed him out to the executioners; so, without a word, the only question was who should strike him the first blow, and, in spite of his cries and prayers, he was put with the two other victims. When Pomare touched the shore, they brought the three bodies and rolled them under his canoe, he being in it, taking the greatest care not to let him touch the land. Then from there the canoe was carried by the chiefs of Papara and by his own people into the Marae, where Ariipaea and the servants of the temple were waiting. When the train reached the interior, Ariipaea, seated on the altar, invited Pomare to take his place, and put himself at Pomare's feet. The grand-priest then began the ceremony, offered the victims to the gods, tore out an eye from one, which he offered to Pomare, withdrawing it, as was the custom, and, after long prayers, addressed himself to the new sovereign, offering him in the name of Ariipaea the lands of the district of Papara. The descendants of Amo and Berea had till then been nearly always the chiefs of the isle, and since several generations their ancestors occupied the throne, or took rank among the most powerful chiefs. Pomare, whose family, on the contrary, had never been one of the most considered or most influential, became by the submission of Ariipaea master of the peninsula called O-tainee, and prepared to march at once on Taiarabou, the other peninsula of Otaiti, whose chief, Vaiatua or Te arii navaora, far from submission, had himself pretensions to supremacy. In consequence of this opposition, Pomare thought he had best make sure of the conquest of Taiarabou, but he still kept his views in regard to Eimeo. The English, who had brought from the Bounty many more guns and munitions than they needed, gave some of them to the chief and his subjects, some of whom had learned the use of fire-arms. Profiting by this advantage, they attacked the island, got rid of the chief, and hastened to restore Motou Aro, Pomare's old ally, who had been long exiled from the place where his family had ruled from time immemorial."

The impression made on the people of Papara by Ariipaea's betrayal of his trust was profound. They had no share in it, and seem never to have recognized it as binding upon them. Pomare's reception at the Marae of Mataoa must have been before August, 1790, when the mutineers launched their schooner, yet when Edwards arrived in the Pandora in March, 1791, he instantly discovered not only that Tu was without authority or influence at Papara, but that Temarii of Papara had recently been threatening to drive Tu out of his own district of Pare. To reconcile these facts, we must suppose that Ariifaataia had come of age early in 1790, immediately after Ariipaea's homage. The next that was said about Temarii was told by the missionaries of the Duff, who reached Tahiti in March, 1797. They got the story from two Swedes; Andrew Lind of the ship Matilda, which had been wrecked in these seas in 1792; and Peter Haggerstein, who deserted from the Daedalus in February, 1793. Both these men were beach-combers of the type that has infested the South Seas for a century; they became prominent in our history, sometimes helping the missionaries and sometimes annoying them; scoundrels of the sea-going sort; boasters and liars as well as murderers; but from their talk we can sift out some grains of truth, and some idea of the miserable condition of the island.

In July, 1797, Peter the Swede accompanied one of the missionaries on a circuit round the island to make a sort of census, as a starting-point for the missionary work. They began with Papenoo, July 11, and as they walked Peter boasted of his exploits. The first war, he said, happened in 1793, when he had been but five months on the island. Peter had deserted from the Daedalus in February 1793; the war, therefore, took place in July, 1793; but the war which he went on to describe was that of 1790, which he could only have known from hearsay, and which he told with a strange jumble of fact and fiction. According to him, Pomare had begun by attacking Papenoo, and hiring Peter and Andrew and "the Jew" to shoot for him. With their aid he conquered the east side of the island. Then, Peter continued:

"Still they [Pomare and his son Otoo] had powerful enemies who were meditating a grand attack upon them; these were Wyheatua [Vehiatua], king of Tiaraboo, and Temarre, chief over all the districts on the south side, from the isthmus down to Attahooroo; over the latter district was young Towha, who wished to remain neuter, but was forced by Pomarre to join his party, though he was more inclined to favor Temarre, and was afterwards charged with having secretly concerted matters so as to gain him the battle. Temarre encouraged his men by telling them that he had muskets, powder, ball, and white men, as well as his adversary; and that themselves were more numerous than Otoo's party. The whites he had were Connor, an Irishman, and James Butcher, a Scotchman, both of the Matilda's crew. Accordingly, about a month after the battle of Whapiauno [Papenoo], these powerful adversaries met in the district of Attahooroo, but being afraid of each other in no small degree, the first day was spent and nothing done. In all their movements they surrounded the white men, trusting more in them than ever an Asiatic did in his elephant. On the second day the onset began; but in a short time Towha's men, who were in front, ran away, and all Pomarre's followed their example; which was afterwards charged on Towha as his preconcerted scheme. Peter, Andrew and the Jew, however, stood their ground and shot four men. Butcher and Connor were obliged to run for their lives, and Oammo, the father of Temarre, was killed by a musket shot. These advantages brought their party back to assist them; all their adversaries fled, and a complete victory was gained for Pomarre, whom they found at a great distance from the fight, quite overcome with fear, and lying flat on the ground, held fast by the roots of a tree. When they acquainted him with their success he would hardly believe it, but continued to lie like one out of his senses; so little courage did this chief of the victorious army possess. The routed party fled to the remoter districts; some took refuge in the hills; one man in particular got up a very dangerous precipice and threw large stones on his enemies below, and kept his station till he knew their rage had subsided. The consequence of this battle was that Temarre became subject to the victors; was obliged to give to Otoo the great Morae at Papara; also every other privilege of the supreme chief. A house was built by Otoo in all his districts, where some of his servants constantly reside, and he occasionally visits; they represent his sovereignty, and none dare to pass them without stripping, the same as to himself. However, notwithstanding these things, the power of Temarre was still very great; he was left in possession of all his districts, and exercises the office of chief priest of the Eatooa on that side of the island".

Peter's story closed by summing up the situation in a paragraph that has naturally perplexed the historians who have taken his account seriously.

"Towha being charged with treachery was stripped of his district, and obliged to live as a private man at Pappara. Wyheatua had fled to Tiaraboo, where in a short time after he was defeated, and reduced in a like manner as Towha to a private station, and Otoo's younger brother made prince of his kingdom."

The only point to this long story is that the Swede was a great boaster, which the missionaries knew, and a great liar, which they probably suspected. He was talking about his share in wars fought long before his arrival. Vancouver's narrative has shown that as early as 1790, three years before Peter fought his first battle, Vehiatua was dead, and Pomare had seized Tiarapu. Towha was also dead when Vancouver arrived in December, 1791. The only part of the tale which has a semblance of truth is that Towha was conquered at Paea, and that Otoo was received at Mataoa. These events had occurred in 1790, years before Peter and Andrew reached the islands, for their date was fixed by Vancouver. The fact that in 1791, as in 1797, Temarii was in possession of all his districts, and not at all under the guardianship of Ariipaea, is the only point that we can regard as certain; and this also flatly contradicts Peter's tales to the innocent missionaries about his prowess in battles which he never could have seen.

In respect to Temarii, Peter could not have deceived the missionaries if he would, for they already knew the chief of Papara, as well as Haamanemane of Raiatea, the high-priest of Maraetaata, a personage who figured largely in the drama of the two Pomares. Temarii had come to see the missionaries at Matavai, and they had been told, as usual, that he was the son of Purea, which was near the truth, if, as we are told in our traditions, he was in fact the son of Amo. The missionaries described him with unusually life-like touches.

"May 7th [1797]. Visited by a chief-priest from Papara, Te-marree, who is reputed equal to Manne Manne. He is called an Eatooa, sometimes Taata no t' Eatooa, the man of the Eatooa. He was dressed in a wrapper of Otaheitan cloth, and over it an officer's coat doubled round him. At his first approach he appeared timid, and was invited in. He was but just seated when the cuckoo clock struck and filled him with astonishment and terror. Old Pyetea had brought the bird some bread-fruit, observing it must be starved if we never fed it. At breakfast we invited Temarree to our repast, but he first held out his hand with a bit of plantain and looked very solemn, which one of the natives said was an offering to the Eatooa and we must receive. When we had taken it out of his hand and laid it under the table, he sat down and made a hearty breakfast. Brother Cover read the translated address to all these respected guests, the natives listening with attention, and particularly the priest, who seemed to drink in every word, but appeared displeased when urged to cast away their false gods, and on hearing the names Jehovah and Jesus he would turn and whisper."

Two days afterwards Temarii came again to the mission-house, and this time with the young Otoo, Pomare II, and his first wife, Tetuanui.

"9th. Temarree accompanied the king and queen and staid to dine with us. He is, we find, of the royal race and son of the famed Oberea. He is the first chief of the island after Pomarre, by whom he has been subdued, and now lives in friendship with him and has adopted his son. He is also high in esteem as a priest. "

This was May 9. Temarii must have returned at once to Papara, for two of the missionaries found him there May 14, and reported that they "were most hospitably entertained by Temarree, who prevailed on brother Main to be his tayo, and gave him and brother Clode each a double canoe, showing them all his stores and fire-arms which he got from the mutineers; the guns, however, by the policy of the Swedes, are all bent."

The Swedes must have bent the guns in Pomare's interest, for the treachery would otherwise have been against their own, since they must have been in Temarii's service if he trusted them with the care of the guns, and allowed them a chance to injure his most precious property -- property on which his life depended.

In July two of the missionaries again stopped at Papara, on their way round the island. They had found Pomare at Mataoae, and coming directly from him they arrived the same evening at the house of Te-marii. When they arrived he was sleeping under the influence of kava, and the next morning early went off to his Marae without seeing them. The missionaries walked over to Purea's great Marae at Mahaiatea; then returned and breakfasted on Temarii's guest-pig; and in the afternoon walked on to the westward.

"About a mile along the beach we met Temarre on his way home; and when Peter told him that we had waited purposely for him, he seemed much afraid lest I should be angry, and asked if I was not. On satisfying him that I was not, he then inquired into the cause of our visit to Pomarre in a way that bespoke jealousy, envy and fear of that chief. After a little conversation we parted. Temarre is supposed to be possessed of the Eatooa, and in conformity to that supposition, speaks in such a way that scarcely any one can understand him. This at first made me think that he used that peculiar language said to be spoken by the priests; but both the Swedes insist that the priests know no other than the common language, and can always be understood, except when, for the sake of mysteriousness, they utter their speeches in a singing tone, and that even the young girls can make their songs equally unintelligible, it is also said of this chief that he is now meditating revenge on Pomarre on account of the death of his father and his own defeat; and in hope of obtaining success he has chosen Mr. Main for his tayo, whom he has heard spoken of as a military man, and to whom he has made several great presents."

All this accords well with what Captain Edwards reported in 1791; and with what the missionaries told of Temarii's doings afterwards. Whatever may have been done at Papara by way of submission to Tu, before Ariifaataia came of age, it was not recognised as binding either by Ariifaataia or by the people of the Papara district; but before going on with the story of Ariifaataia I have some few family traditions about this unlucky chief which are best in place here.

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Tahiti - Marau Taaroa & Henry Adams