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Archaeological sites of  Fā'una nui  lakeside in Maeva  - Marae & Fare Pōte'e

What are the marae?

The marae were spaces dedicated to social and religious ancient Polynesians ceremonial activities. Some were small, including many altars called marae tupuna, family altars. Not all the marae  belonged to the upper class all of ari'i, but they generally had the largest and highest marae. If the design and construction of a marae ranged from one island to another, the basic architecture generally comprised a rectangular courtyard or marae, provided a platform ('ahu) to one of its ends, and a set of standing stones.

Place of worship of ancestors and some deities, the marae was a meeting place between the people and the powers that it was important to obtain favors from. The religious ceremonies gave rise to prayers ('upu pure), invocations (ti'aorora'a) and offerings (pūpūra'a ō).



The elements of a marae

The Leeward islands marae and those of the Windward Islands showed significant architectural and ornamental differences (size, location, walls, accessories). Two components are still common: the courtyard of marae and ahu, space reserved for gods and spirits of some...
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    ... ancestors. The marae paving could cover all or part of the court. Most often, the Leeward islands marae does not include a stone wall, such as Tahiti). A certain number of stones, permanent elements of construction, erected along the facade of the ahu and in the courtyard, served as altar to the gods and ancestors as well as backing to the officiants. Wood constructions with various functions housed images of gods, accessories or ceremonial relics of the dead of the privileged classes. Trees associated with the marae were considered conducive to the coming of the gods.

The marae, a living structure

The marae changed depending on the evolution of the groups alliances. The expansion of a family group or chiefdom, easing prestige of his representative, could evolve the size and structure of a marae. A new construction was built next to or sometimes on the site of an ancient marae, especially...
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    ... in the opportunity to take possession of the land. After the war, it happened that the losers marae were damaged or processed by the victors, as well as genealogies attached to marae were sometimes incorporated into the new strong men, to give them oldest legitimacy of their new territories. The marae was also the place where family life important ceremonies took place (baptism and naming, weddings, funerals) of each human group, and leaders in particular

 The age of the marae

  The carbon-14 dating carried out by archaeologists in the archipelagos of the Society have confirmed that some of the marae date back to twelfth and thirteenth centuries, the period of the supposed expansion of the class of ari'i hui (chiefs, kings ) from the Leeward Islands to the Windward Islands.
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    Most marae are dated from the late fifteenth century to the end of the thirteenth century, the peak power of large chiefdoms of the Society Islands. In Huahine as elsewhere, before the onset of monumental marae, with a courtyard and an altar, as we know, simpler places of worship existed, comprising one or more main stones that have been incorporated into the new types of marae as and when they evolved. The lakeside Fā'una nui marae around the fare pote'e are Ro'i Fare, Fare Tai, Vai-'ōtaha, Rauhuru.

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    Marae Fare Ro’i
Its name, which means "house (of) bed," is also the name of a famous marae in Mahina, Tahiti, the bed in question could be a metaphor for an object or a place designed to accommodate and sustain a deity figure in. (world of darkness). Emory archeologist lists the marae as a Tupuna marae (family) of the chiefdom (mata'eina'a) Tou Fare Huahine.
    Marae Fare Tai
Tane, the dominant god of Huahine, was worshiped on this marae, which served the community of Huahine Nui. Tane was the god of war and fish of Huahine. It was associated with the construction of canoes, making adzes and the braiding ropes. The god Oro, who was introduced later, was also worshiped on the marae Manunu. Besides the ava'a (bed for a god or platform for placing images) is the tomb of Raiti, the last high priest of Maeva. When he died in 1915, a stone block of the marae collapsed. In accordance with his last wishes, he was buried on the site of the marae. The foundations for a small fare pote'e (round house containing sacred drums and ceremonial items) is inside the marae. Look carefully at the stone block on the ahu airport side : you will see the petroglyph of a turtle. The turtle was seen as a reflection of the god in the sea.
    Marae Vai-'ōtaha
The fish traps in the lagoon around the village of Maeva are still used today. The fish enters between the openings in the rising and falling tides and is then captured with large nets. This is not only a very simple method of fishing, it is a primitive form of aquaculture, since the park keeps the fish taken alive. Once, these fish traps were an abundant source of food for the families of chiefs.
    Marae Rauhuru
The term rauhuru​ refers to the dried banana leaves. Emory lists it as a marae tupuna (family), without specifying its chiefdom of attachment. He mentions the presence of petroglyphs (canoes) on limestone slabs (corals) at the ends west of the north face of ahu (high part) and also other petroglyphs, turtles .