The visitors swam with friendly sharks, ate delicious meals of fresh raw fish in coconut milk on tiny mota, were hugged with familiar warmth by the mayor of Uturoa on the island of Ra'iatea, and presented their case to President Fritch and several ministers.
Collins is confident that either Tahiti or Ra'iatea will be the host island for the first seastead.
Its subject was a young man known as Omai, who had arrived in London from the Pacific island of Ra'iatea
two years earlier.
We do know, however, that Ra'ivavae people defiled their images by transforming them into stools and that the Rurutu people shipped their images to Ra'iatea where they were 'exposed to view' and displayed in a church 'lighted up with wooden chandeliers and coconut shells for lamps' (Henry to LMS 1821; Tyerman and Bennet 1831, 134; Williams 1839: 44).
The missionary, Henry Williams, writes of them hanging from the yard-arms and other parts of his ship like trophies of war as he entered to harbour of Ra'iatea (Williams 1839: 107-8).
Tupa'ia who is mentioned in Cook's and Banks' accounts, was a priest, chief and navigator of Ra'iatea
. He was living on Tahiti when he met Cook, and was invited to accompany the Endeavour back to England and act as pilot, interpreter, guide and informant on the voyage through the Pacific.
(4) My study of the vilavilairevo in Fiji, and comparatively of the umu ti (firewalking ceremony) in Ra'iatea
, leads me to suspect that in Beqa the practice had the character of a first fruits ceremony (isevu), but is not a typical one.
By the mid-18th Century, Tahiti and its near neighbour Mo'orea had become linked to the islands of the Leeward group, especially Ra'iatea
, through marae histories that attributed ritual and cosmological precedence to the Ra'iatean marae, Taputapuatea, 'Oro's most sacred place of residence (Oliver 1974:661).
There his Tahitian informant, Omai, met four Tahitians, survivors of a voyage from Tahiti to Ra'iatea
, who had missed their objective and had drifted for many days to the south-west until they arrived at Atiu.