Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Bounty Day, Matavai Bay

27 October 1788 HMS Bounty arrived at Ha'apape (now named Matavai) after having spent a night at the ajoining area of Pare.  I often think of Mauatua and her first sighting of Bounty.  A large part of the delegations stayed at a hall just off Matavai Beach, and we began most days with a swim at that historic beach.

The Bounty Day celebration began in the afternoon in front of the stone memorial that had been erected three years before.  This celebration focused on the Bounty crew, including, of course, the mutineers - a perfect complement to our exhibition in the next suburb which was entirely dedicated to the Polynesians of the Bounty.


You may wonder why we called this blog 'Tattoo and Tapa'. Tihoti's passion is design using the ancient symbols used by his tupuna or ancestors. Mine is the same, but applied on a different surface.

The designs used by Tahitians in 'tatau' (tattoo) often crossed over into the designs used in 'ahu (tapa) decoration. Some of the deep symbolism used in tatau today in Tahiti is lost, although Tihoti feels that by using nature as our inspiration we can come to understand these designs again, and from there evolve those designs beyond our misunderstandings. But that understanding has to come from a Polynesian perspective.

I am fascinated by the designs and colours used in the ancient 'ahu - everything was symbolic. Much of this knowledge is forgotten today: but not entirely. For me it has become an exhilarating adventure of rediscovery.