The Museum of Tahiti and Her Islands is probably not the main reason you want to visit this tropical paradise. But while you’re there, you might as well learn more about this fascinating culture and see the history of how the ancient Polynesians lived. If you have a rainy day, like we did, or you get a little too sunburned, I would recommend you stop this attraction and check out the exhibits. The museum and the gardens can be seen in about 2 hours so this won’t be an all-day affair.
Located about 15 km (roughly 9 miles) away from the Pape'ete, in the town of Punaauia, The Museum of Tahiti and Her Islands, offers a peek into life on the islands both before and after European interaction. Exhibits cover everything from the geological formation of the islands of the South Pacific to how people came to settle on these remote and isolated places. You’ll learn about the religious rites of passage, how the islanders gathered food, and how they spent their days and nights. Many exhibits depict the tools and dress found among the different islands on French Polynesia. The timeline of events depicted go all the way up to modern times when the Polynesian people elected to stay within the government of France.
On the same grounds, there is a garden featuring plants found on the islands and how they were used by the islanders in their daily lives. Everything from medicinal plants to fruits and vegetables that were key to the islanders’ diet is featured. The towering feature of the garden is a huge mango tree that is full of fruit. Be sure to be cautious of falling mangoes as you walk through the garden as you will certainly see the evidence of falling fruit present throughout the garden.
Be sure to visit the gift shop and take a look at some of the local arts and handicrafts. You’ll find some beautiful paintings, wood carvings, and jewelry all made locally. All the proceeds go towards keeping the museum running as well as supporting the local artisans.
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