Date / Time
Date(s) - Saturday 4 March 2023
Te Fare Iamanaha – Museum of Tahiti and her Islands’ new permanent exhibition hall will open its doors to the public on March 4, 2023. This highly anticipated event is eagerly awaited by local and international audiences, and promises visitors many surprises.
1400 square meters dedicated to Polynesian culture
Designed by architect Pierre-Jean Picart in collaboration with Parisian scenographer Adrien Gardère, this new hall invites free navigation. Multiple circulation axes allow for a visit that highlights each archipelago. A place for rediscovering and reconnecting with Polynesian cultural heritage, this new route is designed to be a living space and a privileged place for cultural transmission.
Dedicated to the natural environment, the beginning of the route introduces the particular environment that has contributed to shaping the material cultures of the French Polynesian archipelagos. An interactive transitional space dedicated to Polynesian conceptions of cosmogony and the creation of the world then immerses visitors in oral tradition.
The rest of the route emphasizes the common cultural foundations of Polynesian societies by major themes (island settlement, navigation, sacred and marae, funeral rites, fishing, daily life, tapa, tattoos, dance, and music). A novelty for this hall is the islets dedicated to each of the five archipelagos, highlighting the cultural specificities of each: through the sacred, ornamentation, objects of prestige, or everyday objects, their particularities, particularly aesthetic ones, are highlighted.
The exhibition also includes a section dedicated to Eastern Polynesia, presenting objects from the Cook Islands, Aotearoa-New Zealand, Hawaii, and Rapa Nui, as well as a space dedicated to Polynesia: Samoa, Tonga, and Fiji. The common cultural background that unites Polynesian populations beyond current borders is thus emphasized.
Finally, dedicated to the first contacts between Polynesians and Westerners, the end of the route addresses the transformations of Polynesian society, emphasizing those experienced by Polynesians. The collections on display, witnesses to changes in material culture, make it possible to evoke social and cultural upheavals, adaptations, and resilience. Personalities and historical events are also presented.
Iconic objects brought together
Te Fare Iamanaha has signed cooperation agreements with several museums to enrich the archipelago route since 2019. Iconic objects will thus be exhibited from the opening day on March 4: among them, the famous statue of the god A’a for the Australs archipelago, a too mata (genealogical memory aid) and a taavaha (black feather headdress) from Fenua Ènata, a maro kura (chief’s belt) for the Tuamotu archipelago, the statue of the god Rongo for Mangareva, the majestic costume of the Heva tūpāpa’u, Tahitian mourner, as well as the recently identified fragment of maro ’ura. About twenty works will be presented, in addition to the 600 objects from Te Fare Iamanaha‘s collections, some of which are little known to the public. The institution will notably present its collection of tapa and naturalized birds, which have been little or never exhibited before for conservation reasons.
Alongside Te Fare Iamanaha‘s collections, visitors can discover those of the British Museum, the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology of Cambridge, the musée du quai Branly-Jacques Chirac, and the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary. This is a unique opportunity to admire iconic Polynesian collections brought together in Tahiti for the first time. Representatives from these institutions will be present for the opening ceremonies.
Pieces loaned or deposited for the opening of Te Fare Iamanaha
Quai Branly-Jacques Chirac Museum
Maro ‘ura : chief’s belt fragment, Society Islands
Too mata or memory aid from the Marquesas. Braided and knotted coconut fiber.
Taavaha : rooster feather headdress and associated plume, Marquesas Islands
Penu : pestle from the Society Islands, basalt
A’a : anthropomorphic sculpture of the god A’a, Rurutu
Maro kura : belt, Tuamotu Archipelago
Taumi : pectoral, Tahiti, Society Islands. Plant fibers, feathers, shark teeth.
Rongo : anthropomorphic sculpture of the god Rongo-Magareva
Heva tūpāpāu : mourning costume, Tahiti. Feathers, plant fiber, wood, mother-of-pearl.
Ti’i from the mourning costume: wooden Ti’i associated with the Heva tūpāpāu costume
Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology of Cambridge
Ear ornament. Mother-of-pearl, plant fiber. Society Islands.
Ear ornament. Seeds, plant fiber. Society Islands.
Drum, Society Islands. Wood, plant fibers, shark skin.
Carved lintel. Wood. Society Islands/Austral Islands.
Tattoo mallet, wood.
Lamp, Society Islands. Basalt.
to’o, divine effigy. Society Islands.
A modern mediation
Te Fare Iamanaha will offer visitors a unique experience: in addition to classic mediation, there will be the development of interactive multimedia, touch screens, animated films, and a visit accompanied by audioguide in several languages (French, Tahitian, English, and Spanish). As Te Fare Iamanaha aims to be an actor in the promotion of Polynesian languages, audioguides will be available for free in Tahitian. Finally, the Hiti ethnobotanical garden has been renovated, extending the visit and recalling the fundamental connection between Polynesians and their environment.
A project financed by the Development Contract
The project was financed by the development contract. The delegated project management was provided by Grand Travaux de Polynésie (G2P). The project manager is Pierre-Jean Picart, in partnership with Atoll, Studio Adrien Gardere, Sr Engineering, as the monitoring office, and SSI monitoring provided by Luseo and Solutions Sécurité Incendie. The companies involved in the project are: Fiumarella, MBH, Boyer, Polynésie VRD, EPRP, NSI, ADN, Espaces Paysages, Engie Services, Technofroid, Pacific Alu, Arts du bâtiment, Ads Insonorisation, Amouy, S3T, AIS, Inov Inox. For mediation and display of works: On-Situ, Vidélio, Ainu, Coolie Citron, Matuvu, Aof Maquette, Lucid Dream, Jean-Luc Casula.
Due to the specificities of the room, particularly in terms of humidity control, safety, mediation, and lighting of the works, innovative devices never before implemented in French Polynesia have been installed, thus allowing local companies to improve their skills.
Opened on February 28, 2023, the museum will reopen to the public on Saturday, March 4, 2023. Between March 1 and 3, 2023, visits will be reserved for cultural and tourism actors, or partners of the establishment.
Starting on March 4, from 9am to 5pm, the public will be able to discover the new exhibition hall. The museum is open from Tuesday to Sunday. Tuesdays will be reserved for schools, groups, and cultural and artisanal associations by reservation. For a period of one year, entry will be free for cultural and artisanal associations to promote access to culture, particularly for island communities.
From March 11, 2023, guided tours will also be offered from 10am to 11:30am.
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