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Huahine

History

The rough English translation of the word Huahine is vagina, and although no-one knows exactly where its name originated, historians theorise that it has something to do with the important role women played in this island's history - Huahine's ancient queens were highly respected rulers.

Europeans first arrived here in 1769, when James Cook and company landed on Huahine's shores. Polynesians inhabited the island for thousands of years before the popaa (Europeans) arrived: archaeological excavations to the north of Fare reveal some of the earliest traces of settlement in the Society Islands. Despite a hostile reception from the native inhabitants, Cook returned to Huahine twice, in 1774 and 1777. In 1808 a group of London Missionary Society (LMS) missionaries moved to Huahine to escape the turmoil on Tahiti. They remained for only a year but returned in 1818 to further the spread of Christianity in the region. Huahine supported the Pomares in the struggle against the French, and there were a number of clashes between 1846 and 1888, before French rule was eventually accepted. Although the French kicked the English Protestant missionaries out, the island remains predominantly Protestant.