Vaitahu

Village in Tahuata

This tiny village, built against the steep slopes of the central ridge, retains a few vestiges of its stormy past. On the seafront stands a modest memorial topped by a rusty anchor, recalling the first meeting between Admiral Dupetit-Thouars and Chief Iotete in 1838.

Near the post office is a tiny museum (admission free) with some archaeological items including fish hooks and stone pestles. There are no set opening hours – just ask at the mairie (townhall) next door.

The monumental stone Catholic church is opposite the seafront. Opened with great pomp and ceremony in 1988, it recalls the importance of Tahuata in the evangelisation of the archipelago. The church has beautiful stained-glass windows and some interesting woodcarvings.

Vaitahu is a good place to have a wander. Copra-drying sheds are dotted here and there, and brightly coloured traditional outrigger canoes (known locally as vaka) line the shore.

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