Prior to European influence, Maeva village, about 7km east of Fare, was the seat of royal power on the island. It’s mostly famous for its concentration of pre-European archaeological sites, including a host of marae (traditional temples) scattered along the shoreline and also up the slopes of Matairea Hill.

Excavations and restoration of the site commenced in 1923; nearly 30 marae have since been located, more than half of which have been restored. The exceptional density of marae on the hillside has led to a theory that it was entirely inhabited by nobility and the families of the chiefs.

Situated on the water’s edge on the Fare side of Maeva, the Fare Potee is a replica of an open traditional house, which now holds a lovely little museum and is tended by the lovely Maui, who can answer questions and explain more about the site. Around the site are 10 or more marae, some of which may date back to the 16th century. Flagstones cover a wide expanse of land along the shoreline.

In the village, look for the Maison de la Vanille, a family-run outfit that sells sweet-scented vanilla pods.

Beside the bridge coming off Motu Ovarei are a number of V-shaped fish traps, made from rocks. They have been here for centuries and some are still in use. The tips of the Vs point towards the ocean, the long stone arms emerging above the water level. As the fish are pulled towards the sea by the ebb tide they become trapped in the circular basin at the point of the V, where they are easily caught, usually by net or harpoon.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Huahine attractions

1. Gallery Umatatea


On an isolated property by the road on Motu Ovarei, you’ll find this art gallery, where the exotic paintings of the highly respected artist Melanie Dupre…

2. Matairea Hill Archaeological Sites


This walk up Matairea Hill is a high point for anyone interested in archaeology. A signpost on the Fare side of Maeva, about 200m west from the Fare Potee…

3. Fish Traps

0.53 MILES

Beside the bridge coming off Motu Ovarei are a number of V-shaped fish traps, made from rocks. They have been here for centuries and some are still in use…

4. Fare Potee

0.59 MILES

This little museum with explications about the Maeva Marae is located in a beautifully reconstructed meeting house complete with woven bamboo floors.

5. Marae Manunu


Marae Manunu stands on the motu, across the bridge from the main Maeva complex. The massive structure is 2m high, 40m long and nearly 7m wide. It features…

6. Le Jardin de Corail


If solitude is what you’re seeking, head for this secluded beach at the southern tip of Motu Ovarei, just off the now defunct Sofitel. It features shade…

7. Huahine Nui Pearls & Pottery

1.38 MILES

This little pearl shop is located on a pearl farm in the middle of the lagoon and also features the work of the founder, renowned potter Peter Owen. From…

8. Lake Fauna Nui

1.57 MILES

About 2km north of Fare, the main sealed road runs along the inland side of Lake Fauna Nui. It’s also possible to turn off to the airport and take the…