Marquesas Islands Cruise: Meet the Polynesian tikis of Hiva Oa


Hop aboard  Aranui 5  and sail 1,500 km northeast of Tahiti, for a cruise to the Marquesas Islands: composed of 12 islands, of which only 6 are inhabited, you will discover a land of stories and legends, as incredible as they are inspiring. These include a visit to the island of Hiva Oa, which is known for its many sculptures of tiki – a representation of the first man, half human, half-god…

Polynesian tiki sculptures 

polynesian tikis Hiva Oa cruise Marquesas Islands

Made of wood or stone, a tiki represents mainly men. Rather stocky in size, his legs are often bent, and arms are folded on the front with his hands resting on his stomach. His head is totally disproportionate to the rest of the body and often reveals huge eyes and a very expressive mouth.

Half-human, half-god, this mythical figure of Polynesian culture, that created humans can be seen in various forms during a cruise to the Marquesas Islands – and specifically on Hiva Oa Island, you will encounter a number of tikis.

A cruise to the Marquesas Islands to see the iconic tikis. 

With an area of 316 km2, Hiva Oa Island offers unspoiled landscapes and lush vegetation, which are sure to captivate cruise passengers, as it did Jacques Brel and Paul Gauguin, who both set up their homes on the island. 

Beyond the cultural museums and burial sites dedicated to these two artists, a visit of Hiva Oa is an opportunity to see the tikis, which are characteristic of Polynesia. They are located either in Punaei or Puamau Bay. Examples include: 

  • – The smiling tiki, with his face illuminated by his eyes.
  • – The lying tiki (Tiki Taua Pepe), depicting a woman giving birth;
  • – The slender tiki (Tiki Manuiotaa) – with its head detached, but then put back in place by archaeologists.
  • – The headless tiki (Tiki Te Tovae E Noho), but with its original 6 fingers;
  • – The largest tiki in Polynesia (Tiki Takaii), standing 2.67 m high it is made of red volcanic rock:
  • – The crowned tiki (Tiki Moeone), which is engulfed by vegetation, but still retains its beauty.
  • – The two tikis of the Princess of Tehaumoea next to her grave.

For your next cruise in Polynesia, don’t miss these cultural icons, as beautiful as they are different from each other – whether on the island of Hiva Oa or the other islands of the archipelago.

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