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Marae in Opunohu Valley
Those interested in Polynesian archaeology will have a field day in the Opunohu Valley, which stretches from the head of Cook's Bay up towards Belvédère. A number of marae are scattered about this area just off the main road leading up to the lookout. These are generally religious sites, where people came to pray and to offer up gifts to the gods. There are also some stone archery platforms where individuals competed in arrow-shooting contests.
In French Polynesia, a Marae is a temple in the times before Christianity was introduced to the islands.
Titiroa Marae has supposedly been restored. Note the word supposedly! You can see a few old walls and general foundations. Apparently human sacrifices were made here and Polynesian Chiefs also used to practice their archery here. The Marae continues off into the woods, but the 'best bit' is actually just by the carpark. I believe this is the best authentic Marae in Moorea.
If on the other hand, you are going to visit Tahiti, then you may wish to give this marae as miss. See this page for details on Arahurahu Marae, which is a far better Marae and has actually been restored to its former glory.
If you do visit this marae, make sure you wear insect repellent as this place has a lot of biting insects, including ones which will happily bite you during daylight hours.
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Marae at the Tiki Village
This Marae is a reproduction. It is not old, but the design is reasonably authentic! It is very small and whilst this won't give you any awe inspiring feeling from its size, it is probably the Marae that is in the best condition in Moorea.
If you want to see a really good Marae however, visit Tahiti, then you may wish to give this marae as miss. See this page for details on Arahurahu Marae, which is a far better Marae and has actually been restored to its former glory.
However if you are visiting the Tiki village and just want to get an idea of what a Marae is actually like, this gives a good idea!
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Marae are ancient stone or coral pyramid-shaped constructions with seral stages, on which sacrifies sometimes occurred. The oldest marae in Moorea is the Afareaitu Marae, dating back to 900. You can easily visit the marae on the road to the Belvedere view point.
Unfortunately, since the Protestants and Catholic missionaries came in the 19th century and converted the islanders, a lot of the marae were destroyed because they were considered heathen.
Nowadays, you can only see a couple of stones and without a good explanation of a guide it doesn't seem to be interesting to visit.
This is the oldest Marea on the island dating back to 900 AD. Its right next the water but you will need to ask directions as its totally unmarked
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Traditional temple complex
Historically interested folks will find the partially preserved villages interesting. Neat house foundations and good historical information.
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Moorea Travel Guide
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