Tahiti's modern-day Maui

  • 12/10/2016
Tahiti's modern-day Maui

By Raiha Johns 

To the people of Tahiti, Teuai Lenoir is a modern day super hero, fighting to retain his beloved Tahitian culture.

Today just 24 percent of residents speak Tahitian and its dialects. Despite not being brought up in te reo Ma'ohi, Mr Lenoir has dedicated his life to restoring his nation's native tongue to the level it was prior to Tahiti becoming a French territory.

The famous Ori Tahiti or Tahitian dance is a vehicle to reclaiming the culture and the language, says Mr Lenoir, who takes all his practices for his group O Tahiti e in the Ma'ohi language.

Mr Lenoir is part of an independence movement hoping to reclaim Tahiti from French rule.

He says despite some locals fearing that independence will turn them into a third world country, he believes by going back to the ways of his ancestors, Tahiti will stand strong and proud.