Newspaper article Coffs Coast Advocate (Coffs Harbour, Australia)

Meet Mahalo, a Man of Mana in the Marquesas

Newspaper article Coffs Coast Advocate (Coffs Harbour, Australia)

Meet Mahalo, a Man of Mana in the Marquesas

Article excerpt

Byline: David Ellis


Aranui 3 sails a13-night itinerary year-round among the Marquesas with calls at 13 ports in nine islands, including Tahiti, Rangiroa and Fakarava in the Tuamotu Group.

Guests enjoy cultural displays, hiking, museums, swimming, diving, Polynesian dance lessons, horse riding and fishing. Most activities and all meals are included, with wine included at lunch and dinner.

Accommodation is in a range of suites, cabins and dormitories.

Fly/cruise packages include pre- and post-cruise accommodation, transfers and airfares.

Contact Ultimate Cruising or phone 1300 662 943.

Air New Zealand flies to Tahiti twice a week via Auckland.

TRAVEL writer Roderick Eime is not a bloke to scare easily but on a trip to the Marquesa Islands in the oceanic Never-Never off Tahiti he thought he'd met his match aboard the cargo-passenger ship, Aranui 3.

"Looking into his eyes I wasn't sure if he wanted to hug me or snap my neck," Roderick recalls of the encounter.

"Perhaps he was making that very decision," he adds, referring to his meeting with Teiki Maha'o Nui Pahuatini, the undisputed chief of the Marquesans a aboard Aranui 3 at least, and Roderick suspects throughout his homeland islands as well.

Known as Mahalo to Aranui's passengers and his crewmates, Maha'o Nui is master of the huge crane that hoists shipping containers, cars, cement, groceries and household goods from Aranui on to the wharf below.

The ship is the lifeline for the 9000 residents of these islands, delivering food, staples and 200 tourists a fortnight to some of the world's most isolated communities.

Mahalo is powerfully built, confident and regal, commanding respect through his sheer presence.

Polynesians call this amanaa and his glance is enough to send men scurrying to their posts, while his magnificent tattoos, extending all the way around his shaven head, would make any Hell's Angel draw breath.

"Where you from?a he asks in awkward English of Roderick, who says the suspicious stare burned into him like frying ants under a magnifying glass.

"Australie!" he replies in equally awkward French. …

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