Vue aérienne de chanteurs polynésiens dans une église portant des chapeaux artisanaux

Heiura Itae-Tetaa - ambassador of the Tahitian language

Heiura Itae-Tetaa

Heiura Itae-Tetaa is an accomplished businesswoman. The founder of the start-up Speak Tahiti - Paraparau Tahiti and President of La French Tech Polynésie has an essential mission: to make native language learning more accessible. "It's great to know that the work we're doing is meaningful: we're providing solutions to a major issue. Because 90% of languages could disappear by 2080 - that's huge, and that's tomorrow!"

To achieve this goal, Heiura has recruited a team of passionate professionals who offer new ways of learning the Tahitian language through online courses, mobile applications, TV programs, picture books, immersions, and language study vacations. The team has also developed the E-reo platform, enabling other native cultures and languages to deploy their own applications. Heiura Itae-Tetaa is a true ambassador of culture.

« The most important thing is to stay curious! We think French Polynesia is tiny, and we have no idea how rich its culture and heritage are. Prepare to be pleasantly surprised.»

Are you ready to discover the Islands of Tahiti through the eyes of this culture enthusiast? Let Heiura Itae-Tetaa surprise you with her own French Polynesia.

Danseuses tahitiennes

Attend cultural events

For Heiura, any time of the year is a good time to discover French Polynesia and its culture. Numerous cultural events are organized throughout the year: "I'd particularly recommend the Heiva (July) and the Hura Tapairu (November/December): they're really the two unmissable dance events. I also love the whole October period when there's Matari'i i ni'a (in November, the start of the abundance season), because a huge number of events are organized."

The Islands of Tahiti celebrate culture regularly, with arts and crafts fairs, as well as major festive and sporting events. To discover one of Polynesia's most emblematic sports, Heiura recommends attending the must-see Hawaiki Nui Va'a: "I have been there once and it's great! I was aboard a sailboat following the race. It's incredible to think that these athletes go from one island to the next by sheer strength of arms. And when you get to Matira (Bora Bora) at the end of the race, you see this absolutely magnificent white-sand beach... it's just extraordinary."

Heiura Itae-Tetaa

Experience the culture of the islands yourself

After attending some of Polynesia's major cultural events, you can try immersing yourself in these magnificent traditions. There are plenty of occasions: "There are so many ways to experience culture in Polynesia." 

Heiura recommends, for example, a visit to the 'Arioi Cultural Center, run by another cultural ambassador, Hinatea Colombani. There, you'll find practical workshops on traditional Polynesian arts and crafts.

The founder of Speak Tahiti - Paraparau Tahiti also offers cultural immersions through Tahitian language courses, giving you the opportunity to enjoy a fun activity while learning the language.

For a sunny day of adventure, Heiura also has an idea: "If you love the sea, you should also do at least one session of va'a or traditional sailing pirogue. For example, there's the O'Sea Va'a Ta'ie traditional sailing pirogue school, which is great, because they're reinstating the traditional way of sailing!"

Imagier Air Tahiti Nui

Learn the Tahitian language

What better way to immerse yourself in a culture than to learn its language? "We mainly know culture through dance, tattoos, traditional songs, sports... but ultimately, language is transversal to all of these!"

Heiura therefore advises all visitors to the islands to learn a few basics of Tahitian to get their trip to French Polynesia off to a good start. In collaboration with Air Tahiti Nui, she has produced videos and a picture book to help you discover the basics of the language: "On the plane, you'll have time to consult the content provided by Air Tahiti Nui for free, to learn how to say 'Hello', 'Thank you', or 'Goodbye', and lots of other useful words."

If you'd like to learn more after this introduction on board the Tahitian Dreamliner, you can also sign up for Speak Tahiti - Paraparau Tahiti's online or in-class courses and immersions to learn the Tahitian language. "From the very beginning, our aim has been to make Polynesian languages desirable, especially through more entertaining learning methods. We also have five apps."

Touriste qui regarde les vagues à Arahoho Tahiti

Take a tour around Tahiti

Your international flight will take you directly to Tahiti. But before continuing your journey to the other Polynesian islands, Heiura Itae-Tetaa recommends that you stop for a few days on the main island: "There's so much to do in Tahiti! I think you need at least one or two days to enjoy it all:

- There are extraordinary hiking trails with rivers and waterfalls to discover...

- There's also the unmissable Papeete market, and lots of great restaurants and beachside spots!

- And there's a nightlife that you don't necessarily find on the other islands."

To help you explore around the island, Speak Tahiti - Paraparau Tahiti has developed the Play Reo app with rental company AVIS, which helps you tour Tahiti while learning Tahitian through a fun escape game.

The ambassador regrets that some visitors don't spend enough time on this island full of surprises: "There are a lot of people who see Tahiti only as a place to sleep for a short stopover, when it's much more than that!"

Phare de la Pointe Vénus

Go to the Pointe Vénus beach

There are plenty of beaches of all sorts on the island of Tahiti. But among them, Heiura definitely recommends her favorite beach... Pointe Vénus!

This charming black-sand beach on the coast of Mahina, is one of the most popular in Tahiti. Both family-friendly and historic, this beach is also famous for its lovely lighthouse. "I love going to Pointe Vénus and sunbathing on the beach. I love the east coast of Tahiti. When you're in the water and you can see Moorea in front of you, it's priceless... and it's free! It's a beautiful place and I enjoy the view of the Pointe every day. I find it breathtaking, with the lighthouse in the center, and the sea... It's magnificent."

vue aérienne de l'île de Huahine

Take a tour in the Leeward Islands

Just an hour by plane from Tahiti, and only a few hours by boat, the Leeward Islands complete the Society Archipelago. Its high islands are among the most famous in French Polynesia: Bora Bora, Raiatea, Taha'a, Huahine and Maupiti. If you're in the area, be sure to visit one of the islands particularly close to our Ambassador's heart: "I love Huahine very much: my whole family is from there. There's something happening on Huahine. The island is very different from the others." Indeed, the authenticity of this unspoilt island captivates all visitors who are lucky enough to travel there. Huahine is a unique jewel that will surely leave you with unforgettable memories.

Finally, Heiura advises you to discover the Pearl of the Pacific from the air: "I think one of the most beautiful landscapes in French Polynesia is Bora Bora from the air when you arrive by plane. It's an incredible view: the island and the lagoon are magnificent. You're always blown away, whether you're a Polynesian or a tourist!"