This marae, which was built on ancient remains, is said to date back to the
Since the original name of the marae has been lost, the one of its last owner,
Māhine, was given : Ahu ō Māhine (Māhine’s altar).
A unique marae in the valley
This is a typical coastal marae :
It has a trapezoid shape, with a three-stepped ahu, oriented towards Mou’a Roa.
A great part of the structure is made of worked round stones, or naturally round
stones. They are typical of constructions related to the worship of ’Oro, god of
fertility and of war.
In the paved courtyard are two ’ōfa’i turu’i (backrests) and ten ’ōfa’i ti’a (upright
Cornerstones are mainly yellow and red tuffs with a quadrangular shape.
Māhine was the son of Te-ari’i-’tua-i-Nu’urua from Vārari (Ha’apiti) and of
Fetēfetē-te-u’i of marae Ahura’i in Fa’a’ā, and had rights on marae Marae-Ta’ata
(Pā’ea). His niece Itia married Pomare I. Māhine’s spouse was the sister of Amo,
chief of Pāpara.
Māhine, ari’i nui (great chief) of ’Aimeho (Mo’orea), was appointed by ari’i
Mārama at the head of ’Ōpūnohu. He had his marae built in the sub-district of
Tupauruuru. A member of the ’ari’oi, he belonged to the eighth and last order of
’avae parai, having his pelvis and legs tattooed.
In 1770, he met Captain Cook in ’Ōpūnohu bay.
Māhine was killed in 1790 in Atahuru (Pā’ea) in a battle opposing his men, from
Ahura’i and Pā’ea, to the men of Tū Vaira’aroa (Pōmare I), supported by the
Chiefs of the beautiful marae ’Ūmāre’a of ’Āfare’aitu and Nu’urua of Ha’apiti
originated from the Mārama.
’Oro, god of fertility of war and of the ’ari’oi
The worship of ’Oro started first in Ra’iātea and then was adopted in Mo’orea
around 1760 to the detriment of the worship of other gods. Its development in
the Windward Islands is linked to the advent of the Pōmare dynasty. It requires
human sacrifice offerings.