Taputapuatea Marae New World Heritage site

A Maori, Pacific and indigenous studies professor says newest world heritage site in the Pacific connects all of Polynesia.



Taputapuatea marae on Ra’iatea Island is a portion of the Polynesian Triangle in the South Pacific, about 1000 years old and is seen as the point of origin for Polynesian seafarers who travelled to Rapa Nui, Hawai'i and New Zealand.


The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in July 9 2017, finally accepted the bid for Taputapuatea marae to become a world heritage site after nearly 20 years of campaigning.


In a statement by UNESCO it describes Taputapuatea as including two forested valleys, a portion of lagoon and coral reef and a strip of Open Ocean, and that at the heart of the property is the Taputapuatea marae complex, a political, ceremonial and funerary centre.


“Widespread in Polynesia, the marae were places where the world of the living intersects the world of the ancestors.


“The successful inscription of Taputapuatea on the World Heritage List contributes to showcasing the wonderful heritage in the Pacific to the world, sending an encouraging message to other islands states and territories which are engaged in the ongoing projects for heritage safeguarding and nomination development.”


According to a Radio New Zealand report an Otago University Professor, Paul Tapsell, says the site had always been significant and connected the people of the Pacific.


"We are all part of the same Austronesian family that carries the same language, same cultural background, same belief systems and we have been in the Pacific for somewhere around 3000 years.


“Taputapuatea is right at the heart of our very soul of being a Pacific people."