The Pulse of Polynesia

Moorea’s Tiki Village is a traditional Tahitian experience

By: Janeen Christoff

Moorea is the closest island to Tahiti, and one of the most beautiful of French Polynesia’s Society Islands. To the visitor, it looks like a lush garden, with sprawling lagoons, beautiful bays and a fairytale landscape. Many clients could be perfectly happy holing up in an over-water bungalow for a week without doing anything else, as there is so much to see just from the small balcony. But it would be a shame to miss the cultural nuances the island has to offer. Moorea is home to tropical gardens, sumptuous waterfalls and a native Polynesian Village that is a must to explore.

Moorea’s Tiki Village is a pearl farm, traditional village, dinner theater and art gallery all rolled into one. During the day, clients can watch hula skirt making and tiki sculpting, talk to a tattoo master, shop for pearls, view demonstrations of pearl farming or browse in the art gallery.

At the black pearl farm demonstration, clients will learn the secrets of Tahiti’s black pearls and how they are formed. They can try their hand at identifying quality pearls in the pearl shop, as well.

At 1 p.m., the Tiki Village comes alive with dance outside the restaurant, which overlooks the lagoon. Performers demonstrate Tahitian dance moves, while clients sample traditional Tahitian specialties. Clients can also celebrate the Tahitian wedding ceremony, which is a traditional performance and beautiful gift for a future bride from her husband or as a celebration of a wedding anniversary.

For a fun night out, clients should experience the Tiki Village’s Tahitian feast. Guests can arrange to be picked up from their hotel, where they will be driven to the village. At 6 p.m., the place gets going with the start of the feast, which begins with a coconut demonstration. Clients watch and learn how to open the shell of a coconut, split the interior, drain the milk from the inside and shave off pieces of the delicious fruit inside. Guests are then offered some rum punch (non-alcoholic for kids) and are escorted to an amphitheater for the opening of the underground oven.

A brief explanation is given of the food preparation and what can be found in the oven. Dinner includes plantains, chicken in a coconut sauce, traditional Tahitian bread, rice and stewed vegetables. The meal is cooked in an underground oven for about three hours. Guests watch as each dish is pulled from the oven and its contents are described to the audience.

From there, clients are taken on a village tour to discover the origins of Tahitian tattoo and see art by Paul Gaugin. They are given a brief history of the village and of its restoration after a devastating fire. Then, guests move on to the pearl shop, where they are shown how to distinguish a perfect black pearl.

After the tour, the feast begins. Served just next to the theater in a buffet style, guests meander through a sea of dishes, some of which were from the underground oven, and others, like potato salad and spaghetti that may be more familiar to Westerners. There is truly something for every palate, including the desert table.

At 8:45 p.m., the real fun begins with the start of the Polynesian review. Sixty professional dancers accompanied by a host of live musicians take to the stage to perform a spectacular dance show incorporating Tahitian legend. For two hours, clients are taken on a journey through the history of Tahiti as they watch hula, fire dancing and courtship dances under the stars.

Following the show, guests have time to peruse the gift shop and explore the villages. Buses are ready and waiting to take visitors home. The show is quite long and doesn’t finish until well after 10 p.m., so for clients who are anxious to return to their hotel or if they are simply tired advise them to shop for souvenirs beforehand.


Tiki Village Theatre
PK 31
Moorea, French Polynesia