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“Great museum, absolutely worth the trip.”

Museum of Tahiti and the Islands
Ranked #3 of 19 things to do in Punaauia
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: Le Musee de Tahiti et des Iles - Te Fare Manaha offre une decouverte de la culture polynesienne a travers quatre salles d'exposition permanente consacrees au milieu naturel, a la culture materielle, a la vie sociale, religieuse et a l'histoire.Le musee propose egalement des expositions temporaires. Museum tells the story of Tahiti and the islands featuring exhibits on Polynesian history, culture, environment and ethnology.
Reviewed October 21, 2013

Located on kilometer 15 traveling south on the island road, this museum was a memorable experience. I visited during my first day on the island. Having a car definitely helps unless you are with a tour group; the museum is off the main island road and a bit out of the way but not impossible to find (like the Pomare V Tomb). The few extra minutes it takes to get here is quickly forgotten when you see that it’s on a prime location overlooking the sea with Mo’orea in the distance.

Admission was free the day I visited although I’m fairly certain this isn’t the norm. The museum is arranged chronologically into five main areas. First, the beginnings of the islands and the associated migrations of plants, animals, and humans are covered under the topic of “diversity.” I learned how an atoll is made among other tidbits of information including the spread of culture and language through the Pacific. With human presence confirmed, the next section deals with the daily life of the native islanders. Topics as diverse as navigation, fishing (with very cool fishing lures!), and utensils used in cooking were covered among many others. Third, the spiritual/religious element of Polynesian pre-historic society is covered with various statues and weapons. The fourth area gives a nice overview of the post-European era of the islands while the fifth and last spot is an outdoor exhibit of canoes.

I spent over two hours here and it was well worth it. The museum flows in a logical order and covers all the areas of French Polynesia (Gambier, Marquesas, Tahiti, etc.) fairly comprehensively, even showing that there is diversity within the area as the different island groups have different cultures and other populations have migrated here over time. My knowledge of the islands, the people, and their traditions was enhanced by coming here which is the ultimate stamp of approval for any museum. As a bonus, after you are done there is a beautiful promenade overlooking the ocean that you can visit as well as a well stocked gift shop. The only downside to my time here was the lack of English signage at some locations (which would have probably doubled my time spent); additionally, some of the exhibits seemed a bit dated as well. Fortunately neither of these proved to be a major problem.

If you make one stop on Tahiti be sure it is this one. Thumbs up!

5  Thank midway42
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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"worth a visit"
in 7 reviews
"french polynesia"
in 8 reviews
"polynesian history"
in 4 reviews
"gift shop"
in 4 reviews
"south pacific"
in 4 reviews
"flora and fauna"
in 4 reviews
"short walk"
in 3 reviews
"air conditioned"
in 3 reviews
"rainy day"
in 3 reviews
"local guide"
in 2 reviews
"le meridien hotel"
in 3 reviews
"excellent exhibits"
in 2 reviews
"bit dated"
in 2 reviews
"main island"
in 2 reviews
"return trip"
in 2 reviews
"an hour and a half"
in 2 reviews
"xpf per person"
in 2 reviews
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85 - 89 of 232 reviews

Reviewed July 5, 2013

Easiest to drive there but you could take one of the buses and do a short walk but you could stand around in the sun waiting for a long time. You only need an hour, maybe two to look round and worth it to discover more about the islands.

2  Thank SmallBizOwner
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 25, 2013

Our expectations were quite low because the museum was out of the main tourist area of Papeete and off the beaten path; none-the-less, we found this museum to be a delightful stop. One side had natural and cultural history information with lots of good artifacts and maps. Signage in English was not always as complete as in French, but it was good information and well presented. This part of the museum was much larger than we expected and we spent at least an hour and a half here.

The other side had modern art in a much smaller, but worthwhile exhibit. I believe this exhibit changes periodically.

If you can find this museum (a challenge, but there are signs) it is very much worth a visit.

3  Thank HLW648
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 14, 2013

I love museums, and try to make sure I visit as many as possible while I travel. This museum was pretty good at giving the history of the islands, and showcasing some interesting artifacts. I spent over an hour here reading everything in the main section, and they also had another section set up in another building about captain cooks adventures. To those students out there: bring your student ID! The museum is free for students! There were no crowds when I was there so it was nice to slowly wander around taking everything in.

3  Thank TheCanuckTraveller
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed January 24, 2013

Beautiful location, and has a lot of interesting artefacts. Not crowded at all, and costs 600 XPF per person.

1  Thank no_nonsense_12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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