The road between Taiohae and Taipivai being built of good quality concrete, it is easy to cross the mountain to enter the “valley of cannibals.”
Rare endemic palm trees
The continuation of our Melville’s Polynesian life was a little agitated, but it is in Taipivai that we will remain for a few days. The valley, at the bottom of the Bay of the Controller, is closed by an impressive basalt wall from which seems to escape a vertiginous cascade; with a guide, it will be easy for you to go there and enjoy a bath in the vas
Beforehand, it is essential to pay a small visit to the half shadow and half sunshine corner that houses the last palm trees of the Marquesas, Pelagodoxa henryana, locally called “enu.”
These endemic palm trees, botanical rarities, are only a small dozen, but their rough walnuts are carefully collected and then placed in glasshouses and replanted; the species itself is therefore very threatened in nature, but on the other hand, it is nowadays relatively widespread in the gardens of connoisseurs.
On the road that climbs up towards Hatiheu, a stopover is unavoidable, that of the meae Paeke.
A small sign on the left side of the road indicates the direction of the road on the way up.
It is enough to park there and follow the small path, in places very ravined by the rains, which leads, after twenty minutes of reasonable efforts, to a unique architectural ensemble. A meae which contained twelve tiki and which shelters ten of them today (a few other stones very degraded, almost formless, being able to correspond to the old tiki missing from the call).
The site is composed of two beautifully restored platforms encompassing in their walls nine tiki enclosures, the largest of which measures more than one meter seventy.
A pebble chapel
Back on the road, you just have to go down towards the sea to admire the tohua recently built in the center of the village, which allows, during art festivals, to offer an exceptional setting to the troops who perform, dancers, singers, and musicians, as well as to the public.
A significant hat-trick to the Taipivai town hall, which has created a magnificent and functional cultural space, a space that is also very well maintained.
Further down, the small road winds its way to Hooumi; stop off at the small covered chapel and the adjacent one, in the open sky, built from the remains of paepae.