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World Heritage Site

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Taputapuātea is a sacral site and cultural landscape on Ra’iatea Island (part of the Society Islands) in French Polynesia.

It consists of several archaeological sites and marae (temples). Its main feature is the Taputapuātea marae complex, constructed from the 14th -18th centuries which is considered the central temple of Eastern Polynesia and which has a strong oral tradition connected with it. It is of continuing importance to a living culture: the sites fell into disrepair after the Europeans settled in this area, but were restored in 1968 and as recent as the 1990s.

Map of Taputapuātea


  • Cultural

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Site Info

Full name: Taputapuātea

Unesco ID: 1529

Inscribed: 2017

Type: Cultural

Criteria: 3   4   6  

Link: By Name By ID

Site History

  • 2017 - Inscribed 


The site has 1 locations.

  • Taputapuātea


The site has 15 connections.




  • Human Migration: Connected to human expansion into eastern Polynesia by ocean-going canoe

Individual People

  • Captain James Cook: Late in 18th century, Europeans made contact with the Polynesians. Captain James Cook was brought to Taputapuātea by the navigator-priest Tupaia. Members of Cook’s crew have left descriptions of the marae complex (AB ev)

Religion and Belief

  • Sacred Mountains: Tea’etapu and ‘Ōrofātiu
  • Holiest place: As the ancestral homeland of Polynesian culture, Taputapuātea is of outstanding significance for people throughout the whole of Polynesia, for the way it symbolises their origins, connects them with ancestors and as an expression of their spirituality (AB ev)
  • Living indigenous religions: ... Polynesians who come in pilgrimage to the ancestral home of mā’ohi civilization. (AB ev)


  • Built in the 14th century: the marae Taputapuātea has seen at least two stages of construction from the 14th to the 18th centuries, with the ahu being expanded greatly (AB ev)


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