The Three Waterfalls

A very long time ago, in Tiarei valley in the island of Tahiti lived a high chief and his family, the father was called Marura’i, he was feared and respected by the whole district. He had a daughter called Fa’uai, she was beautiful, she was the prettiest girl in Tiarei, but she couldn’t talk to boys her age because her father forbade her.

She was a tapu (taboo) girl, anyone who was approaching her without permission was risking death. For this she was often alone and sad. Her voice had a special sound, an unspeakable sweetness, and when she sang in her moments of sadness, she unwittingly attracted the boys around her.

Fa’uai was barely 17 years old and what she loved above all were the walks in the valley and the river baths. One day, she decided to go pick flowers in the valley. Her father had her accompanied by guards on each of her outings.

She went in search of the moto’i (Ylang-Ylang), and the maire (odorous type of fern). On the trail, she met a young man named Tua. At this moment, the guards were about ten meters back and couldn’t see Fa’uai, fearing to disturb her privacy, they followed her from a distance. Tua grabbed the flowers Fa’uai was holding and ran away. Frightened, Fa’uai screamed, the guards pursued Tua, and the poor man was killed because he had broken the taboo.

Fa’uai was very angry about what just had happened and blamed herself. Shortly after, her mother fell ill, and Princess Fa’uai stayed by her side. The tahu’a ordered that we go and collect medicinal plants to treat the wife of the great chief Marura’i. And it was Fa’uai who had to go to the valley to collect the necessary plants.

In the valley, although she was accompanied by two guards, she met Ivi, a young man of her age, very sickly.

He introduced himself to her: – O vau o Ivi! Te ‘imi ato’a nei au i te ra’au no’u. (My name is Ivi, I am also looking for medicinal plants).

Fa’uai led him behind a bush. She told the guards to stay at a distance., Fa’uai understood that Ivi wanted to take her with him to the valley, she accepted and they slipped into the bushes quickly moving away from the guards. When they realized Fa’uai’s disappearance, the guards went after them. Ivi was frightened by the idea that they were being chased by guards, so he offered Fa’uai to split, the princess refused and confessed her unhappy life because she was deprived of her freedom. She told him that she would rather stay him in the valley instead of returning to her tyrannical father.

She says : – E tapuni ‘oe ia’u, e eita taua e ta’a’e faahou! (You will hide me and we will always stay together).

With these words, Ivi revealed her secret to her and transformed into a handsome young man because he was actually the genius of the valley. But the voices of the guards were coming closer. So when they arrived near a mountain, out of breath, Ivi told Fa’uai they were going to get caught.

– E fa’a’ea vau na muri ia ‘oe e tae noa atu i te hope’a. (I will stay by your side no matter what).

We then heard a deafening noise, it was water flowing on the walls of the mountain. Ivi and Fa’uai were covered, and it is said, since that day, that they had lived happily behind the waterfalls. These two waterfalls were named Ha’amaremare rahi and Haamaremare iti. The guards discovered this incredible spectacle and on the way back, they too were covered by water, it was the birth of the third waterfall named Vaimahuta.

And ever-since this valley had been called Faaruma’i.

Artist: Tania Wursig