Live like a local, support your favorite team in Tahitian!

VaiavaTahiti island is host to the 2013 FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup starting Sept. 18 through Sept. 28. The world's best 16 teams vie for the cup won by Russia in 2011.

On the Tahua To'atā, over 1,400 tons of refined white coral sand for a total of 32 matches will be played. The venue throws the visitor live into the cultural atmosphere of island lifestyle.

Check out the kind of local expressions visitors may hear during the cup.

Build and Share your own message to support your favorite team in Tahitian language!

Click on the words in bold to customize and share your message in Tahitian!


Hūrō! = Hooray! | Fa'aitoito! = Good luck! | Tāpe'a i te pa'ari! = Keep strong! |  'Eiaha e tu'u = Don't give up!

Haere marū, haere pāpū! = Go gently but surely!

Call for action

Tu'e i te pōpō! = Kick the ball! | Pūpuhi i roto! = shoot it in! | Tā'iri iāna = Beat him! | Tāpe'a i te pōpō = Keep the ball! | 'A horo! = Run! | Fa'aru'e! = Leave it! | Fa'atoro i te pōpō i mua! = pass the ball forward! | Haere ra = Go on now! | 'A rore iāna! = Trip him up! | ha'aviti! = Hurry up ANYNAME!


ta'ahi = step | topa = fall | turori = stumble | hi'a = tumble | 'o'i = sprain | pata huna = attack sneakily | tu'e ta'ahuri = bicycle kick, kickflip | haru = catch | rave = take | tāora = throw | pō'ara = slap | moto = punch | ti'avaru = send off

ha'atāere = waste time | fa'ataupupū = hamper | nane = rush confusingly | ta'i = cry | ha'avare = lie | 'ata = smile, laugh | poupou = applause | pau = lose | upo'oti'a = win | manuia = succeed | fa'aitoito = encourage | ha'amāuruuru = thank | pāturu = support | fa'ahua = pretend | fa'a'oru = swag | mata'u = fear | amuamu = complain


'ana'anatae = willing, in the mood | itoito = brave | good = maita'i | pūai = strong | pāutuutu = brawny | roa = tall | vitiviti = quick | 'oa'oa = happy | māramarama =clever | ha'eha'a = humble | rōtahi = concentrated | fiu = weary, bored | 'ino = bad | paruparu = weak | poto = short | tāere = slow | hae = angry | ma'au = stupid | te'ote'o = arrogant | nevaneva = distracted | pretty = hāviti | nehenehe roa = beautiful


pupu = team | tīa'i tāpa'o = goalkeeper | 'aito patapata = Dribble master | ta'ata fa'aō tāpa'o = striker | mono = substitute

rēferi = referee | tāhiri reva = assistant referee | ta'ata fa'aineine = coach

feiā māta'ita'i = spectators | feiā pāturu = supporters | feiā utuutu = first aids | feiā tūpohe auahi = firefighters | mūto'i = police

rautī = presenter/commentator | feiā pata hōho'a = photographers | ta'ata tāviri hōho'a = cameraman

vahine 'ori = female cheerleaders | tāne 'ori = male cheerleaders | 'aito o te ao nei = world champions

vau = me | 'oe = you | rāua = the two of them, they (2 people) | rātou = them, they (3+)

Body parts

upo'o = head | rae = forehead | mata = eyes | 'ōuma = chest | rima = hand | 'ōpū = stomach | tua = back | 'ōhure = bum | turi = knee | 'āvae = feet

Beach Soccer Equipment & Supporters' accessories

tahua = pitch | one = sand | tāpa'o = goal | pou = post | pōpō = ball | piripou = shorts | piriaro = jersey | tīa'a = shoes | Hio = whistle

Fāupo'o = Cap | Tāpe'a tāviri = Keyring | Patapata rēni = TV remote control | Mōrī pata | Flashlight, torch | Reva = Flag

'Āpērō = Happy Hour | Mōhina pia = Bottle of beer | 'Āu'a 'aratita | Bowl of peanuts | cookie = tūtī

How to build sentences

E ANYTHING fa'ahiahia 'o ANYONE = ANYONE is a fantastic ANYTHING!

'Eiaha e ANYVERB! = Don't ANYVERB!

'A ANYVERB! = Go ahead, ANYVERB!

Mea 'ino roa te ANYTHING! = The ANYTHING is too bad!


E hina'aro vau e ANYVERB i te ANYTHING = I want to ANYVERB the ANYTHING

E hina'aro vau e ANYVERB iā ANYONE = I want to ANYVERB ANYONE

E hina'aro vau e ANYVERB i te ANYTHING = I want to ANYVERB the ANYTHING

E ADJECTIVE roa mātou! =We are so ADJECTIVE!



If you hear other words that are not on the list and which sound pretty coarse, contact us, you'll get their due translations!

Incidence of French on the pronunciation of Polynesian languages

The Maitai River

Maitai river, Whakatū, Aotearoa

France's highest administrative jurisdiction, the Conseil d'État, has recently nullified two bills passed by the Fare 'Āpo'ora'a Rahi, the legislative chamber of French Polynesia, saying the bills flew in the face of France's Constitution because they were debated on and voted for in Tahitian language.

The 1958 Constitution provides that French is the only official language of the Republic. Despite the unpopular decision, Te Reo Tahiti is still being largely spoken by all parties in the hemicycle, which counts a great number of excellent orators.

In the Tahitian islands, 'Āvera is the name of a district on Ra'iātea island while Averā refers to another district on Rūrutu island. The glottal stop and the macron indicate how the toponyms are pronounced, they are thus important diacritics needed for the transcription of Tahitian language. With the influence of the French language and the fact that the Mā'ohi culture is losing ground on oral tradition in favor of literacy, the media play a crucial role in promoting - and thus preserving - the original pronunciation of Polynesian names.


In Te Wai Pounamu, Aotearoa, the river that flows into Whakatū/Nelson used to be called Mahitahi by the Māori. Today, it is still unclear why the toponym has lost its two voiceless glottal fricatives but the awa is now officially pronounced and written Maitai. The presence of French colonizers in the 1830s may have played a part in the new pronunciation. Ngāti Rārua has it that their ancestors would reach for pakohe - argillite stone - in the valley and would regroup to carve out tools and weapons, hence the name Mahitahi - United at work. For the Polynesians of Aotearoa, Te Wāhi Pounamu was the "place of greenstone". As the French do not pronounce the /h/ phoneme, many place names lost their /h/ at French contact and Te Wai Pounamu may have been one of them indeed.


Back in French Polynesia, the position of domination of Molière's tongue over Te Reo Mā'ohi even makes the locals distort place names such as Rangiroa - the country's largest atoll, altering the widely-distributed Polynesian velar nasal phoneme /ŋ/ to the voiced velar stop /g/, which is part of the French phonological system. The  phoneme /ŋ/ is also transcribed in Māori language as NG. However, in order to avoid confusion between the Polynesian verb "tango" [taŋɔ] = to grasp, to reach for and the English word "tango" [tængəʊ] = the dance, some scholars and academics chose to drop the N letter to transcribe the velar nasal phoneme /ŋ/ in certain Polynesian languages like Samoan - "tago", to take hold of -, Tuvaluan as well as for certain places like Totegegie, in the Mangareva/Magareva islands.

And here again, the relentless influence of French wreaks havoc on Mangareva's airport Totegegie, which is being erroneously pronounced "Totéjéji" by the power of written words over its time-honored legitimate pronunciation.

The evidence leads us to the conclusion that Polynesian languages like Te Reo Māori and Te Reo Tahiti must be shared both verbally and in writing to limit contamination with competing languages.

Indigenous cultural references that translate foreign concepts – Issue 18

Naming foreign concepts and objects introduced in the Polynesian islands has been by and large inspired by nature.

For instance, Polynesian calendars are lunar ones. Timekeepers must add or subtract either a night - as is the case in Hawai'i - or a full lunar month - as in Tahiti - to adjust to astronomical years announced by the position of the stars, very often, the Pleiades, the moment they're back to the same position. Months are either called Malama as in Tokelau and Hawai'i, Marama as in Aotearoa and Rapa Nui or Me'ama as in 'Ua Huka and Fatu Iva. When Europeans introduced the Gregorian calendar, the natives adapted to the new time system but, in most islands, the words Marama/Malama/Me'ama were the ones they adopted to designate both traditional and Gregorian months. So, to escape this semantic ambiguity, Tahitians chose to keep the word Marama for their lunar months and use the term 'Āva'e - moon - for Gregorian months instead.

Also, in 1967, the Kingdom of Tonga chose to name their new currency the Pa'anga in remembrance of the copper coins Tongan warriors had discovered in 1806 when they attacked the Port au Prince, a French-built tall ship the British had stolen in the Caribbean. The natives had little understanding of money so they let the coins sink with the ship in the Ha'apai islands. In 2012, the ship was said to be found lying near Foa island, presumably still loaded with XIXth century coins and other trinkets. Back then, Tongans thought, by analogy, that the valueless coins of the ship looked like Pa'anga, or St Thomas beans, the seeds of the Entada Phaseoloides tree.

Although Tahitians never used the wheel technology for transportation, children's toys called Pere'o'o were to lend their name to the wheel and, by metonymy, to the automobile. Originally, Pere'o'o are spinning games such as pinwheels and spinning tops kids play with. Later games like the Pere'o'o 'Āmae, also called Pere'o'o Miro were modeled after the car. The Miro plant - Thespesia populnea - has curative properties and its beautiful wood is used to carve handicraft like 'Ūmete - large bowls - and Tō'ere - slit drums.

Likewise, other games include the amusement rides known as Pāpio in Tahiti. The rides are called Pāpio after the Trachinotus bailloni, or Black-Spotted Pompano, a fish species famous for turning in shoals around divers like carousels and other revolving rides at fun fairs. Foodies also know steamed pāpio is a real delicacy on the table!

Inspired by their natural environment, Polynesians have successfully integrated alien concepts and objects into their own culture and what's more, they named them in their own languages!

Polynesian languages perfect for new Domain Names – Issue 17


Last June, the ICANN - International Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers - began providing new gTLDs, or generic Top-Level Domains for sale in order to cope with the scarcity of valuable domain names in .com or .net.

Since the implementation of the additional service, the organization has faced a gamut of obstacles attributed to delays in the technical enforcement on servers as well as extortionate introductory prices, thus leading many enterprises to forgo further marketing development.

In this perspective, business companies engaging their products and services on the web may consider new niche naming strategies by borrowing words from other languages. And the Polynesian corpus looks indeed very appealing:

- Regional languages like Tahitian or Hawaiian have some of the easiest phonemes to pronounce in the world.

- Wide morpheme distribution across the Pacific, from as southeast as Rapa Nui, Chile to as northwest as Kapingamarangi, Federated States of Micronesia. This wide distribution vouches for word stability, e.g. NUKU.

- Small & fast-growing lexical presence among brand names driven by sports and the arts, e.g. HAKA.

- The great majority of Polynesian languages are easy to memorize because of their simple syllable structure.

As English domain names in "classic" gTLDs have gone few and far between and new gTLDs are slow to pop up at the window, the Polynesian islands stand out as an accessible, rich and untapped linguistic source that companies will find worth approaching to start their naming projects.


Cognitive semantics at play – Issue 16

There are curious words in English. See how these two transitive verbs used in two different contexts can convey totally opposite meanings although syntax remains unchanged:

1) In a recipe for a cooking contest:

a) TO BONE - "We had to minutely bone the chicken to make a nice display of it".

b) TO SKIN - "We had to minutely skin the chicken to make a nice display of it".

2) In plastic arts for an exhibition:

a) TO BONE - "We had to minutely bone the chicken to make a nice display of it"

b) TO SKIN - "We had to minutely skin the chicken to make a nice display of it"

These two utterances drawn from two different contexts go beyond pure grammar as they challenge human intelligibility with semantics:

In 1a, the enunciator describes the process of deboning the chicken while in 2a it is about inserting bones in the chicken.

Likewise, in 1b, skin had to be removed from the chicken while in 2b skin had to be applied on the chicken.

The two predicates thus call upon subtraction of content in the cooking context and addition of content in the plastic arts context.

In the light of pragmatics, where context affects the meaning of an utterance, these two auto-antonyms – bone and skin - generate four cognitive construals of predicates that are semantically perfectly symmetrical.

As we expect, the lexemes used in the cooking context produce the most occurrences. Yet, their use in the plastic arts context is not grammatically impossible nor semantically unconceivable. We may ask ourselves how context drives the mind into conceptualization.

Five imported delicacies contributing to Polynesian branding – Issue 15

Huri Translations has named the skins of the Polynesian Keyboard mobile application after 5 prominent and delicious food items found in Polynesia:

Fekika, Kūmara, Tahitian Vanilla, Hawaiian Macadamia & Samoan Cocoa.

The naming is no random choice. In fact, the five crops are not native to Polynesia, they were actually all introduced in the islands at different times and by different hands.

- Fekika is the Malay apple in Tongan language. The red and shiny fruit was introduced in Tonga by early Polynesians circa 1000 BC from Melanesia and South-East Asia. Fekika leaves have been used in traditional medicine too.

- Kūmara is the sweet potato in Māori language. According to various tribal sources, oral tradition has it that the tuber was introduced in Aotearoa by the hands of gods Rongo, Māui, Kahukura and Marihaka from Hawaiki, the legendary homeland. Scientists have demonstrated that kūmara originates from South America.

- Vanilla was first brought in Tahiti by French Admiral François Alphonse Hamelin in 1848. Researchers have, by comparing genetic markers, established that the fragrant black spice is a cross-breed from Central America that mutated genetically over time and adapted to the Tahitian climatic conditions.

- Macadamia was introduced in the Hawaiian islands in 1882 from Australia by British plant collector William Purvis, as an ornamental plant. The Australasian nut was popularized in Hawai'i and is often eaten grilled and salted or added in pieces of chocolate.

- Cocoa was shipped in the Samoan islands by Germans in 1893. Originally from central America, the bean is now well-integrated in the daily life of Samoan families who make Koko Sāmoa, a popular lightly fermented cocoa beverage.

From the early days of Polynesian settlement to the European colonization era, these five food delicacies reveal how introduced species have remarkably enriched the cultures of Polynesia and have contributed to the branding of the islands.

Writing local languages: The glottal stop problem – Issue 14

Since Tahitian, which was originally just an oral language, was first written by British missionaries of the London Missionary Society in the XIXth century the language has seen various writing systems.

Although there is sparse discontent among a bunch of people regarding the current official writing system, the latter has nevertheless been the one adopted by the Fare Vāna'a, the Academy of Tahitian Language.

Reo Tahiti has five vowels – a, e, i, o, u - and nine consonants – f, h, m, n, p, r, t, v and the glottal stop - Phonetic symbol [ʔ]. The glottal stop sound is widely written as an apostrophe placed right before the vowel it affects.

In the region, most writers of the Polynesian languages that pronounce the glottal stop phoneme have officially adopted the same writing system.

However, other systems seem to linger on among certain circles in French Polynesia and beyond who claim that too many diacritics hinder the reading of text. Basically a word like ha'aputu – to gather – would therefore be written haaputu instead.

The problem is that people cannot learn the language this way because it implies that learners already know the lexical stock and Tahitian morphemes to determine whether a word like faanuu is to be uttered /faanuu/, /faanuʔu/, /faʔanuu/ or /faʔanuʔu/.

In Marquesan languages, academics chose to place their glottal stop diacritic above the vowel itself: à, è, ì, ò, ù. However, glottal stops are not systematically marked. They are only used to clear ambiguity, which means that Marquesan language neophytes still need to know in advance that the word written kaaku must be pronounced /kaʔaku/ and that the word pronounced /kaaku/ does not exist.

From east to west, Polynesian languages are intelligible to different degrees between one another. Just like Unicode recently, local languages need to adopt one same writing system that works for everyone if we want them to adapt to the world of today and last in time. We can only hope that the creation of a Polynesian governmental cooperation group would implement projects to set standards for writing in Polynesian languages.

Tampering with Polynesian culture may harm your business – Issue 13

Businesses, particularly large corporations, very often market their products by borrowing traits of unique cultures with little to no knowledge of the names of the brands they register and the image their products fetch in cultural lore. As long as they sound exotic and pleasant to the ears of Tom, Dick and Harry, they’re good to go!

Let’s talk about noni. The pungent fruit - Morinda Citrifolia - is named noni in Fijian, Hawaiian, Mangarevan, Tongarevan or Marquesan. It is called nono in Tahiti. Because it may sound too negative in English, marketeers are adamant that nono could never be a candidate in a naming process but noni is an option. Is this tantamount to saying that Tahitian noni products can be perceived as culturally fictitious products because noni is not Tahitian?

In America, most tiki bars feature carved and molded masks, statues, or mugs designed with Hawaiian style. However, tiki is actually not a Hawaiian term. For, the representation or image of Hawaiian divinities are referred to as ki’i in Hawai’i. The noun Tiki originates from islands such as Nuku Hiva, Rarotonga, Tuāmotu or Aotearoa. In Tahiti, Sāmoa or Ni’ihau, tiki translates as ti’i. Polynesians who come to experience American tiki bars are simply flabbergasted about it  and puzzled that Afro-Caribbean music is being played in those ersatz Polynesian-themed venues!

Many of us still keep in mind the “mistake” Philip Morris and Altria made when they commercialized in 2005 the limited edition Maori Mix on the Israeli tobacco consumer market. The cigarette pack displayed a turntable, māori designs and coconut trees. At the 2006 Altria Shareholders Meeting, the corporate group officially apologized after Te Reo Mārama – The Māori Smoke-free coalition - deplored the use of Māori imagery on the cigarettes as a blunt insult to the Māori community.

In addition to observing the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, naming products with rich ethnic heritage such as the Polynesian culture requires to take sufficient cognizance of the traditions and local linguistics to be acceptable on world markets.

From Seafaring Gods to the America’s Cup® on double-hulled canoes – Issue 12

Puna Ve'a LogoFor millenia, sailors have been cruising the oceans, facing the challenges of their own days at the helm of double-hulled sail-rigged canoes.

In Polynesian mythology, virgin islands are originally large fish lying a few fathoms below the ocean surface. They must be fished and stabilized before settlement can occur.

For Māori people, Te waka ā Māui – Māui's canoe – was the waka on which Māui Tikitiki ā Tāranga, the mighty trickster, fished up the north and the south islands of Aotearoa. The fish became the north island – Te ika ā Māui – while his waka became the south island – Te waka ā Māui.

For Tahitians, Tāfa'i is the hero who speared the fishes that we call today Tahiti, Mo'orea, Mai'ao, Teti'aroa, the Tuāmotu, Mangareva and the Hawaiian islands onboard his twin-hull canoe named Te Ānuanua. 'Ana tahu'a ta'ata metua te tupu māvae – or Arcturus – is the star that lead him to Havai'i.

For Hawaiians, Pele is the goddess of volcanoes. Born in Kahiki – Tahiti – she leaves Pola Pola – Pora Pora in Tahitian – and star-navigates on her wa'a kaulua named Honua i ākea seeking for a place to dwell in one of the Hawaiian islands. Near arrival, Pele's canoe is guided by her brother, a shark called Kamohoali'i. Pele now dwells in Halema'uma'u, in the Kīlauea crater.

Let it be clear that if the term Catamaran indeed originates from the Tamil word கட்டுமரம் - Kattu Maram, the modern version of the catamaran actually comes from Polynesia, where vessels such as the famous Tongiaki in Tonga impressed the first european navigators for their higher velocity.

A few years ago, the Pacific saw the building of the Tāvaru fleet, a group of eight 72ft fiberglass catamarans among which : Te Matau ā Māui, Uto ni Yalo, Hine Moana, Marumaruatua and Fa'afaite. All of them are based on the Tīpaerua model from Rarotonga. The model was brought to Rarotonga by chief Karika from Sāmoa six centuries ago. The modern replicas were built by Salthouse Boatbuilders in Auckland.

In the world of race competitions, the surprise comes from the 34th America's Cup. The competition will be open to AC45 and AC72 catamaran classes. Built specially for the America's Cup, these two new state-of-the-art cats have been designed for optimum race performances and feature wing sails and composite materials. The AC72 is reportedly capable of sailing downwind at 1.6 times the speed of the true wind!

Double-hulled canoes brought people to new places across the oceans and the ages, forging cultural identities while learning from the others.

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